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"

Friday, October 14, 2005

back to basics for nevada!

As I was getting ready to jump in my truck & head into Nevada, a younger man walked by my parked truck and said something. I got back out, closed the door & approached him. "Both my nephews are in Iraq” he repeats. “On, no, I’m so sorry” I murmured.

“One is FBI and the other is ground troops. The FBI one says Iraq is full of terrorists!” Lee, a tall, coffee-with-a-splash-of-milk-skinned man with neat corn-rows marching across his crown, tells me he’s been homeless twice in his life, on and off drugs & alcohol and he has made it now as a truck driver. He gets his info from talk radio.

He’s a self-made man – if he can do it, then anyone can. Jesus says it’s better to teach a man how to fish then to give him a fish. When I ask him if he’s 100% sure that’s what jesus says, he says well the bible says.

He believes we are in Iraq because of 9/11, wmd, and to remove the dictator Hussein. When I tell him no Iraqi’s were on the planes, he says they were. When I say no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, he’s genuinely puzzled why the media won’t report re:wmd. “My nephew & the something unit marines found in Iraq – tiny cans of seranin (nerve gas used in Japan’s subway)….

Hussein & communists have killed over 700 million people; our government spends billions on social service programs that aren’t working – but making poor people dependent & not able to fish for themselves; women are so much better off in Iraq today – he’s seen pictures of the rape chambers.

He believes lots of poor people are scamming the working fellow w/the governments backing. He believes corporations are their for us, starting w/wal-mart – who gave $400 gift certificates to Katrina victims – wow! He knows the 6 of them are among the 25 richest people in the world – each one, not all 6 together – although his eyes kinda widen when I inform him of that.

He believes our taxes are mostly going to social service programs for the underprivileged – when I point out that 24% of our children live in poverty, that 45 million u.s. citizens do not have health care – when I talk about other ‘developed countries’ and how they take care of their citizens, he points to welfare as the problem, not the 1% richest hogging whatever percentage of our money.

He believes what we are doing in the world is spreading freedom & good works. He’s horrified China & India want to live our life-style – he claims these countries are using more barrels of oil per day than we are. I ask him to point out where they’re using oil – cars? Refineries? Factories? He’s unable to but he does believe if we allow them to get richer then we are, they might attack us!!!

When I challenge his ‘facts’, he says he gets his info from talk radio shows. I tell him I don’t think talk shows are bastions of facts, but rather misinformation & opinions & usually pretty hateful opinions – if not opinions that are far right wing.

I ask him if he considers himself a far right-winger. He says he enjoys listening to the talk radio show in the bay area when he’s down there (once or twice a year) but he doesn’t agree with them – rush is his boy!

He says people should help those who are poorer but only those who deserve it. I ask him how he knows who deserves it and who doesn't. He tells me a story about when he worked in an old-age home & there was a Jewish woman there who always bundled up, no matter how hot it was & who was sharp & demanding & never gave tips. None of the helpers like her but one day he noticed blue numbers on the inside of her arm & he decided she deserved his help - so he always helped her after that, no matter what.

I told him Lee, you know all those folks you told me about - who were homeless & alcoholics & drug addicts on the street the same time you were? I told him all of them had blue tatooed numbers also inside their arms that only they could see. Lee eyes flickered - it's something he might think about again.

I wished I had the quarter page info sheets w/me – didn’t know I’d have to go so far back to basics. I’m glad this fellow stopped to talk – we chatted for at least 45 minutes. He tells me we are from different planets – I say no, we are from the same planet.

He asks me to agree w/him that the average American is a really a good person. I really want to agree w/him & leave on a positive, bonding note – but I say no, I believe the average American is a greedy person – not happy with all we have, always wanting more, and stock-piling more than what we need.

It’s hard to have a conversation when basic facts are in dispute, I tell him. I beg him to do more research. I tell him if he is for peace, he cannot support a war president.

I ask him what his mother says? He doesn’t want to go there, so we part… in pink peace, sam

easing on down the road!!

I eased outta the bay area this morning, 6:00a.m. by the time I finally hit the highway – time for democracy now, which I heard only until Vallejo. I was in sacto in time for rush-hour traffic and the dawn – a young white male drove by enthusiastically honking, giving me the springing thumbs up! A Hispanic man, unlit cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, drove by on the passenger’s side, eyebrows knitted seriously together, bobbing his cigarette up & down as he solemnly nodded his agreement.

Another truck with 3 Hispanic men pulled along the driver’s side, then dropped back again to re-read the side of the truck. As they pulled forward to pass, all of them nodded slow & severe, very gravely acknowledging the message.

This time I have written “Cindy Speaks for me” in big letters – in between the ‘cindy’ and ‘speaks for me’ I have written in small letters many other wimmin’s names. Under that, I have painted “Women say Enough! 2006: We end WAR” and next to “war” I have painted in a column the dates 1/16, 3/8, 5/14.

I have left in place the “you who support war, send your own children; or go your own self”. A very proper-looking 30 something year old white woman with perfect blond hair curling under either side of her head driving a brand new medium-sized suv, passed, extending her middle finger & not allowing her eyes to leave mine for the whole distance as she passed. I was concerned for her safety – but she made it.

Another shiney red sports car passed with a huge white male hanging out the passenger’s side window, beefy naked fat arm extended to the middle finger, pumping vigorously. His hair, too long to be military, too short to be casual, seemed to stand straight up, emphasizing his anger.

Several women, black, white, & brown passed by either smiling or proudly flashing the peace symbol. A couple older women nodded with big smiles on their faces.

I’m at the first rest stop in our beautiful sierra nevadas – standing at a picnic table next to the first sign of fall – a small tree I certainly should know the name of but don’t, has mostly bright yellow leaves and a scattering of bright green leaves. Looking up close, I can see several leaves that are both yellow & green – unbelievably beautiful. I flock of blue-ish black birds just landed and walked over the small dirt hill on the other side of me.

I’m off… took 2 ½ hours to go 135 miles – I’m heavily loaded – I hate that! Love, suzanne