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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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Poooooolice...consciousness-raising....and white privilege


People, eyeing my messages highly visible on my truck, frequently ask me if I ever get stopped by police. I always smile and, as I never answer with a simple yes or no when there’s an opportunity to raise consciousness, I tell them about my earliest journeys after 9/11 and getting pulled over often, several times in one state even.

But after a few years, they seemed to lose interest and stopped pulling me over so frequently if at all. When I share this incident which happened tonight after leaving Camp Toyahvale, you'll probably understand why. But back then, at the time, I visualized troopers on their microphones, radioing ahead to let their fellow officers know "here comes that ‘crazy lady’ in the pink truck again".

Tonight, I'm reeling once again from the hideous fires shooting up from fracking wells everywhere I look, probably a mile or two from the highway, maybe closer or farther, but definitely blatant repugnant sentries heralding the destruction of the Mother Earth and the assault on her waters and life.

I’m also super vigilant, being in Texas and passing a huge monstrous super klieg-lit series of buildings larger than most of the country towns here later identified as fuckin Halliburton. The curse words were recent memories off my tongue when I see the red flashing lights behind my truck, signaling to me I should pull over, which I do. But I don’t pull off the exit, as I think he is trying to direct me there, but pull just past the exit ramp and stop quite visibly alongside the highway.

When the white male officer approaches the passenger side with the window fortunately half-way open, I look directly at him, read his badge and talk loudly into my headphones – handy that they’re already in place as I’m reading an audio book. I tell the unconcerned womon reading to me that I’ve just been pulled over by a policeman, “officer how-do-you-pronounce-your-name? Jones” and I’m on I20 heading east just passing through Odessa, Texas and the horrendous halliburton monstrosity.

Then, although tempted to continue slamming halliburton, I loudly let her know that I will check back in with her in a few minutes and remind her she knows what to do if she doesn’t hear from me.

I disconnect and give mr. jones my full attention, registering his light beige uniform and my dismay at forgetting to tell my audio book reader he’s from the sheriff’s department...

He asks me if I have a driver’s license, duh, which I hand to him, and an insurance card. I hand him my keys where my insurance policy number card dangles along with my Berkeley library card and Speed Co oil change place card – all the little pieces of plastic designed to make my life so much easier.

He examines my license and my insurance card, then handing me back my keys, announces it is not good enough, there’s no expiration date. I dig in my back pocket where the larger pieces of plastic reside and cannot find the current insurance card there so I need to look in my glove compartment. As I’m looking, he asks me where I’m coming from. I smile and indicate with a wave of my hand the direction from which I just came, as I mumble ‘down there’.

He asks me where I’m heading to and again I wave my hand in the direction my truck is facing. I let him know I’m going to get out and search my glove compartment, so I jump down to walk around my truck and notice through the dark shadows, two other police officers hanging back and then approaching. They all appear to be around the same mid-30’s age, white (reinforced by their anglo name tags) although one appears to have a little maybe Asian in him.

I exclaim “wow, what an audience I have” as I smile my welcome. They all move towards the truck, shining their flashlights in unison, sudden realization dawns as they notice the door and windows – and the words – adorning my truck. The first officer, Mr. Jones, is explaining to me why he can’t use his little computer to look up the status of my insurance as he has my details.

I can tell they are working up to asking me about what’s inside my truck so I begin to explain, as I intently demand their attention, all the messages written on that side of my truck, reminding them about ending violence against womyn and children. They all nod silently in unison.

I immediately slip into “Justicia, tierra y libertad”, acting like of course they know that, see their baffled faces, and pause to ask incredulously in Spanish “you speak Spanish, don’t you?” They shake their heads in unison, the youngest one seems to be slightly but not nearly enough embarrassed. I try not to overdo my feigned surprise underlined with pure disgust  as I express my disbelief, to live here in land stolen from Spanish-speaking people and not speak Spanish?

My original officer, shuffling from foot to foot along with the other two, puffs up his chest to declare with intense pride that he speaks English, like this is a great accomplishment. I disarm them by declaring they could circumvent alzheimers by learning another language.

I continue to explain in great detail the Zapatistas so that by the time I get to “Si Se Puede”, the two newer ones are attempting to ask me where I’m heading to while the original officer goes off to call me in and write me a ticket.

I give them the same answer as before, waving in the direction my truck is heading, noting their instant flicker of irritation. I ask them if they know about hashtag “SayHerName”, which is not news that they do not. So I explain, in great detail also.

The other officer returns to inform me that he pulled me over because my lights around the top perimeter of the box of my truck are not working – a fixit ticket that apparently I don’t even need to get signed off. But not having an insurance card with a date on it could be a fine, or once I prove I have insurance, the court might forgive me.

For a second I’m tempted to open the camper & look for my card but I don’t want to give them that much info about me. I take my ticket after carefully reading the whole thing. One last time, trying to reign in their impatience, they ask me what I intend to do in Texas and for how long.

Why, raise consciousness, of course, I begin as I launch into my anti-fracking spiel I’m creating for policemen. They have noticed with no concern the fracking wells that have multiplied heavily these past couple months. I challenge their apparent ease with these violent intrusions, but after all they are so very used to and wishful for those individual oil rigs rhythmically pounding the land all around them making someone very rich.

My first officer speaks up to defend Apache (I snort) oil company and fracking, declaring how ‘safe’ it is as I declare the opposite. He is riled as he tries to top my knowledge of these fracking wells. I deeply regret not having my quarterpage info sheet at the tips of my fingers (I might have been more tempted to open my camper door if I had any copies left) as he continues to rotely recite oil company propaganda.

I confront him directly and tell him I see what he thinks: he believes technology will be able to right any damage done to the Mother Earth by these horrific drillings, toxic chemicals, and blatant abuse of water. But technology has not, cannot and will not ‘clean up’ and/or restore the earth back to her pristine and life-sustaining condition.

He is disgusted, but the other two appear to be more open and interested, as he loudly dismisses the fact that fracking destroys the environment. I blast him with what I hope is my most obnoxious white male shriveling look when I ask him has he smelled the air lately? I tell him, and the others, that they are so used to existing in a toxic, cancerous, life-killing place they don’t even know what fresh air is.

Then I ask them, so have I raised your consciousness? The two new ones smile broadly, the younger one nods his head and promises me he will look up Balmorhea, Big Bend, and Apache Oil. I remind him to add “resistance” to his google search as I climb back into my cab, ticket in hand and doors remaining firmly shut.

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