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"

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

11/16 too close to home... to be continued

We're in our 6th month of vigiling every Wednesday evening in front of the military recruiting stations downtown Oakland. We see fewer and fewer young people entering - maybe because the recruiters have finally caught on that we're going to be here so they don't schedule potential recruits? Or maybe our young are staying away.
It is getting dark as we stand, holding our banner - almost every other car honks, beeps, gives us the peace symbol, or smiles & mouths "YES"! All the bus drivers go by honking wildly! The bus drivers are our favorite! Tonite, even two police cars cruise by - the first waves his hand, the second even more enthusiastic, flashes the peace symbol & smiles broadly!
I see one of the recruiters strolling down the street with a young boy walking solemly at his heels - probably his son. As he passes, we greet each other & then I add "starting them off young, eh?" as I nod to his son.
Well, the recruiter father loses it: he yells angrily "how dare you disrespect me, you fuckin bitch". I'm startled - kinda. He is one of the more violent recruiters, altho he's never called any of us names. He has recklessly backed into the parking place where we were standing holding the banner once a few months ago. More passive aggressive then tonite. I ask him how did he think I was disrespectful. He shouts as he stomps furiously toward the door "you have no right to talk to me like that in front of my son - this is my son, you bitch, fuck you".
I asked him if his language wasn't what was disrespectful to his son & to me. Then I asked him why he was reacting so poorly to such a common phrase as 'starting them out young'. He disappears angrily into the recruiting center. Seconds later, another recruiter stomps out shouting "which one of you ladies disrespected my commanding officer". This young man we've had many talks with. He is the one that claimed he has no other choice but to join the service. Jackie has told him how smart & capable he seems; that there are many other jobs he could do. That gave him pause in the past.
Now he's identified me as the fucking bitch. He's so angry he blurts out things he's been dying to say for months: "We let you stand out here every week. We let you hold signs and talk to people and this is what you do to my commander?" I ask him exactly what does he object to. He told me that I knew, that I was talking about his commanders SON! I tried to ask if he didn't want his son to follow in his footsteps. "Are you saying your commander doesn't want his son in the service?"
He narrows his eyes & spits at me "you know what it means, you are not allowed to say those things" and starts in again on how he lets me say whatever we want to. I stop him, raising my voice to his level & say "you wear that uniform to supposedly insure my right to say whatever I want. You don't allow me to say a fucking thing. I say whatever I want to".
I continue to tell him he needs to really think about what is really bothering him about what I said. Is it alright for other people's sons to join the military, and not the recruiter's son? What is that - way too close to home?
He stomped off - going to think about it I'm sure!