Saturday, October 28, 2006

Mr. Curtis goes to Washington, Part 2

The Democratic Headquarters of Brevard County is located in a low rent strip plaza on the downside of Cocoa, about an half hour north of Melbourne and an hour south of Daytona. The Clint Curtis Campaign (henceforth CCC) rents a table and computer access from the Dems. CCC is run by Marty W., an instantly likable ball of energy who was so impressed by the CC story that she dropped her plans to relocate to Annapolis, MD and became the full time field campaign manager for the CCC pro bono. At first, I feared that we well-intentioned interlopers from south Florida would be more of a hindrance to Marty than a help - with characteristic aplomb she replied to my concern with a "So did I at first - but don't worry, we'll put you to work." And work we did. Mailing out DVDs of "Truth in the Booth: the Clint Curtis Story," re-writing radio spots, doing whatever we could. This particular strip mall was a congregating spot for some of the areas's homeless people (there was a cheap place to eat at the far end). Throughout the day, some of these folks would drift in and ask if they could help out. And we so we put them to work. They never asked for money for their labor (but we gave them a few bucks for lunch anyway). I was struck how these people realize what is at stake in America on November 7, 2006, while far too many of the shrinking middle class remain mired in denial.

That night we travelled with Marty and the independent film-maker Dorothy Fadiman to Altamonte Springs where there would be a screening of a rough cut of Dorothy's important film "Stealing America, Vo
te-by-Vote" along with "Truth in the Booth."

Dorothy's film is must-see cinema (even tough it is not yet finished). It is the most cogent, plain-as-day account of how our electoral system has been hijacked. I will never forget one of the closing scenes in which an African-American women in Ohio, who spent weeks registering and convincing black Ohioans that their vote mattered, plaintively asks the camera as tears run down her cheeks, "What do I say to these people now?"

After the films, I had the chance to chat with Clint. It is clear that Mr. Curtis has little ego invested in the race for Congress. Oh, don't get me wrong. He WANTS to win
, but for all the right reasons. Clint Curtis is all about doing what is right in the face of everything that has gone wrong.

This is the face of what has gone wrong in our nation since 2000. Rather, one of them. Take a good look at Tom Feeney, Clint's Republican opponent. What do you see? What I see is every thick-necked bully that has ever stalked the schoolyards, ballfields, and corporate offices of America. This is man who swore that Florida's electoral votes would go to George W. Bush in 2000 no matter the cost. Twice now, Feeney has sent out two pieces of mail that boomeranged back against his campaign - that made him look like a fool. The CCC couldn't have done a better job for Clint than Feeney himself. He has tried to make Clint appear deranged. He has tried to paint Clint as a delusional conspiracy nut. But where Clint Curtis has taken and passed a lie detector test concerning his allegations against Feeney and Yang Enterprises, Feeney will not. And so one of the favorite campaign slogans of the CCC is "TAKE THE TEST, TOM!"
, Clint and I chatted, and I told him, "Clint, I think you're gonna win." He took a deep breath, pursed his lips, and tentatively replied, "I'm finally starting to think so, too."

All indications are that the shoest
ring CCC is giving Feeney a run for the money, despite his war chest of millions.

That night we were hosted by a retired couple from Michigan who live in Daytona. Ed and Maggie are the type of Dems I remember from growing up in blue collar NYC. Ed would be joining us the next m
orning for a canvas operation in Port Orange to the south. Our target neighborhood was a development of modest-sized homes. You got the feeling that most of the residents were either first-time buyers or else had stepped up from condos or townhouses when Florida's real estate market went insane and rates were low. Predominantly white and Christian (I joked, "I get the feeling that I am the only Jew in a 10 mile radius"), these are the people who are really getting sucker-punched by the Bushite regime, but who have either become saturated with fear disease or been brainwashed by the Fox hatemongers. We didn't engage them unless they happened to be in their garages or frontyards, just looped a two-sided "palmcard" outlining Clint's platform over their doorknobs. The people with whom I did directly speak appeared, with a few hostile exceptions, receptive to our message. Let's hope so. Gayle and I managed to cover about 400 homes before beginning the long drive south.

So, why do this? Why journey 4 hours up the coast to work for 2 days for a dark horse candidate when there were were plenty of races closer to home that could use the support? In my opinion, these are precisely the types of candidates that deserve our support: courageous individuals with a finely honed sense of what is right and what is wrong. Clint Curtis is one such individual. And I find his story inspirational.

Buy "Truth in the Booth, the Clint Curtis Story" today!

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