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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

Sunday, September 12, 2004

what's christian re:bush - alabama

right inside the border of georgia & alabama, we saw a sign for a flea market, so off the freeway we went. it was after 3:00 by this time and most of the vendors & customers were gone but pam was still there. she agreed to speak w/us, but not on camera. pam is a white womon probably in her late 30's w/a 21 year old son. pam insisted she knew nothing about politics & didn't like to speak of politics: that it was her husband who studied the newspaper, watched the news, and told her how to vote and this is the way it has always been for her. even so, she talked with us probably 30 minutes expressing things her husband told her i guess. every time she would make a statement & we would ask a question about it, she'd say she didn't know. we asked her if she thought bush was good for the nation, doing good work as president, and she talked about how he wasn't taking care of the abused children or abused wives; she talked about being out of work for over a year, losing her job; she talked about having a car sit in her driveway for over a year because she couldn't afford to fix it - it would cost probably a hundred dollars or even 200 dollars maybe, but she had other bills.
but bush is a christian, she'd insisted. she didn't think he was doing a good job, giving all our money to help those iraqi's instead of helping americans but kerry was definitely evil because he was for abortion and for same-sex marriage.
this is becoming a theme from fundamentalist christians: kerry's stand on abortion & same-sex marriage - and the major deciding factor in their votes.
when i asked pam why same-sex marriage was an issue for her, she began quoting the bible, altho she couldn't quote the bible because she didn't know what verse or chapter she was quoting, altho she was sure it outlawed same-sex marriage. she continued to say those people, her friends, could get married like the indians used to, on a hill, under the eyes of their god, among their own people.
i told her if she was my friend, i would want her to stand up for my right to marry & to not support a president who wanted to make a law that said i can't marry. she quickly qualified her friendship w/gays by saying that she knew which booths homosexuals sat in at the waffle house and she said hello and had conversations w/them but didn't talk w/them about marrying or about their homosexuality.
while pam was talking, another white womon, probably in her late 60's came over & declared "no one, not her husband (who has been dead for a long time), not her sons, & certainly not the 2 of us (me & rae), were going to tell her how to vote, now or ever. period" and off she went. later i found her & asked her if she was willing to talk w/us about women & voting on camera - she was not but she wanted us to know she was voting & it was none of our business or anyone's business how she voted.
back in the parking lot, a car pulled up & evelyn, an african american womon probably in her 30's got out and gave me a big hug! she demanded bumper stickers & information, which i handed out readily to her. she said she was going to pass them along to all her friends, who were all voting to out bush! she said she lives in a democratic neighborhood & everyone there - and in her church-is talking about getting rid of bush & his regime. she came back twice to get more information & bumper stickers and posters - she wanted everything we had. i asked her if she was interested in starting a codepink chapter in alabama & she said she would look us up on the internet & let me know. what she was interested in doing is getting bush out of office. we didn't have voter reg cards yet to give her but she said she was going to get some monday! she was inspiring!
another person, a man originally from jordan, came to talk w/us also. he collected information for his wife & i asked him if he knew evelyn, which he did. i asked if he'd pass on the information that evelyn might be interested in starting codepink in alabama & maybe his wife might want to also. a white male truck driver approached us, saying he had never voted but he might in this election. rae gave him a national registration form, as he lives in washington, & we spoke about how important his vote is, as washington is a swing state.
a great way to begin!
next we hit birmingham & went to the civil rights institute - it was closed but we were able to interview 3 wimmin who all identified as christian & who all thought bush was anti-christian. they all agreed to speak on camera - it was a great, exciting interview. all three wimmin were committed to getting bush out of office and thought that many folks in birmingham felt the same way.
we rushed to the library and picked up 2 dozen voter reg forms then we drove off to a state camp ground to spend the nite! peace, sam

what's christian re:bush - leaving atlanta

pulling out of atlanta this a.m., i pulled into a gas station - a middle aged african-american womon passed my truck & told me she had to talk - she was a retired school teacher recently moved to atlanta & she was so happy to see righteous thinking in atlanta. she didn't know if she was going to stay here, but for now, she was looking around. she loved the neighborhood & thought there were lots of progressive folks in atlanta, which she appreciated! when i went into the gas station to pay for my gas, there was a young man originally from columbia collecting my money. he said he LOVED my truck, that he read every single side & every single word & he agreed with everything. he said he is voting in this election and he is registering all his family & friends also!
leaving the gas station & going to the local coffee shop, a white womon in her 30's stopped me, again loving my truck. she said she was working w/the kerry campaign & wanted to talk w/me about people's reactions to my truck - especially when she found out that i drive around the country. i told her that especially since my april trip this past spring, but really every trip i've taken w/the exception of the first few days of the official bombing, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
i shared w/her how i figured out on my trip to arizona last winter that even tho the count is always more yeahs to fuck-you's, it is the f.u.'s that tend to dominate, because they are so violent and so aggressive in their response.
she told about the people she's met that are afraid to drive thru certain neighborhoods and/or parts of georgia with a kerry/edwards sticker on their cars - of how they tape the sticker on so they can take it off when they go somewhere 'unsafe':i.e. republican. she asked me if i thought republicans ever felt that way - are there republicans anywhere that are afraid to put 'bush cheney' stickers on their cars or signs in their front yards? hell no, i haven't met one. and why is that? i think that is because these are white men most likely rich, straight, christian - or wannabe's - at least that's what i've met and that is at least 90% of bush's support - most white men do not know what it is like to face an oppression or violence - they are truly free to go anywhere without fear.
talking w/rae later she also felt that republicans are not likely to go to neighborhoods where they might meet opposition and if they did, the opposition is not violent.
i continued to the coffeeshop, which had large 'voter registration here' signs plastered out front & inside. the young womon behind the counter even asked me if i was registered to vote before she asked what drink i wanted!!! go atlanta!
on my way out of georgia, i had to stop & get an oil change. there, we registered 6 people and handed out a couple of forms to folks who were going to get friends & relatives registered. several men thought they couldn't vote because they had former felonies on their record - i believe there are 'only' 7 states which do not allow citizens who have been convicted of a felony to vote - florida, of course, being one!
so what a great way to leave georgia and get back on the road. by the way, the count today into alabama was about 25 yeahs and claps and peace signs and shouts to one little tiny ugly fuck you! and that's georgia!