Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels across country in my mobile billboard truck as I attempt to engage in dialogue with people in hopes to wake us up and inspire action to change our country and communities and selves. And it is froth with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society and life we want

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The white men I know...

I'm on the phone this morning trying to convince my veg oil guy - the 81 year old white mountain man from the flat plains of Indiana - to NOT vote for 'rump. I can tell by the way he hesitates when I ask him if he's voting for 'rump that he might be.

He hesitates and then tells me the other one - i.e. Clinton - isn't any better. I disagree vehemently with him, not that I'm telling him who to vote for, just who NOT to vote for. I say she's a lot better than him, but she's not his only choice.

He tells me he did vote for Ross Perot many years ago but that didn't work out. I tell him there's lots of other choices on the ballot and he can always pick someone else.

Of course, he then tells me he doesn't even want to vote and for a half a second, I'm tempted not to encourage him but I do encourage him to vote, even if he has to write his own name in, or mine, I joke with him.

Why are most of the white males that are cleaning & running veggie oil libertarians or raving fundamentalist republicans???? grrrrrrrrrr

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Midnite driving thru North Carolina

I'm trying to make it to Greensboro before Sunday a.m. so I'll have time to spend with a sistah compañera I'm looking forward to visiting there so I'm driving east in the middle of the night on I40.

This is only a 2 lane interstate freeway with very little traffic on it - maybe a car every 5 or 10 minutes but at least 5 cars have pulled over to the shoulder and allowed me to pass them, before pulling back onto the highway to hover behind me with their bright lights on.

I'm thrilled they are taking the time to read everything - thrill tinged with a little high alert notice as I keep my cell phone close and prepare for danger.

But every single car and truck that takes the time to re-read the back of my truck, eventually pulls out from behind me and passes silently into the pitch black night. No reactions, no speeding off angrily, no blasting  horns or honking affably in solidarity. Nothing.

What???? The prick...

As I pass the perimeter leaving Atlanta in heavy traffic (the Bay traffic is nothing compared to Atlanta...), a young white man passing me in a newish dodge van has rolled down his passenger window and is angrily screaming something at the top of his lungs at me.

I've changed my response tactic while driving: I used to flash the peace sign or the "I love you" sign at folks who gave the finger or otherwise expressed their disapproval for something that is written on my truck. Now I shrug my shoulders questioningly, raise my upturned palms and say in what I hope is a bewilderingly way: "WHAT???? WHAT???"

Which I did as this young man passed but he flew by me - as much as one can fly in heavy traffic - so quickly I couldn't catch what he said.

But then traffic stopped in his lane and I approached as rapidly as I could. His window was still open and I shouted "WHAT?" out mine. He stops even with my window, abruptly leans across the empty passenger's seat and indignantly demands in the nastiest tone he can summons: "Are you voting for Hillary?"

I said, no, I don't think so. I'm probably voting for Jill Stein - and he relaxes a little into his driver's seat and repeats several times: "oh, okay then, that's okay then" like he's giving me permission to spread the truth about 'rump as long as I'm not voting for Hillary, like it's any of his business who I'm voting for.

So I put a little pin prick in his bubble of permission and firmly declare: "but I wouldn't mind at all if Hillary won."

He reverts back to disgusted and takes off before quickly slamming on his brakes, as traffic is not moving a tenth as fast as he is. Prick.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Religious shit...

So all through the southwest and into Georgia, the large billboards laden with religious shit are full of messages about god but now that I'm in South & North Carolina the religious shit is about jesus - not me, the male jesus.

Big jesus signs, jesus saves, and christ died for you - lots of crosses, although I saw plenty crosses in the southwest too, but jesus christ is prevalent here...

Red scare

The only parking place left at the South Carolina rest stop is next to a new silver-blue van sporting a 'rump bumper sticker with no one behind the wheel.

But by the time I jump out and walk around my truck to the side I share with the van, an older white man with a worried look on his face is determinedly ignoring me and making a bee-line for his driver's door.

I stop him, asking if, after the last debate, he's still intending to vote for 'rump. He tells me if I believe everything I hear, I'm stupid or crazy and that I shouldn't believe everything the media is saying about 'rump. I ask him what he thought of 'rump's words in the debate.

He doesn't answer & so I tell him it is not the media I am listening to but it is the words of 'rump himself.

He pales and puffs a little, then asks me if I know about Bill Clinton and the terrible things he has done. I kinda say Bill who, is he running for president???

I ask him if he thinks I should look into what all of the wives or the 5 babies' mamas of the candidate running for prez on the other team.

I think I lost him with that one, as he starts rambling on about communists and I should be so grateful to live here where I get to vote and not in a communist country. He even tells me to go back to a communist country as long as I don't like it here.

I try to get him to stay, to wait, before charging head-on into his van, imploring him as neutrally as I can, to talk with me about communism - and the communist country I'd LOVE to return to.

But he's just wrapped our conversation in the red (from anger and not embarrassment I'm pretty sure) he pulls a wheelie trying to hasten his exit from this communist provocateur. HAHAHA

Heading thru South Carolina...

I'm getting more responses to my truck today than I've gotten the whole time I've been on the road! I'm getting several in a row positive honks and enthusiastic yeahs!

In between these cars was another car with two white males, the passenger leaning far out the window, gesturing angrily to the back of my truck & then giving me the finger, pointing to the back of my truck again, giving me the finger as if I'm not clear why he's giving me the finger.

Some people are giving me dirty looks, some have pained smiles looking at me condescendingly.

Several big truckers have positively responded and another white pickup truck with a white male driver exiting the freeway gave me the finger out the window as he raced haphazardly down the ramp. I flashed him two peace symbols, taking my hands off the wheel for a second - I'm on a strate road, it is his truck going round a curve... - and the driver next to me on my right grins broadly and flashes the peace symbol back at me, probably assuming I'm giving him the peace symbol.

I'm being forced to spend more time in this part of the south because of the veggie oil challenges but also because I left my fucking computer at my daughter's house, along with a donated down comforter...grrrrrr

Mama says NO TRUMP!!!

So the minute I cross the border into North Carolina, I see a 'rump sign and unfortunately it's a HUGE 'rump sign, the one I hear people pay $300 for.

But now I see bright yellow yard signs spread out over about a mile that say "Mama says NO TRUMP"!!!

Entering North Carolina

My first overtly enthusiastic YEAH in North Carolina! A carfull of students, it looks like from their age and the UNC sticker on the back of the window, a racially and sex mixed group of youth! Jumping up and down sooooo excitedly the car is bouncing, giving me the thumbs up and a couple of fists in the air!

And three more yeahs in a row.

Another white driver glares at me, I think he was going to give me the finger but his wife, I assume in the passenger's seat, leans over and socks him in the arm.

Hillary it is!

No one on this 6 lane very busy lighted highway thru rural South Carolina - I mean lots of traffic lights, lots of cars, lots of strip malls and businesses, lots of evidence of a larger population, seems overly concerned that I'm spreading the truth about 'rump. No one has given me the finger, or threatened to run me off the road.

Nor have they been ecstatic either. I'm deep in the heart of South Carolina heading toward Asheville, which is supposedly an oasis of liberalism in the middle of the south.

I've seen more Bernie and more Obama bumper stickers in Atlanta and traveling thru the rest of Georgia and South Carolina than 'rump or Hillary ones but now I'm seeing several Hillary bumper stickers as I head towards North Carolina.

I peer down neatly trimmed lawns into neighborhoods with spacious yards looking for 'rump yard signs or Hillary or Jill Stein signs and see none. I don't even see any local election signs around here.

Even as the road gets more residential than commercial, I still don't see any signs at all indicating we're about to have a national or even local election. Interesting

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Good Morning Mississippi~& my 'protector'

I return to Louisiana for a brief moment to spend the night at the huge rest stop about a mile from the Mississippi River and the Louisiana/Mississippi borders. By 3a.m. I'm super irritated at the tractor trailer that has come and parked his rig perpendicular to mine and left it fuckin RUNNING all the rest of the night.

When I get up and out of the camper at 6:00am so I can change my veggie oil filters and finish pumping oil into my main tank, I see him leaving his cab and heading toward me. I'm all ready to give him what for about the inconsiderate - to me, to the mother earth - running of his engine all night but he is smiling broadly, extending his hand, calling me "ma'am" and telling me how much he loves my truck.

He goes on to say that the second he saw my truck he knew he had to park nearby to make sure no one hassled me during the night.

He is deep roasted coffee bean black with a shaved head, gorgeous black eyes and a wide smile that lights up his whole being. I do not reprimand him, letting him know that I do NOT need protecting (after all he prob had no idea I was a womon when he parked there), nor do I mention anything about his waste of fuel, damage to the Mother Earth, and insensitivity to others trying to sleep without the constant roar of a diesel engine.

We just exchange mutual hugs and safe journey wishes.

Friday, October 14, 2016

5000 voters registering....

As I got into my truck to leave Shreveport, two men approached me to ask me about my truck. They were very curious - and kind - as to how I could afford to drive around the country.

Both of them worked for the registrar's office. When I asked them what was happening in Louisiana, they told me that Monday had been the last day to register to vote and the first time ever, they had 5000 people flock to the office to register.

The thought crossed my mind to ask if they were registering for the Dems or Repubs - or if they were legitimate registrations, as in not duplicate voters, etc. - but I decided I didn't want to know.

DEPLORABLES 4 'rump...

I just finished working out at the Y - two days in a row!!! Today I was able to swim (in a pretty old short pool but it worked! And only 1 other swimmer!) AND jog for almost two miles! I'm relieved and happy!

I got several angry fuck yous this morning thru the rain at the tail end of Texas but best of all, driving the three blocks to the Y and parking my truck in a more visible location, I found myself behind another white pick-up truck with the funniest bumper sticker! First I thought it was a truth-spreading sticker & I almost waved down the guy, but then I realized he was fuckin serious: "DEPLORABLES for 'rump 2016" but only because there was another bumper sticker underneath that said "'rump take our country back"...

Holy moly.

I'm changing up strategy for the next few dayz. The beginning of my truth-spreading trip, I just drove to the Grand Canyon, only engaging with people at rest areas until I arrived in the park. Then leaving the Grand Canyon, I went to Nogales and participated in that action.

Leaving Nogales, it was so fuckin hot I had to drive at night, all night, and in the early morning to avoid the heat - so again, I've interacted mostly with people at rest stops.

I don't need to stop at truck stops to buy fuel and I certainly don't go to fast food places, coffee shops in this part of the country, or shopping malls - the places I might be able to engage in dialogue with folks.

My plan is to continue getting caught in as many "rush hour" traffics as I can and then hang out during the day in 'downtown' or shopping malls where there are outdoor cafes if I can find them. Somewhere I can buy a coffee and pretend to be sipping it while I write or read and watch the reactions to my truck, ready to spring into action.

Given the fact that internet seems to be severely limited if not non-existent in this part of the country, I also have to find libraries to work at as well as Y's to exercise in.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Pathetic white man

I'm exiting the library here in Arlington when I notice a suspicious looking white male circling my truck with his cell phone held stiffly out before him. I hurry over as he disappears from view behind my truck and try to be open to him being pro or con as all the scenes of damage he could do flash thru my mind.

When I get back there with him, he is standing stock-still, mouth down-turned, staring at the words on my truck as he's videoing.

I ask him what he finds interesting about USA Today's messages painted on my truck. He tells me he's not voting but he doesn't like my racist remarks.

When I ask him to clarify, he points disgustingly to "white silence is violence" and proclaims how racist that is. When I ask him to tell me why he thinks that's racist, he says because I'm blaming white people for everything. I tell him well white people are responsible for and benefit from racism.

He proceeds to tell me that he used to work for fed ex with a Black guy who asked him if he would ever date a Black womon. When he said no he wouldn't because Black people are violent, he got fired. He asks me if I think it is fair that he was fired for expressing his opinion.

I said his 'opinion' was racist and I wouldn't want to work with him if he hates Black people and I would guess that believing Black people are violent is not the only thing he did at his work place to get himself fired.

He ignores this and starts talking about his proof that Black people are violent by bringing up "Black on Black" crime statistics. I'm incredulous as I start talking about white male violence statistics.

We're at an impasse. He states he's the whipping boy, that womyn are a 'protected' class, Blacks are a 'protected' class, everyone's protected but him cause he's white and male. I ask him who he thinks white males need protecting from? From everyone who is picking on us, he retorts.

I snort. Well womyn and Black men need protection from everyone who's trying to kill us, trying to rape us, trying to commit violence against us.

He snorts.

As he turns to slink sorrowfully away, I urge him to read "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander or anything by Toni Morrison, or at least stop listening to FOX and try Democracy Now. He doesn't appear to have heard me but maybe someday he might...

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Spreading the Texas...

I’ve given up trying to write outside today at the rest stop under the gazebo where a large empty cement picnic table is shaded and a nice cooling steady breeze is lowering the temperature by at least a 2 digit degree!

But flies dominate! Little tiny ones, medium size ones, and larger ones – all equally annoying, persistent and fearless, landing on my water bottle as I drink and my keyboard as I attempt to type. Yuck. Too many fuckin cows around here.

I’ve also decided NOT to mosey thru the small isolated towns of western Texas but to stay on the highway until I get to the ‘larger’ towns. I felt ‘comfortable’ driving the truth thru the tiny towns of California and even Arizona – especially as I could see no visible yard signs or bumper stickers touting ‘him’.

But here in Texas – except for El Paso – everything is so isolated and only after the sun goes down revealing a smattering of flickering lights every so many miles is there proof of human habitation.

But the thing that REALLY gives me pause is the sudden absence of internet. I can’t even get mobile data working, let alone gps. Texas rest stops used to boast free internet for all travelers. I ask an old man who is resting in the shade after mowing the brittle dead grass around the picnic tables.

He tells me that internet is no longer because Texas can’t afford it. I’m incredulous – and I immediately think it’s a lie. They already invested – for years – in the hardware so it can’t be that. Unless it was a trump-type business man who claimed bankruptcy after he had all the work done.

The monthly service fee might be off the hook but that’s why god made charges: they’d just have to charge people to connect, which I’m sure would be a profit-making business. Even I’d pay occasionally.

But given the attitude of the police yesterday, the border patrol checkpoint last night in the middle of nowhere on I20, and the proximity to the border, not to mention the womyn’s revolution kicking ass in Texas and maybe even the anti-pipeline anti-oil corporations organizing here, Texas wants to eliminate or at least minimize our contact with each other and the outside world.

Many of the menacing glinting black police cars here boldly brag they are bought and paid for by ‘homeland’ ‘security’…

I’ve carefully pumped veg oil into my main tank, finishing off the 50 gallon drum and almost half of my largest tank. I’m HOPING I can connect with my clean veggie oil source in Atlanta – I’m alarmed at how many of the old sources have dried up: both because of the fuckin corporatizing of the biodiesel industry plus the it confirms my suspicion that many of these guys got into the biz not because they were concerned about bombing people to steal their oil but because they were furious that the price of fuel had risen so much.

Now that the cost of fuel has dropped, so has the number of boys running veggie oil.

So I’m hunkered down inside my camper, longing to take off all my clothes at the very least, making myself write. That’s a good thing!

Kill Kill Kill

Finally I reach the rest stop I’m spending the nite at. It is huge, doubling as a tornado shelter, bathroom, and large hall housing mini-museum displays of rattlesnakes and ‘history’, and an outlet for their local – wherever that is – radio station.

I’m sitting on the toilet when I hear a ‘man’ has been shot and killed. The details that follow claim 19 year old (puleeeeeze) was reaching into his waistband for a gun hidden there when police shot him.


The next ‘story’ is that an adolescent girl has been arrested for the murder of her parents. Sources say her brother is also under investigation. Her lawyer says she will definitely NOT be screened for not competent to stand trial.

And the last story is that another man has been arrested finally after a month of searching for him. His partner was already killed by police. Both were wanted for burglary.

Wow, I feel so safe in America. Guns. Guns. Guns. Kill. Kill. Kill.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

El Paso: obrera y policía - to be continued

I’m excited to return to El Paso and the Café Mayapan, where our Black Womyn’s Lives Matter: Free Marissa caravan did a presentation and where we were given the warmest, most loving and inspiring welcome and sweet fierce support for our journey.  And where we met awesome, kickass activist native and Hispanic womyn fighting for womyn’s lives.

GPS doesn’t work but I find the address of Café Mayapan in my email and I feel my way off the freeway onto the streets. I think I’m heading in the right direction, as I know the street was south of the freeway but north of the border. I confirm with a driver of a black pickup truck next to mine that Texas Ave is in the direction I’m heading.

I’m pleased to witness not one ‘him’ yard sign, poster, banner or even bumper sticker. When I was on the freeway this morning, a couple of muffler-less trucks zoomed to close around me, that could be considered angry white men but maybe not.

A white male maybe in his 30’s driving a spiffy white car did pull in front of me after racing by, threw on his brakes and extended his arm way above the roof of his car to point downwards towards his “marine veteran” sign across the bottom of his back window.

I honk back and give him the peace sign that I morph into the “I love you” sign as he speeds away and ponder why he thought it was important to make sure I noticed his military status. I think over the back of the truck – the truth about ‘rump’ with the only other writing “Black Womyn’s Lives Matter” and “White Silence is Violence”. He didn’t see my “disarm all men” before swerving over in front of me.


When I get to the café, I learn Cemelli cannot meet me for lunch but I am deeply touched and honored when she invites me to attend her class at the University at 3:00pm. I eat lunch at Café Mayapan, get online to catch up with facebook and emails, then work diligently on my blog. I’m anticipating seeing the University campus and sitting in on Cemelli’s class.

On the way to the campus, I’m caught it heavy traffic and receive several smiles and waves – no overt rump rage. One older brown womon drives next to me smiling and watching until we stop at a light when she leans out the window and says ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’ about 10 times. I smile broadly at her and we raise a fist in unison together as she turns off and I continue forward to the university.

I drive unquestioned through the guard shed, him giving me directions to the building I’m seeking as he gulps down soda and wipes chip crumbs off his cheek. I find an illegal I’m sure park right in front of the building. It turns out to be the biggest, tallest building on campus and I have no idea which room Cemelli is teaching in, plus my phone is working on sporadically.

After asking many folks, going to several floors, and almost giving up, I get a text with the room number – a floor I haven’t yet searched. When I get into the class, Cemelli surprises me by asking me to talk a little about my work. She speaks eloquently and earnestly about Marissa Alexander. I add a few more of the egregious details but want to impress upon these young minds that Marissa’s case is not unique, that every where we went, womyn shared similar stories. Cemelli even spoke up and shared her story.

And because we are on the Juarez/El Paso border where indigenous and Mexican girls and womyn are being murdered daily if not hourly, both Cemelli and I talked about brown and native womyn’s lives matter also; and how saying “Native Lives Matter” or “Brown Lives Matter” is NOT a co-opting of Black Lives Matter but a part of BLM and a recognition of racism impacting people of color.

We then see a movie that is a Mayan story of creation – I’m afraid I might have talked too long because we didn’t get to finish watching it.

Cemelli walks out with me and we see several students taking pictures of my truck! She brings me to her car and gives me several presents. I’m ashamed I have nothing to give her, and that I forgot about this graciousness and generosity that was also given to us the last time we passed thru El Paso. I’m intending to find her something special and send it to her.

She invites me to her home, offering a place to sleep, shower, eat, rest. She has invited me to the Prophets of Rage concert that evening that she is rushing off to table at. I’m torn about attending. I’ve looked up the Y in El Paso and an organic food store for snacks – I haven’t exercised properly since I’ve been on the road and I’m out of snacks for keeping myself awake as I drive at night to beat the heat.

She gives me some Jill Stein flyers – Jill is coming to Café Mayapan on Friday! I promise her I leave some at the Y and wherever else I go in El Paso. She tells me I can hand them out at the concert for her because they are not allowed to hand them out themselves.

After she leaves I get a hold of myself. I can’t believe I’m thinking of going to the Y instead of handing out flyers – I probably can do both so I hurriedly text Cemelli and tell her I’ll be there.

When I find the Coliseum and park, only a few people are in line and Cemelli or the other womyn from Café Mayapan are not there. At least I didn’t think they were but then when I approached two womyn standing off to the side of the building to hand them flyers, I recognize at least one of them from the café.

Most people are happy to take the flyer; maybe half are aware of who Jill Stein is; one white male aggressively informs me he’s voting for Hillary. Ok great I say and tell him I don’t care who he votes for as long as it’s not rump. The womyn in the line laugh.

Soon Cemelli arrives with banners, more flyers, and other womyn. As I continue to hand out flyers, a huge white man dressed in the neon green shirt of the parking attendants puffs over to ask me if I have permission to hand out flyers. First I say yes, I’m with the tablers. Then not wanting to get the café in ‘trouble’, I attempt to give him a flyer and tell him it’s information about an event happening on Friday.

He immediately talks in his walkie-talkie to someone who says I’m not allowed to hand out flyers in the parking lot. I attempt to argue my case – it’s a parking lot, it’s an event flyer, I’m not causing trouble.

He insists on me ceasing handing out flyers there and directs me to the front of the building where there is a sidewalk and street. I hear him talking about the police as i head that way, still handing out flyers to the one or two people I’m passing.

When I get around to the front where people are slowly driving in, I realize this spot is even better – I get to hand them a flyer as they drive in.
But I don’t get to stand there very long before I notice three armed cops marching in unison together across the parking lot on a direct collision course with me. I whip out my phone and really do began videoing them, not just faking as I often do. The one in the middle gets right in my face, the other two flanking my sides as they try to march me backwards and sideways, demanding I get onto the sidewalk.

I read their names off their tags onto the video so I have a record of who they are. I point out that I’m off the parking lot, standing on the cement that I try to pass off as part of the sidewalk. They’re insisting it’s a driveway, which I agree, it is, a very long, big driveway.

They order me off the driveway onto the sidewalk, where it will be almost impossible to hand any body a flyer – it’s too big and the car would have to turn in sharply on my side to get a flyer. Grrrrr

After I ask them who the hell they are, they tell me they are the El Paso police and this is private property I’m standing on. I should have asked them why the El Paso police are here bullying a citizen on private property.

"Oh god no!"

My heart is breaking! I’m greeted this morning, as I step out of my camper parked for the nite in the rest area just west of Las Cruces into what used to be a beautiful, breath-taking view of the tiny city down below and the entire mesa that is now blanketed with thick gray smog and stretches as far as this hilltop vantage point reveals, I’m greeted by a beautiful young womon, black pony tail bouncing, with a broad smile hurrying over to greet me and ask if she can facebook pictures of my truck.

Of course she can. We begin talking, her gushing over my truck and expressing her admiration for me and my messages. She asks me where I’m coming from and I find out she’s coming from Iowa – Marion, IA to be exact.

And where is she going to? She shyly looks down and tells me she’s in the military, headed to Texas. I’m devastated, telling her oh no, quit.

This child is sooooooo brainwashed. She tells me I don’t know but lots of people in the military agree with what I’ve written on my truck. What, DISARM the MILITARY???? She probably hasn’t seen that one.

She tells me the military has given her purpose – I say, yes to learn how to kill people. She smiles ruefully in admission but says she really wants to help people. She says it is the purpose of the military to protect the people of this country and to help people around the world.

I look at her with what I hope is a searching searing look. What? Help us how? I tell her she is going to be the ones sent out to kill and imprison people like me who are protesting. She shakes her head vigorously, visibly shocked, proclaiming that has never happened and won’t happen.

When I talk about Jackson State and Kent State, she tells me oh, that was such a long time ago…I tell her she is missing what is happening in the country right now – and she’s on the wrong side of the revolution, she’s on the side of our corporations.

She tells me the military has given her a lot. I ask her to explain what has the military given her exactly, beside the skill to kill another human being. She again acknowledges that gain and adds that she now is fluent in Arabic.

Arafuckinbic. I say oh so you can translate terrorist’s secrets as they’re screaming while being tortured. She giggles and says, ‘oh we don’t torture anymore’… REALLY????

Then she repeated again she can help people by translating and saying they’re innocent? I say innocent of what? What if they want the military invaders – you – to leave their home? She says oh, we’re not allowed to kill random people.

When I point out that we bombed Yemen yesterday killing 150 womyn, children and men, she looks sad and says she knows and that it is the fault of Saudi Arabia…


Genesis is her name. My dialogue with her is sprinkled with my urging her to resign the military, to not allow her being to be so brainwashed and poisoned by military doctrine. To touch that part of her that knows the truth and can see the truth about the military machine.

She said she had no direction before the military gave her direction. I asked her what did she want to do with her life when she was 6 or 7? She immediately said she wanted to be a writer, a cartoonist really, dismissing the idea as ridiculous. I encourage her to revisit that, I tell her she would probably be a great cartoonist and there are a million ways – or at least 20 – to learn Arabic.

She is not a white womon, light brown, probably Hispanic I’m thinking. She confirms she’s from the Dominican Republic. I see her life now, a little miniscule brown spanish-speaking speck in Marion Iowa.

I talk more about how the military has been used – and is still being used – to shore up dictators, as Trujillo from her home, to conquer and enslave the people of her island, to divide the land mass.

She smiles pityingly but then says I’ve given her lots to think about. I ask her if she's read "In the Tiime of the Butterflies" about the Mirabel sisters. She has not heard of them nor of the book - Julia Alverez, the name comes to me as if I just read it yesterday.

I ask her if she’s registered to vote, which she is. Then I take the plunge and ask her if she’s voting for Trump.

She says, “Oh god no” and we hug.