Romney Campaign Bans Top Pun from Event

Today, the Mitt Romney campaign held a “victory” rally at the Seagate center in downtown Toledo, Ohio.  Top Pun ran into a mitt-full of cards as the Romney campaign drew a full house; but, as the rain fell, Top Pun declared victory is he drew a royal flush from the Romney campaign, being banned from the event even though possessing a ticket and a media pass.  As the rain fell, Romney supporters lined up two by two around their concrete ark, hoping to save themselves from extinction.  As the Romney-ites waded patiently to see their would-be monarch, I could tell by the many white faces that this wasn’t the servants entrance!  Of course, there were many tanned Romney-ites, but most seem to have vacationed South, or had a tad freaky spray-on or tanning booth tan — perhaps emulating their feckless leader.  Even given the many wet backs that were present, few would be mistaken for Latino.  The only African-Americans I saw near the Romney lineup were button and T-shirt vendors.

Of course, across the street, there was an anti-Romney protest that was much more colorful!  One protester even wrapped themselves in the flag, a gay pride flag, that is.  Not wishing to be restrained by the designated “free speech zone,” I protested outside the box.  I took the opportunity to walk back and forth on the sidewalk alongside the Romney lineup (with few unusual suspects), of course, with my signs:

The Romney crowd, perhaps not so surprisingly, responded with vitriol.  At one point I chanted, “Can someone give me a nice hello, and end of this ugly vitriol.”  One woman asked me if I even knew what a blind trust was.  I trust that she did.  Many in the Romney lineup told me to go to the other side of the street; I suppose in some attempt to keep like with like, and perhaps, hate with hate?!  As I walked up and down the so-called Romney side of the street, even a sheriff’s deputy told me to get on the other side of the street.  When I told him that I knew my rights, and that walking down the public sidewalk and not blocking the public sidewalk was simply exercising my free speech, the sheriff deputy responded: “Would you be walking along here if this were an Obama event?”  I told him that if this Romney event were not happening, that I would have been in Bowling Green protesting the Obama campaign event (likely with a drone and anti-war message).  He told me again that I could not be on the side of the street.  When I persisted in claiming my first amendment free speech right to be there, he said that I was becoming disorderly.  I turned and walked the other way, continuing to walk back and forth, but keeping an eye out for him and his comrades.  The saddest part of this encounter is that the sheriff deputy was apparently proscribing a particular type of free speech — like free speech depends on whether you support Romney, Obama, another, or nobody at all!

The most popular response from the Romney crowd was: “Get a job,” often with some ‘hippie’ or ‘cut-your-hair’ comment thrown in for good measure.  Occasionally, I responded with “I have a job; in fact, I am self-employed, I created my own job.”  Sometimes I might throw in “I even left a government job,” but nary a poker face yielded any approval.  Once, when a Romney-ite was particularly uncivil to me, and I requested that we at least be civil, a woman in the crowd showed approval.  I did experience two Romney-ites threatening violence.  The first was when I overheard a man say to the crowd, “Do you want me to beat up the hippie?”  I asked him if he was threatening violence to me and he said, “It’s an offer.”  The other person, a man, or perhaps man-wannabe, said “I’ll beat your face in.”  I asked him if he was threatening violence to me and he said, “Yes.”  I asked him if he’d like me to call law enforcement over and he said, “Yes.”  Well, his bully talk didn’t faze my walk.  Just goes to show, you can usually rely on the general cowardice of humankind (human-unkind?).

On this rainy day, God rained on the just and the unjust.  Most of the Romney-ites hugged the publicly financed Seagate center rationally seeking shelter so as to not tax their dry wits.  And, since the first shall be last and the last shall be first, I joined the Romney-ites, the end of a long line.  I had secured online the night before my ticket to the event   Being practically soaked to the bone, having paid my dews in the open streets, the ink was running on the ticket that I had printed out and the scanner failed to read it.  I was told to wait for a higher power.  What more irony could I ask for then cryptic ink running on a ruinous ticket.  Of course, not relying on serendipitous irony, I had brought a brown manila envelope containing my tax returns for the last 10 years (actually, which are heavily redacted blank sheets of paper).  Knowing that airport-like security was to be the order of the day, security personnel would likely ask me to open this envelope.  Then, I would respond that I was hoping that if I gave Mitt my tax returns then maybe he would give me his.  I knew that this would probably not be satisfactory, and my alleged tax returns would be declared a security threat and the irony would be complete!  In the meantime, while I was waiting for a boss-man’s stamp of approval for entrance, the young man with a scanner, the first line of security, saw that I had registered by name as “Top Pun,” and he asked me for some ID.  I showed him my media pass (shown below) and my driver’s license.  I told him that I was the soul proprietor of the business, that I wrote a blog, and that I was going to report on this event.  He asked me what kind of business it was.  I told him that I make things like buttons and T-shirts, pointing to my mission statement emblazoned on the media pass and business card, “Maximizing Prophets.”  He didn’t seem to have anything to say to this.  Just then, a man came out and said that the doors would be closed and locked, so if you wanted to get in, get in now.  The young man with a scanner tried to scan my ticket again and it worked!  I went through the two sets of doors and got in a short line for their main security check.  However, as I waited in the security line, another man told the dozen or so of us waiting at security that the fire marshal said they were full and we had to leave.  We went outside.  After a little while, someone came back out and said that we could go in again.  Again, I got in the security line.  Just as I had emptied my pockets and the woman at security asked about the brown manila envelope, a sheriff deputy called me back through the set of doors.  The sheriff deputy instructed me that the event organizers would not let me in their event.  There it was: I was officially uninvited from the Romney victory rally.  Be the change you want to see in the world.  Now, if we could only all get uninvited from a Romney victory rally…

 

 

 

POEM: Our Weekend Away

On our weekend away
I heard many rumors
Of magnificent scenery
And stunning views
And yet
I found myself
Effortlessly resisting
Any temptation
To take my eyes
Off of you

This love poem is dedicated to my sweetheart Maryjo.  The weekend get-away referenced was this last weekend, a Fall bike tour weekend at Mackinaw City, Michigan.  It included a sunrise bike ride across the Mackinaw bridge followed by a boat ride to Mackinac Island and bike ride around the island.  Perhaps needless to say, I was more than satisfied with my view…

POEM: Light ‘n Darkness

To face darkness
Lighten up

Facing darkness is a serious issue.  Nonetheless, the solution is light, or to double the meaning, to lighten up.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve been intrigued by the Zen concept of non-seriousness.  A playfulness and certain detachment from difficult realities actually brings a more effective attitude and perspective into play!  I have been known to say: There are only two mistakes you can make in life: one, to be too serious, and two, to not be serious enough.  Perhaps one of the biggest barriers to dealing with difficult situations is fear.  Cultivating an attitude of playfulness is one way to combat fear taking over one’s life and the ability to deal with the difficulties of one’s life.  So, when things seem dark, lighten up.  When things seem heavy, lighten up…or not.

POEM: I Dropped My Sword and Shield

One day I dropped my sword and shield
And as it turns out, it freed more than my hands

It is not unusual for me to want to see someone hurt; this is the metaphorical sword.  It is not unusual for me to want to protect myself and limit my vulnerabilities to others; this is the metaphorical shield.  On a good day, I find freedom in heaping compassion on all living beings, and opening myself to the reality that me and the so-called other are actually one.  It has been said that resentment is like taking poison and expecting another to die.  Resentments hurt me first, and then often go on to hurt others.  It has also been said that hurt people hurt people.  However, it is possible for me to break that cycle. And when the cycle of hurt is broken, I am the first one freed.  To live this way requires a lot of vulnerability, that is, dropping my shield.  While our culture often lifts up the virtues of the warrior, I believe that a willingness to experience hurt without passing that hurt on to others takes more courage than hurting others.  Punishment as a lower form of justice.  Also, by offering a break in the cycle of hurt it serves as an invitation to others to break the cycle.  The point is not to visit the karma of violence upon another but to escape that karma.  This is a higher form of just us.

POEM: Sleeping In

I love mornings that I can sleep in
I call them “weekdays”

I am a wealthy man!  I can go for months at a time without the need for an alarm clock.  How many have such wealth?  In crass terms, how much would you be willing to pay for this?  But alas, the value of such a freedom cannot be fully accounted for in terms of cash.  As part of my package deal, I find myself without health insurance, but I am well-rested, have relatively little stress in my life, and have room to pursue my daily needs and wants, which may include exercise and meditation.  The reference to “weekdays” alludes to that which is “normal” or most common in our lives, the bulk of our week.  Of course, I may sleep in on the weekend as well!  This summer I took three weeks for a vacation; how many of the most powerful people in the world can say that?!  Please don’t consider this bragging.  I see it more as fumbling gratitude…