The Report from Orlando

It is always cold when he comes to town. Cold and gray as death, even in the middle of a sub-tropical spring. Here in Florida, where just last week, a lengthy spell of balmy weather had begun to drive the chill from the Gulf, a late season frontal system brought the Unholy Alliance of wind, rain, cold, and George Bush to Orlando. (Is anyone starting to see a pattern here yet? The only thing that seems to be missing from the Right Wing Road Show is a plague of locusts, but perhaps they are saving that for the Summer Tour.)

There are maybe fifty of us this time; not an army, but we outnumbered the "They-Lack-Passion" freepers by about four to one. We stood on a corner at the entrance to the Convention Center, waiting.

I don't know what I expected when he arrived. Quite honestly, I thought the streets would be lined with the usual assortment of the curious and the fervent. I thought that we would have to thrust our voices above the din of the dutiful who usually show up to lay hands on famous people and ask for autographs. However, the people who were going somewhere when his entourage finally went by pretty much just kept going. Had it not been for our incessant "Jail to the Thief" protest , there would have been no sound at all. Even the freepers had moved on at that point, no doubt hoping to catch a final, fleeting glimpse of his retreating tailpipe.

The window to his car was rolled down when he passed. No doubt he thought we were fans. Anxious to set the record straight, we greeted his perplexed countenance with a dizzying array of signs, (my favorite was a large banner that read, "Bush is Illegitimable"), an upside down flag, and some heartfelt vitriol.

Afterwards, we planned to follow him to the Cuban American Club on the outskirts of Orlando ­ just in case he didn't get the message the first time. (Repetition is often a useful tool for educating a slow learner.) My husband and I were the first to arrive. Actually, we were the only ones to make it through the roadblock, as shortly afterwards, the police closed all entry and exit points to the road which lead to the Club.

Resigning ourselves to protesting alone, we opened our coffee and made a serious dent in the box of Dunkin' Donuts my husband had bought to feed the troops. After about twenty minutes, a chill crept through the car, the clouds passed over the sun, an eerie silence descended, and you guessed it, Junior's limo crawled into view.

As he passed by, we paused in mid-crueller and silently hoisted our middle fingers high into the air, (just like a candlelight vigil without the candle). As I write this, I cannot help but think how this must have looked from across the road ­ two middle-aged people, parked at an abandoned gas station in a Dodge mini-van with a "My Child was an Honor Student" bumper sticker on the back, flanked by Secret Service, just eating donuts, drinking coffee, and well, flipping off the (p)Resident.

by Carol Schiffler