Palecek website: www.mikepalecek.com
a) Interview Today!!
I'll be a guest of Denny Smithson on Cover To Cover, KPFA radio, Berkeley, TODAY, Monday, Aug. 27, 5 pm, CST.
We will be talking about "The American Dream."
[See American Dream Cover: www.mikepalecek.com.]
The cover artwork was done by Keith McHenry of Taos, NM, the founder of Food Not Bombs.
Is This Heaven?
by Mike Palecek
Tomorrow at noon, Tuesday, Aug. 28, three of us will hold signs against the war at the four-way stop in Sheldon.
When the bombing started back in 2003, I considered standing there with a sign by myself. I did not. Four long years later I finally make it out to the four-way with a sign. It's not that far. It shouldn't take a person four years to get there.
Well, anyway, better late than never?
I recently sent this note to a few friends in the area.
I'm thinking of running for Congress again. Just thinking so far.
I've got this ten-point plan I'll paste at the bottom here.
One of the points has to do with Mexicans and immigration. I think that is a big issue in western Iowa.
In my run for Congress in 2000 one of my major points was open borders. To me that is the way to go.
Anyway, what I would like to do is to start a website for my proposed campaign, speculative.
You can run for Congress without money. You might not win, but you can run. But you cannot run without getting on the ballot. It is a huge job to get the signatures I would need to get on the ballot.
And I guess I cannot ask people to sign up for me without knowing something about me.
I cannot afford to travel around the district. I have to work.
But I can put up this website, and I can write to the newspapers and radio stations around the district and ask that they tell people about the website.
I would be asking that people who agree with me would help me to gather signatures in their county.
This can all be done without much expense.
Back to the issue of immigration.
I would put the ten-point plan up on the website. These are things that are important to me.
But I would like to pull-out the point regarding immigration - emphasize it.
I would like to feature stories about Mexican immigrants in the district - tell their stories, who they are, the difficulties they have encountered to try to live here. Humanize them.
I think people see them as caricatures in some cases. That is so wrong. I think if people were to see Mexican immigrants as people, just like themselves, then maybe the racism can be overcome.
And even if the Anglos don't come to understand, these stories still need to be told.
And so, my idea would be to run these stories on the website, changing as often as I can get new stories, and to publicize the website in the meantime, hoping to reach the people of the 5th District with the message.
I would ask you, others, whoever we can reach, to report the stories, give me leads, etc.
The stories don't need to use real names or addresses if that is an issue.
So, I am asking you to join me in this effort to talk about the issue of Mexican immigration in the fifth district, to give an alternative viewpoint.
You might ask yourself if I'm doing this to try to get myself elected, to use the immigrants and their stories in that regard.
Well, I don't really think there is much chance of my being elected, to be honest. But who knows.
Actually, it's the other way around. The idea is to be a candidate in order to tell these stories.
I don't see myself as the candidate type, but I would really like to try to do something to right the wrongs that have been done.
I just think the election is a great opportunity to talk about these things, so many things that need to be talked about.
I would welcome your thoughts and suggestions.
1A) Of course, U.S. out of Iraq, yesterday. We should not have been there. The killing and dying has all been in vain.
1) Cut military spending and pay for things like alternative energy research, global warming research, inner city housing, infrastructure [bridges], schools, social services. The military budget is huge. I really think we could pay for all these things by taking out what we don't need in the military, which is most of it. When the Soviet Union folded, there was no "peace dividend", no switch from military programs to others - because those who were making money on the defense industry scrambled and made sure they did not lose money.
And the Democrats were like, oh, okay. It's not okay.
2) Investigate 911. We don't have the answers yet. Ever wonder why the Bush government did not want an investigation? I do too. This is big, this is huge. We need answers.
3) We need Democrats who are willing to push to prosecute Bush for war crimes, things like torture and lying to start a war and people dying because of that. How about stolen elections and anthrax and a dead Senator? We do not need to get past this until it's time to get past this.
4) Repeal the Patriot Act. Or at least read the damn Patriot Act and see if there is anything there we need. We just accepted it and said, oh, okay. It's not okay.
5) Decriminalize immigration. Where did you come from? Yeah, me, too. Or, perhaps put Native Americans in charge of the INS and go from there. We are Christians, some of us, right? We should help poor people, not throw them in jail. Lots of our Iowa towns lost population during the '80s farm crisis. Here are people who actually want to live in Early and Lone Rock and Spencer - and we don't want them? What's up with that?
6) Universal health care. Should have happened long ago. Go see "SICKO." Go sit in an emergency room, see what their first question is. It ain't "what can we do to help you?"
7) Pardon non-violent drug offenders. Let them go home to their families, watch their children grow up, have lives. The drug war was just another ruse, something for politicians to shout in a crowded theater to get themselves elected. It got more prisons built and more schools crumbling down, but it was wrong. Democrats are like, oh, okay.
8) Marijuana. What are we going to do about it? We need to think about it. What are our children supposed to think when we put people in federal prison for twenty years for marijuana and have "this Bud's for you" on the TV every day?
9) End the death penalty. It's simple. Don't kill.
10) End the requirement for young people to register for the draft. Don't kill.
*And how about something about unions and the minimum wage and a dozen other things that we don't even consider but would make perfect sense to consider.
From "The American Dream"
[Here we have Michael M having just been arrested, whisked away by helicopter, after accidentally ramming his moped into the war memorial in the city park of Homeland and breaking the monument for World War II.]
AS THE HELICOPTER buzzed off over town, M leaned to look out the door.
"Careful," said one of his young guards, gripping his arm.
M saw the post office and the flag on the white pole in front. Main Street was lined with Sun God flags, each yellow smiling sun on a field of whitest white.
There was the playground, and the school where tomorrow his oldest would take part in the Memorial Day program.
The helicopter shot up like a Ferris Wheel, leaving M's stomach behind.
He could see the Westside: railroad tracks, car-littered yards, glistening skins of varied tones, shacks and grass huts and adobe. He could see smoldering and burning houses, hovels, troops in the streets. He could see the dead and dying in the gutterless barrios.
Beneath the wap-wap-wap and the shouting of instructions back and forth between pilot and co-pilot, M heard the familiar squealing of the rendering truck making its run through the streets of the Westside, picking up the dead. Feet and hands stuck out the top, blood and intestines oozed down the camouflaged sides, running over the white words stenciled in military font, on the sides and door.
For God. For Country. For Honor.
M leaned back and closed his eyes trying to make his queasy stomach go away. He was not used to this.
He was an average man.
He graduated from Homeland Senior High School, married a Homeland girl and had Homeland kids.
He was not ugly or good-looking. His hair was neither dark nor light enough to draw anyone's attention. He wasn't what you would call skinny or fat.
He opened his eyes to try to calm his stomach and looked down on his town for the first time.
He wasn't tall or short.
He hoped nothing he would ever do would be either too great or too terrible. That was what he had strived to achieve his whole life - until this morning when he saw the promotion for The Home Helper Show.
He needed to get word to his wife, so they could get their names in for the drawing at the elementary gym in August. They could maybe get a deck on their home, or make over the kids' room. Perhaps they would install a dishwasher, and brighten up the bathroom and kitchen. If he could talk them into a swimming pool - oh my god - his wife would be happy and his children would have good lives.
The helicopter was now directly over the Westside. The squealing and squeaking of the rendering truck sounded as if it were right below.
M had only been across the tracks once in his life, riding along with his father as he drove the truck. They picked up dead bodies of the lazy people who would not work, who would not learn English, who did not worship the Sun God. Those people would not mow their lawns or wash their cars. Their children allowed the words of New Testament Jesus - radical, fool, heathen, heretic.
The helicopter cleared the trees and entered a corn and soybeans planet.