Hope!Hype!Hustle! – Cory Booker, June 8, Iowa City

Summer in Iowa City….ahhh….park where you want, for the children have all gone home! Every weekend we have a festival! Sand! Art! Jazz! Pride! Every Friday there’s a band playing by the fountain! Streets are closed for food trucks and porta potties and beer pens! Movies are projected on the side of McBride! While they are gone we Live It Up.

June 18, 2016. Zak Neumann Freelance for The Gazette.

Back from Jay’s event in Cedar Rapids (As a preschooler, daughter #17 called it See the Rabbits.) JM and I hustle downtown to see if we can catch the end of Cory’s Political Party Live taping. We skillfully dodge salsa dancers by the fountain and enter a room that smells like pencils. Hah hah, the walls are covered with sharpened pencils. Very clever decor, hotel in Unesco City of Literature. Cory is just arriving as we get oriented, nice and late. We find a spot to stand with a few hundred of our closest friends closely packed around us.

adorable and a Senator

JM brings me a very cold beer. I’m hungry. It’s hot. Cory is passionate and gives me chills, talking about race and guns and stuff. He’s amazing. My excessive sweatiness intensifies until there is a steady trickle from the back of my head, down my neck, down my back, between the boobs, splashing on my shoulders – splish splash. I tell JM I’m stepping out to cool off and aim my face towards the lobby and hope everything else follows. In the blast of air I meet on the other side of the door is a very nice young man with a nametag and a clipboard. He asks if we are ready to caucus for Cory, then assesses reality and gets me a chair and a glass of ice water. He still wants me to caucus for Cory though and tries to get my phone number. I tell him I don’t know my phone number because I actually don’t remember it.

At our favorite air conditioned speakeasy fifteen minutes later JM and I order solid food, light icy cocktails and many glasses of ice water. It’s very nice but I don’t really fully recover – my autonomic nervous system is still on the blink so I continue sweating like a fool and very much look forward to reclining at home.

The server comes around to take our empty dishes, looks me in the eye and says, “so, are we done drinking for the evening?” She’s taken my dishevelment and obvious desire to recline as signs of extreme inebriation. That’s a new one; plumpish, perpetually damp, middle aged yrmama suspected of being overly soused. I guess it’s rather sweet of her to look out for me, but sousededness is truly not part of yrmama’s brand. Explaining to her, “so, yrmama, that’s me, has this genetic collagen defect that can lead to blah blah blah and stretchy blood vessels blah blah,” seemed counterproductive though so I graciously agreed with her, paid up and went home to recline.

Next: PETE!

***Late Edit – yrmama, in all her self-absorption neglected something. Cory is RADIANT. On top of being smart, charming, experienced in politics and a very fine orator, it turns out Cory is spiritually evolved. Which I know because yrmama can sense that kind of thing. This vegan, AME and rather Jewish man who is friends with Gayle (Oprah’s friend) is running on a platform of love, with a capital L which makes it Love. Watch him glow.

The Focus Groups

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.

from The Gazette: Bernie, Kamala, Elizabeth, Cory, Amy, Kirsten, ?, ?, Beto, Tulsi, ?, Eric, ?, ?, Julian, Joe, Pete, ?, ?, Andrew, Marianne, ??, Jay?, Bill?
?=indistinguishable white guy candidate
??=unknown black guy candidate

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.

Coming Next! Bernie at Sinclair Auditorium for a taping of Political Party Live.

SSDGM

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.

The least I can do

It’s another dry stretch for candidates, and simultaneously a chilly, wet stretch down here on the farm. I especially want to hear from Cory, Jay and Stacy. I want to invite Kamala for a second interview. I want to invite Barack and Michelle over for dinner.

Speaking of Jay Inslee, he’s the only one who’s all about climate change, and he’s right to be. —–> From here yrmama could veer into religion, science, raptors, poison ivy, catastrophic weather events, how it is taking well over ten years to move the UI’s art campus uphill (after the the last giant flood) and to raise Dubuque Street enough that people can reliably get in and out of town. Eleven years ago I watched a woman scooping up large fish with a net in City Park, in the grass, as the water rose and rose and rose. She was filling a big bucket with writhing fish, like 10 inches long, and planned to share them with whoever wanted to help eat them. It was bewildering.

Or we can discuss yrmama’s favorite way to address the epidemic of plastic consumerism we’re all about to choke on. At the Mennonite thrift store where I volunteer sorting through other people’s huge bags of crap, we divert 10 bajillion units of solid waste A DAY from being dumped in the formerly pretty little crick nearby or sent to the steaming, reeking landfill a little farther off. The sale-able stuff is sold for cash money to support international relief projects many of which, you guessed it, are probably triggered or at least complicated by fucking climate change. 

*yrmama used to buy everything second hand because she was poor. Now that yrmama is rich she prefers to buy things second hand because it’s more fun and way more interesting. Plus it helps divert a bit of that aforementioned mountain of other people’s crap from the crick.

https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/business/crowded-closet-in-fourth-home-in-41-years-20190330
Volunteers sort your great aunt’s apple-sauce jars of buttons and sew them onto cards. It’s the best variety of buttons you’re ever going to find.

Some donors to the shop are Marie Kondo-ing, some just will lose their minds of they don’t do something to get that mountain of outgrown soccer shoes out from behind the couch. Some middle-aged siblings who live far away come with pickup trucks full of warped tupperware, doilies, stained vintage clothes, National Geographics, footstools, peanut butter jars full of screws, and a few dozen boxes of Q-tips from when they were on sale in 1984 and someone stocked up. They look stunned because their last parent just died and they have to clean out the house and they don’t want to cry until later. I LOVE sorting that stuff. It’s the least I can do.