Watching the democratic national convention every day on the Internet. Caught up a bit tonight till about 4 in the morning actually, watching everyone deliver their speeches. Dare I say I almost feel hopeful? I guess compared to what we have now, even the democrats seem inspiring.
Later in the day, I’m in the office and everyone is abuzz about the speeches the last few days. Al Sharpton and Bill Clinton and of course jimmy carter are the speeches that are the most brought up. People cannot stop talking about them. the republicans may have stolen the white house, but they don’t have many current heroes to speak of unfortunately. Except John mccain, who of course is a hero and should be joining up anyday. Hehe. Old guard. Old tricks. Old hat. No one that people look up to in their party anymore now that Reagan passed on. but the democrats on the other hand…. if you’re a young idealist patriotic American or even just a ultra-concerned-liberal citizen of the world, the democratic party offers so many heroic visionaries and leaders. Bill and Hillary are basically rock stars now, for better or worse. All the guys in the office were on the Internet researching to see if Clinton could serve again. They were actually on the Internet researching the constitution. [we looked it up: he cannot run again for president. Congress passed an amendment in the fifties limiting it to two terms max because of FDR getting elected four times consecutively. BUT Zeke reminds me that he CAN run for VP under someone else just to grab another eight years if he or we wanted him to. Let us hope it never comes to that. [as we well remember, even though I volunteered for his election campaign as a bright-eyed young college kid, the minute he got on TV and lied I was one of the first to jump on the ‘o.k. impeach that fucker’ band wagon. I have no tolerance for liars, unless perhaps we’re talking about matters of national security. Other than that, get the hell out of dodge pal.] I think there are probably plenty of guys who can do just as good of a job or even better. But boy what a speech he delivered. It was spellbindingly to the point and coherent and intelligent and just a wee bit smarmy.] This guy says to me ‘man I don’t know why we can’t just get bill back for a while. at least till things smooth out a bit. Just another four years.
But its true. the dems now, they have Al Gore, Jimmy carter, Ted Kennedy has always voted for the people, so he’s a true liberal hero. Al Sharpton? Forget it. that guy was awesome. Jesse is always good. he’s like ‘take it for granted kind of good;’ that’s how good of a speechmaker he is. John Edwards is like the wunderkind of the party; the future Clinton. But hopefully he’ll keep it in his pants, or at least do it somewhere other than the oval office. They even have Ronald Reagan’s son Ron. Basically a rock concert of bright idealistic heart on their sleeve liberals. I can’t say I’m not against any of it. [I mean, lets try to forget that they killed 180 innocent Americans in Waco, Texas under Clintons watch and no one did shit about that. so because of that, McVeigh retaliated at Oklahoma city. yes times are changing. People are fighting back now. And I’m not going to bring up all the rumors of them selling military secrets to China…] But at least the dems have heroes. Real American heroes. People like us. I’m not saying these people are any less shifty than the other lot of slimy script reading hand shaking short-hairs. I mean cheese is cheese. Occasionally cheese can be good; like brie or Roquefort or feta or mozzarella. Yum! But of course American cheese just sucks. And both parties are super American-cheesy. No taste and filled with artificial shit and preservatives. Hence to belong to either party at this point is choosing hamburger over steak. But man, where is the fucking steak? That’s probably what a lot of Americans are wondering. Well perhaps in Kerry we have a bit of steak. We’ll just have to wait and see.
But you get the feeling that the repubs are those people in school who were just full of shit and didn’t understand anything about life. they were the sheep who drank their milk and watched their TV and spoke their lies when they had to. just to keep face and keep the money in the right hands. Whereas with the dems, you find this kind of idealism…. this underdog fight for the rights of your fellow man kind of thing that I can relate to a lot more readily. Normal people that you can talk to and talk about issues with. People that care about other people. .. and of course they have all the actors and singers and writers too. I couldn’t imagine being an entertainer and being a republican. i guess you just have to keep it a secret so you’re not embarrassed…. imagine if they ask you to speak at their convention and you’re like ‘uh well yeah I mean that’s a great idea but uh yeah I’m uh going to be out of the country that week. gosh I’m really sorry guys….’ . I can not imagine being up there at the republican convention and trying to come up with good things to say about this current administration. You would just have to throw truth to the wind and just say fuck it and come up with a bunch of bullshit platitudes and hollow words about values and strength and courage and all that other empty crap.
You get the feeling that John Kerry and John Edwards actually mean what they say? I believe that for some reason. And normally I don’t. it was something about that comment that Kerry made to his campaign buds when he didn’t know he was still being miked up. he made some comment like ‘man they are the biggest bunch of liars and thieves I’ve ever seen….’ there was something in that off the cuff and off the record remark that I think a lot of us could relate to. maybe he’s not one of them after all. again, we shall soon see.
I tell you what. The more I study John Kerry, the luckier I feel we are to have him as a potential president of the country. We don’t get many like him. Sometimes not in entire lifetimes. His speech was very good. it was almost as if we were watching history.
This guy in the office a few years younger that I am.., great guy. looks like Ted Danson. The kind of guy in high school that us rockers would make fun of as much as they made fun of us. The tall dark rich and handsome jock type. By the time you get to college you usually get over that stuff. you notice you start looking inside people more than at their outside. Now more of my friends are attorneys than rockers. That’s funny when you think about it. maybe it was just the way I was raised. So I’m hanging with Ted, lets call him Ted, and he tells us he was raised republican but now he’s considering switching because everyone is so excited about the democratic speeches and he can feel the energy around the country, and the Fahrenheit 9/11 movie that he saw made him sick. He seems a little concerned about letting go of his republican roots… I tell him ‘look bro, when you come from a good family with money, you’re often raised republican. But we can’t fault our parents for that. They didn’t know any better. But this is a new age now, it’s a new time. now just because you have money doesn’t mean you have to be a heartless idiot, with all due respect to our fellow brothers and sisters. The republicans don’t get that yet; they’re stuck back in the eighteen hundreds or something. Too bad for them and for all of us that have to deal with them in our day to day lives. Its these backwoods pseudo-values that are responsible for a lot of the pain and suffering around the world. They don’t get that you can still have plenty of money and still be a good person and still care about other people. That’s what the democrats represent now. Whether they mean it or not, who knows.
“So you’re a democrat like the other guys? aren’t all rock stars democrats?” laughs.
“Bro I’m nothing. I’m American. You know what? I’m not even American. I’m human. Like you and mark and everyone else in here, I’m a citizen of the world. I’m American because I was born here. If we were born in Italy like our parents were then we would be sitting here talking about Italian politics…”
“But it would be hot as hell in this office,” Marc says. “Why don’t they get air conditioning over there?”
“Tell me about it. And the girls would be HOT!!!” laughs. “But seriously bro…”
“Not that they’re not hot here. c’mon!”
“No joke. O.k. dude you get what I’m saying?”
“Damn right stay independent. It’s not like any of us should run and start registering democrat, or republican. Fuck that. A true American is an independent; one who is loyal to no political party and to no politician, but to only the ideals he believes as an American.”
“Do you come up with this stuff on your own?” Marc asks laughing.
“Marc, c’mon man, Ted is looking to us for advice. Help me out here bro…”
“I know. I’m just kidding. Its just that you’re so good man. Hey if you ever decide to stop singing you should be a politician.” Laughs. “But seriously, Fishy’s right. I became a democrat only in the last four years because of all this bullshit. its chaos now. everything is getting destroyed all around us. IN four years this guy is destroying what took ten or twenty years of past administrations to put into place and build up. if the republicans ever get a better candidate I might vote for him instead one day. I’m not so anti-republican like Fishy is.”
“Well bro you have to admit. These old boys need to get with the program… drilling in the arctic? Logging in national parks? Constitutional amendments to ban same sex marriage? Defying NATO and the UN. Refusing to be accountable to the war crimes commission? Defiance of the Koyoto treaty? These guys are rebels. If I were evil, these guys would be my heroes. They’re just like over the top evil villains. They don’t even hide it…” everyone laughs.
Marc speaks up, “Its interesting to note that bush, Kerry, Gephardt, and Dean, all came from the same few years of graduating classes at Yale, so they’re all from the same background,
“No shit?” Ted says.
“But there’re huge differences between the parties that they represent now. That’s what Fishy is speaking about. The dems seem like they’re just more on the enlightened side of the fence now. “And you my brother seem like quite the enlightened type,” I pat Ted on the back. “It doesn’t mean its always going to be that way. but that’s the way it is now. maybe one day the republicans will get it right and in ten years we’ll all be having this same conversation about how great they are.”
“I doubt it,” marc says.
“Hey you never know. My old man is republican. Both my parents are.” Ted says. “And they’re both really nice people.”
“Mine too,” marc says. “But growing up and especially now, I get the feeling that my parents never really had the time to look into this much. I think they were too busy working and they were just republicans because their own parents were.”
“I think my parents are just republicans because they want to keep they’re taxes low,” Ted says laughing.
“I think we are lucky to be in the generation that we are in now because we have access to all of this now in a way that our parents never did. so its right there in front of us. we can really decide for ourselves what the best choice is. our parents never had that. all they saw were commercials on TV…. in the future I think more and more people are going to get smarter and switch sides more often depending on who the candidate is and what condition the party is in.”
“Hopefully we can get beyond the two parties and get some fresh blood in there,” Marc says.’
“Ralph Nader anyone?” Ted says.
“Dudes I gotta work. That’s a different day. Ted welcome to the club.”
The boys and I parted company to get on with the work for the day. as I walked back to my own office I thought about things. thought about my willingness to convince another of which way to vote. Wondered if I was making the right decision in that. It wasn’t always that way. after spending most of the nineties observing matters of the state, reading history, and studying various insider information about the ways of American politics and campaign finance I become convinced that it didn’t matter who we voted for in America. I began to understand that the real decisions that affect our lives are no more decided on by our sitting president as they are by you and me. But rather, that America had been sold out decades before to big money interests and the military which it controlled. The president and the congress were the gerbils in the spinning wheels, kept in their respective cages for all the world to see; but the true masters of our fates were hidden from our view. Men with more money than we normal folk could ever imagine or conceive of, and more power than we could ever consider possible in a democracy.
The more I studied the more convinced of this scenario I became. And still today, as I walked back to my office, I contemplated this. how the major decisions in America and in all countries of the world are made when the people are not even aware of it. These are things not voted on, not even discussed. These are the things that guide our every waking moment but seem so much bigger than our party politics. They are the issues and matters that we relegate in our minds to the category we label ‘that’s just the way it is.’ by the time we hit the late nineties I was so sick of big business and behind the scenes politics controlling us that I was determined to do something about it. and what I decided to do was start a non profit political action committee. I hired on a few college students, political science students, to help me with the cause. G2 came on for image, graphic, and web design.
We held a few meetings to discuss our disillusionment with the bullshit smoke-screens of the American democracy conspiracy. I learned a lot from the political science majors. Their enthusiasm and knowledge inspired me. i shared with them my goal: to raise awareness of the scam of the pseudo-two party system in America by getting people not to vote. Now I know this sounds insane. And in the small-picture view it may be foolish; but in the bigger picture, I felt like it might be the only choice we had left if we wanted to cause a big enough commotion about our losing our democratic liberties to make decisions for ourselves that would actually have any affect on our day to day lives.
I was inspired by the recent protests against the IMF and the WTO. I noticed that the whole country was starting to wake up. especially our generation. What they once called generation x. we were taking to the streets again. Like our parents did. and the people we were battling were both democrats and republicans. So my feeling was that it didn’t matter who came into office. they would both be slaves to powers greater than any democracy within six months.
We decided to call our organization Rock the Boat. It was a take off on MTV’s Rock the vote campaign which tried to get us kids to get out and vote. I named it that on purpose, as a way of mocking how superfluous getting out and voting had become in our country. it was a way of saying lets rock the ‘rock the vote mentality and hold a nationwide protest by not voting. The more of us who don’t vote each year, the more attention this cause will gather. That if half of our voting age population is already not voting, wait till they notice that three fourths of our population are not voting. Or even four fifths or more eventually. And I felt like it was a noble mission to make that a reality. So for just under a year we all worked madly on promoting this cause.
We built mammoth websites filled with information and made millions of flyers and hand cards and stickers and T-shirts urging people not to vote as a sign of protest about the selling out of America.
Two things changed my mind during this time. one was that I saw al gore being interviewed at his home on television. I will never forget that night. I found him intelligent, informed, and dare I say, cool. he seemed like a good person. so I started studying him and his voting record. not bad. Not great. But not bad either. He stood for a lot of the same things that I felt at the time that I stood for.
Now it is true. that in those last elections, because of all of our hard work and my commitment to the cause of protest, I did not vote. I stood fast to my resolve to prove my point. And so did a lot of the kids that worked with us. I do not regret my decision. I was young, idealistic, and believed in what I was doing. But then it happened. The great election scandal that threw America to the wolves. I like most people had assumed that al gore would take the presidency with out a problem. I had watched the debates on television and just assumed that everyone else had seen them as well, so how the hell would anyone vote for gw? The idea was preposterous. He was obviously unprepared and unqualified for the job and from what I could tell didn’t have many ideas of his own. but seemed as though he was faking the whole thing. like maybe he was just trying to make his father proud. But he just seemed to be coming so far out from left field that it seemed like he had no chance of being taken seriously. we always just laughed when we heard him speak or saw him on TV. so whether I voted or not, or any of the thousands of people we collected as member of our protest organization voted or not, I just figured gore would take it either way.
Now of course we had no idea that what occurred in the 2000 elections would ever happen here in the United States. that someone who works on one party’s election campaign would still be allowed to be the supervisor of elections for an entire state, or that they were messing with voting booths, or blocking whole towns from voting, or disqualifying democratic voting towns and cities from voting through all sorts of trickery. What was it something like forty thousand registered voters in one town alone? And then there were the tens of thousands of qualified voters in Florida who were not allowed to register because they were mistakenly labeled “convicted criminals’ all of a sudden even though they had never even been arrested. They took Florida and by being such a close race, they were able to take the whole country. who would have known? … these were the type of tactics and tom foolery that we always read about happening in other countries, smaller less civilized countries with no indoor plumbing… we never thought it would happen in America. everyone knows that gore won, for better or worse, and should rightfully be the current president. It was just a huge fuck in the ass to this country what that group of people did to steal that election. And trust me, I was as undecided as you can be still at that time. I thought that both parties were a bunch of rich kid daddy’s boys who couldn’t give two shits about any of us. and would never have any real power to wield anyhow.
Well I was wrong. I was just dead wrong. the past three years have shown me that again and again. The fact of the matter is that at this point it like it or not we have to vote because who we vote for does matter. Even if it comes down to having to choose between the worst of two evils as people are prone to say, its probably a good idea to choose the least of the two evils. So there it is in a nutshell. I’m voting this year.
To watch all of the speeches from the DNC: