CULTURAL REVOLUTIONSrnLARRY NAMAN had had enough ofrnarrogant and unresponsive politicians,rnand so he shot one. This past summer,rnthe (media-described) drifter took aimrnand shot at the head of Maricopa CountyrnSupervisor Mary Rose Wilcox—a runof-rnthe-mill politician in Phoenix, knownrnprimarily for how loud and how oftenrnshe can shout “police brutality.” Butrnthanks to an alert security official, thernbullet missed its mark and struck Wilcoxrnin the backside. Naman not only admittedrnhis actions but explained his motivation:rnfrustration over Ms. Wilcox’s criticalrnvote in favor of ramming a new salesrntax—to build a Major League Baseballrnstadium for the expansion Arizona Diamondbacksrn—down the throat of thernPhoenix community.rnThe levy, which was imposed withoutrna public vote, was rationalized to MaricoparnCounty residents as a small price tornpay for the respectability that professionalrnbaseball would bring. Surely, the factrnthat the tax was temporary covered uprnany mistakes made in its implementation.rnSuch an argument ignored the seedsrnof discontent that were sown long beforernNaman shot Ms. Wilcox in order, in hisrnwords, to “restore democracy on the noncandidaternside of the ballot.” Thosernseeds had first sprouted during the primaryrnelection campaign of 1994, whenrnJim Bruner, the former chairman of thernBoard of Supervisors who had steeredrnthe stadium tax through the labyrinth ofrnloopholes designed to avoid a publicrnvote, lost his bid for a congressional seat.rnNext came Ed King, another tax supporter,rnwho failed in his 1996 reelection bidrnfor the Board of Supervisors. This leftrnamong the trinity of pro-stadium forcesrnonly Mary Rose Wilcox. When she wonrnreelection in 1996, the backlash againstrnthe Bank One Ballpark was presumed tornbe over. Of course, as Larry Namanrndemonstrated, it wasn’t.rnFrom her hospital bed, Ms. Wilcoxrnblamed Naman’s attack on the evils ofrn”hate radio,” which ostensibly had drivenrnNaman to madness. But Naman’srnstatement was too articulate to fit the profilernof a deranged drifter, and the chatterrnon the radio and in columns in the alternativernmedia expressing sympathy withrnNaman’s thoughts (if not his actions)rnmade it clear that this shooting hadrntouched on something important aboutrnthe state of our democracy.rnAs Libertarian Party member ErniernHancock told Barry Graham of thernweekly Phoenix New Times: “[when] everyrnsingle peaceful means to regain ourrnfreedoms [is exhausted], you cannot stoprnthe people from rendering their own versionrnof justice. Those that are frail ofrnmind or spirit will be the first ones to gornover the edge. The violence will startrnsmall, and it will grow. And it’s all due tornthe fact that you are violating the rights ofrnindividual people and eliminatingrnpeacefril alternatives.”rnHancock’s comments were prescient.rnA month after the Wilcox shoofing, thernArizona Republic reported on a rash ofrnrecent attacks on politicians in the Valley:rna Phoenix council member had torndodge BB gunfire at her house and hadrnher tires slashed; police hauled off an activistrnwho refused to surrender thernlectern at a Scottsdale City Councilrnmeeting; and a Cilbert (Arizona) councilmanrnfeared for his life and ran for anrnexit as angry citizens hurled insults atrnhim. As Peter Drake, a private land plannerrnin Phoenix, told the Republic, “Thernpopulace feels powerless to influencernevents. That leads to fear and ultimatelyrnto anger.”rnMeanwhile, the construction of thernBank One Ballpark goes on in Phoenix,rnand Mary Wilcox continues to recuperate.rnDid Wilcox deserve to end up inrna hospital bed? Of course not. But asrnBarry Graham concluded, “it was herrnarrogance that put her there, and whatrnhappened to her should serve as a lessonrnto her and everyone else.”rn—James HillrnPRESIDENT CLINTON’S fail tourrnof South America raised an importantrnquestion: What has happened to the adversarialrnrole of White House televisionrnjournalists? ABC’s John Donvan reportedrnthat the President’s photo-op tour ofrnCaracas left Venezuela glowing. He saidrnthe President was greeted warmly andrnthat his speech was an overwhelmingrnsuccess. There was a sound bite of PresidentrnClinton speaking in Spanish, “Todornesta chevare en Caracas” (sound of cheering).rnAccording to Donvan everybodyrnthere thought the President was “chevare,”rntoo. That’s “terrific.”rnBut that is not what really happened,rnaccording to many newspaper accounts.rnThe Chicago Tribune headlined: “Clintonrntrade mission finding few friends.”rnThe article continued, “Despite Clinton’srnefforts the crowd that gathered forrnthe speech was small . . . did not comernclose to filling the plaza.” How close isrnnot close? The Washington Post said,rn”a crowd of about 2,000 people was polite.rn. . . The capital’s famed Plaza ElrnPantheon was two-thirds empty. Thisrnwas far from the ecstatic popular outpouringrnthe White House aides had predictedrnwould greet the president on hisrnfirst visit to South America.”rnSo rather than the enthusiastic greetingrndescribed on the network news, thernspeech was a disappointment. The TVrnnews screen showing the speech was arnshot so tight that viewers could see onlyrnabout ten rows back. Little did theyrnknow that most of the plaza was empty.rnOther White House reporters were alsorncontent to report what the White Housernpredicted and desired, rather than whatrnactually occurred.rnWhy was there so little enthusiasm forrnClinton’s visit? Was it because he wasrnasking South America to accept a tradernagreement? Or does the Clinton WhiternHouse have a problem witli diplomacy?rnThis administration gave us WilliamrnWeld as a nominee for ambassador tornMexico. Weld promptly insulted thernchairman of the committee that must approvernhis appointment—not exactly arnstroke of genius.rnCould this diplomacy gap actually berna chasm? The London Telegraph wrote,rn”American demands that Brazil preparernfor President Clinton’s arrival by puttingrnback its clocks, shutting down railwayrnservices and chopping down trees thatrnmight conceal snipers, insured a pepperyrnwelcome for the ‘arrogant great gringo.'”rnBut no one heard about the “arrogantrngreat gringo” on the TV evening news.rnOnly the print media reported that “ThernWhite House declined to comment on arnseries of diplomatic gaffes which meanrndespite the neighborly talk of shared values,rnMr. Clinton will have to endure thernritual hostility which is the traditionalrn6/CHRONICLESrnrnrn