Friday, February 01, 2008

"The Whole World Is Watching........"

When I was a brash and compulsive youth....with crazy ideals and values I was willing to fight for.....my friends and I used to march and organize and demonstrate in defense of those ideals and values. I was an engineer, so I usually handled logistics: getting the right number of people at the right place at the right time with the right graphics. And the right provocation: rocks, bottles, bottle rockets, naked chicks, naked guys, whatever it took....Figuring out how to overturn the busses being used to blockade the White House (flatten the tires on the White House side and they pretty much just flop over).....getting the loony tunes guy (Bruce Dancis for you fact checkers and revolution geeks) up the side of the FBI building where he could kick in the windows and get serious jail time........

The whole idea was to provoke a police charge. Our people were always protected: gas masks, helmets, good shoes to run like hell, etc. It was kind of a farce, since the police were more than willing to charge. It was fun. I can remember once in DC parking my very expensive English motorcyle next to the police communications point and asking them to watch it for me......and then walking around the block to to put some spine in a group of geeks to hang in there while the Riot Act was being read.

There actually is a Riot Act, and they read it. Over a big loudspeaker. "You are ordered to disperse immediately. If you do not disperse, you are subject to arrest and blah blah blah......" The DC cops had a war wagon that could shoot water at huge speeds and volume, could electrify itself to keep you from climbing on it, could shoot tear gas and other stuff....and best of all, had an earsplitting siren thing. Literally ear-splitting.

I remember standing next to a New York Congressman at one demo, eavesdropping while he gave an interview while the cops read the Riot Act: "Yes, I feel my place is here with the people......demonstrating my solidarity blah blah blah...."

The cops turned on the siren on the war wagon and the Congressman literally disappeared before my eyes. It was like they had vaporized him......

What a putz.

His name was Ed Koch, by the way.

Anyway, the idea was to provoke the cop charge and get your frontline beaten with sticks and tear gassed and maced. The back line would then chant: "The Whole World Is Watching......The Whole World Is Watching...." while the media filmed it.

And the Whole World actually was watching.....

And after the police riot, I would walk back around the block and collect the bike the cops had been watching for me....and maybe talk a little bike talk with them.....and go home.

Anyway......get to the point, Michael.

One of the nicest parts of travelling for a decent interval is being out from under the American Media Umbrella. We watch Spanish TV. We watch French TV. We watch Al Jazeerah....which is not bad, by the way......way less biased in their own way than Fox News.

There is no Britney Spears....which is another major blessing about travelling.

There is huge coverage of our Presidental election politics.

Barack Obama on the cover of the Sunday New York Times Magazine of there. Big articles about Barack and Hillary in every paper, every day. Virtually no coverage of the Republicans.

People on the street stop you and ask you about the election. They all want to know about Barack.

In France I was buttonholed.....literally, the guy put his finger in the buttonhole of my jacket and I could not escape......

"You cannot fuck this up again!! It is too important!! France just fucked it up with this expletive Sarkozy and now we are fucked. You have to help us.....You have to get Obama in there. You cannot fuck this up! Are you listening? Are you listening?"

This was a fifty-something farmer in sheepshit covered boots in Urepel, in the middle of the Pyrenees in the middle of nowhere.

We got this in cafes, in bars, on wharfs, in kitchens.......we got it everywhere.

The European take is that Hillary is old school, and a throwback to old, bad times. Obama is hope for the future......Obama really is John Kennedy to the rest of the world.

Despite all our fuckups, and all our horrible, self-absorbed, miserable behavior in the last eight years.....in the last fifty years......the rest of the world looks to us for leadership.

Despite the fact that their country actually works....and ours does not seem to. Despite the fact that we seem to keep pissing in the well....

It is sad that other people trust us so......and that they think of us as a source of hope.

But, they are all watching......

We cannot fuck this up.......

Now that I am old and still compulsive...and brash, and with still crazy ideals and values I am still fighting for.....

I am voting for Obama onTuesday.

Please join me.

The Whole World Is Watching.

3 Comments:

Blogger benniespiedel said...

1 Bennie vote for Obama...

10:12 AM  
Blogger Pexster said...

I, too.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

One vote more from Sparkle-Nuts...

2:45 PM  

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