Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shoes for the homeless. Shoes for the President.

In response to this story on The Slog:

Over at the Slog someone suggested that people mail their shoes to President Bush to show solidarity with the reporter who threw his shoes at the President, earlier this week in Iraq. I am of two minds about the shoe throwing, on the one hand I agree with Rachel Maddow. As much as you disagree with the President, or even hate the President, you don't throw shoes at the President, and you certainly don't throw shoes at our President. We are lucky it was only a shoe. What if it had been a knife? What if it had been acid or a vile of plague? What if the shoe hit the President, and like so much dumb luck, he fell and hit his head on something and he died? How would we retaliate? Do we bomb Iraq some more? What would life be like if Dick Cheney were President, even for just the next 35 days? Would Cheney even give up the White House?

But I also understand the "symbolism" of the shoe and I do agree with it. This President, though he may not be the worst in history (I am not a scholar), he is the worst in my lifetime. He makes me miss Nixon.

So someone suggested mailing shoes to the President, and surprisingly there were many people against it. Not because it's in poor taste or un-American, but because it's a waste of shoes. There are ten thousand (give or take) homeless people in Seattle alone. There must be a million nationwide. The homeless need shoes, especially this time of year when it is supposed to be the coldest winter in twenty years.

So here is my solution:

1) Look in your closet for shoes that are in decent shape, but ones you do not wear anymore (or go to Payless or K-Mart and buy cheap but decent pairs of shoes and trade them to the nearest homeless person for their grubby useless shoes.

2) On January 13, the Saturday before the inauguration, meet outside the White House. At 1:20 p.m. ("1:20 in honor of January 20, when G.W. is no longer President) everyone throws their ratty shoes over the fence onto the White House lawn.

If enough people do it, they couldn't arrest everybody (they can come to Seattle and arrest me for suggesting it, if they want). Also a lot of homeless people will have new shoes for the winter.

Everyone wins. People can show a relatively nonviolent show of solidarity with Muntadar al-Zeid, the world's most famous shoe thrower, and hopefully many homeless people will have new shoes for the winter. And someone please hold up a sign that says "Dear President Bush, Don't let these shoes kick your ass on the way out."

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