Thursday, November 8, 2007

Paradise Lost

They gather by the dozens: pot-bellied hippies, middle-age folk singers, clapped-out would-be actresses, and prematurely withered crones. They’re standing in here in an Iowa rain, locked outside of a grand exhibition center in Des Moines that was supposed to be “a political draft summit event.”

Now, though, they’re simply left with thoughts of what might have been.

A bedraggled man dressed in an ill-fitting green hemp tunic holds up a sign that says ‘SOS Earth 2008’ and yells “What do we want?”

Dentures and medic-alert bracelets tremble with the response: “Run, Al, run!”

But the folk-music extravaganza, capped off by a rousing song from well-known singer Paul Kaplan, has been cancelled. Some explain that it’s because Al Gore is well aware of how desperately these latter-day hippies want him to give meaning to their shallow, pathetic lives, allowing them to wallow once again in thoughts of what 2000 could have been.

One of the concert organizers, who requested not to be named, was less sanguine about Gore’s chances. “Listen, concerts aren’t free, even if you do hire second-rate acts. And the geritol crowd isn’t exactly known for their extravagance, you know? But look at California: if Gore supporters are struggling to get even 15 thousand signatures there, what hope do we have to make back our money in Iowa? I’d be better off organizing a Gallagher show in New York.”

The depressed crowd slowly dispersed, saying that they were undeterred. “We don’t want Hillary or the others. We want the man that really won eight years ago!” Said concert-wannabe Autumn Meadow. “If he only teamed with John Kerry, they’d be almost unstoppable!”