Since I couldn't attend Yearly Kos, just down the street in Vegas, I consoled myself by going to see Greg Palast speak at a church in Los Angeles tonight. Helen Wheels and I had plans to go together - we wanted to go to the pre-speech dinner, which was cheaper for two, so she was going to be my gay date. We ran into a couple of snags, though - the dinner was sold out, and then her new puppy got sick, and she had to cancel.
I figured I could still go to the lecture, so I headed out there solo. When I got there, a guy at the door told me that I could go to the dinner anyway, that there was some room left. When I got to the ticket table, there was a lady in front of me who was also going to the dinner, but she didn't have enough cash for a meal ticket, and they didn't have a credit card machine. So she and I ended up being each other's date because she had just enough cash for her half of the couple's price, and we both saved money and had some company. Of course, the Greg Palast policy was that no one would be turned away for lack of funds. There's just something nice about progressive people. Somehow I can't imagine that kind of thing happening at an Ann Coulter lecture.
Greg Palast is a wonderful speaker, and very inspirational, as well as damn funny. Most (but not all) of what he talked about was in the book, but what I took away from it was a renewed sense of purpose as a liberal. The facts are depressing; no doubt about it. The vote stealing, the gross indifference to America and Americans, except for the 'base' - the haves and the have-mores; the power of the corporatocracy, the throwing away of countless human lives for nothing more than greed - it's all true. But at the end, he said, "If we march, we win. If we vote, we win. If they steal 5 million votes in 2008, let's register 7 million new voters. It may not be original or exciting, but it does work. And if we don't march, and we don't vote, we don't win."
That's the way I see it, too. Whatever I do as an individual may not be much, but it beats the alternative, which is inaction, and thereby aiding and abetting the thieves. The alternative is not acceptable to me.
After the lecture, Greg stayed to autograph books. He stayed until each and every person who wanted an autograph got one. His energy is amazing. I've been hearing him on every radio show I've listened to in the past couple of days, he's been traveling all over like a madman for this book tour, and yet he was so exuberant and inspirational. I brought my book that I bought the day it came out, and also the book that I got with my dinner ticket. I got him to sign one to me and the other one to Hooterville. I'm going to be giving it away here on the blog, so stay tuned for contest details!
If he's in your city, don't miss him! If not, buy the book! I wish I could have gone with all of you all - we would have had a blast.