Friday, November 04, 2005

Shadowing Jimmy Carter's UFO Legacy

UFO Case Collage

     After appearing Nov. 2, 2005, on the NBC-TV morning show "Today" (in which he declared that the Bushites' WMD-intelligence claims leading up to Iraqnam were "manipulated, at least" to keep the public off guard), former-President Jimmy Carter journeyed over to Aisle No. 131 of the Cosco discount store in Arlington, Va., just several hundred yards from the Pentagon.

There, he set about autographing, for a line of hundreds of Carter-book lovers, his latest tome - titled Our Endangered
Larry Bryant
By Larry Bryant
The UFO Chronicles
Values: America's Moral Crisis, a hard-back item bargain-priced at $14.95 (which, coincidentally, happens to be the price of my own book - UFO Politics At The White House: Citizens Rally 'round Jimmy Carter's Promise - published last year in an expanded edition by Galde Press, Inc.)

You had to have been there to appreciate the setting. I did attend. And I knew I was headed for trouble the minute I got instructions from a clerk at the store's entrance: "If you're here for Carter's book-signing, go to Aisle 131." And: "Is that a book in that bag, Sir?" Upon my saying "yes," she advised that Uncle Jimmy is forbidden to sign any of his books not purchased from her store. Whereupon, I explained that the book happens to be one of my own compositions. She waved me on.

Of course, I was intent on having Carter sign _my_ book (while offering him an extra copy of it as a keepsake). As the line of hopeful signature recipients snaked along through one aisle after another, I was getting the distinct impression that my objective might get deterred by all the oppressive gate-keeping thereabouts. An especially eager clerk was working the crowd at one corner to instruct us as to precisely which page we should select for His Highness's signature.

Then, as I arrived within 25 feet of Carter's bunker in Aisle 131, I got a full view of his entourage of bodyguards and other Cosco-ordained gate-keepers, one of whom demanded to know where my copy of the Carter book was. I showed her _my_ book, explaining that I was here to get his signature on _that_. She semi-shrugged and allowed me to hold my position in line.

When I neared Jimmy's table (which was set so far from the line that no-one could readily reach out to shake his hand, much less ask him a question or two), one of the young women assigned there took my book and, upon seeing that it wasn't Carter's, returned it to me, declaring that "you can get only _his_ book signed." When Carter heard that, he responded: "I'll sign it." As he proceeded to do so, I handed him the other copy, asking if he'd ever seen it. He shook his head "no," and I then added, "Please keep that copy, Sir." He quickly shoved that copy beneath the cloth-draped table - as if the thing might bite him and not let go.

Signature in hand, I quickly made my way back to fresh air.

A few observations:
(1) All the gate-keeping made it seem as if Jimmy's book could create a riot if not shielded by a curtain of security. Someone there had forgotten that this place was COSCO, not Colombia.

(2) This shielding of the former president from his constituency (some of whom were bearing multiple copies of his book) diminishes both him and them.

(3) I lament my failure to acquire enough space-and-time to pose one simple question to the gentleman from Georgia: "Do you plan to write a book about your UFO-policymaking days, Sir?"

(4) This reverse-book-signing event offers lots of irony - e.g.: when the original edition of the book (via the Invisible College Press) appeared, I parceled out a few free copies, one of which I snail-mailed to Plains, Ga., ATTN: Jimmy Carter. I never heard from him direct, but a few weeks later, in early 2002, I received a form-styled postcard from the Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta, thanking me for my contribution of that copy. By the way, my inscription to Jimmy reads: "For Jimmy Carter, whose closeness to UFOtruth became the proximity fuse for igniting the public's right-to-know - and the government's duty to tell."

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