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|Los Angeles County, CA||June 6, 2006 Election|
A Trip to The Czech Republic to Help Get Greens in the European Parliament
By Glenn E. HopkinsCandidate for Member, Green Party County Council; County of Los Angeles; Senate District 28
This information is provided by the candidate
how the expense of the ticket and the time spent in The Czech Republic was more than balanced by making the story of America's greatest Lady and greatest advocate of heart-politics availble in several languages.A TRIP TO THE CZECH REPUBLIC TO HELP GET GREENS IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT....
I answered an email call for an American Green to volunteer to go to The Czech Republic and help the Greens there to get into the European Parliament. About a week after buying the ticket (they had pledged to cover all meals and housing) I received an unrestricted foundation grant for a thousand bucks (the cost of the ticket) for my play MRS. ROOSEVELT.
Here's an early exchange.
Subj: Re: I have bought a plane ticket. I am counting on you to plan my intenerary Date: 4/21/2004 5:05:32 AM Pacific Standard Time From: email@example.com
File: List+of+Candidates.zip (10717 bytes) DL Time (46667 bps): < 1 minute Sent from the Internet
we are really happy to hear the you have decided to come, the term of your comming is great for the us, I am sure your presence here will be a huge help. Of course I will find an accomodation for you and will pick you up at the airport. If you agrre, I will discuss the details of preliminary program of your visit with our main candidates and let you know everything as soon as possible. For the time being, please, find attached the list of our candidates and election program, I think it may interest you. You can find there the names of people who will join you here.
many thanks and we are greetly looking forward to welcome you here!!!
Veronika Hrdinova firstname.lastname@example.org +420 777 169 680
______________________________________________________________ > Od: Mootney123@aol.com > Komu: email@example.com > CC: > Datum: Wed, 21 Apr 2004 01:39:24 EDT > Předmět: I have bought a plane ticket. I am counting on you to plan my intenerary > > > > I will arrive in Prague via British Airways flight 854 at 11:45 am > Thursday May 27 > > I must leave May 30 Sunday at 7:45 am. > > I hope you will give first priority to helping me with rides to and from the > airport....and with room and board for Thurs. Fri. and Sat. evenimg. > > In return...please arrange engagements where I can be useful in > talking about the American Green movement or about American English > pronunciation./////either or both as fund-raisers for the support of more Greens in the > European Parliament... > > Several people on this end are trying to get together a simple green > song...that we can all use internationally.........no guarantee, though. > > > Please email back your thinking. It's a no refund, no change ticket. I > was glad you liked the website material. Maybe one of the events in question > can include a half-hour reading of my little one woman play Mrs. > Roosevelt....(her husband was elected to 4 4-year terms as president...the record) > > If possible tell me the names of people that will be handling me and some > idea/ options about how you can use me. > > Thanks, > > Glenn Hopkins > > > > I hope I can be useful to you >
And I hope I was.
I gave out fliers at street corners of the two largest cities, did an interview with a supposedly major magazine, bought them an accordion for their street actions, gave a speech in a giant, packed square, showed them how to use a giant, green punch balloon to enliven and highlight their presence, and started my own tradition of translations of MRS. ROOSEVELT.
The reading, in Czech, at a Prague cafe was a highlight for me. The play is now available in Czech, Korean, Spanish, Farsi and English. Our adult school had readings in four languages in four different campus venues not long ago. We used the English version for a David Cobb fund-raiser and it will appear at the end of this report.
The Czech Republic is far more Green than The U.S.. Literally, it is 40% forest. The two major cities both have good electric streetcar systems; their elections feature proportional representation (They were shocked at the winner-take-all thing we have here): and everywhere in the rural areas there were fields and fields of yellow flowers...canola for bio-diesel.
They were true to their pledge and paid for every meal. I bought them an accordion (about 200 dollars) for them to use in street rallies. There were many meals in restaurants and discussions, etc..
Though the election results didn't reach the 5% necessary for representation, they did double their previous election's overall showin up from 1.5 to 3%.
And now for your own fund and consciousness-raising event:
Mrs. RooseveltSupported in development by grants from the Pacificus Foundation, The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation; by performances at The Oasis Center, The Woodstock Guild, Green Party of The Czech Republic, Radical Faeries of NY City, Westside (L.A.) Greens and in San Francisco by The Venice Mootney Co.
(a thirty-minute one-woman show in one act by Glenn Hopkins)
I would prefer to ask you questions about this America you're living in right now. I've been away so long. But they tell me I should speak freely about my growing up and so forth first.
I can see now that an important first thing to mention is that my father was a hopeless romantic and idealist. (After Father died I wrote a little book about what a great sportsman and big-game hunter he was. Oh, I should have worn my necklace made from the teeth of a tiger that my father shot. Ever since he gave it to me when I was little I always wore my tiger-tooth necklace when I thought I needed to be powerful. It was one of my most prized possessions. I wore it when I felt I needed extra oomph, you know.
Are you people sure you want to hear from an old-lady dead these many years? ....And no, my father was not Theodore Roosevelt. President Theodore Roosevelt was my father's younger brother, famous for his "bully sportsmanship" but he couldn't hold a candle to my father. Uncle Ted envied Father, looked up to him...and then had him locked away as an embarrassment.
Let me explain. Father and Mother were part of the Oyster Bay crowd. We were quite well-off. I grew up among rich snobs is the best way to put it. Kind, in their way...but hopelessly narrow. I really yearned to escape them all more and more. I was curious and not as dumb or as shy as they all thought. Actually they never thought I was dumb. Just that I was "too deep." They always referred to me as "Poor Eleanor." They would talk about me as if I weren't right there in the room listening to them. "poor little Eleanor!" The clearest memory I have of Mother, Father and me together was at age two, being dropped,---literally dropped--- oh, ten feet or more into a waiting lifeboat to avoid sinking with the ship on which we had been trying to sail to Europe. And then mother and father went ahead on their trip anyway and just left me behind!! I was only two !
That sinking ship was certainly an apt foreshadowing of my soon-broken little home. From that age, of course, I was absolutely terrified of the water.
So whom did I marry? An ambitious fifth cousin who loved boating !
But I'm jumping ahead.... I need to explain about my parents. They didn't participate in a hands-on nurturing relationship with me. Whenever I would enter the room my mother would get an ugly scowl on her otherwise beautiful face: "What do you want, Granny?" she would say to me. "Granny' she called me. I'm afraid that even as a child I was rather homely, and I suppose I reminded her so much of her disappointment with Father. But I am free enough to face it now...and....Well, let me quote Mr. Gershwin: "My mother was a bitch." (Goodness, I never could have said such a thing at a speaking engagement while I was alive.)
Maybe I was just too serious for her. I'm not sure. And she had her awful migraines, which heaven knows can knock people senseless with pain. But I got no affection. Where was I going to get affection? My mother locked in her room depressed, and Father down in Virginia always writing me idealistic letters telling me to be pure and good and honest.
Oh. Father's letters. I would read and re-read his letters about how I must be strong and brave and smart and gentle and elegant and courteous. I had to read letters from him because his family decided he didn't deserve to live with Momma and me. Seems my Uncle Theodore wanted to be police Commissioner and then Governor of New York and then President and his alcoholic brother, my father, my poor alcoholic Father was such an embarrassment that he had to be scooted off to virtual imprisonment on some farm in Virginia. That's where he wrote to me from.
I treasured each of Father's letters! It makes me peevish to this day --if I let it get to me-- that the one person in my childhood who really loved me, who didn't treat me like a duty to be born was my dear, lovely father, who, yes, did forget about me waiting in a carriage in front of his club for three hours as he carried on happily drinking and smoking, and gambling inside without remembering me at all .
So whom did I marry? A man who loved mixing stiff cocktails and slapping girls' behinds...other girls' behinds...and who was totally dependent on his own mother for money and approval. Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes met my husband Franklin and summed him up like this: "First class temperament, second-rate intellect." What my husband was, among other things, was a "Mr. Glad-hand." He never wanted to tell anybody anything they didn't want to hear. Oh yes, that was left to me: with our children's discipline when they were little, with their divorces while we were in The Whitehouse....
Wait ! This whining will never do! Here I am back alive several generations outside my own time...I want to see how things are now. You tell me! Tell me what about your current life (here) in America would surprise me? If you don't shout out something that would surprise me, I'll go on...but, speak, really. What's happening here in America and around the world that would surprise me. ( SHE FIELDS COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE WITH NONCOMMITAL REMARKS) AND LEADING QUESTIONS...FINALLY RETURNING TO HER TASK ...REFERRING TO SOME 3 X 5 CARDS)
I see. What else? (after an example) Oh, I'm not surprised at that.....What else...(DISCUSSION SECTION CLOSES WITH A PLANTED REMARK; "The South is all Republican now..") Oh they've forgiven Mr. Lincoln, have they? Well I'm sorry but I say good riddance! Goodness did I say that? What a luxury to be dead already and to say anything you want. Do you know, there was a time in Franklin's administration when there were lynchings... black people hung out on trees til they were dead by angry lawless mobs. And all of us would say "Mr. President, you have to say something about this." And he wouldn't and he wouldn't because the South was all racist Democrats that he felt he couldn't alienate. I swear at times like that I wanted to wring Franklin's neck, he could be so wishy-washy. "Feather duster,' that was his nickname from the other boys up at Harvard.
Our enemies used to say that Franklin and I would recite to each other, "You kiss the negroes, and I'll kiss the Jews. And we'll be in the Whitehouse as long as we choose." ( You know, I was taught as a society girl to be quite anti-Semitic. When I finally met some actual Jewish people I was amazed that they all seemed quite lovely... or had at least the same range of lovely to dreadful as any cross-section of our friends.)
So, let's see.
As a girl with a mother who tended to shut herself into her bedroom and a father virtually imprisoned for his alcoholism by Uncle Teddy, I had to become quite patient, or go mad. And I suppose I'm glad I pored over those letters and took my father's advice to heart and did always try to be loving and honest and hardworking and all those girl-scout things. I was very idealistic and I just prayed some day I would meet a man who would give me the tender affection that I so longed for.
And whom did I marry? Yes, I know I'm jumping ahead again but let me just clear the air.
Before the First World War, when Franklin was Undersecretary of the Navy for Woodrow Wilson...(We all thought that was a good omen because Uncle Ted had been undersecretary of the Navy) I was a very young married woman with very young children...in Washington...well, let me just say it was during the Wilson administration when I found out my husband was the lover of my own secretary...My own secretary!! Oh yes! I would have much preferred that it be the girl intern from California delivering the pizza pie. (...I told you I wasn't dumb, didn't I? )
...Oh yes I knew where babies come from and we did have a few more, but from that instant in my own house when I confirmed my suspicions about the two of them....Franklin was never again able to give me that affection that had eluded me so long...
I burned every one of the letters he had sent me before that point.
And the promise to behave that his mother extracted from him...it was for his career and reputation not really for me...I knew it was a politician's promise. And from that day forward I knew I had been wrong. And Franklin Delano Roosevelt could not be the be-all and end-all answer to my long, long-standing yearning for simple affection. I didn't know it then, but I've since decided that no one person can fulfill everything that's lacking...can fulfill every need in any other person; and that no kind of love is to be despised.
And my crying and headaches and the depression that followed....there was something very familiar about it. ( I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning.) And suddenly it dawned on me... I was turning into my mother.
And that's when it stopped. Or, rather, I stopped letting myself sink lower. and lower. I came to see that I had become a politician too. If Franklin could use me for his agenda, then I could use him for mine.
In those days in the Wilson Administration, my husband would have groups of Democrats over like the squlre of the land ...and me with no extra money to feed all these people. (PANTOMIMES GAMELY) I just set up my good silver chaffing dish in the dining room and made scrambled eggs for everyone. "Poor little Eleanor" had at least turned into "Good-old Eleanor, isn't she a good sport about it all," which has to be seen as an improvement. And I listened, and put in my two cents, I met with the wives of the others and saw that they ranged from empty hats to really committed and intelligent women.
I could tell which of them had known about Franklin and my secretary and hadn't told me anything....Oh, my humiliation was complete. Perhaps ladies, especially see my point.
So, even now, today, every dime minted in these United States may , in fact, have one's husband's face stamped onto it, but he had destroyed the deepest level of affection that we had between us and it never came back. Never. Yes, we always loved each other, of course. And we were a team, and all the rest, yes. I was very flattered when he told the nation over the radio, "She is my eyes and ears." And I always went out gathering information for him, it's true.
But after that happened is when I made Franklin build me my own house in Hyde Park, "Val Kill" we called it. And we women developed our agenda.... I spoke to Franklin about it every day...sometimes, I'm afraid, quite coldly and angrily, as the children will tell you . Yes, sweet little me. "Good-old Eleanor" was ready to fight for the people who had the least of anyone, which is often women and children, unfortunately.
But now where was I to get affection, you see? The children quickly began to be condescending toward me. At Hyde Park Franklin sat at one end of the table his mother at the other. She seemed to undermine everything I said to my own children, and Franklin kissed up to her horribly...she controlled the family money `til the day she died. So I built Val-kil, that's what we called my cottage, I made Franklin give me the land and I installed two lovely lesbian furniture makers in there and I had my own little house starting in 1925. It made going to Hyde Park tolerable to me. Over at Franklin's family home the living room had two giant stuffed chairs: one for his Mamma and one for Franklin. The rest of us sat wherever we could.
I just wanted to get things straight on that point because those of us who have gone before you do hear your prayers as you mark the trails that we have also trod. Don't give up praying to the spirits we serve. Don't stop praying to the grandmothers and grandfathers. We're not gone. Not at all. You folks tell dear Hillary not to give up. "Your future is even brighter than your past, Hilliary!!"
What? Kennedy? Well, in 1960 I stood before the convention and nominated Adlai Stevenson for a third try, not Kennedy. I thought Kennedy was trying to do too much, too fast. Considering what happened in Dallas I might have been right, wouldn't you say?
Now, to go back and catch up: My mother died when I was nine and I was cared for by my grandmother and aunts and never really started to blossom in my own way until at fifteen I was sent to Mlle. Sovestre's finishing school in London. Gore Vidal says she was a lesbian but I certainly never heard or witnessed anything indiscreet about her. I wouldn't have known what to call it if I had. She simply brought out the best in me by loving me and making me a leader among the girls by letting them know she loved me. She's the one who taught me to buy and wear clothes from the best dressmakers in Paris. Over there I got yet another name, "Totty."
At Madam Sovestre's finishing school we only spoke French and it was fun. Such a shy teenager I was but I did quite well because my nanny had been French and had only ever spoke to me in French. And, you see, I finally escaped the rigid, empty life of the rich New York socialite. Madam taught us to think and to question, not to regurgitate facts. Her politics were socialist and compassionate. She came to trust me completely and relied on me several times to buy all the train tickets and make the hotel arrangements for wonderful tours we girls took with her all over Western Europe.
After three years, I really hated to come back to America, which for me would mean a series of ridiculous balls and cotillions...me the plain-Jane with the buck teeth in that empty social scene. I went through it, not expecting to generate much interest from any of the empty-headed-boys that would be cruising a rich, well placed China-doll of a wife there. Madam Sovestre wrote back "Oh, Totty there is now no one to take the new girls under her wing and show them the ropes the way you always did in your years here with us. I miss you so."
It felt good to be praised by her but I had started doing volunteer work in some of the poorest neighborhoods of New York City . And for some reason my distant cousin from the wrong side of the family--- that is the Delano-Roosevelts who were Democrats of all things--my cousin Franklin started to call in his straw hat and bow tie. Oh, he was so smooth. And I was so amazed that he started to confide in me, and he valued my opinions, and I encouraged him in his ambitions....but I must say he'd lived a pretty sheltered life! Only a few times did he go with me to the unsavory tenements where I was working and he was shocked, poor boy. He didn't think people could live under such conditions. Whereas we had always fed the newsboys' orphanage at Christmas-time and so-forth...Franklin's father had been a kind of benevolent country squire, and Franklin was sort-of a chip off the old block.
My own father, poor soul, had died before I was ten. So at our wedding I was given away by The President of The United States, my Uncle Ted. Don't be jealous...there was one point at our wedding reception when Uncle Ted moved to the next room. Everyone gravitated around him like the sun-king of course, and Franklin and I , "the happy honeymoon couple" were left sitting there by ourselves...sitting alone at our own wedding reception.
And it was nice that Franklin and I were given a New York townhouse by his mother as a wedding present...but, in fact, it was right next to hers and she had workmen break down walls on each floor so she could come bursting in through wide sliding double-doors at any moment of the day or night, even on the bedroom level. She was a piece of work....and never would I be able to get any kind of affection...not from Franklin's mother, oh no.
What else? Well, there's already a lot written about Franklin's paralysis with polio that summer. I remember the day so well...the water was really icy cold...and it took from him the ability to walk forever.
What you call the media was different in our day and one never saw pictures or film of Franklin as this big floppy thing being picked up and plopped in his chair, his attendants adjusting the hat on his head like on a doll, You never saw newsreels of him on crutches...just that strong confident big head shaking around for emphasis. (imitates)...Big head shaking.... "My fellow-Americans..."
But it's also true that without his handicap my husband would probably never have developed the depth of empathy for the poor that got him elected four times. Before polio, everything came easy to him. It's quite true that the pain and suffering and frustration of that ordeal made him a better person. It was the irritating grain of sand from which he developed into a pearl, you might say.
So yes both Franklin and I got a great deal of affection from the American people. But quite a few hated us, too.
And, speaking of hate, can you tell me how the hateful Senator Joseph McCarthy was able to make it a crime to've talked to people who were socialists concerned for the poor ?! A crime against America to've talked to communists !!
I've always said we have to keep talking to everyone. Communists may take things one step too far, but I had invited the student socialists to come to The White House for tea...and of course after the war Harry Truman made me the head of the U.S. delegation in drafting the charter of the U.N. I had to talk with communist leaders...
Do you know how McCarthy did it?
He was the first T.V. star!!
There was nothing else on in those days. People bought this amazing invention, and who did they see? McCarthy with his "Are you now, or have you ever been a communist?" The new magic of "radio with pictures" was all his. The toddling, stumbling T.V. industry with nothing to put on the air...that's what made Senator McCarthy. Great damage that man did rooting out the progressive network of caring, compassionate socialists our years had installed into all the agencies we had invented....what you people now refer to as "the safety net" for the poor and the common man.... Being elected four times...enabled us to invent Social Security and what you now call "the safety net." Can you imagine a man elected President four times? In 1932 one third of America was out of work. It was the perfect match : "crippled country elects a crippled President.,
And me? Well, I thank God every waking moment that in the fall of 1932 ...our first campaign for President, The Associated Press wire service assigned a reporter named Lorena Hickock to cover me, and me alone. I was her assignment.
She was short and round and a little bit tough, you know, plain spoken. I was tall and rather reticent. Lorena Hickock and I were an odd couple...but between us there developed the most marvelous affection. My more long-standing lady friends from the establishment and even from the progressive movement never did warm to her. We didn't care.
She and I went on a camping trip once...just the two of us driving around the western states and camping together. (If you don't think that wasn't hard to arrange!! There, again, this was another era for the media...a President's wife could never travel incognito in these times, I know ) It was lovely.
Of Course, once during a really bad thunderstorm we knocked on a farmer's door to get out of the rain and lightning, and so forth....That farmer took one look at the two of us drenched wet in our man-ish hiking shorts and boots...and said he'd no intention of harboring such women as us and that we'd burn in eternal hellfire for our sins!!!
Franklin could send Lorena Hickock around the country on all the fact-finding missions he wanted...but he couldn't destroy the feelings of love we had for each other. "Hick." We all called her "Hick." Hick became part of our family too, just as Missy LeHand, Franklin's secretary...and... Well ..Missy was Franklin's secretary...and, and so forth. She took care of Franklin's needs. And I had Hick. This was our table at Christmas...with the children and grandchildren. . We were the first family, and we were an odd family, I suppose. (POINTING TOWARD AUDIENCE MEMBER) Look at this one! She's shocked.
Oh, there's so much more one could say, I know. But let me stop here because with Lorena Hickock I did find the affection that I'd always wanted. We were both pretty fast-moving targets so I don't think anybody ever pinned some nasty label on us, except for that farmer in the rainstorm.
And what were our sins? I was doing my duty for God and country, certainly. I was always a good girl, and a strong girl, and all the rest.
But being strong can be absolutely exhausting. And I just will always treasure in my memory those nights as Hick and I lay together under the stars, holding hands and talking late into the night...There was a little place behind Hick's ear that was so darling to me I could kiss it forever.
So let me wish that for you, as I see it's time for me to go.
Keep talking to one another, listening, too. Half of any conversation should be listening. And may you all find someone you want to kiss forever. Because forever is a long time to be without affection.
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