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The River Diaries

Thursday, August 17, 2000

Today we walked, our old walk, down past the wooden railing, to the road where nothing impossible stands between the river and the travelers. The air is light, full of blue and gold, the river launching big chuckling waves out to those edges, which yesterday felt like such a small place. Today, the embankments can barely contain the energy of the excited margins; sprays of river water shower the walk. The center with its inexorable push is not where I live now, but here on the edges, filled with the struggle to stay afloat, to make progress, to think anew.

Perry rolls about on the newly cut lawn, bits of grass clinging to his fur. All the battles of the day await, all the flurry of emotions and ideas after watching the Democratic Convention last night, reading the paper today. Only Bradley having the courage to talk about the rising rate of child poverty in this country—boring television, a suave news analyzer for Public Television will later say—no one mentions the people in the streets, as if they are ghosts. My Democratic Party, a tattered remnant of what it was once, of what it could be. Joe Lieberman, a Jew like me, who believes in more military spending, who mouths platitudes about seeing through other people’s eyes and yet supports school vouchers and the end of affirmative action, who would clean up smut and cinematic violence while he builds armies of mass destruction, who flies the banner of family and faith, so even William Bennett comes to the Hall to give him a hand. A Jew and so we applaud America’s openness, while Jesse Jackson has been regulated to a political curiosity shop. Race, race, race—the shame, the tragedy, the telling ground of what this country really is.


© 2000 Joan Nestle

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