march 2004 - take 3
I’m leaving Chicago early the a.m. but before I go, I take a walk on lake michagan – the path running next to it, that is. I see several people stop, read my truck, smile, and walk on. a couple run to get cameras & return to take pictures. as I load my things & get ready to pull out, several more neighbors come up to me & we talk about codepink, about getting rid of bush, about getting involved in changing our country. I head downtown to make another delivery and pass a couple of chicago city police – they both laugh & make a little wave, appreciating my ‘impeach bush & asscroft’ side of my truck!
Illinois, being very small, I get 8 yeahs & not one negative! Indiana the yeas to nays are 8 to 1 – and not one fuck you!
I pull into a toll booth in Indiana where each booth has a huge ‘united we stand’ sign emblazoned on them, which really pisses me off. I visualize slapping ‘for peace’ on each of them! instead, I lean out my window & hand the womon a ten saying ‘united we stand for peace!’ ‘YES honey’ she says solemnly the moment she realized what I was referring to, ‘ you sure got that right!’ as she hands me my change, ignoring the white man behind her in the booth who is scowling, holding a clipboard & taking notes. in ohio, I approach yet another string of toll booth that this time have flags with ‘god bless america’ written under them. again, I get visions of codepinkers & our allies all across the country having graffiti parties as I block out the ‘b’ in all these signs. the womon in the toll booth down from the one I’m approaching is reading the ‘impeach bush & asscroft’ side of my truck loud and enthusiastically to all her co-workers. my tollbooth collector is first watching her quizzically until she realizes it is my truck she is reading from. the third tollbooth collector on my passenger’s side, the ‘proud to be another American womon for peace’ side, joins in the ruckus chorus of approval!!!
upstate south & western n.y. which appears to be predominately populated w/indigenous peoples, and where last time I had soooooo many positives & heard lots of news coverage of an anti-war march, this time I saw lots of dean bumper stickers, peace signs, and even impeach bush. I’m running into snow again, and FREEZING cold. I find a beautiful rest stop – all of upstate new york is beautiful – in the midst of res land - and spend the rest of the nite. when I wake, ice has formed on the inside & outside of my windows. the water in my windshield wipers is just that – water – so I have to stop every few miles, hop out & scrap my windows – brrrrrr – not a pleasant task for a California who doesn’t do snow! it has stopped snowing but the road is sloshy & everytime a truck passes, my windshield freezes dirt & ice!
by the time I enter Massachusetts, my beautiful truck is covered with a film of white powder – the words are still visible but very, very dirty. I pull into the first service plaza in mass, not realizing that I was about to pass myself off as a Christian. as I’m walking around my truck, I hear a white male voice shouting ‘bush is great’- the anonymous-quick-jab-in-the-parking-lot bravado. I look around not spying the culprit & ask equally as loud in that general direction: ‘what is so great about bush?’ no one claims responsibility for yelling nor answers my question. searching, I quickly narrow the possibility down to the white van about 7 parking spaces away, with the doors ajar, filled with people averting their eyes and bodies, & painted ‘st somebodies evangelistic Christian church’. I approach the open door & ask again ‘what’s so great about bush’ to total still silence. I see the van is filled with all white people, mostly young adolescent boys around 13-14 years old, one maybe mid-thirties man and a maybe 50’s year old woman in the driver’s seat. still no one says a word. I peer into the van & said ‘I thought someone in here yelled something about bush being so great & I’d like to talk with whomever said that.’
finally the older young man says ‘well someone from this van might have said that, I don’t know really know, but i can tell you that I think bush is great’.
‘really,’ I look at him skeptically, ‘and so why do you think bush is great?’
‘because he’s a christian’ he says.
most of the adolescents are not facing me & are giggling or twitching uncomfortably in their seats.
‘a christian’ I scoff in the most unbelievable tone I can easily muster, ‘what in heavan’s name is the least little bit Christian about bush?’
the older guy whom I decide must be the minister or counselor or someone w/authority, just looks at me & says ‘bush is doing the Christian works.’
that’s when I had to pass myself off as a Christian. ‘you know, it is so important for us who are Christians to really stand-up and not allow bush to do what he is doing and pass it off as Christian. there is NOTHING Christian about bombing other countries, bombing iraq, murdering hundreds of thousands of human beings, many of them your age or your mom’s age or your little brothers. bush has totally disregarded the ten commandments -what does he think the bible says “thou shalt not kill, unless bush wants oil from iraq?”.
‘there’s killing in the bible’ a couple of the adolescents are now brave enuff to turn around to chime in – we’re on their solid ground, after all.
the minister pipes up w/the story of god ordering Abraham to kill his child. duh. wasn’t that some misogynist story of the wife being jealous of abraham’s promiscuity that resulted in a child w/another womon – beginning the jewish/arab conflict? I do not mention this.
‘what are you talking about?’ I don’t let him continue – he has this gleam in his eye that makes me cut him off quickly & say once again with as much holy authority as I can conjure up ‘as Christians, I think it is so important that we stand up & do not allow this man to represent us. jesus says ‘love your enemy, do GOOD to those that would harm you.’
the boy who had turned to face me continued to look me in the eye and declare with that youthful assuredness ‘oh, president bush is not murdering anyone. there is a difference between murder & killing.’
I’m truly shocked.
I ask him what in the world is the difference between murder & killing. he tells me when you kill (the ‘in god’s name’ is understood but not spoken) you tell people you are going to kill them; when you murder you don’t tell them, you just do it.
I lean into the van & I say ‘you see, this is the very reason it is so important that we as Christians, do not allow ourselves to be misrepresented by someone who claims to be Christian. suppose I tell you, son, I’m going to kill you, then I take out a gun & shoot you – that makes it right?’
at this point, the driver reaches across the seat & the sea of children, offering me her hand: ‘we have to go now but aren’t you glad you live in a country that allows this kind of dialogue to happen between people?”
I grab her extended hand & ask her name – she’s had plenty of time to think this little bit of sabotage up & I need a second – it’s mary of course. ‘mary’, I say, ‘I am truly glad that you have allowed us to engage in this conversation because my experience w/folks who hold your values is that you are not only willing to kill iraqis but you are willing to slash my tires, to attempt to run me off the road, call me names & attack my right to speak my mind & live in this country, or just shout at me out van doors & then refuse to engage in thoughtful dialogue.’
mary is trying to free her hand but I have a good grip & I need to finish what I have to say – after all, I’m being dismissed. I smile more broadly, make a double peace symbol & do a little happy jig & head back to my truck!