I am somebody from Nebraska who now lives in Iowa, who will soon be taking a country drive, a road trip, because our country seems on the verge of something bad.
Really, I'm not trying to get away.
Actually my mother told me once that when they heard the War of the Worlds broadcast on the radio they got in the car and just drove. Just to be going somewhere seemed to help because they were so scared. They thought it was the end of the world. This time the fire.
Well, I suppose I'm plenty scared, but I'm trying to run towards the blaze, trying to see what I can do to put it out.
I have written some books during the Bush era. I'm going on a book tour to promote my latest, "The American Dream."
Before I leave I'm also going to send a letter along with a tax form with a black Magic Marker X through it as a protest against George W. Bush.
My book, "The American Dream," is a punch in the nose to George W. Bush and Karl Rove. Somebody needs to punch those two in the nose.
They smirk while others die. They are getting away with murder. They are robbing us blind.
By sending off this crossed-out tax form and taking this drive around the country in my '90 brown Honda with the driver's side window and radio that don't work I'll feel that I'm at least doing something.
Can we say it? ... Out loud? ... In public? ... Won't people think we're crazy? ... Won't they roll their eyes? Wouldn't it be easier to just talk about American Idol? The people on Fox and the announcers on the radio don't say this. They'd say it if it were true. ... Right?
They- Bush & Co. - did 9/11 themselves.
They killed Paul Wellstone.
They sent the anthrax.
They lied about WMD.
They stole two presidential elections.
They would never have told us about Abu Ghraib.
They have secret torture prisons around the world that we were never meant to find out about.
They spy on us. And not because of "terrorism."
They steal the oil.
They want power. They want to be rich.
They could care less about us, about the soldiers, about the freedom of the Iraqi people. They snicker about all that in the back rooms. Sure they do.
And there's more.
Some [many?] of our news media "professionals" are actually professional propaganda ministers for this cabal. Who cannot wonder about Fox, Tom Brokaw, Rush Limbaugh, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings in this regard.
It sure seems that way.
What's that expression about talking and sounding like a duck?
I was in third grade when our principal, Sr. Ellen, walked into the room just after lunch recess and said the president had been shot.
A few years later I went to sleep wondering if Bobby would make it through the night. And of course, they had killed Martin Luther King two months before.
So, well, now I'm 51, and those my age would do anything to really understand what happened during those few minutes after lunch in Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22 1963.
My kids will grow up wondering what really happened on Sept. 11, 2001.
Perhaps none of us will ever know. They keep the truth locked away, marked to be opened after we are all dead. The rest they strike out with a black Magic Marker.
But the Bush family is in power.
And American oil companies recorded record profits last year.
The world turns.
They want power. They want to be rich. Human traits, desires.
The American Dream.
You look outside your window, you see robins and squirrels and Snickers wrappers and Labrador poop.
Fair to partly cloudy.
It's all a fairy tale. You are a living character inside of a children's book, with dragons and monsters and evil kings and queens.
How did we come to this?
We have fake history - our junior high and high school history books should be all in italics, presented with a wink by the teacher handing out the textbooks on the first day of school: Remember the Maine, Pearl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin, Iran-Contra, Waco, OKC, moon landings, Watergate, stolen elections - millionaires in Washington D.C. who spend long days agonizing over the lives and living conditions of dump truck drivers and nurses aides. Right? Sure they do.
But even so, to talk about conspiracy in the United States ... it's like being ... a person who has spent the day upstairs alone writing poetry ... and he steps out onto the corner to hand those poems out to passersby. You can imagine the looks he's going to get from people.
Because we accepted the Warren Commission we got the "9/11 What Controlled Demolition?" and our children will get the "XYZ Non-Investigation By Rich People Covering Up For Other Rich People Leaving The Poor Folks To Drown, Again."
After the Supreme Court stopped the counting of votes. ...
Stopped the counting of votes.
Stopped the counting of votes.
I sat by the upstairs window and looked out at the robins and the squirrels and the Labradors and thought, of course they killed the Kennedys, they can do whatever they want.
I thought about tossing a concrete block through the military recruiters offices over in Sioux City, just to put up some kind of resistance against all this. I even drove over there, about an hour away, to drive around the area and see how I might do it and get away.
I asked others to join me. Nobody wanted to.
Then I drank a quart of beer out on the patio and sort of measured in both hands the weight of a concrete block against a piece of paper, and decided to keep writing.
I don't know what good I can do. Maybe I'm just driving around just to be moving because I'm scared.
Kurt Vonnegut once said that an anti-war novel is as likely to stop war as an anti-glacier novel is to stop glaciers.
But you still gotta. You gotta walk out the back door and put yourself up against that ice and push. Set your feet and lean and get your hands cold. Push with all your might, until you've got no push left.
There are many of us who see the murder of the Iraqi people for gold as evil, and who want their children to grow up in a world not perverted by the mind of Karl Rove. Those are also human traits, desires.
You got something better to do?
Join me. I'll be writing a column along the way.
From Newton, Kansas to Omaha to Sioux Falls to Des Moines to ... well, here's the whole schedule. Here's where that brown '90 Honda will be pointed over the next three months.
March 28: Drinking Liberally, Kansas City
March 29: Faith & Life Bookstore, Newton, Kansas
March 30: Lawrence, Kansas, public library
March 31: Crossroads Infoshop, Kansas City
April 2: A Novel Idea Bookstore, Lincoln, Nebraska
April 3: Soul Desires Bookstore, Omaha, Nebraska
April 4: The Reading Grounds Bookstore, Omaha
April 6: Wayne State College, Wayne, Nebraska
April 6: Zandbroz Bookstore, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
April 10: Hill Avenue Bookstore, Spirit Lake, Iowa
April 12: Southeast Minnesota Peacemakers, Rochester, MN
April 13: Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa
April 14: Ritual Café, Des Moines, Iowa
April 15: Iowa City, Iowa, Public Library
April 16: Magers & Quinn Bookstore, Minneapolis
April 17: Magus Bookstore, Minneapolis
April 18: Duluth: College of St. Scholastica,
April 18: Duluth Catholic Worker
April 19: Mondragon Bookstore, Winnipeg, CA
April 21: Rainbow Books, Madison, WI
April 22: Cream City Collective, Milwaukee, WI
April 23: New World Resource Center, Chicago
April 23: Unitarian Church, Park Forest [Chicago]
April 24: Revolution Books, Chicago
April 24: Barbara's Bookstore, Chicago
April 25: Volume One Books, Hillsdale, MI
April 26: Drinking Liberally, Indianapolis
April 27: Saginaw, MI, 303 Collective Bookstore
April 28: The Planet Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
April 28: Drinking Liberally, Detroit [Oakland Co.]
April 29: Drinking Liberally, Cleveland
April 30: Boxcar Books, Bloomington, IN
May 1: Drinking Liberally, Pittsburgh
May 2: Talking Leaves Books, Buffalo, NY
May 2: Literary Café, Buffalo
May 3: Drinking Liberally, Rochester, NY
May 4: Bluestockings Bookstore, New York City
May 5: ETG Café and Books, Staten Island
May 7: AS220 Performance Space, Providence, RI
May 8: The Book Cellar, Brattleboro, VT
May 10: Lucy Parsons Center, Boston, MA
May 11: Elizabeth, NJ Catholic Worker House
May 13: Wooden Shoes Books, Philadelphia
May 14: Robin's Books, Philadelphia
May 15: Drinking Liberally, Wilmington, NC
May 16: McIntyre's Books, Pittsboro, NC
May 17: Internationalist Books, Chapel Hill, NC
May 18: Revolution Books, Atlanta
May 19: Beyond Your Ordinary Bookstore, Atlanta
May 19: Bound To Be Read Books, Atlanta
May 20: Koinonia Community, Americus, GA
May 21: Iron Rail Bookstore & Collective, New Orleans
May 22: That Bookstore in Blytheville, Arkansas
May 23: Monkeywrench Books, Austin, TX
May 24: Drinking Liberally, San Antonio
May 26: Peace Farm, Amarillo
May 28: Albuquerque, La Semilla Bookstore
May 29: Taos/Food Not Bombs
May 30: Tucson, Prescott College
May 31: Drinking Liberally, Las Vegas
June 1: San Diego Drinking Liberally
June 2: Metropolis Books, Los Angeles
June 6: Oakland Drinking Liberally
June 7: San Jose Drinking Liberally
June 8: Sonoma Peace & Justice Center, Santa Rosa
June 9: Revolution Books, Berkeley [?]
June 11: Medford Oregon
June 13: Drinking Liberally, Corvallis OR
June 14: Bend, OR: Book Barn; Bend Brewing Co.
June 15: Tsunami Books, Eugene
June 16: Laughing Horse Books, Portland
June 18: Last Word Books, Olympia, WA
June 21: Revolution Books, Seattle
June 23: Village Books, Bellingham
June 25: Vancouver, CA
June 27: Northern Idaho, sponsored by The Oberver, Don Harkins
June 29: Free Speech Zone, Salt Lake City, UT
June 30: Off The Beaten Path Bookstore, Steamboat Springs, CO
July 2: Left Books, Boulder, CO
July 3: Drinking Liberally, Colorado Springs
"It has been many years since I picked up a book and didn't put it down till I finished it. Mike Palecek's "The American Dream" smacks you right between the eyes with every turn of the page. This book tells the God-awful truth that none of us wants to accept."
- Guy James
"No more than a few degrees from what currently passes for reality, 'The American Dream' is a societal vision that hits too close to home(land) to be called a futuristic satire. Channeling both Orwell and Bill Hicks, Mike Palecek has created more than a powerful and engaging novel; he has let loose a global wake-up call."
- Mickey Z
"Dark, brutal, blunt and disturbingly funny, Mike Palecek's "The American Dream" is an inside joke for the outsider looking in. A satirical metaphor for the life we Americans now live, and the choice we Americans will soon have to make: At what cost is the American Dream worth and who should ultimately pay it?"
- Ty Rauber
Producer & Director
"Who Killed John O'Neill?"
"Mike Palecek writes with passion, wit, and always with a profound social conscience."
- Howard Zinn