Just Tell the Truth, Bobby
How I met my fellow theatre nerd and Substacker Mary Poindexter McLaughlin and the tale of our one day adventure in Boston attending RFK Jr's 2024 presidential bid
I’ll start with a little back story. Last year, at the height of my artistic alienation, I started learning how to edit videos and publish them on Substack along with my musings on topics about philosophy, culture, and our current moment. By the end of the year, I had made a few scattered-throughout-the-world online friends who shared my concerns regarding the rapid change within our artistic discipline, not just within the context of covid measure mandates, but also the relentless ideology that now propped up any casting choice, any production, any theatre season announcement, any grant funding opportunity, any aspect of the field of work I had chosen to bleed and sweat for during the last 40 years. If your play wasn’t about an approved kind of social justice, what are you even doing here? Well, wokie-dokie, I guess.
One of the people that reached out through the abyss was Mary, the writer behind The Art of Freedom stack. She emailed me her phone number and I believe my first text message to her, went something like this:
“Well, since you’re brave enough to just give your number away to some stranger on the internet, here’s mine.”
Since then, I have followed her writing closely, especially her poetry, and her insights and positive outlook have helped me through some dark times.
Fast forward to two weeks ago when I read Toby Roger’s article on RFK Jr’s announcement of his presidential bid and out of curiosity, I immediately wanted to go. I couldn’t really justify the time spent away from the fam nor the financial expense but my desire must have planted a seed in the Universe, because several steps lead to the effortless unfolding of how I ended up at the Boston Park Plaza with Mary listening to Bobby Kennedy speak.
At first there was just the prospect of recording the speech and that would have been just fine. Birthing creative expressions of our current moment seems to be my new thing. But then stars just kept aligning in ways I didn’t think feasible so when Mary texted me about meeting in Boston, I knew Providence was paving the road ahead and it had my back. Soon after, my childcare situation shifted in a positive direction, my airfare was handled conveniently, my calendar conflicts had miraculously been rescheduled, and my ass was crammed on a 6 am flight to Boston feasting on the sunrise above the clouds out of one half-opened bloodshot eye. I was the only one laughing in a slap happy daze when the flight attendant demonstrated how to remove your mask before you can put on your mask in case of an emergency. I had had 3 hours of sleep.
I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I was giddy when I stepped out of the gate to see Mary’s beaming face and when, without ever having met before, we hugged long and hard the way you do when you’re reunited with family after a long absence. It was 9:15a and snagging a ride out of the airport to the Park Plaza (Boston, you got a rude Uber problem) was a bit of a hassle, but Mary and I packed the commute with anecdotes about who we are and what our families were like; we both lamented that we felt politically out of place. I mentioned that I’m looking forward to seeing other MFM stackers at the event.
The line wrapped around the hotel, but moved fairly quickly, although it might have seemed that way because we were trying to soak every second with learning about one another. Like new friends made old in a single conversation.
So, if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably interested in what my thoughts were on RFK Jr. speech and I’m getting there. If you don’t know me, you probably don’t know how I feel about politics, you can either watch my video of Russell Blake’s words, narrated by my son, or see my comment on the Rounding the Earth Locals channel (which hosts pretty in depth conversations):
“…my biggest concern is that as an insider, [RFK Jr.] must know how impossible it is to change anything, no matter the party. Unless his actual purpose is to get some important issues in front of millions of eyeballs and then find the nearest exit ramp…”
I had no illusions that Bobby is the superhero coming to save everyone, it’s doubtful that he does as well. He is perhaps more flawed than the usual candidate in the political arena. He says so himself.
I have so many skeletons in my closet, that if they could vote, I could be king of the world.
RFK Jr., April 19th, 2023
And yet, I want to believe that it is flawed humans, those that are on first name basis with their shadow self that make better, although reluctant, leaders: those that have done hard core drugs and come out of it alive, those that perhaps feel some guilt about their ex wife’s suicide. Those that supported Clinton and Gates. Ahem. Even those whose names can be found in Jeffrey Epstein’s little black book… but maybe not so much those that flew on the Lolita express… Ok, more on that later. For now, let’s enter the Park Plaza ballroom.
There’s a quality about the room that Mary captured in her Substack article really well:
If you took away the video monitors, and the bank of impassive newspeople standing on a raised platform with their video equipment pointed at the stage (who were they, other than Epoch News?), and the profusion of cell phones being held aloft… it could have been another, earlier age.
A simpler time. A rally for a hometown candidate, perhaps, complete with obligatory red, white, and blue bunting and a live brass band toodling out old patriotic standards like “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”
The 1920’s era ballroom set the stage, too, hearkening to a more decorative time, before minimalism became synonymous with chic. Gilded carvings and plaster cherubs, sparkling chandeliers, and balconies floated above the exuberant crowd, spilling over into the room adjoining.
From purely a set-design point of view, I would not have been surprised to see his uncle John F. Kennedy or his father Robert F. Kennedy walk out on that stage, to the wild cheers and the tinny horns and oompah pahs of that little brass band. There was No Fleetwood Mac here. No swelling, emotionally triggering strings. No hip hop, or anything that was even remotely hip. Or slick. Or “produced.” None of that.
When Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. walked out, it felt… real.
Mary Poindexter McLaughlin, The Art of Freedom
Yes, quite right, it was an atmosphere of realness, a lack of smoke and mirrors, bells and whistles, well, except for the celebratory whistles of my fellow event goers. Signs bearing “KENNEDY DEMOCRAT” and “HEAL THE DIVIDE” cobalted and cambridged the view. Ironically, there was a clear divide between those that had passes and seats and those of us stuck behind the press platform where some truly remarkable conversations were taking place nonetheless. I overheard discussions between people that had voted blue or red in the past, and they were talking about vaccines, and about the economy, and about environmentalism. You know, stuff that we should all be talking about in a way where we’re really curious and exploratory, instead of finding the funniest wisecrack to apply to the opposite points of view. All while standing upright throughout the almost three hour event. RFK Jr. spoke for almost two of those hours. Coherently. Without a teleprompter.
Now the media has never been kind to Bobby Kennedy (although, clearly the ratio on some of those bad media takes proves the people agree with a lot of his points, just read the comments) and he pointed out a few times during his speech how much we’re being lied to through government sanctioned propaganda. Main stream propagandists often disingenuously twist his words to falsely portray his meaning, some so blatantly it sells as comedic caricature. As someone who has the distinction of being on the government’s “disinformation dozen” list and someone whose latest dense, bleeding-into-the-margins book The Real Anthony Fauci sold over a million copies despite being aggressively suppressed, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had a lot to say.
This is what happens when you censor somebody for 18 years. I got a lot to talk about. They shouldn’t have shut me up that long, because now I’m really gonna let loose on them for the next 18 months.
RFK JR., April 19th, 2023
He spoke of his activism in cleaning up the rivers. He spoke of his legal rumbles. He spoke of the merger of corporate power and government. He spoke of the legacy of the Kennedy name. He told anecdotes of compassion, courage, leadership. He moved me during his retelling of taking the body of his slain father on what is usually a two and a half hour train ride, now swelled to three fold that time as the train snaked through the crowds of mourners. I wondered what it was like for a fourteen year old Bobby looking at the faces through the window who had come to pay their respects to his name sake, reading “Pray for us, Bobby” on home made placards. I wondered if he ever thought that two assassinations later, he would one day stand in his uncle’s and father’s place, pleading to heal the country once again.
But he also toed the line. And I happen to think that the only way to ‘heal the divide’ is to just tell the truth. The whole traumatic, painful, disgraceful and inconvenient truth. No matter the price. Just tell the truth, Bobby. There’s no acceptable allegiance with those responsible for the death of your father and your uncle. Don’t dance around the CIA, even if your daughter is a part of the organization. Don’t tip toe around the war, even if your son went to fight for Ukraine. Don’t limbo for Rockefeller even if they paid for your campaign. Don’t tango with the technocracy, even if your involvement with Epstein takes you out of the running because decent moral human beings will not accept it. Just tell the truth. Change your slogans to ‘DELIVER THE TRUTH’ and do it unapologetically.
In looking up at some of the MSM takes online since then, it struck me how ubiquitously they employed the description of anti-vaxxer in their headlines, (as if it was some kind of dig) when in fact RFK JR. uttered the word “vaccine” a whopping one time during his speech and has previously even defended vaccines, much to the dismay of some of us proper anti-vaxxers. Although he implied that Big Pharma was at the root of most chronic disease, he didn’t blame vaccines explicitly. I hope he stands behind this particular statement:
If I have not significantly dropped the level of chronic disease in our children by the end of my first term, I do not want you to reelect me.
RFK Jr., Apri 19th, 2023
But since we’re clamoring for the truth, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up Robert Malone here. Because it was his silver bearded mug that I kept seeing in the jumbotrons whenever the cameras panned across the audience as he was sitting second row center, the cloud of his controversy overshadowing any of his usefulness. So, unfortunately, unless addressed, there will be further speculations and further divisions and hence another reason to just tell the truth, Bobby. Because if you let Malone saddle atop a regulating public health agency and you let Steve Kirsch and Silicone Valley fundraise for you, you’re climbing in bed with more than just a regular ol’ goomah. These people have the type of baggage that need full exposition and if you want to win the medical freedom movement over, you’re gonna have to start there.
I’m new at the whole conspiracy theory thing. I don’t know Malone. I didn’t meet him that day nor any of the other high profile Substackers that attended except for one. I briefly chatted with Meryl Nass. Now, Meryl has been a solid Malone supporter and I know she was in his book and many have raised their spears against her as well. But in the few minutes we exchanged words in the hallway to the bathroom where she waited for her friend, she was incredibly nice to both Mary and I and she struck me as nothing but an authentic sweet woman. There’s quite a bit of nuance in the folds of my tinfoil hattery and I am OK with living in a world where some of us get fooled by fifth generational warfare tactics yet can still remain genuine human beings. I might be one of them. As a matter of fact, perhaps it’s harder for kind people to sus out malignancy. Before long, Meryl’s friend, an old eccentric looking lady came out of the restroom and Meryl hastily departed. Was that lady Abigail Rockefeller, Meryl? Rumor has it, you and Abby are besties. And I know, not everything is a conspiracy, fine, but all of you guys don’t exactly prevent our imaginations from going there. I remain hopeful that sincerity still exists as much as Isaac Middle has tried to black pill me and no, Isaac, I’m sorry, I didn’t survey anyone there about the whole Scientology thing. 👀 But, funny enough, there’s a very interesting Rounding the Earth episode connecting Malone, Dundas, nurse Erin Olszewski (yes, that nurse Olszewski) and Scientology. Does that implicate Bobby? I don’t know. If being a womanizer isn’t a red line for you, maybe being a part of a cult is, or being compromised via Epstein blackmail is, or any one of the skeletons that will undoubtedly get dragged out and bedusted in front of the whole nation is. But I still say, there’s only one path to take. Just tell people the effen truth, Bobby. No matter what.
One last thing worth mentioning before I book end this article with the story of how Mary and I made a mad dash for the airport. Halfway through Kennedy’s speech, an alarm began to sound in the ballroom and an intercom voice notified us to evacuate immediately. Kennedy shrugged off the incident with a “nice try” quip and went on. People cheered. There was a debonaire swagger that hung in the air around Kennedy after that. It made him even more likable. But in the end, what will win the people over is simply just the ugly truth.
After the event, Mary and I grabbed a bite at Maggianos where we were served by a kid that could have gotten typecast as the role of “Italian Server” in any Scorsese flick. He messed up our order and things took a bit longer than we expected. Once out on the street and another two failed Uber attempts later (rude, I tell ya!), we hailed a taxi and promptly got stuck in Boston tunnel traffic. My flight was departing at 4:30 and we didn’t arrive at the airport until 4:15. By some miracle of god, security took all of 5 minutes. I stuffed my laptop as best I could back into my backpack and clutched my shoes. We McCalistered through the airport, me huffing and puffing under my camera equipment and the covid and post partum pounds I had piled on the last three years and Mary, like an aerial yoga gazelle whom I could see reach the gate and plead with the attendant to let her new friend on the plane. I saw the attendant smile from far away as Mary gave me the thumbs up. I think I threw my shoes in the air in hallelujah— it was a happy end after all. We were already in flight by the time I managed to catch my breath. I marveled at how beautiful Boston looked from above, with all its tributaries and tiny islands. The scenery took me back to a podcast RFK Jr. did with Charles Eisenstein and how it was time to change the conversation around the climate. No matter which side of that conversation you’re on, I guarantee that that dialogue is not what you think. Dare I say it’ll be worth your listen?
The video at the header is my attempt at Kennedy’s campaign video. Nothing fancy, my laptop keeps crashing. Perhaps it isn’t as polished as his own nostalgic and inspiring announcement video, but all I wanted was to get to the truth of the matter.
The author of Visceral Adventure believes in the gift economy and therefore offers all content with no paywall, asking you to contribute whatever amount feels good to you. Since value is unique and subjective, only you can decide what (if any) contribution is gifted at this time. All contributions benefit and support my family.
To upgrade to a paid subscription to this stack, click on the button. For a one time gift, click on this Ko-Fi link. Or if sats is your thing, I have one foot on the BTC exit ramp and you can contribute here:
Just Tell the Truth, Bobby