In June of 2004 ex-president Bill Clinton came to Berkeley for a book signing. Shame on Berkeley for welcoming him, the war criminal, to Telegraph Avenue. I showed up outside Cody’s Books at noon sharp and slick willie was yet to arrive. The young student/berkeleyite/ street people/yuppies from the hills/visitors from the valley crowd was 100% Berkeley. A thousand or more, both rich and poor, all waited in quiet anticipation for a world leader who is not sophisticated enough to have illicit sex outside of government buildings or with anyone other than his own staff.
It was a lovefest to say the least. As far as the crowds reaction to criticism of their beloved bubba, I have heard infinitely more intelligent counter-comments from pro-war pro-Bush crowds. At least their comments are sometimes rational. The hatred that I got from the Berkeley crowd was seemingly from Mars. I displayed a big sign reading “IRAQI HOLOCAUST -by BILL CLINTON NOT WELCOME WAR CRIMINAL” and addressed the crowd with unhappy news about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who perished under Clintons’ policies, the bombing of Sudan, the bombing of Yugoslavia, and more generally unpleasant topics of conversation for this crowd that could have been mistaken to be at disneyland or a baseball game.
No less than a constant stream of Telegraphs local nutpies showed up five feet behind me to try to yell me down with entirely nonsensical statements, mostly about George Bush and some other generally absurd and incoherent ranting. The horror on the faces of the middle-aged middle-class Berkeley women when they saw my sign was enough to make my day. I never knew Democrats were so sensitive to criticism of their presidents or candidates. I did hear that Al Gore’s activist group beat a guy up outside of a Las Vegas showing of Fahrenheit 911 for saying that Republicans and Democrats are the same. I calmly tried to respond to every insane person who came up to me to ask me why I was not attacking George Bush. Several ladies could only yell over and over ‘what about george bush?’, ’what about GEORGE BUSH?’ I replied to all alike “I have attacked George Bush for the past 365 days nonstop, and now everyone’s doing it, there’s even a major motion picture, but Bush didn’t have the balls to come to my neighborhood, Clinton did, he’s got a big hand in this war too, the American led aggression on Iraq has not ceased for the last 13 years, it has continued, and so I gotta let Mr. Clinton have it. No comfort for the terrorists, right. No welcome for the war criminals, not if you call this the home of the free speech movement.”
I was within a stones throw of Peoples Park and the mural of Mario Savio and I was attacked by countless liberals and locals for pointing out the obvious and egregious crimes of Bill Clinton. Many people were clearly puzzled by any criticism of Bill in light of Bush who they think is satan, but most intriguing to me was the handful of people whose concern was that this thing be pulled off without a glitch, with no evidence of protest or opposition. There were middle-aged ladies walking around with John Kerry clipboards and blocking camera lenses from catching my sign, people were asking the police ‘can we file a noise complaint?’, and the police were lecturing back over and over again ‘free speech is protected’. I have never experienced as much distraction or so-called ‘running interference’ in any demonstration ever. If that is what it takes for them to pull this bullshit off then it makes me happy. I am one person and I feel like my voice had an effect on people and on the authorities.
I reminded a lot of people that this man participated in a massive amount of death worldwide, a fact that many of them had simply conveniently forgotten. I just wish more lefties would get creative together and shame more of these politicians, and confront those who need to be confronted and speak intelligently in public in spontaneous ways and continue to use all of our energies when possible to continue to speak out against this BULLSHIT! What liberal Berkeley and liberal America have failed to come to terms with is the fact that liberal politicians suck so much that they can in fact be worse than the clowns that the Republicans put into office, and they invariably end up killing more people globally, all the while lulling the world and the american public into a deep sleep.