Red eye times

Lew Frederick

The “Red Eye”…. I mean I know better than that… still I ended up taking the Red Eye to Boston. And the problem is that I know why. I had originally planned to rent a car and drive to Western Mass to be part of a series of workshops developed by Howard Dean supporters. But frankly, the cost financially and in terms of time and wear and tear on my body just made me cancel those plans. Still I know why I keep a schedule like this.

Part of it is likely my nature to want to run everything together, cover every place I can and every experience because I’m never sure whether I will have another chance at things. So I tend to try to pack too much into any time away. I mean: I complain that I can only see five plays during the OSF Board meetings because the meetings take place during one of the matinees. The rest of my family can see six during the time we spend there. Ah well.

But part of the reason this time is the political pressure I feel every day. It happens every where I go these days. Usually the political reference is associated with me wearing a Kerry button or pin, but not always.

And I really do mean political pressure….everywhere.

I get a request for my Kerry/Edwards button from the grocery clerk in Freddies. I am asked about what they can personally do in the campaign by someone just walking by me on the street. A woman apologized to me as I was standing in the aisle of this plane. She was sitting as we all waited to get to our seats while patiently allowing others to grab that book or laptop out of their bag and move on over to the window seat. She looked up at me and said, “You know I really should be in Boston for the convention too. Thank you for doing that work. We have to make a change. Right now!”

The couple next to me as a I grabbed a quick dinner in the PDX terminal said much the same thing. A fellow about 80 wanted to make sure that I knew how upset he was with the present crowd in the White House.

A friend of mine who rarely talks with me about politics made it a point to have lunch with me before I left for the convention to tell me about a new song on his CD that he wrote while trying to deal with the daily examples of poor national leadership. And he offered to have his band play at any future events to raise money and visibility. (Tentative date put down: September 1 for the MeetUp at Billy Reed’s.)


Begin a conversation on anything regarding politics and the tension is right on the surface. Change is needed and people are pleased to see anyone stepping up to help make that change.

A new series of commercials is now running for something, (Gift Cards perhaps?). The premise is that you get out of just about any gaff by saying “Thank You!”

I don’t think that is why people are saying that to me with such regularity. But now that I’ve seen the commercials I will start watching for anything else said or done before the comments.

It seems instead that a basic and reawakened understanding is behind the comments. We are seeing a resurgence of the belief that we are all supposed to be working together and that this will mean a better future for all of us. I guess sometimes it takes a disaster of leadership to create that awareness.

Well I expect to see a clearer example of true leadership this week. And it is a leadership that is not limited to those at the top of the political ticket either. Sometimes it involves high media visibility. Sometimes it is connected to the small but constant donations to political campaigns online and in MeetUps and house parties across the country. Sometimes it is running for office. Sometimes it means writing a letter to the editor or calling that television station about a story and asking about what was missing. Sometimes it is simply wearing a button while shopping for groceries at Freddies.

  • Joyce (unverified)

    "We are seeing a resurgence of the belief that we are all supposed to be working together and that this will mean a better future for all of us."

    Great post, Lew. Thanks for carrying the voices of Oregon to the Convention. (And someone-- hint, hint -- needs to talk to the folks from a certain Portland television station. After running a generic piece of tape, one of the evening anchors spoke live with an NBC reporter at the Convention, leading one to expect that our state might come up in the conversation. Nope, just the usual banter. She never so much as mentioned the Oregon delegates, nor did the reporter on site have anything to say that would have had special relevance for Oregonians. On the other hand, I was heartened to see that David Sarasohn is there for the Oregonian.)

  • John F. Bradach,Sr. (unverified)


    I know from the CNN coverage that you and the Oregon delegation have great seats on the floor. Wave to us when the camera is on you.

    Keep up the detailed blogs. It is an feel for the scene that I do not remember from watching TV of prior conventions.

  • Donna Dreis (unverified)

    Lew: Great post - looking forward to reading more about your experiences in Boston. Thank you!

    There are so many of us here in Portland who will be glued to our sets, cheering and supporting those of you lucky enough to be there. You will represent us well!

  • j (unverified)

    I wish you the best of times at the convention, it sounds like you should have a blast.

    I would like to second the feelings that Joyce brought up, it really is sad to see how pathetic the supposed "local" news coverage of these types of things is. Hopefully blogs will eventually bring a change about, with a great deal more information created by local people for local people. Not just to sell advertising either, but to actually help inform.

    Which is why I wish you the best of times at the convention, I look forward to reading about the experience.

    Oh and just for the record, if you think you feel pressure while wearing a Kerry button to Fred Myers, try wearing a Bush button on the MAX.


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