Friday, July 08, 2005

Uncle Sam: Rest in Peace

Sheila Leavitt, who owns the protest car, shown here has been noticed by Margery Eagan of the Boston Herald who wrote:

You could call Sheila Leavitt a nutty, annoying, unrelenting Newton leftie who home-schools the kids and raises chickens to share eggs with neighbors, not to eat. She is, of course, a vegetarian.

I see her as one of those rare people who puts their convictions on parade, then faces uneasy consequences. Like the beefy, mad, middle-aged guy who followed her around the Esplanade yesterday, before dawn, tearing down her "Impeach Bush'' posters as fast as she put them up. Or the trucker she said rear-ended her at a Mass Pike toll booth, sending her head into the steering wheel of her '88 Toyota Corolla with bumper stickers saying ``War is barbaric'' and ``Support our troops . . . Draft Jenna & Barbara,'' as in Bush.

How much easier, really, discretion? Or just waving the flag and sticking your popular ``Support the Troops'' yellow ribbon on the rear window.

No one's going to rear-end you for that.

Well, you should've seen Sheila Leavitt's in-your-face Toyota yesterday as this 54-year-old trained physician and mother of four in sundress and flip-flops did her ``one-person protest parade'' through the Back Bay and South End.

She'd spray-painted the car black like a hearse. On its roof, a cardboard Uncle Sam lay in state atop a black-and-white-painted cardboard coffin. ``Fake Elections. Fake President. Real Lies. Real War,'' the coffin read. ``Got Kids?'' read another sign. ``I want yours for cannon fodder.'' And another, the Lily Tomlin quote: ``No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.''

Then for drivers, and there are plenty, who make obscene gestures, she has this rear bumper rejoinder, ``Is that finger well-informed?''

``I like the car,'' said Jack Davis, 38, passing by it yesterday. ``Why are all these young kids going over there to a war we can't win?''

Davis is black and blacks, says Leavitt, along with her Newton leftie neighbors, are most likely to give her a thumbs-up as she cruises Boston or chauffeurs her sometimes mortified children to music lessons or baseball practice. Her husband, though he shares her politics, doesn't like driving in the car at all. Or his children either. He's worried.

But some of their children's friends, Leavitt said, think she's ``cool.''

So what is going on here?

Well, Leavitt apparently is a once-regular suburbanite who's been radicalized and can't just go quietly anymore. She's thought Bush should be impeached since the war began. ``He lied about it.''

She worked for John Kerry's election, driving Ohio voters to polls. One was an 80-year-old, black double amputee who'd spoiled his mail-in ballot. She said getting another one, on Election Day, took three hours. She also said she saw hours-long lines at black precincts and none at white precincts. Now she's convinced GOP operatives stole the election and that the press has ignored it.

I think she's wrong, by the way - about the press, and Bush stealing the election and lying. To me, he heard what he wanted to hear, and then botched things big-time. Yet some new polls put me in the minority, Leavitt in the majority, though she's the first middle-age mother I've seen willing to drive around town making a spectacle of her ire.

``I can't understand why everybody doesn't, why they're just sitting on their butts watching fireworks,'' she said as four jet fighters zoomed by over head. ``My God, real people are being blown up.''

So Sheila Leavitt made yet another sign just for the fireworks set. "July 4, 2005, as we watch from our chairs Bush's Bombs bursting in air, should we feel patriotic, or merely psychotic?''