The Dust Bin of History – The Progressive, 12/30/2001

Silly me. Bush was elected. War is the answer. A little torture is a good thing. Ditto racial profiling. I’ve got to learn to kick back and enjoy this White House effect. What was I thinking? What’s that sound I hear? The Constitution being shredded? Whoopee! Confetti!

Of course I’m bitter that I was not offered the USO gig to entertain the troops at holiday time. No, that went to ‘the new Bob Hope,’ Wayne Newton. Unless there is an elite troop of altacockers special forces in Afghanistan we don’t know about, which would be brilliant and unexpected, I would think that ‘N Sync, Missy Misdemeanor Eliot, or Britney Spears would be a better choice. And I was just getting over my hurt feelings about not being asked to open for the Pope in his recent tour of Grease.

Since 9-11, I have been doing my own version of a USO tour performing throughout the country. Did I already mention I love my country? When I leave the house, on a road trip or even on an errand, my own strict Dress for Success code has been replaced by Dress for Surveillance. You like to look your best for the cameras. When I was first searched at airport security, I actually felt relieved they were surveilling the less obvious suspects, larger older white gals like myself. After my fourth random wanding [not in the Harry Potter sense] from a lovely woman at O’Hare, I learned a new meaning of heightened state of alert.

And the troops are traumatized. At the beginning of every show, I have always thanked people for coming out, implying out of the closet. Now I mean out of the house. Since the polarized red/blue presidential selection process last November, I have found it harder to come out as a justice loving progressive than as a lesbian. In the summer, before the WTC attacks, [did I already mention I loathed them?] people were nervous during the Bush bash section of my show. I pretended those who got up to leave had small bladders or had to have a smoke.

After 911, I was asked to appear at a Women’s Breakfast the day before the almost overlooked NYC Democratic mayoral run off. It was a powerfully diverse gathering of women – African-American, Asian-American, Latina, labor, political, organizers, activists. I was proud to be there and remarked that it was such a relief to be among women after days of watching men talking to other men about men, only men. The men had not yet picked up and played the convenient “we are freeing the Afghan women oppressed under the Taliban” card.

In a throwaway line, I referred to George Bin Bush. “Bin” as in “son of”. The women in the audience did not bat an eye. But some reporter for the New York Post there picked it up, challenged the Ferrer people with it, and printed it the next day. My manager called me, frantic from phone threats, and my website was flamed with e-threats. Now I know what it takes to get in the Post.

No telling, if my remarks have already gotten me onto the list of offending comments compiled by Lon Cheney’s “Committee to Protect American Civilization,” not to be confused with “The Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.” That’s Bill Bennett. Cheney runs the Committee out of the secure and undisclosed bunker she shares with her husband, the Veep. It’s a duck blind in Eastern PA. Todd Gitlin, professor at NYU, is on the list for the highly inflammatory statement, “There is lot of skepticism about America’s policy of going to war.” Sometimes I like to imagine Tipper Gore getting away with a committee like that.

Now I find myself approaching political material in my shows much as I approached the Golden Gate Bridge that day on tour when Gray Davis warned of possible, highly probable terrorist attacks. I take a deep breath and floor it.

Kate “I bought Continental Airlines!” Clinton