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

Monday, September 13, 2004

what's christian re:bush - leaving mississippi

i thought we were thru w/mississippi - it was dark by the time we left columbus and headed west for arkansas. passing thru starkville, we notice on the other side of the freeway floodlights shining over the bleachers & field at mississippi state and quickly made a u-turn to head toward them. we found the stadium empty but the parking lot near another building full - so off we headed to park the truck in a conspicuous location. we approached the building hoping it was a student center & found it was an immense, modern, state-of-the-art gym!~ even tho it was after 9:00, a stead trickle of students were coming and going.
we grabbed out codepink materials & voter reg cards & began asking students if they were registered to vote. lots of students were already registered, some were registered in their home states, but way too many were not registered and never had - we registered folks until we ran outta cards! it was awesome. we handed out lots of codepink info as well. as we were registering voters & handing out info, a young male police officer approached & asked if we were soliciting anything. we said 'hell yes, george bush's removal from office!' he laughed and said he would sure join us in that!
when we'd registered about 3/4ths of our forms, a young white football type fellow stomped by and about 20 feet down the sidewalk before he entered the building he turned back and shouted "do you have a decal to park on this campus?" i looked around & then innocently questioned him "are you talking to me?" he repeated his question - i asked him which car was he talking about - i noticed lots of cars without decals. then he changed his question to: "do you have permission to set foot on this campus?" i asked him to come join us so we can have a conversation without yelling. he huffed & then threatened to call the police & report us.
we continued registering voters. when we ran out of forms, i went inside to borrow the stapler - here in mississippi, the voter reg forms had to be zeroxed in the clerk's office! then you have to figure out which county a person resides in; AND you have to have a STAMP to mail the card in - after you've written a return address on it as well the county courthouse address. i approached the security desk & asked for a stapler, which they gladly gave me. as i was stapling, i heard a voice bombing behind me "do you have permission to park that truck on this campus?" i turned to see another police officer -older, white with about an 8 month belly hanging over his belt - approaching me. "which truck could that be?" i enquired. then he asked me if i had the dean of students approval to solicit on campus. i told him i was not soliciting anything - i was registering voters. he told me i needed the dean's permission. i asked him since when did anyone need permission to register voters anywhere in this democracy? he said i had to move my truck & leave the campus unless the dean of students has given me permission to be there. i asked him if he was 100% sure i needed the deans permission to register voters in a democracy?
i asked him why was he really here? i told him we had already spoken with another police officer who didn't have a problem. he said he had a problem w/me parking my truck where i did. i told him there were other trucks also parked there & did he have a problem w/those trucks. he said he didn't see any other trucks. i said interesting.
by this time, the young people behind the desk, both african american, were laughing & several other students had come closer. i told this police officer i know what this is about - it is about the message painted on my truck urging us to get rid of bush & his regime. i told him if i had the young republicans painted on my truck he would have never approached me.
but i was leaving anyway - i was finished.
we left - happily. as we got to the truck, someone (probably the young football-type) printed a sign that said "i see your plates are from california - why don't you go back there?" ha!
but MOST of the students were so happy to see us, took lots of info, and pledged to vote against bush & get their friends & classmates to join them!
peace, sam

what's christian re:bush - entering mississippi

we left alabama & entered mississippi - we were looking for the psychic reader that advertised on a huge billboard in alabama, stating she was just across the border into mississippi. we were really curious about how she could survive in the land of churches & 'christian' billboards & 'jesus is coming' signs that populate the road as densely as the trees, which are pretty dense in alabama! we couldn't find her so we continued into columbus, mississippi - we see a sign from the highway directing us to the mississippi university for women in columbus. the first thing we see approaching the campus is the american flag & conferate flag hanging side-by-side. we learn that mississippi is the only southern state that retained the conferate flag as its' state flag. once on campus, we search for voter reg forms - not one office, organization, or person on this campus has voter registration forms. we go to the county court house & i request voter reg forms for the campus. the white womon there informs me that because the students are only here for four fuckin' years, she expects they'll vote absentee ballet from their own state - she wishes probably! she told me i would have to go to jackson to get more registration forms. an african american womon gets up, takes a form & tells me she is going to make me copies. as i'm waiting,
i see some voter reg forms that i casually pick up. when she returns, i add the copies to my find. i notice the form says that if you have a felony, you can't vote. i ask about this & she copies me a memo from the special attorney general that asks them to do the florida thing: purge the names of all individuals who have been convicted of the following crimes: arson, armed robbery, bigamy, bribery, embezzlement, extortion, felony bad check, felong shoplifting, forgery, larceny, murder, obtaining money or goods under false pretense, perjury, rape, receiving stolen property, robbery, theft, timber larceny, unlawful taking of motor vehicle. then someone wrote in 'statutory rape' and 'car jacking'.
the voter reg forms adds a line about voting if you've had your rights restored as required by law. so i'm thinking, maybe this means after you've done your time - i called the secretary general to have it explained to me & he thought it meant if you were pardoned by the governor - i asked if that meant you'd served your sentence. he said no, that if you were convicted of any of these crimes you could not vote unless the governor has commuted your sentence. i asked if he was 100% sure, being in the secretary state's office and he said he wasn't!
we went back to the school and began asking wimmin to register to vote. we registered a young womon who was turning 18 on wednesday & hadn't planned on voting. she had a 6 month old child, 17 units of classes & felt too busy to vote. and she wasn't interested but as we talked it became obvious she was not only interested but cared very deeply. she was concerned about bush & what he was doing to our young people in this war & in this country. we talked about absentee voting, which she had never heard of. she took us to talk w/one of her professors, a womon teaching english & wimmin's studies. as we were talking yet another womon dr. came running up, hugging us & saying she saw the truck & it made her feel soooooo much better. we talked about codepink & they both promised to check out the web site & look into starting a codepink on campus! yeah!!!!

what's christian re:bush - alabama day 2

pulling into the camp ground last nite, the womon taking our money didn't want to talk politics. she was registered to vote & was going to vote but she didn't want to talk about it!
as we set up camp, we heard a male voice from across the way yell "love your truck!"
this a.m., two older white males greeted us joyfully - one was the park ranger, the other another park employee. both of them said they were so glad to see us, they thought bush was evil but they didn't have much hope that we'll defeat him. the ranger spoke of the last governor's 'election' in alabama, saying it was just like bush's 'victory'. he said he went to bed knowing the democratic governor had won & then got up the next morning hearing the attorney general had decided the republican governor had won. he said this attorney general threatened to jail anyone who challenged the vote count!
both men talked about the fear of losing their jobs, and the jobs that have already been lost by their neighbors, friends, relatives. they talked of the state of the world and their concerns about the world we are leaving to their grandchildren. they saw clearly how bush lied and manipulated not just his way into office, but his way into war & destroying our economy & quality of life.
later we took a swim and met another white alabaman man, a bit younger, who echoed the sentiment that bush is evil and needs to be defeated. he said he wanted to do something to help - we told him to find at least 5 people, especially wimmin, who are not registered to vote & get them to register. he promised he would.
off to echola, alabama - rae's choice - before we head to reform, alabama. in echola, two 2-lane roads intersected with a gas station at one corner, woods and a home on the other corners - this is echola. as we entered the gas station, we saw many god & christ signs and a rifle w/a sign that said 'i don't call 911' - christians! two older (over 65) white wimmin sat stiffly at the counter. we asked about diesel gas to break the ice - they didn't have any. then we told them we were traveling around the country looking for christians so we can talk about what is happening today in our country & our world.
'we don't talk about politics!' they both declared. 'we never have & we never will'.
okay. they told us echola started off as fox and then was changed to echola - about 100 people lived there, mostly retired folks - the young people didn't want to farm anymore and went off to the cities. they talked about how there wasn't any money in it for them - rae asked if this was not talking about politics & they said no.
they said they didn't care about what was happening in the rest of the country or world - & i believed them. one womon said she had health insurance cause her husband had a business & got them great coverage. i asked her if she was concerned about the 45 million americans who did not have health coverage & she said no, the lord will take care of them.
okay. i asked them if either one of them was willing to talk about whether they see bush as a christian & they both said 'no'.
one womon said she had raised 4 children and was taking life easy & didn't think she was capable of contributing to politcis. in fact, she thought wimmin had no business in politics, that we should leave it up to the men - it has always been that way, there in echola, and it will always be that way. okay.
leaving echola, we drove about 8 miles to a gas station - there a large sign said: "get your path straight - jesus is king". i asked the skinny, hunched & shriveled altho tall elderly white man there if he put that sign up. he could barely hear & his hands shook as he talked w/us. he declared it had been there forever, before he bought the station. as i was asking him if he was going to help us pink slip bush, rae grabbed my arm & said 'let's go'. as we got in the truck, she pointed out the gun sticking out of his pants pocket! that was scarey.
off to reform alabama - a city with more than a gas station & grocery store - not much more, but probably about 3 streets of businesses, including one main street that we traveled up & down registering voters. reform is an integrated city where we found strong african american female support for kerry and against bush - these wimmin spoke firmly & loudly about the issues, including sending our children off to die in iraq, bush's lies & anti-christian behaviors. a couple of wimmin wanted us to go to the tv station to let them know what we were doing. several wimmin said they were going to pray for us & the success of our cross-country trip!
the white wimmin we spoke w/tended to not want to talk, stating they don't know about politics, or stated that they supported bush. when we asked them how come they supported bush, they tended to say because their husbands told them what they needed to know, or they read in the newspaper or watched the tv. i asked if they thought they were getting good, accurate information in the paper or on tv and they almost always admitted 'no' = but they still do not want to talk about it.
we handed out or registered about 5 or 6 folks here in reform!
we got 2 fuck you's in alabama, 2 no's, and 9 yeahs!!!!