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FAT MAN ON THE LEFT I

"I wish Bill Clinton were president today. Not just because he had style, although that would help. Wit, that would help. Brains, that would particularly help. But because we wouldnít be the victim of a half wit leading the world into war and depression and thereís no way to stop him.Ē

by Lionel Rolfe

COPYRIGHT © 2002, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Might The Polls Be Wrong?
  Or Am I A Victim Of Wishful Thinking?

Might this just be one of those elections that proves the pollsters all wet? The polls appear to be saying Americans are pretty satisfied (or else too paralyzed to turn Bush & Co. out of office). The pollsters tell us that even though jobs at Kmart are getting hard to get, the typical American still thinks they need a guy like Bush to stand up and talk tough to bad guys. And look, the stock market is rallying, sort of. Every thing is coming up roses -- or is it?

I like to think that underneath it all a revolt is brewing. It defies all logic to think that our pretender president from Enron has pulled the wool over so many peopleís eyes a majority could vote for any Republican. After all, a majority voted against Bush in the 2000 elections.

Now none of my friends like Bush, but I know thatís not an accurate sample of the voting population. Still, I get some hope from reports Iím getting from my scouts in the Midwest who are telling me that a lot of regular people are increasingly dubious about him. Might there be an unexpected Democratic tide out there thatís coming on November 5?

I keep thinking of what Abraham Lincoln proclaimed. He said ďYou may fool all of the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all the time, but you canít fool all the people all the time.Ē

Folks like Bush and Ashcroft cause many of us a lot of uneasiness. Bush comes across as a bit of a loose cannon, a religious zealot who cannot grasp a large, complex idea -- you might say he and Ashcroft are the real American Taliban. Itís apparently our patriotic duty to overlook all this, because everything is doing pretty hunky-dory.

Right? Sure.

I canít help but notice that only the good guys die young -- Martin Luther King, Robert and John Kennedy are some examples. And now Paul Wellstone. Iím not going to say aloud what I canít help but think.

Yeah, I got to admit Iíve been a lifelong Democrat. As a young boy, I got to shake the hand of Eleanor Roosevelt. I pounded the pavement for Adlai Stevenson.

Iíve always been drawn to the Democratic party because itís supposed to be the opposition to the Republican party. Mind you emotionally I understand voting Green, and I have done so on a couple of occasions. But simple math tells me that despite all the Republican crookedness and shenanigans in Florida, the Greens gave us Bush.

Iíve heard that Tom DeLay, the house majority whip and another damned Texan, has a sign in his office saying today might be the final judgment day. God knows, we donít need these people making our lives their self-fulfilling prophecies of apocalypse.

In the Ď60s I moved more to the left, of course. In many ways I remain there. Iím not a Centrist.

I think in European terms I would be a social democrat, who believes that the best economic system is one in which capitalism runs boutiques, restaurants and publishing. But important things that people need -- transportation, housing and medicine -- should be socialized. So you can see Iím no centrist Democrat. Still, I wish Bill Clinton were president today. Not just because he had style, although that would help. Wit, that would help. Brains, that would particularly help. But because we wouldnít be the victim of a half wit leading the world into war and depression and thereís no way to stop him.

I asked a good friend, a fellow journalist, if he thought there was a chance for a repeat of the Dewy-Truman poll debacle on November 5. Usually heís the eternal optimist, a good Democrat.

ďItís hopeless man,Ē he said. ďThe Democrats made deals with Bush so that all the incumbents will be reelected. Thereíll be no upset in Congress. None of them cares about ideology or philosophy or politics -- just in saving their own asses. Nothing will help us until the American people wake up and realize theyíre being diddled by both parties.Ē

Jesus, man, I said. Donít tell me that. Thereís really no hope. We are going to descend into a new dark ages?

ďYeah man, looks like that. But Iíll still be out voting nonetheless,Ē he said.







ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lionel Rolfe is the author of Literary L.A. and Fat Man on the Left.


Photo by Boyd Lewis








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