Greene Square Park is the main green space in downtown Cedar Rapids, right between the art museum and beautiful public library. On the weekend where 20 candidates were scrambling around holding pre and pre-pre-Hall of Fame Events, I think the fact that Pete’s staff scored the primo location says a lot.
It was one of those nothing so rare as a day in June days with low humidity, warm sun and no bugs.Several hundred of us got lunch from food trucks, played corn hole and frisbee, listened to a local band, Relaxed Fit, dogspotted and held focus groups while waiting the customary hour for Pete to arrive. It was very pleasant.
Pete took the stage and did a five minute version of his stump speech – Freedom, Security and Democracy – then circulated a little, ate some ice cream, played corn hole with someone and then got back onstage to play keyboard with the band. He’s a real good sport.
yrmama’s daughter Serena Williams gave her summary assessment, “He’s so little and cute. He seems really friendly. And he speaks well.” She has clearly inherited hermama’s ability to judge a person’s character quickly and succinctly.
A solid 150 folk clumped up at the picnic tables in a park pavilion overlooking the Cedar River. The route there is through the Northwest and Time Check neighborhood – visually dominated by acres of flat, mowed green space populated by a few flocks of Canada geese. Here and there are a small house, and the small white Mother Mosque of America. It was a human neighborhood until the big ole flood of 2008 covered ten square miles of the city. The air was soft and warm with just enough breeze to blow the gnats off.
State Senator Rob Hogg introduced the other dignitaries in the crowd; other state senators, climate action group leaders etc, and Jay, long-serving Governor of Washington state. Jay says the only thing any of us should be discussing right now is climate change. It’s now or never, there’s no time left. We have the technology and ready workforce to make the necessary infrastructure changes in the next several years, the sticking point is political will. If we can’t get over ourselves it’s gonna get hot in here.
Putting folks to work on those changes will restructure the economy, add 47 bajillion jobs and in the wake provide the opportunity to fix everything else meaning immigration, education, justice, health care and gender pay equity. Jay says Donald “can’t run a two car funeral,” so there is no hope of leadership in the right direction with him around.
Jay thinks we are nearing a tipping point where the urgency wave will intersect with the promise-of-jobs-wave. Already the green jobs sector (solar installation, EVs, wind turbines etc) is growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy.
Donald bloviates about tariffs and coal mines and tries to scare the bejeezus out of you while the world and human consciousness grow and evolve all around us.
NEXT! Cory in Iowa City the very same night, and a server tells yrmama it’s time to stop drinking.
Friday afternoon JM and yrmama parked one of our many Teslas in a hospital ramp and hightailed it over to Sinclair Auditorium. It was a ticketed event, a taping of Political Party Live, but since Bernie is famous we wanted to be early enough to claim good seats. One hour before the door opens was not early enough for Pete or Elizabeth so we felt we were cutting it close. But no, three people stood by the door at 5.
The only people who eat supper before six live in institutions (Hi Martha!), so we were waiting until after even though I was hungry. It was starting to look like a long haul especially since the earliness was wasted. yrmama reclined on a shady bench nearby and waited for a decent line to form. ——–> fast forward ——-> the auditorium was half full if I’m being generous; a couple hundred people. Elizabeth Moen and her band played a great opening set, two guests spoke, and then Bernie appeared.
He’s tall, but stooped. He’s got a very powerful voice and when people start applauding before he’s done making his point he waves his irritated hand to shush them. He’s less of his caricature in person and I can see why people like him. Everything is about economic justice.
Bernie made it sound like he’s not feeling the idea of reparations for ADOS. Instead, he wants to invest a lot in disadvantaged neighborhoods which he says would end up doing the same thing and help other folks simultaneously.
yrama says, “hmph. That’s evasive and doesn’t even acknowledge the issue.”
You might say, “but yrmama, isn’t money the issue?”
yrmama would then reply, “Money isn’t an apology and it’s certainly not 40 acres and a mule which in today’s money would be at least $700,000 and a Ford F150 or two.” The big dum dum, what’s he thinking? Even if you don’t want to do reparations you have to make it sound like you understand.
I don’t know what Bernie did all day Saturday, but on Sunday he was walking and yelling with a group of protesting McDonald’s workers in Cedar Rapids. I watched them moving down the street from an upper level of the hotel they were aiming for. Bernie’s head and neck were bright red and he didn’t look very to hearty to me.
Cedar Rapids (or Peter Rapids as one sign declared) was the center of the Democratic world there for a minute while 19 candidates attended the Democratic Hall of Fame Celebration on Sunday. The day before a whole lot of them were in Des Moines for Pride Fest, and most made a weekend of it with multiple events all over the place.
yrmama’s Friday night was all about Bernie and hunger, Saturday was for Jay and Cory, Sunday was Pete, more Cory, and sightings of Bernie again and Kamala and certain hearing loss from the yelling TYT Army. Why were they angry at us? Were they angry at us or just…yelling? In between all those events yrmama held focus groups.
My dental hygienist got all worked up Friday afternoon with her hands in my mouth. It was hard to hold my own. She said, “well…I like Pete,” and a lot of other political things. She does not like Donald but knows a lot of folks who do. I do not know anybody who likes him. Another member of the Friday focus group told yrmama all about vanloads of diverted ballots, the hackers who vote remotely from nursing homes and, for some reason, the Whale Cycle. It’s kind of like the water cycle, but whales.
The large Saturday noon group determined that it is time to prohibit baby boomers from running for office. That means anyone older than yrmama because 1964 can count as a transitional year, right? The cusp. yrmama swings both ways. Donald, W and Bill were all born the same summer in 1946, Joe is four years older than them and Bernie is six years older than them. Kamala is 55, so in by a hair, and Cory is only 50. According to this metric, Elizabeth, a peppy 70, needs to step away from the microphone as well.
Towards the end of this session it got really real. “so, yrmama,” he said with sneaky menace, “which of the candidates has the best plan for completely disenfranchising all Trumpers? We’ve got all the evidence we need that representative democracy is a failure, so if someone is going to be in charge it better be us.”
To which yrmama calmly replied, “I love you, dude. I raised you to be this passionate and I’m proud of you. Who indeed?” Well, that didn’t get us anywhere, but the bile pressure was thereby reduced a bit. It brought the righteous anger of the good that is ominously burbling under the crust of society into focus and that’s valuable.
Sunday morning was, as usual, a confab of sweet middle aged ladies who think Pete is adorable, waiting for him to appear like a sprite from the mist. They said things like, “This is the first time I’ve been to any kind of political thing in years.” And “Well…I like Pete, but Elizabeth is good too. And I hope this doesn’t offend you, yrmama, but Joe is just too damn old.” At which point yrmama mentions Bernie and they go off. “Bernie’s even older! Oh no. I hope he’s not the one you like. I don’t want to hurt your feelings.” Look, if yrmama’s feelings were gunna be hurt by sweet Iowan ladies cautiously stating their opinions there’d be nothing left in here but scar tissue.
1) Look. Listen. Listen! After the recent dearth of attention paid to yrmama by the candidates, things are picking up! It may be just a blip, but if not, buckle up.
Tonight Political Party Live is taping an interview with Bernie in Cedar Rapids. Tomorrow the podcast is interviewing Cory in Iowa City. Sunday 19 candidates will be speaking at the Democratic Party Hall of Fame event at the Hilton in Cedar Rapids. A bunch of them will be roaming around doing smaller appearances too, so yrmama intends to roam as well and make it like Pokemon Go. Options include morning Crossfit with Kirsten, marching around and yelling with Bernie and a group of McDonald’s workers who would like to be paid fairly, trailing Kirsten on downtown sidewalks while her schedule lists ‘visibility,’ letting John Delaney buy you lunch, meeting up with Marianne at a yoga studio, and playing cornhole with Pete at a picnic/party in Greene Square.
2) Donald. Why do you say he’s a ‘straight shooter’ who ‘tells it like it is’? Why do you ever believe him? Why on god’s green earth do you like him? Sit up and listen:
My new best friends, Karen and Georgia’s joint memoir Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered The Definitive How-To Guide is #1 on the NYT bestsellers list and that didn’t happen by accident. Their podcast listeners are the sexiest un-murdered folks around and we each have bought a few copies. Their book is organized around key principles, like Stay Out of the Woods, and Buy Your Own Shit. Much of their popularity is attributable to all the swearing – we Murderinos find it very empowering.
In the first chapter Georgia asks Karen why she thinks the primary principle, Fuck Politeness speaks so strongly to their followers. Karen says, (book 1, verse 3) “it’s what everyone wants to do but has been led to believe they’re not allowed to do. We’re giving you the permission to act in your own best interests before considering anyone else’s.”
So. Is that what you believe Donald is doing? Fucking politeness? He certainly doesn’t consider anyone’s interests above his own. He’s sticking up for you by sticking up for himself? Maybe.
Howsomever, in book 1, verse 74, Karen says, “The idea of fucking politeness isn’t about standing on a street corner shouting “Fuck You!” to anyone passing by. It’s a strategy for when someone tries to invade your space somehow. They started it. They’re the dick here.” Donald errs a bit towards yelling at everyone on the street corner, at everything he sees actually. He’s like an anxious dog barking into the dark woods, “I’m a dog! Don’t you dare! Fuck you! I’m a dog!”
The thing is, fucking politeness does not remove your moral obligation to be kind. You can absolutely consider your own best interest and use bad words and still be kind. yrmama knows for certain that if you are truly kind your manners matter in the long run. That’s where Donald falls the shortest. He lies (which is in itself unkind) and he’s a mean old man. Steer clear. Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered.