we were able to leave cleveland early this beautiful fall a.m., heading for youngstown university where we have a vigil and a codepink presentation planned. ray & susie, the 'democracy now' folks who so graciously shared their table w/us at the ani concert, have paved the way for us to come to youngstown & perhaps start another codepink chapter! we have a vigil scheduled from noon to 1, and a presentation scheduled from 1 to 3. we arrived on campus with minutes to spare! we were escorted onto the campus to park in front of the student union, where we set up a table & an ironing board w/all our cp stuff.
we were first approached by a group of young, white males who did nothing but crack jokes verging on taunts and claim they were totally unconcerned about the election, the war, the state of the union. not one of them would step outside his peers to talk seriously. we were relieved to know these were the exceptions to the students - most all the other students were interested, if not somewhat informed, about the issues facing our nation.
i spoke with a young white womon, karen, who was rushing by, saying we wouldn't want to talk w/her because she was supporting bush. i told her on the contrary, i do want to talk with her so i can find out how she came to that decision. karen told me she was voting the way her family voted, that they were republican & military, and she admitted she hasn't thought any farther than that. when i told her i knew many republicans and many military folks that were not supporting bush and i didn't think that in and of itself was enuff this time, she said she supported him because he is a christian. i asked, what is christian about bush? and she stated he was pro-life and kerry was pro-abortion.
pro-abortion - no such thing, i told her, kerry is for allowing wimmin to have control over our own bodies, for not making his personal or religious preferences into law. karen listened as i talked about the decision itself, how difficult it is for any of us, and how i want the right to make that decision for my own body. she seemed to agree except she talked about all the wimmin who used abortion as a form of birthcontrol - oh, i'm pregnant, i'll just go have an abortion. i told her how very, very infrequently that happens.
then we got back to bush - i asked her to explain to me how someone can be concerned about the life of a fetus while he is killing tens of thousands of fully developed humans in iraq, not to mention 1053 u.s. soldiers. we got into the iraq vs. afghanistan terrorist revenge discussion.
karen listened intently then asked me if i REALLY thought bush attacked iraq just for oil. i told her how sad & horrified i was to learn just exactly that. i handed her an iraq info quarter page to read & she asked for more information so i gave her a copy of all our info.
karen again reiterated that she hadn't really done any research but she was just following her parents. she promised to do some reading with an open mind so that when she went to the polls she would decide for herself who to vote for! she leaned over & hugged me, while the news cameras flashed pictures and stepped over to take our names.
the young democrats sponsored us on campus so we could give the presentation - michael was the coordinator & he shared his touching story about during the previous presidential election, he campaigned for bush - and for about 6 months into the term, supported bush. then he realized what bush was doing in our country & our world. he found out bush was not a christian, not for our people and now 4 years later he has joined the kerry campaign. he has promised support and resources for the codepink youngstown university campus.
at 1:00 we headed into the gallery where several students & faculty awaited us. we shared codepink's herstory, past & present actions, and the one vote dvd along with a few minutes of our 'what is christian re:bush?" video. three wimmin signed up to coordinate codepink youngstown!!! and an faculty 'volunteered' to be the advisor when ariel asked if she was available! afterwards, ray & susie took us out to the moderne chrome & steel coffee shop that was outta soy milk but boasted huge chocolate cake that we shared!
off to connecticut to deliver, new jersey to pick up and then the big apple to visit codepink new york, friends, relatives - and to say good-bye to rae - tears, tears!!! peace, sam