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"

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Strategies

A middle-aged white male approaches me in front of the Berkeley Bowl, saying he is visiting from South Carolina and recognizes me from the news. It’s probably the hat! He assures me that whereas he supports CodePINK, and he’s VERY liberal, he doesn’t like CodePINK’s “antics” at Congressional hearings.

I know from his stance he is going to lecture but I am somewhat surprised this is what he chooses to focus on – I haven’t recently heard many criticisms, only glowing appreciation and admiration, of our actions in D.C. I ask him if he came all the way from South Carolina to tell me this – D.C. seems closer.

He seems to think I’m going to grab my cell phone and call everyone in CodePINK to let them know Eddie doesn’t like our ‘antics’ with the signs, the slogans, the hot pink courage spreading through D.C. and certainly catching his attention.

I let him know first about our agreement in CodePINK: that his criticism only holds as much weight as the work you do, AND that if you do criticize you have to be willing to do the work you see as the alternative to what you are criticizing.

So, I ask, what is your alternative? I am assuming he hasn’t done any work – and he allows that assumption to float between us as his cheeks tinge pink, and not from our Bay Area sun!

I’m expecting him to say the usual: call, email, write – the ‘make a sound but not seen’ approach. He admits he doesn’t have an alternative and quickly informs me that Barney Frank has even threatened to have us kicked out.

I wait a few seconds longer than comfort dictates and I say I don’t care what Barney Frank thinks.

Eddie then seems to miss the fact that I am a lesbian – he’s not one of our California trained males obviously – and tells me our ‘antics’ are akin to those transvestites that used to slip into the Gay Parades in the days when Gays were fighting for gay rights. (my term ‘slip’ – he might have used something more akin to invasion…) He then further digs his hole claiming his knowledge of some “gay people as people” even.

I had to laugh. To myself of course. I look at him and, even tho I know I’m getting off the subject, I say, oh I recognize him as one of those fellas who thinks god made certain clothes for females, certain for males, eh? Deepening his shade of pink.

I then conclude by informing him of what his belittling of the ‘antics’ he refers to has done for our movement and for change: first, it’s caught his attention and second these brilliant strategies has made us one of the best know anti-war groups in the nation if not the world and has hurtled our movement forward to be a catalyst for change in this country.

I told him I understand he admires straight-appearing, staid, non-strutting, Madison Ave types and behaviors more appealing than ‘show-girl transvestites’ (his words).

But we care about people who are committed to ending war, committed to human rights, committed to caring for our fellow human beings, no matter what they wear, look like, appreciate or not, whether they live up to my standards of dress or behavior or attitude - because it is only those who deeply care NO MATTER WHAT that are really dependable change makers.

So I ask Eddie to find the group he approves of and just work as hard as he is capable of to end this occupation of Iraq, to prevent the escalation against Afghanistan, and to end the drone bombing in Pakistan. And in the future to refer to any of CodePINK’s actions as strategies. And all gay people as people, no matter what they're wearing.

He will not comment about Gays but promises he will call his Senators and Congress people every day until the Supplemental comes up for a vote. I give him our “talking points” and “what can I do” flyer. It was crumpled and dirty, which I’m sure he doesn’t appreciate, but it’s the only one I can find on me and I HAVE to give him something to take away with him.