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"You can't be all you can be if you're dead." Thanks E. J. Montini!

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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-05 08:42 AM
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"You can't be all you can be if you're dead." Thanks E. J. Montini!
Let's thank E.J. for this! His email is at link at bottom.

Nov. 29, 2005 12:00 AM
They could not have selected a finer street corner on which to stage a political protest. Not simply because it is easily accessible and quite busy but because it's so . . . chichi. The intersection of 24th Street and Camelback Road is so ostentatious that protestors didn't need to gather there. The ritzy location proved their point for them. Still, since they showed up, so did I.

They came because U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl was hosting a dinner with President Bush. The two men, along with a gathering of their closest well-heeled friends, were set to enjoy a $1,000-a-plate fund-raising meal for Kyl on Monday at the Arizona Biltmore Resort Spa.

Before that happened, however, a crowd of sign-carrying citizens gathered in the late afternoon at 24th and Camelback to protest the war in Iraq, the president's immigration policy and, finally, Kyl. The senator was singled out in a pre-protest news release as "a willing accomplice in the Bush administration's plan to remake America into a playground for the rich and powerful."

Of course, 24th and Camelback has all around it some of Arizona's most opulent high-rise condominiums and office buildings. It is just south of the Biltmore. And it is the location of Arizona Biltmore Fashion Park, a collection of fine restaurants and high-end shops.

As much as any single location in Phoenix, this intersection is designed to demonstrate beyond any doubt that America is a playground for the rich and powerful. Not only do Kyl and Bush apparently believe this, but they embrace it. They celebrate it. By their choice of the Biltmore and the price of their meal, they flaunt it.

So the protest went ahead. I arrived early enough to find a seat outside the Coffee Plantation, which not only produces wildly overpriced beverages but also is within view of the street corner where protestors first congregated.

Among them were Pam Russell and John Dale of Prescott. The couple stood on the northeastern corner, near the valet parking section of the shopping center, holding up a sign that read, "You can't be all you can be if you're dead."

"We have been wanting to be part of a protest for some time, and this really was our best opportunity," Russell said. "I only hope that this kind of thing catches on."

As Dale explained his reasons for opposing the manner in which President Bush has dealt with the United Nations, the driver of a car who was stopped at a red light began shouting "Go home" to the protestors. To which one responded, "We are home!"

Of course, neither the senator nor the president heard this. Perhaps by then they were exchanging pleasantries with their guests, who I suspect were careful to avoid the topic of Kyl's recent lukewarm support for his powerful benefactor.

Days before the president was flown into town as the main attraction at Kyl's fund-raiser, the senator was asked if inviting a relatively unpopular president to town might be a political risk.

"I don't know," Kyl said.

Then, as if that weren't unenthusiastic enough, the senator added, "I would never be so disrespectful as to suggest that he's not welcome in my state."

I overheard a couple of protestors discussing this, causing one of them to wonder out loud if $1,000 a plate was the going rate for a gourmet feast of crow.

Still, as protests go, it was most civilized. Exactly as one might expect at such a haughty locale, particularly when much of the Biltmore's valet parking lot was occupied by police cruisers.



Reach Montini at ed.montini@arizonarepublic.com
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Hello_Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-05 05:14 PM
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1. That's great! (Remember to post only 4 paragraphs though)
Or you'll get spanked by the mods! ;)

Great synopsis of the event by E.J. I will definitely send my appreciation along to him.

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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-05 09:26 PM
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2. And a sincere thanks to you!
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