Monday, September 10, 2018

the last book I ever read (Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein, excerpt one)

from Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein:

Who could have seen this coming? Only five months ago, on a bright February morning, Marv had listened to Barack Obama, an Illinois senator with White House dreams, when he arrived at the assembly plant with a familiar message of economic hope, of Janesville’s future mirroring its past.

Marv had gotten off second shift at 2:30 a.m., as usual and slept for just over four hours so that he could go back down to the plant early. As he approached the south entrance, a bomb-sniffing dog was at the doorway. Secret Service officers were waving metal-detecting wands. But the plant security guys all knew Marv and just waved him through.

Janesville is a small city, yet big enough that presidents, would-be presidents, and soon-to-be presidents have been coming through town since Abraham Lincoln stopped by during the fall of 1859. For Obama’s turn, his campaign had arranged for the assembly plant to be the prop for a major economic speech. Second-shift works who wanted to attend had been chosen, like so much else at the plant, on the basis of their seniority. Marv simply got a call from a union guy asking whether he wanted to come. He sure did. Marv is a Democrat, and he has been detecting in Obama a concern for the working class.

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