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, July 27, 2004

boston dnc - tuesday july 27th

tuesday july 27th

I wasn’t going to go to the radical women’s conference today – I was going to go to another event w/Deborah but jody asked me to pick her up this a.m. at her hotel so I hopped in my big truck & headed thru the new boston tunnel (that bostonians paid bechtel millions to build I understand) to the airport where the hotel was – very convenient! I pulled up in front of the Hilton to the ‘passenger loading/unloading only’ zone to wait for jody. the staff & many hotel guests waved joyously at me & my truck. as I hopped down to go look for jody, a news reporter approached & asked if he could talk w/me. he is from usa today – I frown at his biz card and say, this paper needs a broader perspective, not just a conservative, rich, white, male point of view – he is African american. he solemnly nods his head in agreement & says it’s the corporation that owns the paper – gannet publishing.

he continues to interview me re:my trip, my truck, how long I’ve been doing this, etc. as we speak, I see a tall white security guard approaching rapidly. he’s obviously anxious & working up steam, so I assure him I’m picking up a hotel guest. he kinda looms close as the reporter keeps asking me questions. an older white womon approaches us, hand extended, & introduces herself as Barbara harris from Austin texas. she graciously tells me she wants to shake the hand of the womon who is driving this truck – I repeat some of my story to her.while we talk, both the reporter & the guard are shifting their weight from foot to foot, listening intently. I tell Barbara about codepink & go into my truck to retrieve info for her (& the reporter) as she tells me she will do anything for us! (I might have her name wrong & the city she’s from – menopause, grrrr – but she’s definitely a delegate from texas!!!) as I emerge w/info for her & the reporter, I notice the guard has taken off. we all talk somemore when a short, stocky non-descript older (than the first one, who is clipping this one’s heels) white man approaches. he demands I move my truck immediately – both of them stand straight & menacing, as in no smiles or friendly, casual shoulders – stiff as the regular police. they both have wires in their ears and a hand in their suit jacket – it’s 90plus degrees already and about 430 percent humidity. they instruct me to proceed around to the side of the hotel & the loading dock there. so I do.

as I back into the dock & get out, another young white male sitting on the platform is scowling down at me as I approach the back of my truck. he has what appears to be a piece of hay or a very long tooth pick sticking out the side of his mouth in what I’m sure he thinks is an early tuff-guy pose. he snarls at me “that there should say get a hysterectomy” – I know immediately without looking he is referring to my ‘against abortion? get a vasectomy’ bumper sticker. I say in my sweetest smiley voice ‘oh really?’ yeah, he responds – I’m nodding too, he’s a little loser – ‘only if you want it to say get castrated’. he jumps back, knocking his chair over – the other fellows howl & he starts sputtering about how it’s the womon who gets pregnant. I smile sweetly again & say, yes, 'that’s my point exactly' as I ask directions back to the lobby from another womon. she begins to lead me back to the hotel lobby when yet another ubiquitous security fellow appears to halt our progress. apparently I can’t be trusted to go the back way thru the hotel to the lobby – who knows what havock I can bring to the kitchen or wherever it leads. the young man tells me he’ll escort me to the lobby – outside, thru the heat of the asphalt & concrete. he is so solemn & serious & on edge I have to ask him what is going on. he just mumbles 'security'. he’s about a great-grandchild’s age I’m sure, if I had one: a solemn, silent child at that. I remind him I’m a u.s. citizen, just like he is. when I tell him I’m not a terrorist, he smiles self-consciously but keeps matching my pace, step for step. I can just taste his rush of adrenalin, his hope that he will be the hero that overcomes the terrorist. I understand – who doesn’t want to be a hero? but such a stupid waste of time, harassing me.

I spent the day at the revolutionary women’s event tabling w/jody. it was a FABULOUS event held in boston’s new convention center – no police presence, just security that was pretty laid-back – other then having to wear a tag at all times! of course, I immediately lost mine somehow but they all knew me – I drove my truck there!

there must have been a thousand wimmin there easy. many wimmin didn’t know of codepink but lots did! we got several pages of wimmin to sign up for codepink – it was great! many wimmin came up to our table, introducted themselves & I felt I should recognize their names at least, if not their faces. fortunately jody was there to respond appropriately. it was terribly exciting, all that womonist/feminist energy, all that bountiful hope & brilliance! but the best part of today was this evening at the dnc – there are 2 sections of the dnc: the floor is the bottom part where all the delegates are seated; then there are the upper levels where the non-delegates are seated. the democrats running the convention made it illegal for anyone to bring in their own home-made signs. i.e. they wanted to control the signs that were on the floor & in the upper levels. well, medea somehow secured a ticket to the floor!!! AND was able to unfurl a banner that read “bring our troops home now!” she stood there, by herself, with this banner, refusing to back down. the press covered her & you could hear her lone strong voice yelling ‘bring our troops home now’ as security dragged her from the floor! then they made all the codepink wimmin, who weren’t able to get into the floor, leave. next to al sharpton’s tossing out his scripted 6 minutes & delivering his inspirational 20 minutes, medea’s action was the only other protest to reach the floor of the convention that I know of. and I missed it all cause I went home early! oh well, there’s always tomorrow! peace, sam

take 7 & take 8

take 7
I spot a walmart in ohio, a big, important swing state. I pull into the parking lot & proceed to sadly repaint the numbers of u.s. dead on the back of the truck. as I hop down out of the truck, I notice a young white male with bulging bags in both bulging arms walking slowing by my truck, carefully & without expression reading the ‘imprison bush’ side of my truck. I am always sad when I repaint these numbers and now, with this company, I try to put a smile on my face. I notice he crosses over to the side of my truck where his new shiney black huge pick-up truck with the dual cab and short high bed sits. he has shorn hair that makes his neck & arms look even more muscular & I think, generally speaking, this is probably a military fellow & I better be aware. as I change the ‘2’ to ‘7’ I notice he has silently come to stand about 8 feet from me. he is holding out a cell phone as he asks ‘can I take a picture of your truck for my wife?’ I say ‘sure’. he says, ‘my wife HATES bush’. I breathe. ‘oh, well she certainly has a lot of company nowadays!’ he then adds: ‘I hate bush too’. I nod & say I know. he glares at me a moment & says, ‘no, you don’t understand. I was in afghanistan & in iraq.” his steel look cuts me deep as he reiterates quietly: “I hate bush”. I’m filled w/his horror & can only say how glad I am he, a total stranger, made it back alive. I grab codepink flyers for his wife & he thanks me, that white solemn face softening only when he mentions his wife & how happy she’ll be to get these. he holds out the phone to show me the pictures he’s taken.

I return to finish re-painting the numbers of american dead on the back of my truck when two more white guys approach. I can hear them from far away reading the messages on my truck. one of them, the older one, is explaining how if they lived in California, they’d see this kind of thing all the time! these guys were as bubbly and enthusiastic as the first guy was stoic. they wanted to know where to catch the bus, like I would know. they thought I was from ohio so they were doubly pleased that I was driving to the dnc. we talked about ohio being a swing state – they both told me they’re working really hard on organizing people. they think it is 50/50 now, and leaning towards kerry but there’s a lot of work to be done. the tall, younger one tells me how many people are coming out to help defeat bush – he is really excited. the older one, caught up in his enthusiasm, agrees. there is great hope for ohio!!!

by the time I hit Pennsylvania, I feel euphoric – I’ve gotten 33 yeah’s to 2 nays & only 1 fuck u – and all in a supposed swing-state no less!!! I decide to treat myself to a motel this evening – I pull into the cutest motel 6 I’ve seen – rows of little cabin-like rooms around a pool and lots of trees and open grassy areas. I am outside of Youngstown which is in the beginning of some ‘mountain’ range I believe! pretty, hilly eastern ohio and western pa, amish country! while I’m in the parking lot, several guests & employees wave & give me the high-signs, peace signs, and fists in the air. again, I’m relieved this is a racially-diverse place. I back my truck into the space in front of my door, hop down & meet greg standing there grinning at me. he’s an older man, probably early 60’s, and he tells me he agrees with EVERYTHING I have written on my truck. he proceeds to tell me he’s from Spokane Washington, where a lot of his neighbors aren’t too friendly. he tells me stories of how his lawn signs have been damaged, stolen, defaced but he keeps putting them out. he tells me how there are other democrats in his neighborhood but they are silent & scared – I get a vision of ghosts tiptoeing behind & thru the streets & trees. greg is an amazing human being. he speaks personally of everything from racial hatred behind the bombing to accepting his brother’s homosexuality early in life to greed and envy of most americans. he is chicana originally from Arizona - he speaks in that slow, sure tone, that lovely subtle inflection on end syllables or middle words, of some indigenous people. he talks about how his daughter, a single mother, is making it in the world. as he speaks of both his granddaughter & her mom, his whole being glows with a tenderness of love & pride. he can’t understand how hateful white people in Spokane are towards them, for his granddaughter is half African-american. he tells of the white men friends, once his neighbors & fishing buddies, once probably seeing him as a white man, had to be left behind after he began hearing their true feelings and thoughts about their racial superiority. he recounted conversations w/them, and others, that he’s confronted over the years – confronted not like I tend to do, in anger, rage, & hostility – but w/a softness, an incredulous that is filled with so much sincere perplexity I can’t see how anyone would not pause & reexamine whatever they just put out. he pulls out pictures of his daughter & granddaughter. I pull out a picture of my ‘child’, 34 years old & he nods knowingly – ‘oh, so your child is bi-racial also’. I think I have taught him that word, bi-racial. he had been referring to his granddaughter as black or African American, as I used to do also when tessie & I both were young & isolated. I think he’s happy with bi-racial rolling off his tongue & I sense his desire to hurry back give it to the 8 year old who calls him grandpa. she wanted to come with him on this trip, he confesses, but he didn’t think s(he) could handle it!
so there’s hope for Washington with greg & his family living there!

take 8
I drove thru western Pennsylvania this morning & then cut up thru new york – passing by new palsy(?) where the mayor was jailed for marrying homosexuals – yeah!!! I don’t have time to stop this trip but I definitely want to stop & shake his hand the next time. usually western penn is silent – this time I was greeted w/hostility & 3 fuck you’s before the yeah’s began. I ended up with 18 yeahs to 6 nays and 6 f.u.’s! the yeahs increasing & the nay’s decreasing as I got closer to new york. isn’t Theresa Heinz kerry from western pa? she better get on the stick!

Connecticut was 34 to 4 and not one f.u. this time!!! yeah!!!

I can see that Fahrenheit 9/11 is to become a theme for this trip – whether I’ve seen it or not is one of the first question people ask – or a question I ask, especially those who challenge the veracity of my statements.