more anti-cheney protest - continued
As soon as the rest of the crowd finally realized that we were getting all the news coverage, they began hurling obscenities and profanities in our direction – all of which we ignored. Then they began chanting “four more years” only we added “of war”, “of hate”, “of lies”, “of poverty” in between – they got discouraged quickly and then started yelling at us to go home, we didn’t deserve to live in america, and the like. We were glad for the opportunity to begin our “tell me what democracy looks like” “this is what democracy looks like” chant in response.
So even tho we were allegedly not allowed to protest in front of the building, you better believe we did! The police, now our friends, did not make a move to stop us. But shortly after we finished our chant, we turned our backs on a now silent crowd, and made our way back to the truck.
We decided to go in leslie’s (the mom who joined us) car back to the other protestors at the beginning of campus to tell them we can protest here, where the cars are coming in. There the numbers had swelled to about 20, but still did not include other codepink wimmin nor leslie’s friends. We went to search on yet another side of campus & there they were! We all decided to gather together w/the first 20 to greet the motorcade but as we went, we were suddenly stopped behind a small line of cars! There were state police stopping traffic, lining the streets – yes, we’d run into the motorcade. All 4 of us jumped out of the little toyota, popped the trunk, and grabbed our banners. We raced down the grassy shoulder of the road, heading for the corner. Big white cops shouted at us to stop & return to our cars – yeah, right. We took the banners and crossed to median to the other side, only to be herded back across the road. We ended up standing even with the first police officer’s car, which was acceptable.
Our banner was huge and easily read by the entire cheney motorcade – they had already passed the first group of protestors. One of our huge generic banners said “welcome to florida liar”; the other said “cheney lies, fire him”.
After the motorcade passed, we all returned to our new, closer protest spot and set up, waiting for the hordes of folks leaving the arena. We set up at the corner, on the sidewalk by the road where everyone had to drive out. Our friendly cop smiled and kinda waved. We were joined by more demonstrators and we talked with many passing students – we were also in front of their dorms.
Another police officer careens to a stop in front of us, gets out & starts yelling he’s already told us we can’t be there. As i’m trying to calmly tell him about the chief deciding we can stand there, our friend officer addresses him by his first name & tells him the chief gave his okay. It takes a lot of convincing before moe grumbles something into his radio. He still wants us to move down – he gestures far away to a place where we would not be visible to the road – grrrrrrrr. We refuse. He threatens. I ask him if he really wants to make a big issue of this? I tell him we need his support to protect our constitutional rights. He appears a little confused, I mean diffused. I offer to compromise – he’s claiming we’ll cause accidents at the corner w/folks busy looking at us & not driving. This is a 2 lane road (one lane going one way, the other coming back), mind you, with a small shoulder in a 10 mph zone – well, it is an intersection where 2 equally small roads intersect! okay, we offer to move 10 feet down the road so we are not directly at the corner. We have a deal! And our ally cop has something in his eye!
I’ll spare you most of the comments the good republicans felt obliged to throw at us as they left their second in command. But I will share one conversation I had with a group of about 6 white women who were riding on the back of golf cart that was probably shuttling them to their cars. The six of them were sitting tight (although not tight enuff) lipped, prim & proper, looking like they just left church – total jewelry, make-up, matching purses – oozing wealth & snobbery & cleanliness.
After telling us we’re a disgrace & we should get a job or go home, I asked them if they could care about education in our country, I asked them to care about all the schools that were closing, all the tuitions that were rising, all the children desperate to learn that were being crowded into classrooms without supplies, without teachers, without safety.
Just when I thought maybe their silence indicated education was our common ground, one of them yelled “get used to it!” And they all simultaneously picked up her ugliness – “yeah, get used to it” they decided to chant.
So much for republicans.
Lauren, ariel, and i were among the last to leave the parking lot – we had to peel off the litter republicans had stuck to my truck, garbage cans were lacking in the lot! And off we went, back to sarasota. 2 ½ hours later we joined the rest of codepink wimmin on the street corner for banner waving!!! That was much more fun and appreciated by mostly all. But the best part of the day was when we folded up the banners at dusk and andrea suggested we go to the beach!We drove the 4 miles to the white sands & warm waters of the bay, donned long bright pink t-shirts sans bathing suits, and walked into the water as the sun descended over the horizon, leaving trails of dark red between the edges of the black nite sky and the black ocean waters. There we stayed, each in our own warm thoughts, still blessed by the really important things in life, the water, the air, the nite. Love, sam