Oh my god, we registered a mormon this a.m.!!! rae came charging down the stairs to warn me that the Christians were coming! We peered out the glass front door & saw two young white men knocking on the adjoining neighbor’s front door. We grabbed the camera, stared at them, waiting to see their next predictable move. When they turned to head down the stairs without knocking on our door, rae & I looked at each other & then raced out the door, down the steps after them. They came back, happy at first, to talk with us but not willing to be videoed. We found out they were mormons doing their 2 years of service. Even tho they were 21 and 23, they were not registered to vote and both said they were not aware of the issues.
We talked a lot about solving problems thru violence and war; we talked about separation of church & state, we talked about this being the most crucial election of our life-times!
And one young man decided he did want to register to vote after all! The other said he would vote absentee if he decided to vote!
Before rae, ariel & i went downtown Cleveland to vigil this afternoon, we found a walmart parking lot to repaint the figures of the dead. The death toll is now up to 1053. we also stopped by the aclu office to inquire about the constitutionality of making me move my truck from the parking lot because someone was offended by my message. Approaching the door, we saw a huge sign that informed us no one was admitted without an appointment. There were 2 sets of double glass doors & a number pad to the right instructing us to call the receptionist. we could see a suited man lurking behind the sets of doors motioning for us to use the pad. over the intercom, the receptionist instructed us to put whatever we wanted to know in writing & mail it to them. we said we were traveling & just wanted to know if someone had the right to deny us a parking space in a public lot if they didn't like the message painted on the truck. she acknowledged they saw the message & yet she wasn't budging - no questions answered, no appointments made, unless they're in writing whether we have a return address or not! so much for cleveland aclu assistance!
Downtown we headed! We found a park in front of the train station – I did a hell of a parallel parking job & we began to pull our supplies out the back of the truck. We’ve inherited two huge pink balloons from last nite’s event – so we grabbed those, the ironing boards, pink signs, and all our information & products. As we’re getting things out of the truck, lots of folks come up to us, curious and happy to talk re:pink slipping bush including some tall fellow in a security guard uniform. He asked us what we were doing & we explained our mission. After he left, we continued talking & gathering our things. Before we had a chance to pull down the back door & latch the lock, a Cleveland city police car pulled up behind us. Once again, we had to explain our mission. He told us we could not park there – we looked around what appeared to be a normal city street with metered parking and no posted sign at all. Rae asked him where the parking restriction was posted. It was not. He claimed it was a homeland security measure that made truck parking on this street illegal. We were forced to take his word for it – there didn’t seem to be any other trucks parked around but what did we know? The police officer actually told us where trucks could park & it ended up being much closer to where we wanted to be, so that was a good thing.
We did wonder what would have happened had we parked, grabbed our things & left prior to any law enforcement noticing our vehicle? How many other police vehicles & personnel would have been called in to investigate the truck?
We were able to set up 2 ironing boards on opposite sides of the park because Julie & mat joined us! We ended up registering about 17 more voters! We had many intense conversations with folks from all walks of life, mostly all either kerry supporters or undecided. One white woman passenger in a new dark sedan, turned a corner in front of us and shouted "you're idiots, you're losers, how dare you be there - go away" or something like that. julie told me of a study she read about recently: apparently a white man wore a bush/cheney t-shirt to a kerry-edwards rally, and then a kerry/edwards t-shirt to a bush-cheney rally. he wrote that he was totally ignored at the kerry/edwards rally but constantly harassed at the bush-cheney rally - i could have saved him the risk!
Ariel was approached by a young white man who said he recently returned from iraq. She told us she might have had the most intense conversation that she’d ever had. Her own account will follow. But what she shared with us mostly was this young man’s despair – he had served in Afghanistan and then was sent to Iraq. He had no pride in the things he had done and was forced to do: in fact, he was morally & spiritually devastated from the choices he made in that land. He was still ‘serving’, still terrified he might be sent back at some point – his job now tho? Recruit other young men to pursue a doomed life in the military. $5000 per recruit he receives – who can walk away from that kind of money? Yes, indeed, who?