to see photos from this protest.
Cheney Protest in Brighton, Michigan
Dewey Defeats Truman!
by: Sheryl Khoury
Most of you know that that hilarious headline was the result of a telephone poll. Yes, the telephone owners voted for Dewey. Yes, if you owned a telephone in 1948, you were more likely to be rich and Republican. That's what threw the poll off. "Heh, heh," as Hugh McDiarmid of the Detroit Free Press used to write.
So it's going to happen again in 2002 and 2004. The mainstream print and television/cable media are getting lazy. Their budgets for news are also being cut by media moguls eager for more profit. A recent "NYTimes" Business page story told of "US News and So On" being subjected to such treatment.
So, fewer reporters. More pressure to just go along with stories based on White House press handouts from Ari Fleischer. According to Jake Tapper's book on the election, his relationship to the truth is "off-and-on." Take the "Detroit Free Press." Once a proud liberal paper, it ran an article this week on how Bush won Europe over. If you read the article, the favorable quotes were mostly from the right-wing Euro press--the article even identified one source as such.
Poor Freep, its best articles these days invariably bear the byline of a NYTimes reporter--except they often fail to run the entire story. I know this, because I subscribe to the NYTimes so I can get some substantial news. I've often thought of asking for a partial refund from the Freep, since I'm paying twice for the same thing!!
You might be getting the idea that I harbor some contempt for the Detroit Free Press. Here's where the "Dewey Defeats Truman" stuff comes in: with the Freep and the other mainstream media ignoring the diversity of opinion that is being expressed on the internet these days, they will probably be blindsided by the strength of the Democratic vote in 2002 and 2004. But they had another chance--and blew it. Some of the denizens of the internet manifested themselves in the flesh yesterday at a Cheney protest. The People were in front of the reporter--and HE ignored them. HE did talk to two MEN, however, one a Sierra Club spokesMAN, and the other a legislative coordinator for the state AFL-CIO.
Yes, it was boys club night at the Cheney protest--you'd THINK they'd want to talk to some of the angry soccer moms instead--you know--we're the ones who threw fabled Oakland County, Michigan to AL GORE--giving fabled county executive Brooks Patterson veritable heart failure and causing him to try to reach out to party moderates to avoid that EVER happening again. Heh heh. Too bad Mr. Patterson wasn't in D.C. to help the Republicans hold onto Jeffords! No, Mr. Reporter wasn't interested in engaging in any 'investigatory journalism' to find out the actual composition of the crowd. Mr. Reporter stayed on the other side of the police tape, thirty feet away from the protesters. Gee, maybe we scared him as much as we scared Cheney? He needn't have been afraid: on Friday I called the Under Sheriff of Livingston County to let them know that we would be protesting peacefully.
On Saturday morning, our phone rang. I heard my husband say, "No! Really?--Sheryl! Secret Service for you!" Very few 46-year-old minivan driving moms receive Saturday morning phone calls from the secret service. I was so proud.
"Cool!" said I, and proceeded to have an amicable discussion of the protest with Ms. Secret Service agent. ( I don't think it was Dana Scully--she's still on maternity leave.) Then the Under Sheriff phoned, and I also set his mind at ease about our peaceful intent.
When I saw the Sierra Club guy duck under the police tape to talk to Mr. Reporter, I ducked under too, accompanied by my friend's 12-year-old daughter (mine was attending a Tiger Baseball game--Yankees won, 12-1).
Mr. Reporter could see I wanted to talk to him, but he turned away and continued to call in the story on his cell phone. Story over. Called in. Job done. Miller Time, I guess. Must be why he wrote, "About 40 people, including some local union officials, turned out for the demonstration organized by the Sierra Club."
Say what? Organized by the Sierra Club? They were there, all right, in some cute oil drum costumes, but they were only a quarter of the crowd. Many of the people who attended were alerted to the protest by "Citizens for Legitimate Government"--and I should know--I helped alert them! And I have printed copies of their emails to prove it! (go to legitgov.org)
People kept coming up and asking if I was the Sheryl Khoury they'd emailed, but there were others who kept arriving that I hadn't emailed, and they weren't with the Sierra Club. They arrived on their own or in small groups, with home-made signs.
"Carol" another angry middle-aged mom from Florida, is a National Database of Protestors Coordinator. We spoke on the phone Sunday before the protest. She told me she was still angry over the Bush protesters in Florida on June 4 being herded nearly half a mile away to a "First Amendment Zone." You can visit legitgov.org and click on the links to the Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg paper and read editorials on the outrage.
Like the Bush brothers needed to make any MORE Floridians angry with them! In addition to my girlfriend and I representing the upper-middle-class angry soccer mom vote, there were retired couples holding homemade signs protesting the Bush/Cheney administration policies. "Bonnie," one of the retirees, turned out to be a near neighbor of mine. Nice to meet people you've only emailed. Bonnie said she'd planned to travel after she retired, but "then this stolen election came up along with Bush's idiotic policies." Hey, we told her, you got to travel to Brighton!
"Karen" emailed me for more information so I phoned her. She told me she was part of a women's activist group. I said I'd like to join. There were two young men who were clearly "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" fans. One held a home-made sign saying something about "Knights say nee to Bush." My friend had seen the movie, and found the sign hilarious.
Two Secret Service agents were more inquisitive than the reporter. They came over and looked at our signs, probably to make sure none of them said, "Death to Whomever," which none of them did of course. As they left, I told them to take good care of Cheney, since he's the one who is really running the government. My husband said I shouldn't have said that since Secret Service guys are really serious, but it didn't seem to bother them. Yes, they had the curly little thingies in their ears.
I made nine signs, and gave them out to those who hadn't brought any--"Star Wars is only a Movie"---"Schools, Not Tax Cuts"---"King George II says: "Let them drink arsenic, let them breathe CO2"---the ever-popular "Bogus POTUS" (President Of The United States)---"Engler: Don't Slant Drill the Great Lakes"--nice one there--our legislatively adroit governor managed to rush a bill permitting slant drilling in the Great Lakes through the legislature last week. Wonder what the Canadians think of that? They border the Great Lakes too.
My favorite sign said "Tax Cut for richest 400?--$1,000,000 each!" At one point, a Republican man and woman stood outside the police tape, next to a policewoman, with their backs carefully turned away from us. I put on my sweetest, most sincere voice, "Ma'am! Ma'am!" The woman turned to face me. Still sweetly, I asked her, "Will you please share your tax refund with me?" They walked away. I SAID please!
"Cynthia" also showed up. She had emailed me saying, "I am new to activism but am learning fast. Tomorrow I plan to distribute fliers about the blackout." ( I think some people are sponsoring their own energy-saving blackouts but I'll have to read the fine print.) Don't think the Freep reporter managed to get a flier. Oh well.
There was "Bridget," well up in years (hey, hope I get to join you!), accompanied by "Dawn" who was nursing her baby. I'm always bemused by nursing mother protesters. Wait'll the kid starts walking and talking--she'll have to leave him home unless she wants to have him 1) run over by a car, 2) drive her crazy whining that he's bored. I remember my own nursing days fondly. Boobs. Once you aren't using them anymore, they turn on you.
Anyway, my friend and I would have been joined by more of our friends except one knew her 9 and 11-year-olds would fight and whine, and one had a dance class minivan run to make. But, hey, she got on a chartered bus in January to protest Bush's Faux Inaugural. The bus was sponsored by votermarch.org. The mainstream media didn't give it much coverage--and they ignored entirely the May 19 march. But you can read about it.
There were even some well-organized Lyndon LaRouche ding-a-lings. Hey, it takes all kinds. So we all stood along Grand River Avenue outside of Brighton Michigan and we held up our signs as the Republican fundraiser attendees drove past us in their Beemers and Audis. We chatted and exchanged email addresses. Two local news vans were there. They shot footage of Cheney, but didn't come near us.
"Don't think twice, it's all right" because they didn't waste OUR precious time. We spent our time wisely. They just weren't paying attention. "Dewey Defeats Truman." Watch for it. The mainstream media will be SO surprised. But YOU can do as John Prine advised, "Throw 'way your paper, blow up your TV..." And then log on and read the news and see what real people are doing in the world.
The "Detroit Free Press?" I still subscribe, but only because the NYTimes doesn't have comics--or the local movie listings.
So that's how I spent a splendid summer afternoon: joking, laughing and talking with kindred spirits. We were peaceful, we were harmless, and we'll stay that way--until we get inside the voting booth!
Here are some sites to get you started...<snip> (Their [democraticunderground's]
weekly "Top 10 Conservative Idiots" list is hilarious. Michigan's own
David Jaye made the list 3 times, Engler's lieutenant guv and guv wanna-be
Dick Posthumous also made the list); americanpolitics.com--I go to this
list every Monday for their "Pundit Pap," slogan: "We watch the Sunday
shows so you don't have to!" Their summaries of the televised goings-on
are vicious and hilarious. Visit bettybowers.com, to see a parody of
what America's Best Christian is doing. You can also buy a mug or tee
shirt saying WWJD. No--NOT "What Would Jesus Do?" but "What Would Jenna
Drink?" complete with the National Enquirer picture of her falling down
drunk on a sorority sister. Someone tried to start a campaign to get
people to buy one and send it to pResident Bush for Father's Day. Oh
wait, that was me.