Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! For now, I’ve returned from my Joiyssey to participate in the "revolution":I’ve been at many Occupy sites across the country:1st in D.C. Freedom Plaza I faced & challenged racism/white supremacy, sexism/patriarchy, classism, heterosexism & eventually was kicked off the island; then I offered workshops as I drove to CA:“Anti-Racism Geared for White Occupiers”; “NO DRONES” "Successes and Pitfalls of OWS"

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

what's christian re:bush - plunging thru texas!

we entered texas this afternoon at texarkana & drove a little apprehensively to witchita falls - after all, this is bush country, or so they say! the last time i was in texas, only zooming thru the top of the panhandle, folks were very hostile & i got almost as many 'fuck you's' as i did 'yeahs!' so this time, i was very ready for hostility and big old white truck drivers in 10 gallon cowboy hats!
what really happened was texans were SOOOOOO glad to see us - by the time we hit witchita falls, we had 8 yeahs! and not one little f.u. or thumbs down or anything! were we happy! then we pulled into starbucks parking lot to see a large group of texans hanging outside, sipping drinks at their tables. as we approached, a 30's african american male, sitting by himself & grinning broadly, loudly welcomed us & raved about our truck & our message. as he spoke, one of the white males in the group of 10 or so white people sitting together on his right, stated he liked the truck too but he was voting for bush.
i expressed my amazement, saying most of the time bush supporters are not so polite & friendly. he seemed amazed so i told him about getting my tires slashed, my truck graffitied, getting run off the road, and other male behaviors like grabbing crotches & and baring asses. another white male from that group turned around and asked "well, do you really think bush orchestrated the terrorist attack?"
before i could respond, another young man spoke up, identifying himself as from lebonan, & saying americans do not get the real news - he said fair & accurate news reporting happens in his country & other countries, but not in this one & he could not understand why this is. then he identified himself as military - army! the other man of color let out a whoop and said so was he - army also!
i addressed the question to the whole group: "i think bush used the attack on the trade towers as an excuse to bomb iraq. i think the president took advantage this tragedy & our fears & sorrows to garner support for his 'pre-emptive' war. i think he lied deliberately to further his own agenda - and i think he'll do it again."
one of the workers came out smiling & kindly let us know he was waiting for us to order so he could close! saying we'll be right back & to hold that thought, we got our drinks & returned to find all the white folks had fled - only our 2 soldiers were left to discuss the president & what will happen.
the older man told us he was a career army guy, formerly stationed in germany & he had not been sent to the middle east - for this he was so grateful. his wife was as against bush as he was! the younger fellow told us how torn he felt, being raised here and then living for a few years in lebonan and coming back to live, attend school, and enlist in the service. he was in officer's school & had severe doubts about what we are doing around the world, especially in the middle east.
it was very moving talking with both of these sincere men, listening to their inner conflicts. we gave them codepink info, shook hands, and expressed our pleasure in meeting.
we drove to a texas rest stop & spent the rest of the nite sleeping in the truck under the vast texan sky! peace, sam




what's christian re:bush - thru arkansas

82w is a pretty little 2 lane highway thru most of arkansas - we did not intend to register voters in arkansas & we did not intend to drive thru texas. originally, we were going to drive up 65 to missouri, another swing state & then back to new mexico & arizona - also swing states. but looking at the map this a.m. & at the calendar, i'm feeling pressure to return to california, pick up another load, and head out to ohio - so were going thru arkansas & entering texas at texarkana - we can always head up to oklahoma if things get hairy!
we stopped at a wildlife reserve in south-eastern arkansas - the first thing i saw was the hunting notice: it is hunting season - one deer - on the reserve! i spoke with a 30-something, white, female park employee, joanne, who stated she was undecided re:voting in the election. she reiterated the sentiment of the senior white women we met in alabama who said 'women don't talk politics'. when i asked joanne why not talk politics, she said she just didn't care.
i asked her about unemployment in her state & jobs - she said she was aware they were having a huge problem. i asked her about cuts to the national parks - altho she deferred to her boss for details, she was aware of the budget struggles. i asked her about health care & she said it was outrageous people in arkansas couldn't afford health care.
then i asked her so did she not care about those people without jobs, or without health care, or without park services? she said she did care - and deeply. i said this is politics.
i told her we've come across several wimmin now in this part of the country who have said the same thing, that they are not political, do not care about politics, are not sure they are going to vote. but the truth is, wimmin do care, and we are political, we're just turning things over to men when we don't vote.
joanne thought this was true. then she said she was afraid that if she did talk politics, she would just get into an argument & get mad & shouting would start. i said that in my experience, such reactions, violence, inability to talk human to human, was mostly a white male thing- that we've talked with wimmin all over this country who've both agreed & disagreed with us & not one has lost their temper & yelled.
she agreed again that this fear is probably based on her experience w/arguing with men, not with wimmin.
then she told me if she did vote she would probably vote for bush. so we began to discuss why he would get her vote. she said she really didn't like what he was doing in iraq & she thought that was totally wrong but she couldn't stand to look at kerry - whenever he come on the tv, she shuddered; hearing his voice on the radio made her cringe & she'd have to change the channel.
'why?' i asked, "what about him bothers you so?"
she didn't know, couldn't say, hadn't thought about it.
i told her i could understand such adversion to president bush - many wimmin (and men) have said they couldn't stand to hear him because every word is a lie, every sentence insults our intelligence, every action he takes threatens our country & our world - and that's why people can't stand to see or listen to him.
i asked her if she had adversions to actions or words kerry stands for which would cause her reaction - no, she said, she really doesn't know what he stands for. she just doesn't know why she can't stand him
so i gave her a few suggestions: "other wimmin have said he is not charismatic, sexy, hollywood-type" - she began nodding at the first, but denied the rest.
"that's not it" she said, "i just don't know why, i just do, that's all".
'okay, we've also heard that some wimmin think he is anti-christian because he supports a woman's right to chose and supports allowing any adult to marry.'
'well, president bush is a christian' she replied.
i said, 'so you don't like kerry because he is not a christian?'
no, that wasn't it either. joanne just wasn't going to let on why she didn't like kerry - or maybe she really didn't examine herself.
i shared w/joanne how kerry wasn't my first choice & i was disappointed when the democrats elected him. i told her i had to go on-line & do some research about him cause i really didn't know who the hell he was. the first thing i found was the winter soldier papers & i remembered how courageous & totally brave he was to come back from vietnam to become an anti-war activist. we spoke about how even after 30 years, the mentality of those few old white veterans who are so pissed at kerry for standing up and declaring vietnam an unjust war - long before the majority of americans had that courage.
i spoke about kerry's experience & voting record in the senate - i told her w/certainty that kerry's domestic platform is MUCH different that bush: that a vote for bush is a vote for rich, wealthy corporate people (and bankruptsy for the rest of us) and against the rest of us; whereas a vote for kerry is a vote for the average person.
when we parted, i gave her some codepink info & thanked her for having such a dynamic discussion with me. she agreed she enjoyed talking & was going to make it a point to talk with more of her wimmin friends!