liberty to say what???
I am resting at a Texas rest stop once again before I enter Fort Worth & meet the CodePINK women at Whole Foods - YES, Whole Foods in Texas! I'm thrilled. I have plenty of food but it'll be great to get some fresh-cooked w.f. delicacies!
As I sit in my truck, writing, I notice a skinny white man has pulled up and parked on the opposite side of the road from me. He is in one of those white dually trucks hauling a long, empty hitch. He is staring at me behind dark glasses. He keeps walking a couple of steps toward my truck, then kind of hops back off, wavering from side-to-side.
I wave out my window & smile. He grunts & hems & hahs, still shuffling from foot to foot. I speak in my neutral but strong voice - hello, what's up? He approaches slightly & mutters I'm disgusting. Then he tells me his father fought in World War II so that I could have the right to paint this shit - he gestures to my 'imprision bush' paintings - on my truck. How dare I paint these words on my truck when people died for my liberty, he querries?
I say - "let me understand you. Your father fought in Germany during World War II for my liberty?" He nods vigorously as he opens his mouth but I cut him off. "My liberty to paint on my truck words YOU think I should write, not the words I feel & believe?"
I'm trying not to gawk at this silly man. It is obviously hard for him to express himself, altho once he started, he let it out. How can he not hear the irrational position he holds? Before he can consider my words, another even larger truck hauling a huge travel trailer pulls up on the road between him & me. An older, very rich looking white straight couple pause there to lean conspiratorially in his direction. She has flounced her perfect auburn haired coifs at me as she turns to lean toward my liberty fighter's son so I just get a glimpse of an orange-tinged base rouged check. I can't hear exactly what they are saying but I do feel their comraderie and hear her drawl something like 'wahl, thank ya for tryin' while the husband is muttering something about 'no good- hmmmm'.
They pull off & I tell him my father fought in the same war and I ask him again 'did your father fight for me to have the liberty to say the words you want me to paint on my truck - is that liberty? I tell him liberty is for me to say whatever I want, not just what he thinks is okay to say. I tell him this is what liberty is.
And he tells me well then George Bush is fighting in Iraq for my liberty. I tell him George Bush is fighting for liberty alright but not mine - he's fighting for our corporations' liberty to plunder oil in Iraq.
Then this guy fesses up as he continues to stalk back & forth alongside his rig - he's been in the oil business for 30 years and maybe Exxon made a profit this year ("a" profit my whole face says), but what about last year and the years before? What about?
I ask him, okay, what about? what was exxon's profit last year & the previous years. He doesn't know exactly but he's SURE they lost money...
I urge him to look around our country - to see who has money and who is suffering. To see what is really going on. He is angry and belligerent, defending the oil industry to the end. I repeat again that we both know the war in Iraq is nothing like the war our fathers fought in and for - even though I don't know how much of that I still believe. He is stalking off toward the bathrooms and I'm hoping he'll think about liberty.
I'm off to meet some wonderful women in Fort Worth. peace, sam