By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Two more sections cover Environmental Sustainability and Economic Sustainability. Read them at www.gp.org, because there's not enough space here. It goes on and on.
David and Nathalie hardly seem to have the space themselves, but somehow it all fits: the computers on the folding table, the stacks of pamphlets, the bags of buttons, the boxes of T-shirts, the stacked mailing lists, the rubber-banded tickets to a $100-a-plate fund-raiser at the Art Car Museum on Thursday, October 19, the photocopied Tom Tomorrow cartoons, the bumper stickers, the flyer that reads, "Bush and Gore Make Me Want to Ralph."
Behind the house are two raised garden beds where once grew vegetables -- organic, natch. Now ungroomed sunflowers tower, the bloom of which happens to be the Green Party logo. They just sprung up unbidden, Cobb says, sometime after he quit his most recent job as an insurance trial lawyer and Nathalie quit hers in industrial publishing, and they dedicated professional lives and adjusted personal budgets to the Green Party, and let their garden go to seed.
Inside is the come and go of volunteers, canvassers, ticket sellers, a Rice student group leader and a Green presidential delegate who looks like a college volleyball player.
Out front is the Greens' coup de gräce: a 1975 AMC Eagle flaunting Green slogans and colors, hitched to a strange little camper trailer of some sort, also freshly greened, and topped by an outsized papier-mäché shark fin. It signifies nothing Nader-related; the trailer once served as an accessory to art carist Tom Kennedy's Shark Car.
Greens report that Nader rallies in Portland, Boston and Seattle have drawn upwards of 10,000 people paying $10 a pop to see their man Ralph. Cobb has high hopes for a good time here; this from a man who describes Seattle's World Trade Organization protests as "with the exception of Burning Man, the best party I've ever seen."
It remains to be seen what Houston can add to those numbers, especially without the Eddie Vedder/Jim Hightower spectrum of star power introducing Nader, as has been the case in other cities. But it's Cobb's job to rally the faithful, and these he has found in the art car "community."
Bill Patridge, a music curator at the Art Car Museum, says that "What the Green Party promotes is directly in line with what you'll see us promoting here. Our little gift shop, all the walls are laden with the written words of various people like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn. So that's right in line with the philosophy of the museum, the whole Green Party's platform. Of course the art car community in general shares Many of them share similar views."
Just how many of them share similar views -- nationwide polls put the candidate at 4 percent -- should become apparent Thursday, when a motorcade of art cars will deliver Ralph Nader to his engagement at UH.
Is there any intentional sense of artistic irony, I ask curator Patridge, in the idea of chauffeuring Ralph Nader, the man who made his fame trashing Chevy Corvairs in the automotive industry exposé Unsafe at Any Speed, in a chugging line of barely street-legal clunkers?
"Unsafe at Any Speed I've heard of it," Patridge says. "I haven't had an opportunity to even peruse it, let alone read it. Oh, that was about the Convair [sic]."
Cobb, plenty familiar with the book, tosses out a laugh unfazed by irony. Why shouldn't a political campaign be fun anyway? It's not like Cobb's going to get offered a job in the Nader administration come November 8. It's not like one of the mainstream parties is going to notice his work and pick up his option. It's just a big orgiastic party until the election is over, when Cobb says he's going to fall asleep for two weeks, wake up and figure out what to do next.