VEN (ALTOONA) — On the campaign trail for cognitively challenged Addams family love child John Fetterman Thursday, a frail President Buttons reminded a mostly reserved crowd of 240,000 supporters — who filled the Altoona Area High School Auditorium almost to capacity — of his time in the Civil Rights movement working along side Martin Luther King and Stokely Carmichael in Selma, Alabama.
“OK, I don’t know if you realize this — and I see more than a few colored people (I’m sorry, Negroes) in the audience — but when I was a young man, when things were getting real in Alabama, I was. I took a leave of absence from my long-haul trucking job.
“I used to drive the big rigs from Scranton to James Bay in the Northwest Territory to help pay my tuition at the University of Pennsylvania law school, where incidentally, I graduated first in my class with a 6.5 GPA before I went on to clerk for both Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and Earl Warren at the same time. I was the first clerk to do that. And no one’s done it since!
“Anyway sometimes I would stop here in Altoona. And I became friends with Big Tony who owned a truck stop just outside of town.
“Although he was only 5’7”, they called him Big Tony because he always smoked big cigars and wore a big hat and you could get the Big Tony special — 3 eggs, toast, and bacon — for 99 cents. And a cup of joe, which always made me laugh because at that time my name was Joe.
“And I would ask the pretty waitresses for a cup of me, and I think that was the first time I was arrested, although I don’t know that for a fact.
“Anyway, I went down to Selma and asked around the colored (closes his eyes) I mean the Negro neighborhoods where I could find Martin — I called him Martin — and after I showed the colored boys that I could make a layup (the coloreds used to love basketball then) they told me where he was.
“Well, anyway, the point is, I ended up marching in the Thelma march, but — and this is the whole point — Marty told me I was too white, too blonde, and too blue eyed (I think he said, like a loaf of corn bread — in fact those were his exact words) so he got me some grease paint, and a wig, a big hat and a pair of aviator sunglasses to make me more black. And off we went.
“Oh, I almost forgot. And a fake moustache. He had a whole box of ’em all different sizes from his days, his vaudeville days with Dan Rowan and Pinky Lee.
“Anyway he sure knew what he was doing because when he got done, I looked so much like a real Negro, my own mother wouldn’t have recognized me!
“In fact, if she saw me walking towards the house, she probably would have called the police!
“By the way, a lot of people don’t know this about Mr King, but he, I’m tellin’ ya — man, this is no joke! Could he dance! I think they called it the boogaloo.
“Anyway — like Bull Connor and my good friend Robert Byrd who took me to my first Klan meeting right after I joined the Senate — that’s the reason I wear aviator sunglasses to this day. To remind me of my time in the, the Civil Rights movement.
“When we, when all of us, when we marched across that bridge into the. The history. The books. Or.
“Anyway. . . . “