clamor Is a new bimonthly magazine, bringing you the depth of the human opulence often excluded from corporate-owned media. we bring you the thoughts, ideas, and opinions of the best writers in the world every day people who aren’t paid to write articles that sell magazines and products, clamor is revolutionizing the way people interact with print media by Inviting readers to participate rather than consume. team hers MIAMI IONA Issue Rim aniettebta Oetaber 1, 2000 feetining: itpubtican a d deotecotie nen woventione . troth in acetht, tentenia, and blot* oat. unctions against tree attica agribusiness smutty-ftspacsibfe investing tingerniinting in banks vasectomies Owe sex and awl 8f:come:Me Media PO Bak 1225 Ba, ,Aing Gan, OH 1:13402 www.c la manna gazine.org AIMPIAt in On OS. and shiissue otsai $20 in the US and 52 diode mode b Become 1, ANDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON SQUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS 78731 512-453-1533 Personally, what impressed me most was that every weekday morning you’d see his silver Lincoln parked at the front door of the Capitol. The man had good work habits. One of the Capitol parking attendants told me that every day Governor Bush was in town he came to work at eight and left at five. There were also Bush sightings away from the Capitol. You’d see him down at Town Lake running on the hike and bike trail, just like “a normal person.” The word that filtered out to the running community in Austin was that the Governor’s security people were having a problem finding Rangers or state troopers who could keep up with him. George Bush and this is the greatest praise that one runner, or one who tries to run, can give to another is fast. In this town, where everyone runs or swims or just generally exercises compulsively, that was at least one indication that George Bush fit in. The change in my neighbor’s persona came abruptly in February of 1998. There was an unmercifully long lead-in to the execution of Karla Faye Tucker, and during the last week or so of the drama the world’s media set up their cameras in Austin. Of course as much attention was focused on the occupant of the big white house at Eleventh and Colorado as on the woman waiting to know if she would die in Huntsville. A short time later, when President Clinton’s sex life spilled over into the Oval Office, there was a sudden feeling of nostalgia for the elder Bush’s moderate tenure and presto a star was born in his son. The young Governor managed to be both flip and sanctimonious in his handling of the Tucker case, and you couldn’t escape the feeling that deliberations about a prisoner’s fate weren’t much more to him than an extended photo opportunity. Regardless, from that moment on, he was constantly in the camera’s eye. Just as suddenly, the low-key George Bush disappeared. The Governor became visibly more assertive, as if he were trying to live up to the image of a tough-talking Republican front-runner. At the Capitol the change was also reflected, and it was equally abrupt. Suddenly you didn’t see the Lincoln Towne Car \(the Governor’s offi cial vehicles are the Lincoln and a Ford Exanymore. He wasn’t going into the office as often. There were changes at the Mansion, as well. You knew when the Governor was back in town from the campaign trail, because there were state troopers standing guard on the sidewalk on all sides of the block. Inevitably, a couple of marked state police cars, engines running, were parked strategically on surrounding streets. Security was not just tight. It was oppressive. It’s been like that ever since. If you go on the Mansion tour these days, you have to pass through a metal detector. If you walk by the back gate, and especially if you’re not white, or not corporate-looking, the heat \(whether agents of the U.S. Secret Service, or troopers of the Texas Denot just with suspicion, but with open hostility. Don’t stop to talk to anyone. Security doesn’t want a crowd. It’s as if they’re afraid of a mob attack: not like they’re protecting against a replay of Dallas in 1963, but of Paris in 1789. For me the most ridiculous part is that when George Bush comes back to Austin from campaigning, his security people like to take over downtown and start rerouting buses. It’s a colossal pain in the ass for everyone else downtown. Traffic in Austin is already bad enough without turning what should be a five-minute bus ride into a twenty-minute detour. If you call the transit company to ask what’s going on, they say, “The President is in town.” No, he isn’t. Not yet. He’s still just the Governor, and he’s been here for six years and it doesn’t make sense that his comings and goings should suddenly have to disrupt life in River City. Of course, that’s just bitching. It’s still summer, the campaign has begun to drag, and a lot of Democrats are on the rag. But for me it’s something more than that. One particular complaint began to fester in my mind a few years agoand now it haunts me. It’s not about traffic, or about being snubbed by my wealthy neighbors the Bushes. This particular nightmare could be a scene out of Brueghel, or Bosch. Actually it’s Texas Gothic, so terrifying it can only be real. In my mind’s eye, the same party that began on the Mansion grounds five years ago is still going on. The women are still wearing their summer dresses and they have cool drinks in their slim pink hands. The difference is that now there is a colored presence. Black men, with their hands tied behind their backs, are hanging on ropes from the sturdy oak trees on the Governor’s lawn. No one seems to notice. The party continues. A sudden breeze blows in from the banks of the Colorado, as a dozen pairs of black feet turn slowly in the wind. Austin writer Lucius Lomax contributes frequently to the Observer on state agency affairs. SEPTEMBER 22, 2000 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23
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