FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Not Clueless in Chicago

This week, I had the great pleasure of leaving the Washington D.C.area and traveling to Chicago. I took every opportunity to find out what people west of the beltway were thinking about Bush and Company. And, much to my surprise, they were thinking more like me than the pollsters suggest.

Yes, I know this is anecdotal evidence from a mere smattering of people. But the nature of the comments and the variety of people who shared these views were impressive.

A young salesperson in Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue asked me if I thought it odd that Ashcroft was holding rallies to promote the Patriot Act. Isn’t there a law against that, he said?

Another young man asked if I thought that the Patriot Act’s provisions would be extended. Weren’t many of the provisions “against the law,” he asked?

The people I spoke with were reluctant to suggest that Bush was “evil.” The young man in Neiman Marcus asked, “Do you really think he is trying to do the right thing?” Another, does he only care about his father’s buddies? Or does he care about “us”? Did Bush knowingly lie about intelligence that indicated Iraq was an imminent threat?

Is something wrong with Ashcroft, another young man asked? I mean, why would anybody cover up a statute to hide breasts?

Many people brought up the idea that Karl Rove must be behind the California recall effort. Not a person I spoke with thought it did not have Bush’s fingerprints all over it. All hoped that it backfired, and that Bustamante would carry the day, if Davis is ousted. All thought that the Schwarzenegger campaign was a joke. One referred to it as a national embarrassment.

Talk of potential voting fraud was a common theme–they had read about the machines that will leave no trace of one’s actual vote. Is this all a plot, asked one young woman, to steal the election, like the Florida election was “stolen?” (I was surprised at how often people expressed this belief).

A woman asked, how much abuse do people have to take before they get a clue? A clue about, she listed, the economy, the environment, health care, and the war in Iraq. This young woman, a long-time phone company union worker and a former Wellstone campaign aid from Minneapolis, dissected with great care the views of various Democratic candidates. She was going home from a union convention fired up to make sure, as she put it, that a moving van is at Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2005. She, editor of a union newsletter, said that she carefully edits her own writing to make sure that she does not refer to Bush as “President” Bush. He is not my President, she insisted.

Inside the beltway, we watch the ideological wars and the political spins play out. Issues are discussed abstractly, not in terms of how they affect peoples’ lives. This is both the blessing and the curse of living in Washington, DC. The blessing, that people are interested in issues and talk. The curse, that we do not live in the real world; rather, we inhabit a space where the major motivator is power. The people I met were, on the other hand, motivated to live good and decent lives and to care about the future of their country.

Many of them already have a “clue.” When they hear that the war in Iraq will cost tens of billions of dollars that we will pay for while we sacrifice living wages and universal health care, they have a clue. When they watch Bush pretend to be an environmentalist while loosening clean air standards on aging power and manufacturing plants, they have a clue. When they count the number of Americans dying in Iraq after Bush declared “victory,” they have a clue. When they read about the continued violence in the middle east, they have a clue.

And when they hear about Ashcroft wanting more laws curtailing their First Amendment freedoms to read, think, write, and meet with like-minded people, they have a clue.

Bush and his divisive political handlers should get a clue.

ELAINE CASSEL practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia, teachers law and psychology, and follows the Bush regime’s dismantling of the Constitution at Civil Liberties Watch. She can be reached at: ecassel1@cox.net

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail