'Listen My Children And
You Shall Hear'

By Judith Moriarty

Gosh, why don't the poor vote? Mr.Leiby of the Washington Post gave us a run down this morning on C-Span of having the arduous assignment of covering all the parties of the Democratic Convention. It's a given that the Republican bash will be even more lavish if that's possible.
Since the outcome is known the only thing to do is dress up in goofy costumes; be it blocks of cheese on your head (Wisconsin delegates), or the tried and true, a sure winner Uncle Sam and Mrs.Sam. Last night it was a gala event called Rock The Harbor. This was sponsored by various media outlets and the booze lobbyists. Mr.Leiby goes on to tell of the insiders-the political elite- lining up for tumblers of 30 year old Scotch. Yawn, the reporting it seems is just the tale of people gorging themselves on platters of delicacies, bowls of jumbo shrimp, and of course, lots of booze. Leiby says, "It's all about having fun and getting drunk".
Rock the Harbor! One wonders if the ghost of Paul Revere was observing this vulgar scene as he was being rowed with muffled oars to the Charlestown shore to begin his subsequent dash on horseback, immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow' Paul Revere's Ride. What would he think of Boston turned into a futuristic prison with miles of razor wire, concrete barriers, helicopters, F-16 jets roaring overhead, and thousands of men dressed in Armageddon attire?
While the insiders booze it up and gyrate to rock-a-billy tunes; the government of the people, for the people, and by the people, has been relegated to a caged zone underneath an abandoned railroad track. The voice of the people, in our new militarized society has none of the amenities of the chosen elites, bumping and grinding in red, white, and boo patriotic fervor. "One if by land-hic-two if by sea-hic-I'll be a dancing on Paul Revere's bones" The people in this Democratic (ha) orgy have been set outside the city gate. Caged in, netting, and razor wire; the voice of citizens is as muffled as the oars of Paul Revere's boat. Without the proper badges, walls of troops accost and question all those identified as the "unwashed masses, the herd, the riff raff who dare to remember Boston as being the cradle of archaic constitutional values. No Freedom Trail leads visitors to Caged Freedom!
We no longer have democracy but the marketing of a product. Who to vote for? The war hero who personally shot up peasants along Vietnam rivers, or the disappeared reservist, now Command-In-Chief-ordering up the poor of America to shoot down other ungrateful peasants, in a foreign land not appreciative of being liberated by Shock and Awe theater? Forget the lanterns, muffled oars and warnings by horseback. Today we've advanced to cluster bombs, melting weaponry, Daisy Bombs (ruptures organs), bunker busters and missiles. The shot heard round the world has now become madness that shreds children, melts cannon fodder, annihilates whole villages, and practices sadism on those who dare to question liberation by liquidation.
Mr.Kerry and Mr.Bush, put on their designer slumming clothes when visiting the masses. Be it Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, or the perfunctory visit to the forgotten in Appalachia or Mississippi-the usual scripts come out of promised jobs, medical care, education, job retraining, volunteerism, and perpetual war for perpetual peace. Pick a number any number and tell the poor (oops middle class) that one million, no make that two million jobs, have been realized in the past few months. The PR people in their moldy uniforms or suited attire speak of the success of war, the need for outsourcing, and how people just need to get with it and retrain for those new jobs!
These orchestrated affairs of crashing music and flags made in China just don't have the same ring of polished legitimacy that they once had. In the midst of war politicians are dancing the night away. In the midst of tented cities for the homeless, and millions out of work, the cry of the dispossessed and disenfranchised is wrapped in razor wire. Congress goes on vacation-to political parties-with nary a thought to extending unemployment benefits. People in Ohio-Pennsylvania-Michigan-Mississippi-West Virginia-all didn't fall off the turnip truck last night. They're living the lie. The textile mills are shuttered, the steel mills gone to other lands, and the auto plants, now echoing and darkened.
With war costing upwards of five billion plus per month, any safety nets for those left outside the city gates are gone. If you're not a politician able to vote yourself a pay raise every year, vote yourself full medical coverage, and pensions that would shame the devil you're out of luck. The people get minimum wage or the right to work for less! If you're not connected with the military industrial complex, gas, oil, the privatization of water, inherited wealth or the good life by marriage, you're on your own. Only those that have are getting. In curbing the "alternative minimum tax" paid by the richest 1% of taxpayers, a loss of nearly $18 billion in lost revenue will be realized.
I for one don't understand why the likes of Ohio or Pennsylvania would even entertain a visit from Bush. Whatever the script for the masses, he's made himself plain and clear, who he recognizes as his base. There's the God Squad and then there's the rich-and super rich. "This is an impressive crowd of the haves and have mores. Some people call you the elite, I call you my base". Governor .George Bush-Oct 13, 2000-at the 55th annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York.
The poor don't vote simply because they don't believe the lies any more. They don't believe in a booming economy when the mills in their towns are shuttered and mega-box stores are opened bringing in junk from China. A Walmart greeter-hello-is not a job. They're tired of the glad-handing and empty promises and photo-ops during election time, and then watching as trade agreements, and legislation benefits the pharmaceuticals, HMOs, and insurance people. They're tired of sending their kids off to fight rich men's wars. They're tired of their kids being blinded and shredded, while those who plot and plan war, have their children off doing Europe or photo spreads for fashion magazines.
While the Ninja Warriors in Boston silence the people, the folks in ghetto America, the bankrupt farmlands, and rusted mill towns wonder why men guarding party goers are better equipped for battle than their own sons and daughters on the front lines of a REAL war? They wonder why their children are being blown apart in ill equipped vehicles, while Boston Minutemen, are riding around in an armored vehicle with a "kicking sound system" worth $260,000 ? Beacon Hill is hardly the booby trapped road to the Baghdad airport!
And rural America might not be the sharpest tool in the shed but they sure as hell know a con job when they see one. They aren't buying the empty rhetoric of good times are just around the corner-a possum in every pot story. They're not buying some elitist living in pampered, guarded splendor; coming to town and tsk tsking, on how much they care. Bullshit care-the only thing they care about on these rare visits are the photo-ops. Nobody who owns four and five mansions, rides around on an $8000 bike, spends their leisure yachting, skiing, golfing, and has never put in an honest day's hard labor in their life has a clue. They don't know about black lung, no medicine, eating swamp rats, or getting their water from a stream.
People remember. They remember Clinton visiting Clarksville, where 40% of the people live in poverty. Shirley Fair of Clarksville hasn't forgotten Clinton's visit to her Ooo So Pretty gift shop and Mr.Clinton, lamenting on the injustice of such poverty in a nation blessed with such conspicuous wealth! Sigh! No this glad handing isn't doing it anymore. Not in Clarksville, not in Mississippi nor South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation. Not in Flint Michigan or Columbus, Ohio. Mr.Clinton, thanks to his Presidency, is now a multi-millionaire and holding his own posh parties in Boston. He's forgotten all about Shirley and her gift shop. Same with a Bush or Kerry---they'll not be supping on swamp rats or hoping a Feed The Children truck pulls into town. No worry for them on needed medical care, the cost of fuel, or being told to pack up your things, clear out your desk, you're job is ended.
Slurping down 30 year old Scotch, nobody's giving a thought to soldiers in 130 degree desert heat, conserving tepid water-and waiting for mom to send that flak jacket from home. These politicians riding around in Fort Boston/New York, in their limos or armored vehicles, won't be putting sandbags in their backseats to protect themselves from bombs. Nah this is all just one giant infomercial, both the Republican and Democrat conventions. Caesar fiddled while Rome burned-some things never change. Like the people in Clarksville say, "It's like the president never came. Things just get worser." As for caging-gassing-or trying to silence freedom's voice-it'll never happen! The drumbeat goes on.
Listen: Ohio-Mississippi-Michigan-New Hampshire-New York-Florida-California-West Virginia-Kentucky-Pennsylvania-Montana-Maine-California-Texas-Georgia-et al. "Through all our history, to the last, in the hour of darkness and peril and need, the people will waken and listen to hear the hurrying hoof-beats of that steed, and the midnight message of Paul Revere." The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



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