FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Kerry Show

BOWLING GREEN, OH.

Remember “The Truman Show,” starring Jim Carrey? Trapped from birth in a huge, corporate-controlled movie set that doubled as a fake small town, Carrey played an unwitting salesman, perpetually on-camera. In one scene, a man tries to warn Carrey, parachuting onto the set with a sign that says, “You’re On TV!” He’s immediately hustled off-camera.

There’s a smaller, mobile version of The Truman Show’s set traveling westward across the country that you should go see if you get the chance. The admission ticket to the John Kerry “From Sea to Shining Sea Believe in America Tour” warned “No Signs.” An event for the newly minted Democratic presidential candidate and his veep, John Edwards, to which the public is invited, held outdoors on a public street, in downtown Bowling Green, Ohio…but no signs are allowed. No doubt, the Republicans have their own Truman Show, probably dubbed the “Give ‘Em Hell, Dubya Tour.” But for some reason (foolish me) I expected better from the Dems.

A check with the local ACLU confirmed that the organizers of the event were within legal limits. If I wanted to express an opinion, I’d have to become a free speech criminal and secret a sign into the tightly-controlled movie set that passed for a political rally on Main Street in this small town, 30 miles south of the heavily Democratic city of Toledo. Welcome to the Brave New World of Fortress America.

The first step was getting through the metal detectors and security guards that allowed one person at a time through the checkpoints. My criminal accomplice and fellow Veterans for Peace member, Erhard Kock, is an experienced world traveler. Upon seeing the crush of people who had waited over two hours in 90-degree heat to file through the sensors, he said, “in France or Germany, people would never stand for this. They would rush through the checkpoints and tell the guards where to go.”

Guards barked, “back up, back up!” with little effect, but the basic procedure remained intact. We were instructed to remove all metal items—including Kerry campaign buttons, watches, coins, keys, pens, lighters (in case anyone wanted to self-immolate); turn on all electronic devices and then slowly pass through the detector. The final order I received as I hurriedly picked up my approved metal belongings, was (no kidding) “…and take a drink out of your bottle.”

For a second this command didn’t register. But a look at the checkpoints on either side of us confirmed that people were dutifully swallowing mouthfuls of suspicious-looking clear liquids from plastic bottles. Looking at the Rent-a-Homeland-Security guard, I said incredulously, “you gotta be kidding!” His angry visage and the increased volume with which he repeated, “TAKE A DRINK OUT OF YOUR BOTTLE,” prompted me to reply, “keep your goddamn bottle,” and walk away.

We entered the corral-stockade-movie set, unarmed, sans signs, tightly packed and ready to hold up whatever placards the Kerry campaign distributed.

Erhard and I donned our VFP caps and I pulled the criminal “TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ NOW: Veterans for Peace” banner out of my pants. We held it up as high as we could without the aid of any deadly sticks, hoping our message would get out through the media, indicating that someone, somewhere in this bright land had something on their mind other than “Kerry/Edwards 2004,” or “A Stronger America” (just what the world needs these days).

If Erhard and I were lucky and our sign caught the eye of a photog, maybe…just maybe, the fact that people are dying and suffering by the hundreds every day in Iraq might intrude on an otherwise sterile, vapid, choreographed election campaign.
More likely, though, you’ve not seen an image of a piece of white fabric, with broad, red homemade letters, held barely over the heads of hundreds of movie extras, that demands “TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ NOW. Veterans for Peace.” Kerry’s choreographers most likely succeeded in insuring that never was heard a discouraging word.

Peace, after all, is “off message” this year.

Mike Ferner is a recidivist First Amendment practitioner and a member of Veterans for Peace. He can be reached at:mferner@utoledo.edu

 


More articles by:

Mike Ferner is a writer from Ohio and former president of Veterans For Peace.  You can reach him at mike.ferner@sbcglobal.net

August 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
Fred Gardner
Exploiting Styron’s Ghost
Dean Baker
Fact-Checking the Fact-Checker on Medicare-for-All
Weekend Edition
August 10, 2018
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Militarizing Space: Starship Troopers, Same As It Ever Was
Andrew Levine
No Attack on Iran, Yet
Melvin Goodman
The CIA’s Double Standard Revisited
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Grifter’s Lament
Aidan O'Brien
In Italy, There are 12,000 American Soldiers and 500,000 African Refugees: Connect the Dots 
Robert Fantina
Pity the Democrats and Republicans
Ishmael Reed
Am I More Nordic Than Members of the Alt Right?
Kristine Mattis
Dying of Consumption While Guzzling Snake Oil: a Realist’s Perspective on the Environmental Crisis
James Munson
The Upside of Defeat
Brian Cloughley
Pentagon Spending Funds the Politicians
Pavel Kozhevnikov
Cold War in the Sauna: Notes From a Russian American
Marilyn Garson
If the Gaza Blockade is Bad, Does That Make Hamas Good?
Sean Posey
Declinism Rising: An Interview with Morris Berman  
Jack Dresser
America’s Secret War on Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Use and Misuse of Charity: the Luck of the Draw in a Predatory System
Louis Proyect
In the Spirit of the Departed Munsees
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Alex Jones and Infowars
Mundher Al Adhami
On the Iraqi Protests, Now in Their Second Month 
Jeff Mackler
Nicaragua: Dynamics of an Interrupted Revolution
Robert Hunziker
Peter Wadhams, Professor Emeritus, Ocean Physics
David Macaray
Missouri Stands Tall on the Labor Front
Thomas Knapp
I Didn’t Join Facebook to “Feel Safe”
John Carroll Md
Are Haitian Doctors Burned Out?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail