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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. 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 we want all to thrive in

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Republican businesses of course


 My apprehension traversing through Virginia Beach, knowing its reputation of wealth and whiteness, increased a million fold with the overwhelming presence of both u.s.ofa. flags and “god bless america” signs, not to mention the large pickup trucks zooming up and down Main Street with their back windows no longer clear but replaced with flags, if not huge flags somehow springing up from the bed of the truck.
Houses and business not only have large flags looming over every piece of real estate, but little one foot tall ones dot the borders of sidewalks and driveways. The bathroom I entered at the little café whose window sported a coffee mug only, actually had u.s.ofa. flags hand towels.
 But I’m ready to visit the ocean again. I park my truck a half block away from a sparkling white sand beach and a young white boy approaches me quickly, breathlessly pointing to my “Protect Mother Earth: end ALL wars” with “against humans, against our environment, against all life” painted on the side of my truck.
 “Global warming is  just a liberal conspiracy!” he announces. Wow, I’m not stunned but horrified, as it will be him and his generation that will struggle to survive.
“So you think it’s just a contrived conspiracy on the part of liberal people?” I ask as he nods vigorously.
“So why would the liberals want to make up such a disastrous thing?” I raise the question really wanting to know what this young person thinks.
“Why to keep businesses from making money!” he retorts.
“And which businesses could that be?”
“Why republican businesses of course!” he states unequivocally.
Oh.
            “Not the businesses that are destroying the environment or that are making money off selling weapons and training young men how to kill their own people, or exploiting unrenewable resources? How about the ones killing all the bees or fish in the ocean….”
            He’s left when I hit the selling weapons, refusing to talk about those businesses, not answering when I asked him which of these businesses is his father into.


She won't take him back but the marines will....


Driving down the east coast, I found an organic coffee shop – for joy for Joi – with free internet access no less. As I attempted to connect with folks, a white womon who was probably in her 40’s but looked closer to 60, her voice trembling, her hands shaking, a belligerence wafting with her approach, confronted me to verify that it was my truck out front. She proceeded to report that her son was presently in Iraq.
I grasped her hand, told her how sorry I was, and invited her to sit down with us, glancing quickly at my sister who nods briefly, and talk with me. Tears pooled in her eyes as she did. Her hostility waned as we spoke. She shared how proud she was of her son, how he was defending the country, how none of her family were, the cowards,  and she was teaching her grandchildren (his kids that he couldn’t parent) to fight for america.
As we spoke, she painted a bleak picture of her son – he was a problem child, kicked out of school after school after school for fighting, for violence, for uncontrollable anger. She was even told by one school principal, she should be afraid for her physical safety. The schools didn’t want him, the city didn’t want him, she wasn’t supposed to want him, but the marines sure did want him – he was perfect for them. He ‘served’ in Afghanistan first, and now Iraq. He will probably re-up when the time comes.
She painted an even bleaker picture of her life – she took care of a father who was wounded in world war two until he died not long ago; then her husband, a Vietnam war vet batterer who fathered her children, who ended up an invalid from his injuries and was now also dying.
She did all this and survived while raising three children of her own and now two grandchildren.
Tears are suddenly released, dropping noisily on the formica table, as she reveals how afraid she is of her only son. She thinks he’ll come back more violent. His wife, the mother of his children, went underground, fearing for her life. Guilt floods her face when she admits to letting her son know where his wife was hiding when he came back from Afghanistan. He almost killed her.
She wouldn’t take him back but the marines would.
I sigh, holding her hand, telling her it is not her fault. She smiles bitterly and says “some american dream, eh?”