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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. 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 we want all to thrive in

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Putting a spell on him

I have to fly incognito as I'm a family member of an employee so I get to fly free - but only corporate logos on clothes allowed, no Black Womxxn's Lives Matter, or Smash Patriarchy logos on my shirts! Plus I can't engage in conversation that might get reported to the higher-ups, conversations I often engage in.

So when I flew home today, I had to wait until exiting the plane to attempt to involve the young man, who when he strolled down the narrow isle and seated himself a row ahead but on the right of me, inspired a future vision of my grandchild: he was tall, muscular, deep earth brown with a hint of sunrise, and a tapered mohawk topped by a few errant tiny dreds and with shaved to the skin sides v-ing around to the back of his neck. My first impression of his backpack was military but his haircut countered that until we were leaving the plane - me right behind him - and I indeed saw the military insignia dangling from his pack.

As we were walking away from the gate - out of earshot from the airline employees - I asked him if he was military. He smiled proudly (until I said, 'oh serving our corporations!') affirming my fears. I point to his head and ask "even with that hair cut?" He tells me he's on furlough but when I question how fast his hair grows, he admits he's been on furlough a couple months now.

I shake my head and ask him to resign from the military. He stops and we begin to talk in earnest. He denies that he's in the military to kill people, telling me most soldiers never shoot a gun, and besides the military is about helping people, not hurting them.

I tell him of course he has to believe the military is helping people, or he wouldn't be a part of the military and their hurting of people.

But of course I tell him the military is about helping, yeah, helping our corporations to the countries' wealth, using him and young men like him to enforce with violence our domination of their resources. After much protesting, he finally admits he has seen instances where the military has been used to guard places where corporations are extracting oil or mining. But he's not in the military for this purpose.

He talks about how he's not doing anything for the military or corporations or even the public like me. His eyes start shining and a dreamy look passes over his face as he describes his buddies and how he'd do ANYTHING for them, including die and/or kill for them - as they would do for him.

I tell him again, of course - and the military has had centuries to figure out how to exploit that loyalty and comradeship into directing him and his buddies into doing horrific, awful, immoral things - things they'd never even consider doing if a 'buddy's' life wasn't at risk.

He complains that outside the military, he did and cannot find that kind of feeling of camaraderie and support he gets from his military buddies. I ask him if he doesn't think he'd feel that closeness if he's working to end police violence or for food justice in impoverished communities? But no, it's the adrenaline that comes from a life-threatening or life-taking scenario that floats his boat.   

He told me I had no idea what kind of 'bad' people existed in the world and I told him I'm a womon, a mother, a grandmother, a lesbian - of COURSE I know how bad men are. And I know of all the personal violence I've faced in this country, I've never used a gun to defend myself but I've used my words and my brain and my heart.

He is stuck on the 'protect' concept, not giving an inch on his belief that he is protecting us, his buddies, our country. Period. He insists if he saw someone who was trying to hurt me, his natural instinct would be to protect me.

I remember watching that Basic Instinct movie, and when armed police were aiming rifles at the gorillas, the man's basic instinct was to grab a gun and shoot back. My basic instinct was to yell at the men with rifles and order them not to shoot as I was putting my body between them and the gorillas.

Puleeze. Not 'protecting' but going off on a rampage with an excuse to kill.

I say okay, so if you see someone breaking into my home, coming into my home, you would stand up and fight to the death?

Once he declares that intention, I ask him if he doesn't think those men that he sees as "bad" are not doing that very thing when they see him and his buddies entering his country, taking over his resources, raping the womxxn of his country, are they not just doing what he claims he would do?

He flatly refuses to equate his invasion of another country with someone breaking into my home but even more: his defense of my things the same as those 'bad' men's defense of their things.

So now we've spent more than an hour talking when he brings up the issue of 'defense'. I'm so glad. I ask him okay, if our military is for defense, when was the first time we sent our military off this continent to 'defend' our country? He knows this is a 'trick' question and doesn't want to answer - doesn't know what the answer is, but by this time he knows it's not the simple information he's had before he had the pleasure of running into me.

I ask him what his country of origin is. He tells me Dominican Republic. Oy. I ask him if he knows when the Dominican Republic was conquered and colonized. He says he doesn't know, maybe in the 30's.

Are you fuckin kidding me? I don't say but my heart wrenches as query him further: are you talking Trujillo, the dictator we kept in power until the 60's?

He admits he's not up on the past so much. Not so much....hmmmmm. I tell him his country was split in two by the very military he's being used by today to split other people's countries into two.

I look into his beautiful black eyes as deeply as I can and tell him that after our conversation, he has to know that he is the force behind allowing our country to dominate and exploit the whole world. He wants me to go talk to parents and to warn youth about the dangers of limiting their choices: it's their fault, society's fault, he had no other choice but to join the military.

I tell him HE is the one who needs to be in the schools, talking with parents, doing counter-recruitment. HE is the one who needs to show young men how to not succumb to the propaganda of the military gang and the thrill of legal violence against others.

I try to point out his other choices, but they don't involve the thrill of killing or being able to kill. We cycle back to that, my knowledge that the purpose of the military is to train men to kill and his belief that he is protecting his buddies from all the bad people in the world who want to harm them.

He finally brings up god - are you fuckin kidding me? Again, I don't say that but I know that's on my face, how can it not be. He says only god will judge him and I tell him right now god does NOT want him to kill. He claims god wants him to protect me from attack. I tell him the ONLY way to protect anyone is through love, not violence.

He says the other guy is starting it. Like hell - I do say - the other guy is not in this country or bombing this country. I'm quoting the bible all thru this part of the god exchange - turning the other cheek, doing good to those who would harm you, thou shall not kill. He shrugs those off until I tell him "Son, I KNOW god does not want you to kill or harm anyone. You have to quit that institution whose purpose is to harm people and life on the planet, the planet you believe god created."

In the end of our conversation, I just keep repeating "god does NOT want you to kill". He shakes his head and offers his hand but I open my arms and we embrace. I tell him I care about him and this violent racist patriarchal institution is not the future for him. "You will know that one day very soon" I throw at his retreating back. He looks over his shoulder and smiles sadly at me.

Maybe not soon, but I put a spell on him!