RE: Whatıs Love Got to Do With It?

From: Carol Macdonald (
Date: Thu Oct 07 2004 - 22:11:27 PDT

Peter-I have forwarded your piece to like-minded people here. We are all
deeply concerned about the outcome of Nov 2nd.


-----Original Message-----
From: Vera P. John-Steiner []
Sent: Friday, October 08, 2004 12:07 AM
Subject: Re: Whatıs Love Got to Do With It?

Thanks, a wonderful piece, Vera

Peter Smagorinsky wrote:

>>> Here's a brief essay I wrote for First of the Month, a quarterly on
>>> politics
>>> and culture based in New York. I think you'll approve. Feel free to
>>> pass
>>> it on to like-minded folk. I'd love to make some tiny, tiny
>>> contribution to
>>> this election.
>>> Mike
>>> Whatıs Love Got to Do With It?
>>> Mike Rose
>>> There was a remarkable moment in former New York mayor Rudy
>>> Giulianiıs speech at the Republican National Convention, a moment I keep
>>> turning over and over in my mind. It had to do with love. About
>>> half-way
>>> through the speech-- after praising George Bushıs leadership in
>>> responding
>>> to 9/11 and before an affirmation of the Bush foreign policy doctrine--
>>> Giuliani offers the following scene.
>>> Bush is visiting ground zero and is soon surrounded by ³big,
>>> real big² construction workers. Their ³arms are bigger than
>>> [Giulianiıs]
>>> legs, and their opinions are even bigger than their arms.² Using
>>> language
>>> that Giuliani ³canıt repeat², one of the men begins speaking with deep
>>> feeling about the attackers to Mr. Bush, and then ³embraced the
>>> president
>>> and began hugging him enthusiastically.² Giuliani completes the
>>> moment by
>>> observing that this was an act of love.
>>> I donıt know this worker, so I can only imagine what
>>> feelings
>>> must have been churning inside him, seeking some kind of meaningful
>>> expression. And suddenly here before him stands the president of the
>>> United
>>> States. At ground zero. Overwhelming.
>>> What troubles me, though, what I canıt shake, is the use
>>> of that
>>> moment by Giuliani-- and similar moments by other Republican
>>> strategists and
>>> speechwriters-- to certify George Bushıs deep bond with working people.
>>> Giuliani describes the construction worker with genial
>>> humor,
>>> but if you think about it, the portrait is pretty stereotypical: the
>>> big,
>>> patriotic hard hat. Joe Sixpack. The working men and women I grew
>>> up with
>>> were strong, yes, and loyal to country, but they were much more.
>>> Smart and
>>> skeptical, for starters.
>>> Think, for a moment, of all that you wonıt see in these
>>> portraits. You wonıt see the female cannery worker with injured
>>> hands or
>>> the guys at bitter loose ends when the factory closes. You wonıt see
>>> people, exhausted, shuttling between two (or more) jobs to make a
>>> living or
>>> the anxious scramble for minimal health care for their kids. And you
>>> sure
>>> wonıt see people organizing to improve their working lives.
>>> What a funny kind of love it is that undercuts unions,
>>> erodes
>>> workplace health and safety regulations, opposes increases in the
>>> minimum
>>> wage, changes overtime rules. The invocation of love at ground
>>> zero-- and
>>> the replaying of the image-- mystifies things terribly. Emotion
>>> trumps the
>>> facts, the awful Republican record on working America. God forbid
>>> that the
>>> fellow embracing Bush develops, as so many have, serious respiratory
>>> disease. He wonıt find the administrationıs policies hospitable to his
>>> plight. Heıd better seek instead the much-maligned trial lawyer.
>>> American workers donıt need love from their government,
>>> especially this funky seduction. They need opportunity. They need an
>>> understanding of their struggles. They need an appreciation of the
>>> skill
>>> and intelligence they bring to their work. They need enough respect for
>>> that intelligence that theyıre provided with facts rather than emotion.
>>> They need the protections of the secure workplace, of the fair wage,
>>> of the
>>> union contract. They donıt need a one-way romance, the administration
>>> taking the embrace, but returning a deadly kiss.
>>> _______
>>> To appear in First of the Month (fall, 2004). See
>>> <>
>>> <> .
>>> Mike Rose is author of The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the
>>> American Worker (Viking, 2004)
>>> <>
>>> <> .

Vera P. John-Steiner
Department of Linguistics
Humanities Bldg. 526
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM  87131
(505) 277-6353 or 277-4324

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