Subject: Derby Day

I'll sign any affidavit that says that every word below is true and reported
to the best of my ability. This story is lacking photos because I was attacked by
some freaks who broke my camera (read on for the full story)

I left for the track at 9:45 am

Parked and walked around for a while  - I was looking for the anti-police
brutality protestors to show up but I could not find them...went back to my
car and drove around to different areas to see if I had the wrong address. I
couldn't find them. I reparked my car and started to walk up Taylor Boulevard
towards my friend's house (he has a house directly across Central Ave. from the track.)
I was hoping to rest a minute at his place and scope out the track when I looked up
at about 11:30 AM and saw the plane flying!


There it was flying low over Taylor Boulevard at Lincoln Ave. - and it was
headed straight towards the track - I took of running and managed to get a
couple of shots of the plane on my video camera. I think this was it's first
pass over the track and I managed to film the plane flying over the famous twin spires.

I was expecting this early flight time to be a disaster because we had some
people with cameras coming down to take video and pictures but they were not
there yet. In fact, this did not turn out so bad because tons and tons of
people were coming into the track at this time. Actually hundreds of people
marching down central ave. towards the track. At this time of the morning you
might imagine that MOST of them are relatively lucid and sober.

So I had one shot only with this. I had left my posters in the car far away but had 42 bumper stickers
with "NO MORE BUSHIT." I was a little bit chicken at first to face all those people alone, but I plunged
into the middle of the crowd holding the bumper stickers over my head and announcing "free bumper stickers"
"no charge" get them while you can.

Some people looked up and just scoffed or laughed it off but then a young
lady with a nice hat in a beautiful derby dress caught up to me and asked if
she could have a bumper sticker. So I gave her one. A young african-american
teenage boy took one. He said "Cool". I pointed out the plane and told him
about the message on the sign. He was impressed. Then several more young
ladies in their early to mid-twenties - you might call them real southern belles -
came up to me in a group. And they were all dressed colorfully and to the nines
in derby finery with hats all around. All four of them very politely asked for stickers.
I pointed out the plane to them as well and they were loving it and watched it pass over.

I kept on walking straight down Central Ave. - right past the first turn on the track- by now
the plane had passed a couple more times and was turning around to where I couldn't see it.
Many more people asked to look at the writing on the stickers: NO MORE BUSHIT and then
some Bush people started to say "whatever" but then some people started to agree.
I gave a bumper sticker to all of those people who wanted one and told them to look for
the plane when it cam back around.

Kudos and encouragement were offered from a few married couples.

I passed a mobile TV camera guy from the local Faux station.
I showed him my bumper stickers and pointed out the plane. The woman who was
with him (not a reporter) started to grin from ear to ear and the camera guy
pointed his camera towards the plane - I KNOW that man got some great
footage of the pane on his cool TV station camera. Since it's FAUWX news I
doubt they'll show a millisecond. They didn't want a bumper sticker.

Then, I went back up towards the main entrance to the track - gate 1 -


a policeman came up and asked for a sticker and he took it and looked at it
and chuckled to himself. Then I pointed out the aerial banner sign on the
plane and he looked straight back at me and he said "Right On"

If nothing else happened this whole day that policeman made it worth the entire effort.

Then I was back at the gate 1 entrance to the track and a man who turned out to be a
Japanese tourist was taking a film of the plane on his video camera as it was passing over
the famous twin spires. I took some video on my camera too because it was an AWESOME picture,
COOL image, and an AMAZING sight to behold.


Download 1.5 MB real media file

All the while hundreds of people were walking into the track. I offered the
Japanese man a free bumper sticker but he declined.

I waded back into the crowd as other people were passing by and three
younger guys mid to early twenties came up and wanted stickers....One of
theses guys said to me I'm a democrat and my friend here is a republican- he
pointed to his buddy who just took the free bumper sticker and was now
ripping it and throwing it to the ground. I just looked at him and said "whatever".
I showed them the plane and smiled.

Some bush supporters or republicans or whoever they were started groaning or
saying things like "I like Bush"

Then I went back into the crowd and started suggesting that the bumper
stickers would make great mother's day gifts and absolutely free - no
charge - free bumper stickers. When the plane went back by, I would point it
out to passers by and offer stickers to people who were interested. Most of
the takers at this time were women of all ages. and many were very polite
and courteous - and would usually chuckle pretty well when they saw the plane..

I knew I had to move quickly as I was running out of time and the plane
would be gone.  I ran back in the direction of my friend's house on
Central - (I told them the day before this would be going down). Several out
of town visitors had spent the night in his house and some were up, hanging
out, on the front porch in the back yard and drinking coffee or having lunch etc...
I ran to tell them and then I stood out on a traffic landing in the middle of Central ave.
while filming more footage of the plane. One person on my friend's front porch was
whooping and hollering "Whoooo Hooooo!"

I managed to give out a few more bumper sticker - " get one for your
grandma - get one for your mother - a great mother's day present!" :-)

I managed to hand out my last stickers to a Latin guy - about 20 (he took the
sticker and said thank you but he split before I could tell him that Caesar
Chavez changed my life. Now the plane had made it's last pass and gone and
one last finely dressed young woman asked for the very last sticker - and
then this part of the day was over.

Now I went back to my car and picked out my cardboard signs and started
walking back in the low  income neighborhood next to the track - many people
were out in the yard or on the sidewalk - cooking food - grilling out barbequing etc....

So here I am headed down the street in this neighborhood - with my signs all
folded up - and one guy about my age is sitting at the side of his yard. He
looks up at me and says "Hey man, what you got there?" I open up the sign
that says Bush Stole the Election. The guy got real serious for a minute and
said - "he sure did". I talked to him and sat down with him for a minute and
he told me that he agrees 100%.  He says sometimes he thinks about what
happened (with the vote) too much and it gets so bad that he can't stand it.
I showed him the signs and he said he wanted one to put up in his yard.
I asked him to take a picture of me.

He looked over the signs and chose the one that said "My Vote Was Forgotten
at the Finish Line." He did not want his picture taken. We got to talking
about a lot of things -  I still had a bumper sticker stuffed in the
bottom of my bag and I showed it to him, and he was saying "Sh*t happens"

He covered up the BU on the NO MORE BUSHIT bumper stick and and said -
"you know what I mean??"

We talked about the police announcing that they would arrest anyone who took
action or protested on Derby Day. The police announced on TV they would
especially act swiftly on any of Louis Coleman's "followers". (Louis Coleman
is a tirless, hard working Civil Rights and Consumer activist in Louisville.
He was the first african american baseball player at my alma matter back in
the 60's. Rev. Coleman is also a minister and you can count me as one of
Louis Coleman's "Followers"). My new friend agreed that statements like this
from the police were not cool and he said that he was having half a mind to
grab this sign and walk up to the track after the race and hold his sign and
damn it all and go to jail if that's what it takes.

He looked at the signs and shook his head and said : "There's nothing we can
do - we're stuck with Bush"

I offered to him that "We can vote in the next election and this time make
sure it counts. With a big enough majority we can impeach him."

This guy was and is totally cool and I told him I was going to walk  up by the gate
and show a couple of signs to the crowd before the track got filled up (which I did).
We shook hands and he said stop back by any time and we'll talk about democracy.

Then I went back to my buddy's house on central ave. and I sat down to read
the racing form, listened to music and talked to visitors from Virginia,
Minnesota, New York and Tennessee who were there for the Derby. All of them
agreed with the aerial banner. One young lady who is a great horse exercise
rider- claimed she HATES george bush - just HATES him - scowling srunching
up her face - saying "grrrr-growl."

She congratulated me and pronounced that flying an aerial banner was a
helluva good thing to do.  Another friend now living in Richmond, VA says
that there is a guy who takes a lounge chair out to a street corner in
Richmond every day and he sits there reading for hours at a time with a sign
next to him that says: "Bush is Hitler"

The weather was perfect and sunny all day - about 75 degrees - and a couple
of whispy clouds over the track. I was chilling in my friend back yard
sipping cold pineapple juice and picking the ponies. My choice for the Derby
was KEATS. Good thing I didn't bet.

I  videotaped the strech run on my camera - see it here

Kinda odd that there was a steward's inquiry (just like the election) at the
finish of the race. We had to wait about 5 full minutes for the steward's inquiry
and the official winner. One person who watched the race closely says to me later:

"hmmm....fixed"   I didn't get a real good look so I don't know.

You thought this was good so far, now the real adventure begins.

People are starting to pour out of the track and onto the streets.
Some of the out-of-town visitors were having fun, doing mock interviews on
the sidewalk with people coming out of the derby and video taping the whole thing.
So I go in the back and get my signs - and go out onto the sidewalk with them and
they start interviewing me and video taping each sign. I told the woman interviewing me
I was about to go on a protest action. This was unlike any of her other interviews and
she was impressed. She says to me "Go for it."

She took these photos of me:

So I take my signs back down to the front gate, and by this time thousands
of people are heading out of Churchill Downs in gigantic masses. Every
couple of minutes they have to stop the traffic on central avenue and
pedestrians cross the street in great waves. I walked right up to the south
side of the central avenue sidewalk - just across the street from the main
gate. Traffic is speeding down central avenue and I am looking across the
street at about 1000 people standing over on the other side waiting to
cross. I was right there and I raised up one of my signs high over my head:


A switched a couple around and showed them

"BUSH STOLE THE ELECTION (stop thief)" just as all those people walked
straight towards me. I held the sign over my head and just smiled as people swarmed around me.

I kept switching the signs around




some people cheered other people were saying "Bush Rules", “Get A Job” and other
clichéd republican put downs. I held my ground.

When the wave of people had passed and I walked back on the sidewalk a little.
A group of deeply religious young men came up to talk to me. They were
handing out leaflets promoting Christian beliefs.  They had one person
holding a 15 foot banner that said "Heaven or Hell : Your Choice"

They asked me why I was doing this and what's wrong with bush? I told these
folks that I feel Bush's environmental policies are wrong. I said the
arsenic rollback was a big problem - road building in the forests - drilling
in the arctic natinal wildlife refuge, I don’t want war with China,  etc...I told
him that several clergy were arrested last week at the Department of Energy
protesting bush's policies as a religious issue.

This made an obvious impression on one guy who wanted to talk.
He said he supported bush because abortion was wrong.
I told him that I have tremendous respect for his belief but I have different
ideas. I told him that he has every right in to come down here and say what he
wants to say. We found an amicable common ground on free speech.  He shook
my hand and wished me good luck.

Now the traffic was stopping and another bunch of pedestrians was about to
cross the street. I held up my signs again and people were going wild. I decided to
stick with IMPEACH BUSH which one guy who passed says was a great choice.

A mid twenties couple went past me and looked real closely at the sign. The
guy started saying "What's this? blah blah blah..." He's giving me a real
negative vibe when his girlfriend smiles at me sweetly and reaches over and
says to me:"you're right" and she gives me a real friendly goosing in my rib cage
right in front of her boyfriend.  A lot of people saw that and the crowd goes bonkers
and some people are cheering and others are saying nasty things.

Some pro-bush people try to put their hands over the sign
while what seems like Millions of people are walking past.

Then, out of the blue I get blind-sided by four young republicans who throw
water on the signs and one guy grabbed at the signs and had half of them in
his hand and he was trying to rip them up but I grabbed the signs back and
fought with this guy to keep a hold of my signs. One of his buddies is
actually knocking me down and swatting at my head - but he manages to knock
me and my signs away from the guy trying to rip them. My camera fell out of
my pocket and hit the ground and broke. One of them took my cool San Diego Zoo
baseball cap and a neat bandana I bought at the Grand Canyon. I had my signs (only
ripped a little) in my hand and I turned around to face these dummies and four of
them are looking back very threatening.

I said: "Give me my hat"

One jerk says to me: "That's what you deserve"

I could not take on all four of these guys so I I looked at the people
around me who had witnessed this and said to them "Did you see that???"
Two other chumps out of the crowd then started grabbing at my signs and I
managed to dodge away from them, turned myself back around and stuck the
IMPEACH BUSH sign back high over my head. Said to myself: "Bite crank bullies."

No one else messed with me, but those idiots stole my cool cap
Typical Republicans.

Pardon me while I digress:
(You nutty freaks - you must have made your mamma, your party and George Bush so proud today. )


I went back to where the Christian guys were standing and told them what
happened and they just shook their heads. So by now I'm pretty discouraged
... but one fellow comes up to me and says go stand by the fence towards the
back and just hold your sign - nobody will mess with you - he tells me that
other people did something like this last year. He says: "Everyone comes out
of this gate and everyone will see it." And then he tells me - "Go On Up
there and Do It!"

So I head to the fence and manage to find my Grand Canyon bandana on the
ground. I got to the fence and held the sign right there where everyone could see
it for about 7 passes of pedestrians across central ave. I mostly held up the

Zillions of pepole were seeing the sign and all kinds of folks were giving
me the thumbs up - big smiles - right on, plus a few nasty remarks which I blew off.

Then these well dressed gents in blue blazers and khakis came over and said
"why impeach bush?" I said I disagree with him on almost every issue. He
asks me “like  what??” He says "You have to know the issues if you are going
to disagree."  I tell him that a woman has a right to do with her body as she
sees fit and I don't want republicans messing with any woman's body in any way.

Now this guy has two lady companions in his group who look over at me - and
I said "because if they can mess with a woman's body then mine will be
next." And then these young women say loudly "RIGHT! YES! WE AGREE!"   I
gave them the big thumbs up and their date or whoever this guy is ...he's highly annoyed.

As wave after wave of humanity gets to see and ponder IMPEACH BUSH, I stand
there as the family of the people I'm talking with gathers around.  One guy
comes up and tries to stand in front of the sign so I move down where people
can see it even better. One woman - maybe mid-50's - in an elegant white
dress and hat smiles and nods at me and she clenches her fist quietly in
solidarity.  Then the whole family is gathered, and they ask me to take a
group picture of all of them with about 5 different cameras. which I did.

As they were walking out I told them I hoped they had a really nice time at the derby.

Now the crowd had thinned down to just a few folks coming out of the track
and I knew I had more to do.

I got together a sign that says "HONK IF BUSH STOLE THE ELECTION"

I held the sign down and walked up to Taylor Blvd. where traffic was backing up like crazy:

See pictures here:

I walked way down Taylor blvd. holding the sign  HONK IF BUSH STOLE THE ELECTION
sticking that sucker up high over my head.

People started honking as traffic moved and I got a few catcalls from bush people "Put that down" etc...
Then something happened that I can only say was amazing
I was standing on taylor boulevard - where the road curves at the laundry
near Queen street and walking with my sign. People had been honking and
waving off and on. Some would honk - other people wouldn't.

Then there was a few seconds when something really cool happened - an
african american driver in a Ryder Truck saw the sign and laid on his horn
and and just laid on it and he waved at me - he wouldn't let up.

I was thinking to myself ~go on with it brother~...when all of a sudden all
these other drivers heard him and looked up and read the sign. One by one
each one of them started honking their horns right in the middle of a
traffic jam where nobody was moving. Just laying on those horns and making
some noise. One after another  horns lit up and people were going wild and waving.

So now I'm just standing there on the curb holding up a sign that says
HONK IF BUSH STOLE THE ELECTION and I'm surrounded by maybe 20 cars full of
people several car lengths back on both sides of the street ... All at full
stop all looking at my sign and waving and looking at each other and some
people waving arms around and saying YES! and laying on their horns at full
blast. If any republicans were somewhere in or near this crowd they would
probably have passed out or been tossing the cookies and tossing them good.

This only lasted about 15 seconds - but those 15 seconds gave me more hope
for the fate of the planet and humanity than any other 1/4 minute so far in my short life.
At Queen Street I chatted with an older working man who was showing his
years and he loved the sign. Just then Queen street opened up and about 7
limo-sized SUVs with tinted windows drove past me and I gave them the sign
"YOU CAN'T BUY DEMOCRACY"  right in their windows as they passed.

I continued on down the back streets, heading back - when I passed a house
with a big party - maybe 40 people on the front porch and front yard - a 20
something guy was on a microphone -blasting his voice around the
neighborhood- doing some kind of master of ceremonies bit. The people at his
party pointed at me and my sign. This MC guy - right in the middle of his
fully amped schtick - turns around and reads my sign out loud over the mike:
"Honk If Bush Stole the election"

I'm sure this guy was a bush supporter because his guests started cracking
up and he looked very sullen and embarrased and became suddenly very quiet.
I headed back down taylor blvd. towards central ave. and kept the sign high
in the air. About 3 different african american women  - in different cars
with their families looked right at me and said emphatically YES!
about 10 different people I passed walking on the side walk looked at the
sign and then looked at me and said "HONK HONK"

I met up with a young boy - maybe 13 or 14 and he says he's a bush supporter
and wants to see how many honks I get. After a minute one car gives a short
blast - then another - and another - and I say to him: See....People will honk.

Then he asks me why I'm doing this and I stop and try to explain:  I think
that it will make a better future for him - for the health of the world and
our environment- No War -less pollution - less arsenic and he said he was aware of
the arsenic issue and said he did not like Bush's stand on this. We talked
for a few minutes and I was still getting honks.

We continued down Taylor Blvd. and ran into a some young ladies who started
proclaiming themselves "Lesbians for Bush," and waving their arms around.
We walked on to the corner of Taylor and Central where huge crowds were standing
around. A couple of guys - one african american & one caucasian - in a gold colored
ford explorer pulled up right next to me a rolled down the window - the driver
started honking and the guy in the passengers seat was giving me thumbs up cheering
and saying YOU'RE RIGHT.

My young friend standing next to me said that he's had a change of heart.
He's impressed and says he is with me and wants to help - he grabs the sign that says
BUSH STOLE THE ELECTION. He says he's going to hold up the sign and talk to people.

We had to split up because the traffic cop tells me that the cars honking
are driving him crazy and he can't do his job. So by now I am exhausted and
sore and ready to call it a night. My little buddy shakes my hand and wishes
me well and heads off into the crowd with his new sign - BUSH STOLE THE ELECTION.

I wanted to end up right by the front of the track where all the big shots
are leaving in their limos and I walked on this little patch of pavement
right past a dozen stretch cars. The first person rolled down their limo
window and started giving me raspberrys but then 2 other limo windows opened
up and people started cheering and one driver honked!!

Finally made it back to my buddy's house, and came home.
I'll say that this was the best Derby of my life.


On Friday I heard a speech by Dick Gregory at an open air park in Louisville.
Hear the speech

Dick Gregory said in his speech:
"Don't you know that even one person can send a thousand people running?"

Peace, Love and Power from the Derby City

author is a former hotwalker, and former 4th floor busboy at Churchiill Downs.

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