I make a circle, seeing no one but white men with dogs smoking up a storm. This smoking is such an issue. I am so grateful once again I come from a state that doesn't tolerate exposure to second hand smoke.
I see a tall, skinny white hippy-looking male examining the painting of Scott. I eagerly approach him, assuming he is conscious. He starts yelling at me, questioning my intentions, screaming that I am un-american.
Unfuckinamerican. I can't believe it.
He is quickly joined by at least 4 or 5 other white males, these looking more aryan skin-headed than hippy in their cropped hair cuts, black leather & chrome - not all on their clothes.
In the course of ten minutes as I attempt to engage in dialogue, I am called unpatriotic, anti-soldier (which I am), ungrateful to the marines for fighting and dying for my freedom of speech, and the marines are the fighting force that has always fought for my freedoms.
One of the young men tries to give me a history on the marine invasions of other countries. I mention Major General Smedley Butler. They have now heard of him.
I attempt to change the focus, to at least raise the doubt that Scott might not want to be portrayed in a marine dress uniform; that he is a conscientious objector, that he is against war.
I am told Scott - and every one of these ex-soldiers - are SEMPER FIDELIS; that some wars need to be fought, some people deserve to be killed. I am told that everyone is not anti-war. I am told that these men are pro-war.
That these men are marines. Two other men join the fracas - one a young bi-racial guy that I did an action with that ended up with his arrest; and an older, clean cut white male.
All of these men are attacking me, trying to drown out what I have to say.
Jordan is supporting me, not interrupting or towering over me (as he did before) but standing as an ally.
I stop all of them with a wave of my arm around this semi-circle of indignant male anger that is surrounding me. I tell them wait a minute, I want you to hear me.
I say loud and clear that the problem here is I am a womon who stands against war, all killing - and they are all for war. I say that I am a womon who does NOT support turning young men into killing machines for corporate greed.
I tell them my heart goes out to young men whose naive nationalism and desire to be heroes is manipulated and twisted by the Military Industrial Complex.
I tell them they never went to war, to invade and occupy another country, for my freedom of speech.
I tell them they went to war to protect our corporations, not our country; to serve the interests of our corporations, not the people like me of this country.
I tell them what they are doing now - and what the common people over the centuries have done, not the military - standing for our rights, occupying this park, THIS is the fight that is for my freedom of speech, not killing Iraqis.
They listen up. A young man mutters "See, this is why we don't want CodePINK here!"
One huge white man then screams "bitch" at me. I turn and leave.
A young white straight couple approaches me & the man asks me what I did to be called a bitch. I tell him I don't understand the question. He wanted to know how I was behaving, what behavior I was exhibiting before this man called me a bitch.
My energy to raise consciousness just disappears so I don't answer him but turn my back.
Jordan is incensed. He tries to get the circle of men to talk with this man, to censor this language. He tries to call "mike check". No one will support him.
The older white man from the circle approaches me. I think he will profusely apologize for the misogynist behavior of what seems to be his mentorees, shamefully beg forgiveness for not speaking up.
He tells me that he was in Somalia back then and since then, he will do anything to protect women and children, and he would go anywhere in the world for women and children, including Afghanistan and Iraq (to protect them from their own men...).
He gets teary eyed - much be contagious here in D.C. when I ask him what about protecting me just now. He tells me how he was on a helicopter and witnessed the slaying of women and children as they ran to try to get on the helicopter to escape being shot.
He wanted to shoot, to slaughter to end the slaughter.
He tells me they were ordered not to shoot to protect these people - they could only shoot if the helicopter (or U.S. lives) was under attack.
He looks at me mournfully as if expecting me to agree, yes, he should charge off on his white horse to save women and children - by engaging in wars and invasions.
I am furious. I tell him women and children certainly do not need his kind of protection. He is now indignant telling me he and his posse are in fact protecting women right here as we sleep from all the dangerous men lurking around this park.
He is stunned speechless, sputtering, when I tell him we really don't need his protection. We are totally capable of protecting ourselves.
And finally, he is sorry I feel like that.
I return to the tent area, feeling the need to leave this hostile environment at least, find a hot shower at best.
A pink chair is missing from our circle of chairs. And I know it is time to move the truck.