Distributing Bush’s Report Card on May Day

I spent the better part of a sunny and warm May Day afternoon distributing “Bush’s Report Card,” an SPC brochure, in a West Side neighborhood. Both the people and the housing in this neighborhood are incredibly diverse. I must admit to being a bit nervous as I approached a house with a prominently-placed American flag, a small shrine to 9/11, and beer-drinking white guys hoisting heavy tools from the back of a pickup truck – which showed my own fears and prejudices. One was the homeowner, and they all accepted the report cards. They called out to me as I crossed the street “Hey, weren’t you a bit generous with the ‘C’ in English? Bush should get straight ‘F’s.”

I met a young African-American man. I asked if he was over 18 and if he was registered to vote. He replied that he has been registered but has never voted – “but I intend to this year.” He looked down at the report card, and smiling said, “This is good.” As I returned to the sidewalk, I heard him on his cell phone reading the report card to his listener.

A little further on, about ten Latino adults and children were outside. Several of the children asked what I was handing out. I gave them a few report cards, and one commented, “I do better than the president!” A few moments later one of the women came after me and asked if she could have several report cards to take to a family celebration later in the day.

As I made my way to a corner store for a much-needed bottle of water, a car load of African-American women and children pulled up and began to unload groceries. As usual, the children came up to me and asked about the president’s report card. They quickly took the cards to the adults, one of whom exclaimed “Hey, look at this, some white people don’t like him either.”

By now I was very thirsty. (Note to others: carry water! And use sunscreen!). At the store the cost of the water dropped when the cashier read the report card, and suggested putting a few right next to the cash register where they would be seen.

I ran out of report cards before I finished my route.

- Ann Goodgion