Campaigning in Free Verse

As always, Jesse Jackson was late—three hours behind schedule this time—as his motorcade sped through down town Baltimore on a chilly, misty afternoon last week. The procession of cars, vans and buses wove in and out of rush-hour traffic, red and blue lights flashing and police sirens wailing. Clots of office workers gathered outside the trendy shops and restaurants of Harborplace to watch. The caravan zipped by them and into East Baltimore, an area of sagging row houses, many disfigured by broken or boarded-up windows.

The streets initially were empty, but when the motorcade...

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