Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

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

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Kill the devil


I’ve made it to Laramie again! I enjoy coming here after making it thru the western part of Wyoming. I didn’t get one fuck you yet but there’s a general hostility that mixes with the fumes emanating from the asphalt.
For one thing, there are too many white male cowboy types materializing among the beautiful reddish rocks and cliffs. Plus all my past experiences combine to make me happy to be in Laramie – still cautious but happy.
I’m in the parking lot at a grocery store approaching the front doors when I notice two young white girls frozen, gaping at my truck. I greet them with a howdy and have you girls heard of CodePINK:womyn for peace? They are so excited, they both start talking at once. I find out they are from Cheyenne, which is why they think they haven’t heard of CodePINK. I go back inside my truck and get them some materials, then hand them each a pin. They are staunch democrats in the midst of a republican desert but they are determined to support kerry. They both talked about how horrible bush has been, taking us to war, how they are so against him and are worried sick about the election and the future.
They are about 12 years old, I’m guessing. I give them big hugs and tell them we are going to win this one, I’m sure! And we will – maybe not right away, but we’ll win. They leave with even bigger smiles on their faces and I’m happy!
Inside the store, I see I can get espresso!!! with soy milk!!! I’m happy once again. There is a young white man working the machines. He takes my order and then hesitates, looking me so deeply into my eyes, so solemnly, I’m thinking he’s trying to think how to politely refuse to serve me in my ‘pink slip bush’ t-shirt. Instead he informs me that he is buying me this decaf soy no foam latte.
In the same serious voice, he asks me if I’ve seen Fahrenheit 9/11 yet. I say oh yes, I have.
“Well I saw it last nite,” he grimly states. We talk about the movie and its impact on this young man. I thought we both would cry. He tells me he is buying me this latte because of my shirt. I thank him and tell him I will get him some materials from my truck, which I leave for him. So now I love Laramie even more!
Once I get to Cheyenne, I go to the same truck stop I always try to make it to – no biodiesel but cheap diesel and tons of truckers, tourists, and Wyoming-ers.
One trucker stops me on my way into pay. He has a voice about as loud as Wyoming’s wind on top of Medicine Bow.
“That your truck, little lady?” he demands. Grrrrrrr. I want to bite back with ‘no it’s my grandmother’s’  but instead I have to howl back “Got that right little fellow.” He’s sitting down but for sure he’s 6’tall and half that wide.
“Well you are so right on” he bellows. Then he goes into a litany of fondly bashing his fellow truck drivers, especially those who are white, which is most of them. He tells me about, once again, Fahrenheit 9/11 and how he tried to convince a group of fellow truckers to watch the movie in the trucker’s lounge a couple weeks back. A lot of these stations have truckers’ lounges that probably used to be as sacrosanct to them as the bohemian grove is to those boys. I remember the day when there were naked women pictures lining the walls and girlie magazines scattered all over but live women didn’t have a place to pee. Now there are just moments of silence, seconds of cigarette smoke standing still, even the huge color tv’s seem to pause momentarily, in most places when a woman walks in.
Chuckling brashly, he told me his friends had no desire to see 9/11 but he was still working on them.
“How can ya not wanna see 9/11, no matter what ya think you know?” he asks, shaking his head at the absurdity of it all. “That was the number one best movie I’ve seen” he continues.                I encourage him to keep pushing those truckers to see it. Another trucker, this one short  and white, passes as we talk, pointing out the storefront windows to my parked truck and barks: “Pink slip nothing. Kill the devil – and he is the devil”. The two men then begin disdainfully mocking the human form of the devil known as george w. bush. I leave them to their comradeship and hit the road!

One Nation, Under Educated...


I stop at another rest stop on I-80, delighted with  it’s very lush vegetation, thick green grass and several trees, a small but beautiful trail, and the best brand new toilets!
Standing and stretching beside my truck, a young fellow, David, hovering by his new jeep, announces: “I’m voting for bush.”
I feign shock but not. Horror, yes, when he reveals he’s jewish, late 20’s maybe, beautiful smile.
“Why?”  I muster all the curiosity I can while hopefully masking my dismay at his betrayal of our race.
“I have two businesses that have flourished since bush took office ,” he brags. “Under Clinton, I was struggling; under Bush, I’ve thrived.” Juice bars no less!
“Oh,”  I primly retort, grabbing his hand in a firm shake. “So you’re part of the haves and have mores that make up bush’s base.”
He fixes me with a hard stare. “I have not seen Fahrenheit 9/11 – I lost a cousin in the towers and I just can’t look at it.”
I understand, I can’t look at holocaust movies either.
“I’m so sorry for your loss,” I murmur, my hand now moving up to touch his arm.
We then talk about the democratic governor of New Jersey. David has a litany of faults and crimes the man has committed. I know nothing about the governor but I do know about seeking out the truth in what we hear and read. We talk about that so I can circle back to informing ourselves as much as possible before we believe something.
Before we part I ask him to reconsider watching F 9/11 so he doesn’t miss some of that informing ourselves especially given his personal loss, but even more importantly, to consider NOT voting for bush. I urge him to not forget about the rest of us, just because he’s doing well.
I offer him some codepink information and a couple of quarter page fact sheets, which he takes willingly.
A tall, younger white womon is patiently waiting at the side of the truck for us to finish our conversation. She approaches me as he leaves and asks if she can take pictures of my truck that she loves.
Manda tells me she is from Colorado and she teaches so she wants to make a democracy lesson for her students. She says she lives in a very liberal part of Colorado – all her friends and acquaintances view bush supporters as the uneducated and undereducated, making eyes over her shoulder at David – which reminds me of the great red, white and blue bumper sticker I saw “One nation, under-educated”!
We talk about whether Colorado is a swing state – she thinks it is but she has hope it’ll go for Kerry!
I don't share my hopes with her...

Learn to spell


Wyoming is so amazingly beautiful – if only the white folks there could catch up! It has always astounded me, the wondrous physical beauty of this country juxtaposed with the mean ugliness of many of the white folks that live out here. It’s so hard for me to understand how you can live surrounded by such glorious splendor and then turn into such hateful, greedy people. I guess when you believe this beauty belongs to you and you alone, that you alone deserve it, you then feel entitled to claim it for yourself. It is very sad.
I’m at yet another gas station, returning from the bathroom. As I walk out the door, an older large white women heaves loud, hateful angry words in my direction. I can tell she’s said it to several folks before her eyes light on me.
She knows I’m the one! She growls, casting dispersions: “She can’t spell; she needs to go back to school to learn to spell.”
I ask her to please explain what in the world she means? She totally ignores me, saddles up, reiterating her accusation to a young white straight couple that are holding hands, standing there reading my truck.
He responds: “Oh I think she spelled everything exactly the way she wanted to.”
She pivots sharply, ignoring us as we triumphantly give each other a broad smile and the peace sign.
“Go back to school,” she hisses, “and learn to spell.”
“Tell you what,”  I say,  “When bush goes back to church and learns what it means to be a christian, I’ll go back to school and learn how to spell.”
She slides herself into her brand new american sedan, slams the door, and emphatically pushes the automatic locks.
Okay.
Thinking about her later, I wish I would have asked her exactly what was making her so very angry – maybe that would have led to more fruitful dialogue.