brilliant and beautiful bride were in town last night promoting their new book, This Moment On Earth
, so the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left and I made the trek to Seattle's Town Hall for the occasion.
Thanks to the folks at PublicAffairs Books
, who provided the invite, and the folks at the University of Washington who provided the caterer, we started out at a pre-event reception. I got a chance to touch base with DiAnne Grieser, a friend from Kerry Meet Up days and sometime guest photographer for Upper Left. Campaign pals are like combat buddies - it's always a treat to catch up. The reception also afforded my first fact to face meetings with N.P.I.
founder Andrew Villeneuve and Lynn Allen of Pacific Views
, a pleasing bonus.
Soon enough, the couple of the hour arrived, fresh from a dinner at Teresa's favorite Seattle restaurant, Wild Ginger. In fact, the last time I saw the Kerrys together, they'd just come from celebrating their wedding anniversary at Wild Ginger. (I'm afraid the perfect tavern
is a little too far off the beaten track to attract their custom, but I'd sure like to demonstrate the superiority of northwest chowder to my favorite Bostonian.)
Kerry's remarks to the reception were brief, but he did take the opportunity to introduce Helen Reddout, an eastern Washington farmer whose efforts to bring the industrial farms that have been crowding the Yakima valley into compliance with the Clean Water Act is one of the stories highlighted in the book. This Moment On Earth
is largely devoted to similar examples of the ability of citizens to take local action and end up having far-reaching impact on improving the environment.
After his comments, I took advantage of a little schmooze time with the Senator while the BBBUL wielded the camera. (In this shot, the Senator is reading a proposed motion designed, apparently, to put the Republicans on the spot by calling for a vote that would endorse an open-ended war of any kind Bush wanted to wage. I quipped that I preferred Reid-Feingold. Kerry just smiled. (He's already agreed to co-sponsor Reid-Feingold.)
From there it was to the auditorium for the main event of the evening. After thanking the locals for their hard work in '04, everything, he noted "…except moving to Ohio," (Yes, it was a joke. Yes, he delivered it very well. Yes, everybody laughed.) he began to describe the book and the stories that motivated it, keeping to a positive theme. The success stories in the book, he insisted, reflect "the optimism we ought
to have." While he recognizes the scope and urgency of a number of environmental crises, including but not limited to climate change, he is still resolute in his belief that "We can do this."
Throughout his remarks I admit to being distracted by the thought of how amazing it would be to have a President of the United States who could get up and discuss a matter of public import extemporaneously and intelligently, with data and details fully within his or her grasp, for forty minutes or so. Hey, a guy can dream.
Teresa took her turn and her passion for these issues, issues which have occupied decades of her attention as they have John's, was evident. I took note of her insistence that these are universal, rather than partisan, concerns. It's also a theme of the book, which includes a Bush campaign coordinator from New Mexico and some major corporations on its roster of environmental heroes. "People can't hide behind these (partisan) games," she said. "This is not a 'games' book. This is life."
In fact, Kerry noted that one of the reasons he stepped out of the '08 Presidential mix was in order to get the message of This Moment On Earth
more widely heard, rather than let it be muffled by the fog of political motivation that a Presidential campaign would likely inspire.
The closest thing to fireworks came during the Q&A. When a woman confronted Teresa with the charge that global climate change is a fraud, Teresa patiently held her ground and cited the science. When the questioner continued to pursue her point without acknowledging Teresa's, Kerry interceded. It went something like this…
John Kerry: May I ask you a question?
Confrontational Questioner: Global warming…fraud…conspiracy…blah, blah, blah.
JK: Fine, may I ask you a question now?
CQ: Fraud…conspiracy…petition…blah, blah, blah.
JK: OK, may I ask you a question now?
CQ: Fraud…conspiracy…genocide…blah, blah, blah.
JK: Do you represent Lyndon LaRouch?
JK: Lyndon LaRouche is nuts.
That last line is verbatim.
And it's the truth.
(This is about the most ambitious layout I've ever tried, by the way. It finally looks ok on my IE screen with the font set for arial, medium. Hope it works for you.)