“It’s nice of you all to come out and give me a chance to talk to you, on such a cold, raw day,” The Man Who said. The noontime crowd was crammed into the smallest intersection in Winslow. Advance man Willy Finn had planned the rally for the smallest outdoor space in Winslow deliberately. A small crowd looks bigger in a small space; a larger crowd looks huge. The presidential candidate had attracted a good-sized crowd. “You know, a presidential campaign is just a crusade of amateurs. I can tell you, my friends in Winslow, this campaign to let me serve you the next four years in the White House needs your help.”

Standing in slush at the edge of the crowd, Fletch said to himself, “Wow.”

At his elbow, Freddie Arbuthnot said, “He said something new.”

The mayor, the city council, the chief of police, the superintendent of schools, a judge, the city’s oldest citizen (standing up at ninety-eight, bundled well against the cold), probably two dogcatchers and the fence-viewer were the reception committee awaiting the candidate as he got off the bus. A band was playing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Not moving from the bottom of the bus steps, Governor Wheeler shook hands with each member of the committee, said a few words to each. The mayor then led him through the crowd to the platform set up on the comer of Corn Street and Wicklow Lane, gestured to the band for quiet, and did his Man-Who speech, peppered with many references to his own efforts to gain control of the city budget.

Fletch watched Barry Hines and Flash Grasselli escort the short congressperson in entirely the wrong direction, right into the middle of the crowd, where she got bogged down shaking hands and listening to her constituents’ griefs.

Fletch introduced himself to the local press. He handed out position papers on the crop subsidy programs. He and the local press and only some of the national press stood in a roped-off area to the right of the platform.

Some members of the national press, Roy Filby, Stella Kirchner, Betsy Ginsberg, Bill Dieckmann—who seemed completely recovered —had spotted a bar-café half a block up and decided to go there for drinks during The Speech. “Tell us if he gets shot, or hands out money to the crowd or something, Fletch.”

Three television cameras were atop vans and station wagons. News photographers stood near the platform.

Hanging from the second-floor windows of the First National Bank of Winslow at the comer of Corn and Wicklow was a huge American flag. It had forty-eight stars.

Now The Man Who was saying, “The world has changed, my friends. You know it and I know it, but the present incumbent in the White House doesn’t seem to know it. His brilliant advisors don’t seem to know it. None of the other candidates, Republican or Democrat, who want to see themselves in the White House the next four years seem to know it….”

“This isn’t his usual speech,” Freddie said. “This isn’t The Speech.”

“… It used to be that what happened in New York and Washington was important in Paramaribo, in Durban, in Kampuchea. Nothing was more important. Well, things have changed. Now we know that what happens in Santiago, in Tehran, in Peking is terribly important in New York and Washington. Nothing is more important.”

Fletch said: “Wow.”

“… The Third World, as it’s called, is no longer something out there—separate from us, inconsequential to us. Whether we like it or not, the world is becoming more sensitive. The world is becoming covered with a network of fine nerves—an electronic nervous system not unlike that which integrates our own bodies. Our finger hurts, our toe hurts and we feel it as much as if our head aches or our heart aches. Instantly now do we feel the pain in Montevideo, in Juddah, in Bandung. And yes, my friends in Winslow, we feel the pains from our own, internal third world—from Harlem, from Watts, from our reservations of Native Americans …”

Fletch said: “Wow.”

Freddie was giving him sideways looks.

“… There is no First World, or Second World, or Third World. This planet earth is becoming integrated before our very eyes!”

“He’s not going to …”

“He’s not going to what?” she asked.

“… You and I know there is no theology, no ideology causing this new, sudden, total integration of the world. Christianity has had two thousand years to tie this world together … and it has not done so. Islam has had six hundred years to tie this world together … and it has not done so. American democracy has had two hundred years to tie this world together … and it has not done so. Communism has had nearly one hundred years to tie this world together… and it has not done so.”

“He’s doing it.”

“He’s doing something all right,” she said.

Fletch’s eyes studied the faces in the crowd. He was seeing faces blue with cold, noses red. He was seeing eyes fixated on The Man Who might become the most powerful person on earth, have some control over their taxes and their spending, their health care, their education, how they spent their days and their nights, their youths, working years, and old age, their lives and their deaths. For the most part, in the cold, their ears were covered with scarves and mufflers.

The congressperson was working with as much speed as possible through the thick crowd to the platform. She was still allowing her hand to be shook, still mouthing a responsive sentence here and there, but her face was stony. With all apparent graciousness, Barry Hines and Flash Grasselli were still turning her around to face the bulk of her constituency.

“… You and I know what is tying this world together, better than any band of missionaries, however large, ever have or ever could; better than any marching armies ever have or ever could …”

“What is he saying?” Freddie demanded. She checked the sound level of the tape recorder on her hip.

Fletch said, “Gee, I dunno.”

“Today,” The Man Who continued, “satellites permit us to see every stalk of wheat as it grows in Russia, every grain of rice as it grows in China. We can see every soldier as he is trained in Lesotho or Karachi. We can fly to Riyadh or Luzon between one meal and another. Every economic fact regarding Algeria can be assimilated and interpreted within hours. It is possible to poll the entire population of India regarding their deepest political and other convictions within seconds….”

Freddie said: “Wow. Is he saying what I think he’s saying?”

Walsh Wheeler, who had been walking slowly, unobtrusively through the crowd, began to move much more quickly toward the campaign bus. The congressperson had struggled her way through the crowd and was almost at the steps to the platform.

“I dunno.”

“… You and I, my friends, know that technology is tying this world together, is integrating this world in a way no theology, no ideology ever could. Technology is forming a nervous system beneath the skin of Mother Earth. And you and I know that to avoid the pain, the body politic had better start responding to this nervous system immediately! If we ignore that which hurts in any part of this body earth, we shall suffer years more, generations more of the pain and misery of spreading disease. If we knowingly allow wounds to fester in any particular place, the strength, the energies of the whole world will be sapped!”

The crowd of photographers on the steps to the platform was blocking the congressperson’s ascent. She could not get their attention, to let her up.

“… American politics must grow up to the new realities of life on this planet! Technology brings us closer together than any Biblical brothers! Technology makes us more interdependent than any scheme of capital and labor! Technology is integrating the people of this earth where love and legislation have failed! This is the new reality! We must seize this understanding! Seize it for peace! For the health of planet earth! For the health of every citizen of this planet! For prosperity! My friends, for the very continuation of life on earth!”

There was a long moment before anyone realized The Man Who was done speaking. Then there was applause muffled by gloved and mittened hands, a few yells: “Go to it, Caxton! We’re with you all the way!” The band began to play “Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.”

At the edge of the platform, The Man Who shook hands with the congressperson as if he had never seen her before, keeping his arm long, making it seem, for the public, for the photographers, he was greeting just another well-wisher. He waved at the crowd and passed the congressperson in the mob on the steps.

At the front of the bus, Walsh Wheeler, Paul Dobson, and Phil Nolting were in heavy consultation.

“Wow,” said Fletch, still in the press area. “I never knew it was so easy to be a wizard.”

Freddie said, “You know something about all this I don’t know. You going to tell me?”


Freddie Arbuthnot frowned.

She turned back toward the platform. The grandmotherly congress-person was shouting into a ringing amplification system. She was not at all heard over the band.

“But what does it mean?” Freddie asked.

“It means,” Fletch answered, “he’s made the nightly national news.”