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

Friday, July 23, 2004

off to the dnc - take 5

take 5
Nebraska begins all flat & boring, greener than the flat parts of Wyoming, but broad & empty also. I pretty much drive straight thru from gas station to gas station. I’m thinking how far I’ve made it, almost to iowa which is about 2/3rd’s of the way across country with only one f.u. in California and 2 more in Wyoming – actually the count in Wyoming was 8 yeahs & 1 thumbs down, 2 f.u.. in Nebraska, I got 20 enthusiastic yeahs and one thumbs down – just before Omaha, the end of Nebraska, I got 3 f.u.’s in a row –all young white males, of course, driving new cars and a truck. iowa is my home state – only in that I was born there & lived there until I was two. I can’t pull into a rest stop without seeing my grandmother, my dad’s mother, exclaiming proudly iowa’s rest stops were thef avorite, most modern picnicking places for iowan’s w/the manicured lawns, clean toilets, grass & trees –& my dad grimacing & saying, yeah, now that all the trees have been cut down except for the 3 or 4 that surround the farm house to make room for the agriculture industry. as I return from the bathroom, an older white womon is frantically waving at me. ‘is that your truck?’ she says. ‘well, my husband is a professional photographer & I want him to take pictures of your truck!’ I notice she is dragging a skinny older white man behind her urging him to get the best shots. ‘ honey, I love your truck’ she says ‘and we’re from Idaho although he was born in iowa’ she motions to her reluctant photographer husband. he complains he doesn’t have that many pictures left; she offers to go get more film. he begins snapping – the camera that is. ‘I want the other side too’ she demands when he tries to slip away. he begins to complain about the sun & she says ‘oh honey, you knowhow to take care of that.’ and he does. I mention Iwas born in iowa too, trying to bridge the distance. he kinda smiles & continues snapping stating he doesn’t have his right camera w/him on this trip –they’re on a family reunion. I ask if the subject of bush & the war came up at the reunion & they both looked horrified as if I asked them if they were eating skewered baby hearts & hinged goat toes. she reiterated firmly that they were from Idaho, stressingthe last syllable, as if I should know what that means, and then wished me a very safe journey as she gave me a hug & traipsed off after the photographer! again, I’m past des moines (my birthplace) and to the most eastern parts of iowa before the f.u.’s come. thru iowa, I got an whopping 40 yeah’s to 4 thumbs down – and then 6 f.u.’s. I was approached at a gas station by an older man who told me he was from guam. he said he fought in viet nam and served in the military in guam also. he said never has a war been so wrong as this one is. we talked about veterans against the war and military families against the war – he hadn’t heard of either but says he’s internet ready so he’s going to look them up. I give him some code pink flyers to pass on to his family & friends.

off to the dnc - take 4

take 4
Wyoming is so amazingly beautiful – if only the white folks there could catch up! it has always astounded me, the physical beauty of this country juxtaposedw/the ugliness of many of the white folks that live out here. it’s hard to understand how you can live surrounded by such glory & turn into such hateful, greedy people. I guess when you believe this beauty belongs to you & that you deserve it, you 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 tosses loud, hateful angry words in my direction. I can tell she’s said it to several folks before her eyes lite on me & she knows I’m the one: “she can’t spell; she needs to go back to school to learn to spell.” I ask her to explain. she totally ignores me & repeats herself 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 turns, ignoring them as we give each other a broad smile &the peace sign. ‘go back to school,’ she hisses, ‘and learn to spell.’ ‘tell you what’, I say, ‘when bush goes back to church & learns what it means to be a Christian, I’ll go back to school & learn how to spell.’ she slides herself into her brand new American sedan, slams the door, & pushes the automatic locks. okay.thinking about her later, I wish I would have askedher exactly what was making her so angry – maybe that would have led to more fruitful dialogue. I had to stop at another new rest stop on I-80 – it is very lush, w/thick green grass, new toilets, and several trees. as I’m at my truck, a young fellow, david, in a new jeep tells me he’s voting for bush. I feign shock but not my horror – he’s jewish, late 20’s maybe, beautiful smile. why, I ask. he tells me how he has 2 businesses that have flourished since bush took office – under Clinton, he was struggling; under bush, he’s thrived – juice bars no less! oh, I say, shaking his hand, so your part of the haves and have mores that make up bush’s base. he has not seen 9/11 – he lost a cousin in the towers & feels like he can’t look at it. I understand, I can’t look at holocaust movies either. before we part, I encourage him to see it when he’s ready – there’s too much in it that shouldn’t be missed. we talk about the democratic governor of new jersey. he has a litany of faults & crimes the man has committed. I know nothing about the governor but I do know about seeking out the truth in what we hear & read. we talk about that. I urge him to reconsider not voting for bush – I give him some codepink information& a couple of quarter page fact sheets, which he takes willingly. I tell him not to forget about the rest of us, just because he is doing well. I hope he will think about it. a tall, younger white womon is patiently waiting for us to finish our conversation. she approaches me as he leaves & asks if she can take pictures of my truck that she loves. manda tells me she is from Colorado & 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 & undereducated– which reminds me of the great red, white & 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’m in Laramie again – I enjoy coming here after making it thru the western part of Wyoming. I didn’t get one fuck u yet but there’s a general hostility that mixes w/the fumes emanating from the asphalt. for one thing, there are too many white male cowboy types materializing among the beautiful reddish rocks &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 2 young white girls stopped, gaping at my truck. I greet them with a howdy & have you girls heard of codepink:women 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 to my truck & get them some materials & give 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 & 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 w/even bigger smiles on their faces & I’m happy! inside the store, I can get espresso!!! with soymilk!!! I’m happy once again. there is a young white man working the machines. he takes my order & then looks me in 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 decay soy no foam latte. in the same serious voice, he asks me if I’ve seenFahrenheit 9/11 yet. I say oh yes, I have. ‘well I saw it last nite,’ he says. and we talk about the movie and it’s 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 & tell him I will get him some materials from my truck, which I leave for him. so now I love Laramie even more! in Cheyenne, I go to the same truck stop I always try to make it to – no biodiesel but cheap diesel & tons of truckers, tourists, & Wyoming-ers. one trucker stops me on my way into pay. he has a voice about as loud as wyoming’s wind: ‘that your truck, little lady?’ grrrrrrr. I bite back ‘no it’s mygrandmother’s’ but I have to howl back ‘got that right little fellow’. he’s sitting down but for sure he’s 6’tall & half that wide. ‘well you are so right on’ he bellows. then he goes into a litany of fondly bashing his fellow truck drivers. 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 & 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. anyway, 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 want to see 9/11, no matter what?’ 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 passes as we talk, pointing to my truck & saying “pink slip nothing, kill the devil – and he is the devil”. the two men then begin discussing the human form of the devil known as george w. bush. I leave them to their comradeship & hit the road!