human being on Tue, 13 Aug 2002 23:28:54 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> the Vice President Special

  Sometimes people are said to carrying the weather around
  with them. Empirical evidence shows that, a Presidential
  or Vice Presidential visitation is often preceded by the
  globally warmed heat wave, followed up by a spritzing of
  biblical floods, to balance all of the fire and brimstone...

  In any case- again, a bike trip into downtown Minneapolis,
  this time, the mass media give notice via print and tele-
  vision and radio that the VP Richard Cheney will be in town
  this Monday, at 1pm, at a hotel to give a pep-talk to 700
  or so Republican donors, and to raise funds for one of the
  hand-picked Republicans, otherwise known as horseflesh...

  Oddly enough, less than a year ago, George Bush (I) was in
  town to visit some Republicans, and gave no interviews to
  the media. Then, focus on the state's politicians became
  focused and the republican JFK-clone, transplanted here,
  and former Mayor of St. Paul, is now a contender on the
  Senate race, chosen from above. Bright teeth, east-coast
  accent, and perfect for the national scene, like a preened
  TV news anchor, waiting for the national spotlight to shine...

  In this instance, the Vice President, Cheney, is in town to
  do a little shuffle. See, the person who is running for the
  Governorship, to replace Jesse Ventura, was _initially in
  the race for _Senator, yet Bush and Cheney and GOP Company
  stepped in, told him it would be better for him to run in-
  stead for _Governor, so that the handpicked favorite race
  horse, Coleman, could try to unseat Democrat Paul Wellstone...

  Maybe this explains why the V.P. flies into Minneapolis to
  raise big-cash for their political gamesmanship. So, it was
  said Cheney was just in Iowa or the Dakotas, raised some big
  money for their political pieces on the board, and was going
  to swing into Minnesota to raise about 330,000 US Dollars. Or,
  so it seemed this was what was stated. If correct, the local
  newscast, tonight, after the event, said Cheney raised the
  sum total of (a whopping) "$250,000" or so. Well, maybe their
  accounting is off, or wrong. Or they have yet to add up all
  the money. Else, they may not have raised what they projected
  they would in the media, the same day that it is reported that
  Bush outshines even Clinton at the fundraising gambit. Politics...

  Regardless, biked downtown on a humid and dew point filled sky
  and nearing 12:15 pm or so, was surprised that no one had yet
  to visualize on the scene of the hotel where Cheney would be,
  likely hiding on the television news again behind the smog of
  one-way soundbites. A total of three people were seen, two with
  signs, across the street from the hotel, the Cheney Special...

  Lots of police around, this time, approachable, unlike a few
  weeks prior when the President G.W. Bush (II) was in town, and
  an almost militarization of the domestic police felt tangible.
  If a guess were to be made, from what is said of who's running
  the U.S. game show these days, it might seem likely such force
  would be present, and yet, the local officers were helpful and
  the tension was not the same at all. Everything worked very well...

  So, bicycling around the hotel building, and still not sure if
  the objective is to try to photograph V.P. Cheney or the event
  itself, nothing seemed to be going on, close to 12:45 or so. A
  sense of purpose to aimlessly biking around, looking for some-
  thing to document and report on, helped come up with the purpose
  of carrying a bunch of photo equipment around on a bicycle. If
  asked a purpose, the response would be-- "I'm trying to photo-
  graph Vice President Cheney, to see if he is a hologram or not."
  Then, turning the far corner of the hotel, in front of the hotel,
  a huge mass of people filling a whole street come marching toward
  the hotel. A mass of people so large it congealed somewhere else
  and made its way onto the stage of the Cheney Special appearance...

  postalflow.jpg (85k)

  flow.jpg (25k)

  Seen from a downtown block away, on a slightly elevated grade, it
  was to see a solid wall of people moving toward the hotel, and it
  would not be possible to setup camera gear and get that shot, as
  this spontaneous-seeming flow of people, chanting and signs in the
  air, having a good time at it, were moving like lava all over the
  place. It took a minute to bike around a block or two to access the
  side of the marchers. Ironically, the hotel was a half-block away
  from a major television station, WCCO (Ch.4) in what is an amazing
  building and context, and on its back lawn many people gathered. At
  the same time, ironically, the Postal Workers Union had a national
  convention, and from the words spoken, they just decided to visit.
  And they did, along with many others from the downtown area during
  lunch, a gradient going from the front to the stippled onlookers
  bringing up the back. The theory that the local PGA Golf Tournament
  with Tiger Woods may have something to do with Cheney being in town
  may need to be revised for later use in deciphering U.S. policies.
  That, and Attorney General John Ashcroft up in Duluth, in northern
  Minnesota, the Midwest's San Francisco, giving absolute reassurance
  that destroying the constitution is the last thing on their minds...

  Two sides of the four sided building were under heavy civilian protest.
  The union was here, and singing songs of solidarity. And, with traffic
  rushing between them and the private Cheney event, they were determined
  to be heard. Loud jeers could be heard once when a passing combustion
  engine passed, maybe having made a remark or something such. Yet, on
  more than one occasion, truckers and other union workers from other
  trades would drive by, honking their horns and a big cheer of excite-
  ment would go up, palpable energy, there was a great power in voices
  and determination, and great spiritedness in standing together as one...

  0851.jpg (60k)

  union.aif (audio file, 454k)

  The difficult thing to do is describe how quickly, and how fully the
  space went from one of anonymous emptiness, into a full and embodied
  pulsation of the democratic will, of the social cohesiveness that binds
  citizens together in shared consequences and endeavors to make change.
  There was a giant mass, made up of different lines and depths of people,
  and then, the composition as a whole, for which this was no game at all...

  line.jpg (32k)

  line2.jpg (24k)

  line3.jpg (25k)

  If having to guess numbers, and not having any training in conjuring
  up such a thing, it would seem based on other professional 'crowd
  counting' results that somewhere in the range of 800-1200+ people
  appeared out of nowhere. And, yet, while still not verifiable it may
  be possible to get a sense of the crowd through a few more images...

  depth.jpg (44k)

  depth2.jpg (100k)

  depth3.jpg (55k)

  People were not standing still, as more room was needed to let people
  into the area, and eventually the whole street across the hotel Cheney
  was teeming with humans with a large and loud opposition to events as
  they are unfolding in the United States of America. Movement, closer
  and closer, louder and louder, and clearer and clearer the message...

  crossings.jpg (50k)

  crossings2.jpg (42k)

  heyhoa.aif (audio, 136k)

  To give the fullest sense of this civic score, conducted by no one and
  everyone, the standards of a digital camera on autotimer, attached to a
  monopod held high, with the scope of a wide-angle lens- offers a view...

  intersections.jpg (121k)

  intersections2.jpg (60k)

  intersections3.jpg (67k)

  solidarity.aif (audio, 465k)

  This multitudinous group began to filter across the sidewalk and in the
  street in front of the hotel, as there was no way to confine this many
  to the sidewalk. The hotel stood there, silent, a cloister for private
  political gamblers and their bookies. Signs sprouted up, many by many,
  and people began to march around the block, many back to the convention...

  hotelview.jpg (53k)

  hotelview2.jpg (81k)

  multitudinal.jpg (70k)

  march.jpg (39k)

  As they were marching, they were still singing and waving the signs of
  a great public discontent, no, it was on the level of pure disgust at
  what the U.S. political establishment has become in its more egregious
  hour. This sentiment, a charge, was shared by most all who heartily
  joined in the raucous fun. If there was anything that could unite the
  democratic masses, it just may be owners of the bad-apple orchard...

  chanting.jpg (40k)

  heyhoa2.aif (audio, 333k)

  signs.jpg (119k)

  If one ever happens upon a Vice President Special at a nearby hotel,
  it might be worth asking for a children's menu in which there is a
  simple game of connect the dots. It was an oft-used metaphor to the
  attacks of 9-11, and the complete failing to prevent such a tragedy.
  Yet, if one were to connect the dots on this game, there would be a
  connection between several events that might make one wonder about
  the ability of the United States to democratically govern itself.
  From Gary Condit's alibi to connections at Enron and Halliburton,
  and their accounting practices, to a revival of a failed nuclear
  planning strategy to reneging on nuclear test-ban treaties, to
  having news 'leaks' about the immanent invasion of Iraq every time
  V.P. Cheney or the market is in trouble, to a thoroughly corrupted
  Energy Task force whose documents are guarded by a political shill,
  to the daily redaction of constitutional governance and liberties,
  to total secrecy and protection of the most innocuous of materials
  while selling citizens private information to the highest bidders
  in the surveillance state currently under-construction -- if there
  really were a free and public media, protected under the constitution,
  or if there were people who exercised these rights to freedom, even
  dissent, then such a basic connect-the-dots would not need to be done
  by those who are unprotected, while the game continues to be played.
  No news of any impact made it on the early television news. A sound-
  bite and video of the protesters. About 5-10 seconds worth on that
  TV-station mentioned before, that had this protest on its back lawn
  and whose workers were seen hanging around the back door, observing.
  Instead, oddly enough, it was the PGA Golf tournament which head-
  lined on all public television news stations at 5 pm. The goal was,
  after biking home, to get this online before their crews. But they
  had no work to do as nothing happened. This took longer than expected,
  as there is an obligation to try to report public news as it occurs...

  bc, 2oo2

  copyright free. content is online temporarily.
  if archiving, please download/mirror all files.


  For a report on President Bush's recent visit to the
  Twin Cities, please see:  Designing Secure Politics--

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