Archive for September, 2017

20
Sep
17

In Search of Bernie: Fini

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Sweet Jesus, right out in public…no beating around the fucking bush. She asked me to do photo manipulation of the crowd, as if I were some staunch Trump supporting photographer. Then more people began to mistake me for being one of those who praise the Crimson King and it made me wonder what I had done. By allowing myself to be objective, was I leaving myself open to false identification and classification from those gathered?

The two middle aged ladies from some White White White city North of Sleepytown had driven about 40 miles to come down here to lug a big sign around. Imagine transporting a six by eight foot sign forty miles, struggling with it to get on the downtown Circle Monument roundabout, while light rain peppers you and historic Hoosier humidity stands ready to sweat you down. You suffer all that to go stand in a crowd of people who despise you…that’s dedication to one’s ideals. That, is the art. That is where my fascination is most nourished. I could give a rat’s ass about their politics or how fucked up I might think they are for backing some candidate. I just want to look at them, like a social voyeur, and watch how my species behaves; we’re fucking insane.
The taller, dark haired lady smiled at me (once I had won her confidence by snapping a few photos) and tried to chew the fat in a polite manner. “I mean, what is Alt-Right anyway?” she smiled, her head shaking to negate the notion of such a term, but I wasn’t playing in. I wasn’t going to get pulled in, not into being too polite, not by getting too hostile. Mr. Objectivity here, ladies.

Just as that ‘Alt-Right’ conversation was going on, a dark haired woman in her thirties walked up to the second sign lady, the blonde who had asked me to take the pictures earlier. The dark haired woman was clutching to her tween daughter’s hand, tugging the girl along. Both women acknowledged one another and the mother did a verbal launch on sign lady:
“Why do you want children to die?”
Sign lady looks at the Mother and replies:
“Why do you support abortion?”
That kid had a slight grimace on her face when she heard that, or did I imagine it? Was the grimace on my face? I felt bad for the girl not being allowed to go have fun, but forced to attend one of these rallies, and then hearing talk about someone wanting children to die? -And what the hell is a ‘bortion’?

That exchange of words kind of sums up the whole political feel of things in this country right now. Each side barking at one another with hostile intent, no one working toward a mutual agreement or action to get this country back on it’s feet. More Sanders supporters began walking up to confront the sign ladies. They assumed I was a Nazi camera wielding sympathizer for the Trump side. This was a tough one to keep unbiased on. I had been attracted to Sanders early in the 2016 campaign circus, but I can’t expose my personal politics out there. I would have none of the wonderful dialogue with those ladies if I went at them like some of the opposition did. I worked to convince the Sanders folks I didn’t support Trump, but wasn’t there to support Sanders either. The camera thing helps, because if you have a real camera in your hand rather than a phone camera, it seems more like you could be more for reporting, rather than supporting-another reason it’s convenient and helpful to have someone like Miguel around. He has done this shit, the crowd thing, so long that it’s become a cake walk for him. He doesn’t let them suck him into carrying a sign that says ‘Fuck the Police’.

The importance of staying the fuck away from subjective analysis at these sideshows will merit insight, every now and then, to the human condition. The true nature of mob mentality can come alive before your eyes and let you witness how humans really behave. Shock value reports in the news have moved people to do some horrible things against one another rather than look for a solution, and it seems all I want to do now is watch. I get to witness masses, spurred into action by the media, each side acting and reacting as bad as one another. I have found Bernie, and he brings noise of love and peace, but in the background a crowd is busy fighting one another. The Crimson King sets another fire and dances into the sunset, laughing, while I witness the common folk jab at one another. There is solace in the knowledge that Trump’s supporters were few in number at this rally, which means the reign of a New Reich can be defeated. I wait now for the next demonstration; I’ve had my fix.

March on, Mr. Sanders, and welcome to the Church.

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12
Sep
17

In Search of Bernie: Photo Ops

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Just as I began to debate having enough time to duck between buildings to fire one up, here comes Bernie Sanders and his entourage, coming straight at me. I was stage left of the podium next to the sound engineer’s tent, fumbling quickly to get the lens cap off my camera for a shot of the Senator. The crowd was chanting his name and Sanders seemed uncertain where he was being led, but continued to burrow his way toward where I was standing. He got close enough for me to reach out and grab his hand but I wasn’t there to be that asshole who prods and pokes at a public figure.

I still hold an image in my mind from years gone by: Indianapolis, back when Bill Clinton was our president. There was a dedication ceremony being given for a statue of Bobby Kennedy that was to be placed in a park just north of downtown. Speakers for the fanfare included Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy. At the end of the President’s speech, he smiled with the others on stage and waved out to the people, a few folks even managed to shake his hand. I was tempted to fight the crowd and get up front to shake the hand of a real U.S. President, then I looked at the swarm of those who were doing what I was thinking. They weren’t as polite or humble as I would have been…or were they? Could I become like one of those animals, pushing and shoving my way to get close to the flesh of a celebrity? I was pretty fucking shamed at the human race that moment. They acted like a starving mob of wild boars being thrown slabs of meat.

Bernie’s people called at him to back up, away from me, to navigate his way through the sound engineering tent and up the concrete steps of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. I was given my moment and snapped a few shots of him before he got away. I wasn’t caught on the wrong side of his approach to the stage after-all, so with the Bernie shot taken, I could ease up a bit. I took a few more pictures to document the occasion-Bernie with the rep from Jobs in America and Good Jobs Nation, Bernie next to the President of the Indiana Chapter of the AFL-CIO…and the fanfare continued. Sanders began to speak about the nationwide drive and support of this team which is working to better wage conditions for workers in America. This was a more calm event than I had anticipated, proof once again that you can’t predict these fucking rallies. I was halfheartedly expecting a call for blood after the incident in Charlottesville, but Bernie brought a more tempered approach on what to do at this moment. So many people and politicians are currently caught up chasing the fires the Crimson King starts on a daily basis. Rather than waste all their time trying to catch Trump, this group wants to try and accomplish some positive, constructive action, while our mad ruler continues with his schemes. They still feel the importance of pursuing Donald Trump and holding him accountable for all his committed acts, but they can’t let any form of progress on issues they find a support for just slip away. The wage issue is their big agenda. All these rallies have their agendas, this rally was about wages.

I pulled away from the sound tent and wandered back out into the street around the Circle Monument, now more curious about crowd watching. Those up front and swarmed together to hear Sanders were in for the long haul, listening with intent. Gathered on the outskirt perimeter of the crowd were a mixture of Conservative and Progressive attendees. Trump people and Sanders people, however, the Trump people were under-represented…not many Trump folks there. I went over to talk to some of them, including the guy I met at the anti-Sharia demonstration at the State Capital not too long ago, the man who was from the group called Identity Evropa, sometimes called the Dragons. I wasn’t imagining him getting too radical in this surrounding; just there to show a presence. A few hardliner Right-Wing, or Alt-Right supporters stood around too, but no sign of dudes in paramilitary outfits brandishing weapons, like the Sharia law gathering.

I wandered over toward two ladies carrying a big sign promoting Trump and began to snap some shots of them and their big sign. They asked if I would mind taking some shots of them positioned in front of the Sanders crowd with their big ass sign. I had no problem with that-I was there to document what was happening. Sure, I told them, stand there in the street and I’ll snap some pictures. While I tried to take pics, various individuals would wander over to where me and the ladies were, peel off from the Sanders speech and sort of get in the way of my shot, or accidentally run into the sign. They wanted to make the picture difficult to take. I did manage to get a couple of shots and the ladies thanked me, then one of them casually, yet kind of under her breath, asked if I could email them a copy of the pictures. Sure, still, no problem with me. Then she asked if I would send them some images of the Sanders crowd I took, but could I do a little manipulation of the image to make the crowd appear to be sad.
That was a problem with me.

(contd.)

08
Sep
17

In Search of Bernie: Prelude and Beyond

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The moment of focus for this post will go back to August twenty first of this year, but I may jump ahead in time just to mention some of the madness that follows my intent to see Bernie Sanders. I’m trying to play catch-up with all the atypical insane shit that surrounds us. Natural disasters greater than ever recorded. A United States President with unprecedented behavior, possibly due to an inbred culture, something similar to what’s witnessed when dogs get bred too much along a bad lineage…mutant minded pups. So with hurricanes and out of control fires tearing up the landscape and causing people to struggle, I go back to Monday, August 21, the day of the total eclipse.

When the actual eclipse started hitting Indianapolis, I was on the city bus headed West on an errand; a pre-engagement before the downtown Circle Monument rally featuring current Senator of Vermont, Bernie Sanders. He’s the only successful Independent Party politician in the Senate right now, a rare bird with knowledge, charisma and resilience. I had a camera and would rely on my phone to be the notepad. Take notes, get the shots, evaluate stats on crowd size and variety…it’s like bird watching to me, in a way. I’m there for observation more than personal involvement. If you get too close to the subjective persuasion a rally of any political or religious flavor has, it can ruin your objectivity to record what’s happening. I try to be objective. Some who read my posts may detect bits of bias now and then, but I try to allow individuals to be judged on their actions, rather than my assumptions. Yet, as hard as I try to stay objective, some people out there have pulled me into situations. The next thing I know, I could end up holding a protest sign that says “Fuck the Police”, a situation I got thrown into in Denver, Colorado during the Occupy Denver era. My current Bernie rally incident this post recalls wasn’t as magnificent as the ‘fuck the police’ sign thing, but I found out it did confirm what I had seen posted online. I needed to experience that in person, if I truly wanted to stay objective. I wanted a whiff of what the political scene was here in town after the masses had a few days to chew on the incident that erupted in Charlottesville. What would Bernie offer to the crowd?

Following the eclipse viewing in Indy, clouds moved in and spotty rain hit the bricked circle street as I arrived. I had time before Sanders would speak to wander the crowd. Background music was being provided by some bearded dudes strumming on trendy ukuleles and stringed shit that gave you the feel of a Phish concert-not that I’m against Phish concerts, they are great for when you need one, but my mind was on trying to get some shots and wondering where the best area to stand to get a shot of the Senator would be. I had no fucking idea what route they were going to make in order to pull him up to the podium. I needed some voodoo to make sure and place me on the right side of the audience. Crowds can be like enamored zombie pig things when politicians or famous people gather out in public, close enough for them to see, close enough to experience-hard to navigate through the closer you get to a celebrity. I could just imagine myself talking to someone like the ultra-pregnant girl with a huge henna tattoo on her stomach (I met), and all of a sudden, Bernie whisks by and the moment is missed. I needed a backup for photos, like Miguel…but he wouldn’t be here today. The good news for me was the crowd size wasn’t too intimidating, about 400-500 Sanders supporters and about a dozen Trump supporters/Left Wing opposition. I could get my shot of Sanders in this size crowd. Getting close enough shouldn’t be too difficult.

My initial positioning took me to the left side of the stage as I watched the big group of the Jobs in America team, assembled on the steps of the monument. This was their drive, with the help and backing of Sanders, to protect the rights of workers in America. A worthy cause and not the typically recent, in fashion attempt to arm a crowd against the Crimson King, aka Donald Trump. Sanders would be endorsing and working in cooperation with representatives of Good Jobs Nation, advocates for higher wages and better opportunities for federal contract workers.

The crowd was ready and I was no more than thirty yards or so from the podium. I wanted to keep my timing on pace. Grab some shots of Bernie speaking, maybe some of the pre-speakers, wander through the crowd another time or two and definitely go over and talk to the opposition. The small group of Those who support the Crimson King were huddled on the outskirts of the gathered crowd. Signs for Sanders followers were demanding fifteen dollars an hour wages and a Union. The Trump people had signs urging you to get a Trump/Pence sign from them. A few ladies stood holding the signs and next to them was a flag I had become familiar learning about not too long ago at another downtown crowd meeting. It was the Identity Evropa flag.

(contd.)




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