By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Letter of the Week
Bless the wild
Re Rick Perlstein's "Get Mad. Act Out. Re-Elect George Bush" [August 25-31]: I appreciate Perlstein's concern that RNC protesters may unwittingly tip the outcome of their actions in the wrong direction. However, his hyper-emphasis on the political (as in "schmoozier") aspects of protesting is alarming. I am not a dirty dreadlocked street protester, but I value their presence and appreciate their actions. The fringe is what moves the bloated middle forward. This is how social progress is made: The radical march on, the meek-mannered political types do some mopping up. You can't throw out part of the machine and expect to get anywhere.
His comments about MLK's methods are verifiable, but out of date. The enemy has mutated, become more dangerous, and Perlstein expects us not to change? Bless the ones who are treated with fascist violence by paranoid numskulls. Their pain is our gain.
Michael, I almost never read your paper, but while surfing this morning I ended up reading your article on Governor McGreevey and nearly pissing myself. You are a rip. I had to write to tell you what a fantastic writer you are; only a gay man could be so hysterical. So cheers from this straight, retired Jew in Florida. I will be looking for you from now on.
Musto deserves the Pulitzer for this one. McGreevey just took us back a few steps, or forward (by showing that people in public life can also be gay). People are much smarter about the gay situation today. They are no longer blinded by the powerful taking advantage of their positions to get what they want. Unfortunately, the "far wrong" is smacking their lips (no pun intended).
I loved the McGreevey piece. As a former New Jerseyan, my first reaction was "the poor man, how he must have suffered before his announcement." Then, as more facts surfaced, I found that the gov was again taking care of himself, by trying to appear "wounded" when in fact he was practicing damage control. Cipel must have been hired strictly for sexual reasons; he wasn't qualified for the job McGreevey gave him. But Cipel is not the only one who got screwed by the governor. The citizens of NJ have been, once again, royally screwed. Bring back Florio!
I disagree with Rick Perlstein's basic premise in "Get Mad. Act Out. Re-Elect George Bush" [August 25-31], that the protesters at the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention were a major factor in Humphrey's loss to Nixon.
My parents, both lifelong Republicans, voted Democratic for the first and last time that year because of their shock at the intolerance, bullying, and beatingsfrom Mayor Daley to the brutish cops on the street. No. Humphrey lost because he refused to disassociate himself from the Johnson war machine. He remained the faithful servant of the president, fell on his sword, and died a political deathboth his and the Democratic party's. Hundreds of thousands stayed home or voted for third-party candidates (I voted for Eldridge Cleaver).
Thus, the Democratic party lost much of its soul. The more conservative elements are still in control, leading us dangerously close to a one-party, corporate-conservative stateit's called fascism.
As much as I can identify with the need to protest the thug regime of George Bush, I find myself more in agreement with Rick Perlstein and his point that politics is about communication. Who are the protesters trying to communicate with? The undecided voter? The media? It's become clear that the major media won't or can't deliver an honest message. So how will the undecided voter be convinced by the anti-Bush message of the protesters? To me, protesting the presence of the Republican Party is like protesting rats in the subways. They don't care if you don't like them. Either put up with them or try to get rid of them, which, here, means pulling the lever in November.
I am really happy that Erik Baard wrote about the general civility and reasonableness of the police during the Critical Mass ride on August 27. I was also there and also appreciated the massive (and expensive) effort on our behalf to block traffic and keep the peace. The point of the ride is best made in motion and respect for the law. Blind belligerence and prejudice are not interesting, not cool, and not effective.
Is Mr. Baard a cop? His article suggests an alarming subservience to authority, and to the police specifically. As a participant in the ride, I was twice almost rammed by aggressive cops on mopeds trying to stop the rideboth times when I actually was obeying the traffic signals. I saw them both that night and in further demonstrations this week make mass arrests irrespective of the actual behavior of the arrestees, scooping up whoever happened to be in range. The police have hardly been the image of moderation Baard suggests.