READ PART IALSO TODAY: The Long-Neglected BBBR MailBag
LONG BEACH (coup2k.com) June 26, 2001 - "Wake Up Democrats! Take Back the Country!" -- Well, the conference title seemed promising, so I did my Diva Duty, and ponied up the cash to take part in Southern California Americans for Democratic Action's 2001 Conference in Los Angeles on Sunday...
JESSE JACKSON, JR.
While Dick Gephardt was speaking about the evils of hate, my eyes were wandering about the room, looking at the faces of other attendees, to see if anyone else was having a reaction similar to mine.
As I glanced around, I saw Jesse Jackson, Jr. enter the ballroom. I leaned over and urgently tapped Rose on the shoulder to get her attention. I gestured to where he was standing, and began to bounce up and down in my seat, and clap without letting my hands touch. Rose and I had smiles on our faces a mile wide.
Jesse looked over at us, and gave us a three-mile-smile right back.
Later in the conference, when we were listening to one of the many speakers, I noticed that Jesse was quietly handing out literature to people as they entered the auditorium. I sidled up next to him to get copies for myself.
Jesse gave me another winning smile, and handed me a brochure for The Progressive Majority (a group which advocates for the progressive values favored by a clear majority of Americans) which said, in part, "What future are you willing to fight for? We are at a rare point in our nation's history. A president who lost the popular vote is headed in a direction opposed by -- and against the best interests of -- the majority of Americans."
Jesse then handed me a postcard advertising his book, "A More Perfect Union: Advancing New American Rights," saying "And here is a little shameless self-promotion..." to which I replied while flashing my BBBR Button at him, "Don't worry about it. I'm guilty, too." (He laughed!)
The postcard included this line describing the book: "The way you feel about elections will never be the same."
I am pre-ordering "A More Perfect Union," which should be available any day now.
ELVIS IS IN THE BUILDING!
Vincent Bugliosi... What can I say about the man that would begin to do him justice? I don't have the words (a rare circumstance to find myself in, to be sure), but I will press on.
Vincent Bugliosi is an American hero. While most of those in either of his chosen professions (the law and writing) dissent from the judicial coup in moderate, conciliatory and subservient tones, bowing and scraping at the feet of the Filthy Five like whipped dogs afraid of the swift and brutal hands of their masters, Vincent Bugliosi refuses to be intimidated by their absolute power. He stands eye to eye with the thieves, unflinchingly calling them by their right names -- "The Felonious Five." He doesn't just call them political whores, he calls them CRIMINALS.
From my first reading of "None Dare Call It Treason" in The Nation, to my subsequent reading of Bugliosi's book based on that scathing indictment of the Extreme Court ("The Betrayal of America: How The Supreme Court Undermined Our Constitution and Chose Our President"), Vincent Bugliosi has been my hero, and the champion of my cause -- The American Dream.
If Vincent Bugliosi needed a kidney, I'd give him one. If he needed someone to, as they say, "drive the white Bronco," I'd be there in a heartbeat. His courage and his voice mean that much to me -- everything to me. It is my firm belief that, when historians write about this dark time in our national journey, Vincent Bugliosi will be lauded as the guide who held high the lamp of truth, and helped us find our way out of the murky black void of our wounded self-governance. He was the first. I believe he will be remembered as the best.
When I found out that Vincent was going to be speaking at the SCADA Conference, I called to register immediately. I could not miss an opportunity to hear him speak -- that would be unthinkable -- or a chance to gauge the reaction of rank-and-file liberals to his message.
When he arrived at The Wilshire Grand Hotel for the Conference, my first reaction was, "He looks like a human!" (I don't know what I was expecting, but his approachability floored me. I had just been rebuffed by Rob Reiner -- after giving him an orange voter rights ribbon -- and I was not expecting Vincent to move among the crowd like one of us, but he did just that.)
My impressions of the man, before hearing him speak, or meeting him personally: Vincent Bugliosi bursts with the barely-leashed energy and passion of a man on a mission. Everything about his body language veritably screams, "There is work to be done!" There he was -- no entourage, no coterie of sycophantic hangers-on -- just one lone man, doing his part to save the world.
Next came the mad scramble to find out where and when Vincent would be addressing the Conference. Our first information was that he was NOT going to address the Conference as a group, but would lead just one of many lunchtime "break-out" sessions attendees could choose among.
I was FURIOUS. How could they relegate Our Hero to the B-List?! Were they insane?! What the hell was going on around here?!
We four Resistance Chicks began to express our dissatisfaction with such an arrangement, and I sent a lawyer in an expensive suit to tell the Conference organizers that they were making a HUGE mistake. He returned to tell me that Vincent had (through no lobbying by us) been moved to the regular session, due to another speaker's absence, and would be speaking soon.
Rose came up with the brilliant idea of the four of us holding signs in support of Vincent and his work. We lettered four 9 1/2" x 12" manila envelopes to read "WE" "LOVE" "YOU" "VINCENT."
Our signs facing in (so as not to tip our hands), we filed into the back of the auditorium, and stood awaiting the remarks of the man we have all come to idolize. Elvis was about to perform, and we were prepared to give him the full rock-star treatment -- the recognition he so richly deserved.
We clapped like maniacs during his introduction. We hollered and cheered as he stepped up to the podium. When he began to speak, we proudly held our signs HIGH. During his speech, we made a literal spectacle of ourselves. We whistled, we stomped, we hissed every time he mentioned the Filthy Five, we screamed every time he denounced them... It goes without saying that people turned around in their seats to see what the heck was going on in the back of the room. A few minutes into Vincent's speech, Warren Beatty (whom I hadn't noticed up until that moment, and who was sitting directly in front us a few rows away) turned around in his chair, and grinned at us like a Cheshire Cat. I suppose, of all those in attendance, Warren may have been the only person to be regularly afforded such mega-star treatment.
Vincent's speech brought down the house. For those of you who have heard him interviewed, you know what he said. But seeing him say it, in the flesh, and watching the audience roar their approval at him, was something altogether different than watching him sit across a desk from a media pundit and make his case... (Continued on NEXT PAGE)