Maybe she will come to D.C. too!
As I'm sitting in the drivers seat attempting to digest the screen on my blackberry, I see a straight white couple peering at the 'imprison bush' side of my truck. As we make eye contact, the man asks me if anything is written on the other side - I direct them around to the back as well.
I jump out, go to the back & begin talking with them. The first thing I find out is that they are both against this war, against bush, against our rights being demolished – and neither of them had heard of CodePINK, let alone Women say ENOUGH! BASTA!
As we begin to go deeper, the woman, her long coppery brown hair hanging shyly over half her face, tries to put the words together to say that it was wrong to go to war against Iraq but now that we're there..... It is difficult to speak with her because the boy friend keeps interrupting. He has no patience or ability to stand still and listen. He shifts from foot to foot, paces out and back as if on an invisible tendon, and constantly talks over both of us.
Melinda feels for the Iraqi's and believes we have to stay there to protect them. She believes we are helping them – he begins to talk about all the people we help around the world & how we should be caring for our own here & not giving away all our money, especially to Israel.
I get to nod at him & talk about the myths I believed growing up – that we really did help people around the world. Instead I find out our corporations first destroy people’s lives, their infrastructure, their ability to provide for themselves & their babies. Melinda is nodding but he is skeptical; she knows of what I’m speaking.
I get to bring it back to Iraq talk about the women who have recently risked everything to travel to the U.S. to tell us to get our soldiers out of Iraq; I get to tell her about the polls of Iraqi's, and our soldiers. She listens more & more closely.
He brings up the patriot act, telling me THAT'S what I should be protesting on my truck. Thank you. I tell him of course we need to protest all aspects of the patriot act, AND we need to end this war NOW. The time is now - Melinda steps closer to me & nods. We talk about our right & need to get out into the street.
Suddenly we are talking about immigration - anti-Mexican immigration that is. This is that point in a conversation where I have to pause & figure out who my allies really are. The bigot who is against war because it is giving brown-skinned folks opportunities (in his mind) to come to this country; the fascists who is against this war because he wants either the job done right (i.e. iraq turned into a parking lot) or get our boys out yesterday!
And here there are two people facing me, staunchly opposed to the war & the attack on our rights, and beginning to spout hatred & meanness towards immigrants. But Melinda & I have bonded; we can discuss this.
I remind her she spoke earlier about us not exercising our democratic rights – and her she’s criticizing those who do. She admits envy that anti-war people are not as committed as ‘illegal aliens’. She insists ‘they’ (aliens, waving off to the distant trees) should have to do the same things ‘we’ (born here, tapping her chest, encircling us) have to do.
He talks about how those people want to live in the best country in the world; how he's sponsored many of them to come into the country.
I get to interrupt & talk about yet another myth – that we’re the best country in the world. He laughs nervously & says, he means prior to bush #1 and maybe Reagan (shoot, most of my adult life…) and I get to say, no we're in the country that consumes over 25% of the world's resources for less than 4% of the world's people. I say every one believes their country is the best in the world; everyone wants to live in their own country – people are forced to come here, whether it’s our corporations destroying people’s ability to provide or whether it’s war & terror they’re escaping.
Melinda wants to keep talking but her boyfriend wants to go. She wants to ask me one last question; she wants me to answer yes or no: what if there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, would I have supported war then? No, I say, especially not then.
She nods, saying she wanted to know if I thought war was justified under any circumstance. I hesitate seeing the scene in Daughter's of Copper Woman when the decision to destroy the Spainards was made & knowing I would have been one of those women fighting Spainards. She looks deeply into my eyes, I tell her I really feel that if we were living the way we were meant to live – in harmony & peace with each other & with our mother earth, there would be no reason to choose war as a way to solve any problem. I repeat Medea’s line about war being the most horrific failure of human beings.
She nods solemnly & says she wants to continue talking & could she have my number. I invite her, beg her, to come to D.C. & help end this war. Maybe she will come.