Judy & I headed out this beautiful California morning as dawn spread her glorious golden fresh rays over our CodePINK truck loaded with lots of shoes laden with names, ages, places of deaths of Iraqi civilians. We are as fresh and excited to be headed into Doolittle and Pombo country, eager to transform it into McNerney and Brown territory!
We arrive in Placerville at exactly 9:00a.m., find the courthouse and as easily a park feet from where we are setting up. By the time the suitcases and boxes are unloaded, the banners spread out, an older white straight couple from Placerville has joined us, along with curious police who stand on the steps of the courthouse, arms folded, debating quietly among themselves.
We call out greetings to everyone, police and all. One tall white middle-aged fellow saunters over and asks what we are doing. I tell him, arms spreading to include all the shoes that are now spread out along the both sides of the walk as I try to impress him with the urgency and severity of this action. I encourage him to read the names of those dead human beings. I fill his head with numbers, names, statistics – almost all of the dead civilians, over half women and children.
He turns his attention to my truck, parked in a 12 minute zone. He wants to change the subject from Iraqis being killed to my truck being moved. I tell him I waiting to move it forward after the car in front of me, who was there before I parked, moves. I intend to take that space.
He keeps reiterating my truck can’t be there more than 12 minutes. I tell him I understand – and I repeat, I’m taking the space in front of me when that car moves. He tells me I will get a ticket if I don’t move my truck. I tell him then he has to ticket the car parked in front of me first, as I’m sure he’s not just discriminating against my truck because of what is written on it.
I thank him for being here to protect my civil & democratic rights of free speech and dissent, as is his job. He has not said a word about the shoes, even though we have set some up along the low wall that borders the courthouse sidewalk as well as on the curb side of the sidewalk. We are also standing on the courthouse grass as we hold the banners at an angle so passing traffic can view them easily.
He insists I will get a parking citation. I insist it will be after the car in front of me gets his. I am not sure if the car is a police car. It looks like a supped up old pinto, low to the ground and some hand-painted sierra thing on the sides. The bumper sticker reads “bought with drug dealer money”. Hmmmmm
He allows a slight look of insecurity to pass over his stern face, then saunters down the sidewalk as if he’s taking a casual stroll in the sunshine. He suddenly twirls around, comes back & informs me the car in front of mine is a police car. I snort ‘you’re kidding right?’
He’s serious and here comes the metermaid –only she’s a fellow driving a police jeep. He steps out into the street to confer with the officer as I pull down the back door of the truck, put the lock on and begin to walk to the driver’s door.
The parking officer pulls along side of me as I smile and wave goodbye at him. He tells me sternly I’m at a 12 minute parking place. I let him know I realize that. He hints at how long I’ve been there for. I tell him just long enough to unload – I’m leaving I say politely. He rolls his jeep along with me and mumbles something about me being parked there longer than 12 minutes. He insinuates with a nod and jerk of his thumb that maybe that officer knows I’ve been there more than 12 minutes.
I hop into my truck & reiterate again, I’m leaving. I know he is itching to write me a parking ticket. I wave & leave him to smell the french fries!
A few parking spaces up the road is 2 hour parking. I parallel park, earning amazed and some admiring salutes along with one gristled old white man driving another huge white pick-up truck plastered with flags & ‘support our troops’ ribbons – only his salute is an ugly red face screwed into a fuck you bitch accompanied by his one finger salute. Hmmmm
He turns out to be the ONLY negative reaction we get all morning standing in front of the court house. The police scrutinize our protest from the steps, but do not move to engage with us. A tall, white middle-aged fellow with very short hair in plain clothes, hangs around just out of our dialogue range but near enough to monitor our protest.
The press has arrived… but that is another story!