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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels across country in my mobile billboard truck as I attempt to engage in dialogue with people in hopes to wake us up and inspire action to change our country and communities and selves. And it is froth with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society and life we want

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Awesome Protest: Congresswoman Gillibrand's office!

Upstate New York continues to be so gorgeous and the towns, at least the two I stop in to do Peace-Ins, are both loverly. Old brick and wood buildings, lots of evidence of money here – no peeling paint, boarded up store-fronts, disenfranchised youth or homeless hanging about.

Glens Falls I am so late for! The 3 ½ hours I rationed for the drive should have been enough but between being filled by the beautiful scenery while traversing the steep and windy hilly wooded 2-laned roads, the traffic sitting for 20 minutes as the on-coming cars pass in our lane, and then the cop holding me up pushing me really over the time! I miss the vigil totally and I’m at least 5 minutes late for talking with staff.

I arrive breathless and hurried on the third floor, asking the woman at the desk if the protestors are speaking with staff yet. She checks and I get ushered into a small office filled with a large desk and two comfortable, padded wooden arm chairs. The Regional Director, a middle-aged white male, joins me in front of the desk; a young, diminutive in stature, woman who appears white also, sits behind the desk taking notes.

I am greeted like an old friend, although a somewhat dotty old friend because the first thing he goes on about is how complicated and complex the issues are, so totally hard for someone as myself and most constituents to understand, (war and weapons and death and destruction and rape and torture – my words), as he looks appropriately troubled and patronizing at the same time.

I tell him we all understand too well – I don’t add it is Congress, and Gillibrand, that seem to have the difficulty understanding.

He reassures me over and over that Kirsten truly wants our troops to come home. He points out that she has voted correctly many times and even was a co-signer on McGovern’s bill.

I feel the anguish of the womyn who have told me how proud they were to campaign for Kirsten, how they couldn’t believe she had won, and how much faith and hope they placed in her. And then she placed this horrific vote, the one that counted.

Their distress fills me as I relate this to her staff. I try to convey how much hope we had, and love, and loyalty we felt, until this last vote, the one that counted more than any other.

He reiterates that Kirsten WANTS to bring the troops home; she feels the war is wrong, we should have never gone in there and we need to get out as quickly as possible. But as long as our troops are there, she will vote to fund them.

I point out as calmly as I can that first of all, when she says she wants the troops to come home – and then she approves the funding to keep them there, one erases the other. i.e. her actions erase her words.

I ask him to tell Kirsten exactly how that translates to us: we hear that she has bought the Republican propaganda that “supporting our troops” means “continuing war & occupation of Iraq”.

I urge him to convey to Kirsten our expectation that she is stronger, smarter, more capable of seeing through Republican lies – and certainly we do not expect her to align herself with war mongers.

“Supporting our troops” means one thing: funding their immediate and safe withdrawal from Iraq and to HOME.

He decides to take me into his confidence. He tells me the new commander asked for time to figure out the status of things in Iraq, what needs to happen. He leans conspiratorially toward me, confident I’d understand new job, new huge responsibilities, treading softly, scoping out the new territory.

I tell him they must have hired an idiot then & he has no business in the job. Other military personnel, not to mention the UN, have studied ad nauseum the current horrific tragedy occurring in Iraq – even I know what is happening.

That line of justification not holding water, this very nice, open, friendly fellow then tries to explain how Kirsten is like an ambassador (my word) to the moderate and middle of the road folks.

I don’t mention that when extremists and fascists are in power, notice where ‘moderate’ lands.

These moderates are asking for one more chance, one more military surge, one more opportunity to flatten the Iraq people and their homes, their land, their infrastructure (my words).

Kirsten agreed to give them the chance by voting with them. Now they are saying, we gave the military solution one more chance & it didn’t work. They can see for themselves the dead bodies, the destroyed families, the almost 200 US soldiers that have been killed not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis – so that these mostly white, rich men can figure out what we all know – military action will not work.

Except it IS working for what those in power really want: control over the oil resources of Iraq.

The young womon behind the desk stands to shake my hand and thank me profusely for taking the time to come visit. She gestures at her 2 pages of notes and assures me Kirsten will hear everything I’ve had to say.

As I walk out, the rest of the staff looks expectantly at me. I’m hoping they’ve heard the whole conversation, as I believe it went really well. They spent close to an hour with me!

Off to Saratoga Springs!

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