An enormous woman, more than six-feet tall and two hundred pounds, stands against the far wall. She’s wearing a gunny sack dress and, despite being in her seventies, has long blonde hair. I have too much time to examine her as well as look around a small conference room where about twenty people are waiting for Jill Stein to address the state convention of the Green Party. She’s late this Saturday night in Bakersfield. Or is she that woman, gray haired and slender to the point of frailty, talking to people near the entrance and waiting for the crowd to increase? This isn’t going to be a one of those huge, chanting Donald or Bernie crowds, but people trickle in and forty minutes after the scheduled speaking time some seventy supporters watch Stein, in black pants suit and white blouse, step onto a makeshift stage.
In a smooth and pleasant voice she says she’s proud of the people here, they’re leading the pack and registering Green voters where it most counts: what happens in California will not stay in California. And it’s “cosmically” right that this conference is in Bakersfield, one of the reddest and least scenic counties in the state, because Bakersfield is a center for oil, fracking, and chemicals, and a place where agri-business runs free. It’s a Donald Trump kind of town where poverty and homelessness are the president’s allies because “fascism comes from economic despair. We need to tear down walls, not build them. We also need to cut the military budget.” Reactionaries don’t always win, she stresses, a Green Party candidate recently beat a fascist in Austria.
Applause rewards many of Stein’s statements but I notice the large lady’s frowning and clinching her fists as the petite physician declares Trump’s numbers are going down; his national security advisor, Michael Flynn, is already out; Attorney General Jeff Sessions has problems; the president quickly backed down on his first immigration order; there are many lawsuits against him; he may be vulnerable to bribery because of his Russian and other international business interests; President Nixon may have been tyrannical but at least during his era the Environmental Protective Agency was started, and now it’s under attack from the Trump administration, which ignores there’s a problem with climate change.
“Hey, Jill, you say the president’s in trouble,” shouts the big lady. “Take a look at your numbers tonight. I’ve got more security agents than this.”
“Ma’am, please wait for our question and answer session,” says Stein.
The lady rips off her long blonde hair, revealing an orange pompadour over the jowls of President Donald J. Trump. Many people gasp.
“I usually wouldn’t go near a fourth-rate meeting like this,” says The Donald, “but I’m visiting Kern County to meet with some very important oil people and wanted to see just how bush league you really are.”
“Mr. President,” Stein says.
“Don’t interrupt. We’re starting the questions and answers now. I’ve got your Green Party of California brochure, which is on very cheap paper, and here’s the first point – Ecological Wisdom. You advocate restricting resources so our communities and planet can continue to be healthy.”
“That’s right. We…”
“Our planet’s fine but we need to get more resources to grow our economies and rebuild our infrastructure. Next you have Social Justice and Equal Opportunity. Everyone should share in the fruits of our society and all that goody goody nonsense. All great societies are built by their most talented people, and they’ll get my tax cuts.”
“Quiet, Jill. Let’s skip the third and go to Nonviolence. You claim you promote peace and advocate nonviolent resolution to conflict. I sometimes advocate nonviolence, too, but don’t live in your fairytale world so am adding more than fifty billion to the defense budget.”
“We already spend more than the next seven nations combined.”
“Not nearly enough. But as a female physician, you wouldn’t understand that. This next one is outrageous: Decentralization. You’re worried about the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few people. Give me a few years and I guarantee the rich will become much richer. But so will everyone else. I’m going to create jobs.”
“Are you going to let me respond?”
“Look at this tiny group. You’re a bore. Here’s Feminism and Gender Equity. You’re profoundly inspired by feminism. Well, I’m inspired by hot babes. I shouldn’t leave it at that. I’m a pioneer in hiring women for executive positions in my construction empire. And my daughter Ivanka’s one of my top advisors. Let’s see, going down this list, I notice more silly stuff about Respect for Diversity and Personal & Global Responsibility. You’re repeating yourself, Jill.”
“I challenge you to a nationally televised debate,” she says.
“No way I give you that forum. You’ve got to earn it in the presidential primaries.”
“I should’ve had you thrown out.”
“You would have if you’d had any security.”
“After this I’ll feel justified when I crash one of your speeches.”
“My guys’ll toss you in two seconds.”