Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

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 steaming 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, November 12, 2019

To be unforgettable and to never forget

            I check my dipstick often when traveling and this morning I notice I’m suddenly over a quart low. Peering under my truck, I’m troubled to see a couple oil stains that I didn’t register last night. I don’t want to add oil but instead I’ll go get an oil change immediately before I head to Tucson and ask those oil change guys what they see.
            I’ve been getting oil changes at this particular shop many times in the past when traveling across the country.
            I’m deeply touched with the greeting I receive from the men working there – both the ones who remember me (ufb – not) and the new hires. I never worry when I go to get mechanical help if there are few or no white men working there, like here!
            The mechanic points out the hose that is dripping oil.
            Oy vey – a few years ago, at this very shop, the same mechanic pointed out to me that my oil pan was leaking oil. I was referred to a truck repair shop round the corner, up a little hill, about a block away. I’m sure I blogged about this encounter with the brothers’ tRump that began with our witnessing their sign “Lincoln freed the slaves; Obama is enslaving us”.
            These truck mechanic guys, our polar opposites, ended up not only fixing the oil leak but not charging us a penny. They even gave us their shop t-shirts that we donned and demanded they take our pics pointing to the back of my truck which at the time read, I think, “tRump is not fit to be president.”
            This time when I pull in, first one brother, than the other brother come out slowly, wide grins frozen on their faces – could be because it was fuckin freezing (same as the last time). The first thing they do is ask me about Liz, my companion who was traveling with me the last time we met, who is still at home in California. Then grill me on where I’ve been, where I’m coming from.
            They don’t respond with the wide-eyed terror they displayed last time that heard our truths we laid on them, not because their views have changed I don’t think, but because one of their daughters has committed suicide only a few months ago.
            We still talk about the border: they still want to keep people out even though their parents and grandparents migrated over that very border.
            They fix my oil leak – it’s a small hose that has worn out – and without making me wait until the new part is shipped to El Paso but find parts they have around and manufacture a hose for me.
            They also notice I’ve another leak, but this time a radiator fluid leak, which thankfully is only the clamps needing tightening.
            The brother who has lost his child to drug overdose feebly expresses his appreciation of talking with me and Liz, this time and last, without having to yell and scream and threaten to shoot each other.
            “It’s about hate,” he states, “there’s no reason for me to hate you.” I cannot say the same as I know he will act with hate, parroting what tRump says, what Fox news says, what his terrible sign says.
            But I do pause, look him in the eye, and ask him if he thinks his anti-Obama sign is hateful.
            “No, no” he protests but I tell “Yes, yes. It is.”
            I hope I have no other leaks traveling around the country but if I do, I hope they happen here in El Paso so I can stop in and see if the brothers tRump have taken down their hateful sign.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Disarm me...

            It’s a beautiful morning, even though I’m still in Texas, and sooooo much warmer than yesterday. I made it in the wee hours last night to this little tiny (especially for Texas) rest stop where trucks and cars park on either side of the one land road we all share – not my favorite set up.
I’ve cooked my breakfast, made coffee, mapquested the nearest ymca (far away), and queued up my audiobook, ready for the long haul across the rest of Texas.
            Before I can start the engine, I notice a person with fluorescent pink shoes hurrying up the sidewalk parallel with my truck but across the street. She looks like my kinda womon, family even, and just as I was thinking I wanted to meet her, she makes an abrupt 90 degree turn to cross the street several feet in front of my truck and whirls around to approach my driver’s side door.
            Turns out she is family, a white radical lesbian from Maine of all places. She talks as fast as she walks and before long, we know almost everything about each other. She’s thinking about living life on the road so we walk around my truck and I open the camper door to show her my living space.
            We spend several more minutes, standing in the street on the passenger side of the truck – the “End Violence Against Womyn & Children” side – commiserating really, about the direction our activism should take. She is frustrated, feeling she’s been banging her head against a steel reinforced concrete wall for much of her life, thinking the dents are worse on her head than the wall, looking for another direction, another mode to focus her work on.
            Deep in an intense but lovely conversation, it takes me a moment to realize we are the ones the glaring old white man from across the street is screaming at. Well, at me really. I’m momentarily distracted as I realize he is bellowing “fuck you” with the requisite hand gestures. My first instinct as usual when white men attempt to rudely interrupt is to tell them to wait their turn but before I can and turn back to Donna, I see him stick out his enormous gut, spread his feet, and drop his hands to either sides, palms, in thumbs pointing out, as if he’s a fuckin cowboy in a wild west movie. His “come & get me” stance is accompanied by a loud angry dare for me (if I’m the ‘b’ word he’s referring to) to come disarm him.
             Donna holds her ground as I attempt to respond with, again, my usual “Why are you so angry?” I mean here we are in a fuckin “right to work” state, “right to carry” and obviously “right to OPEN carry” and he’s STILL angry.
            I’m not about to end my conversation with Donna and cross the street to engage with him, although I’d love to, even though his revolver, blaring black against his long-sleeved white shirt, is poking out of his waisteband – though I use the ‘band’ loosely as he has suspenders holding up brown pants.
            “Come disarm me you fuckin ‘c’ word” he screams.
            A white woman suddenly appears from their vehicle and the first thing I notice about her is her long blond hair and figure that appears extremely fit next to his blubber. I don’t know if he’s his grown daughter or trophy wife but she adopts his glare as she orders me to mind my own business.
            Really? I wonder if she’s afraid he really will shoot me.
            “Look,” he commands still furious, his arms now wildly swinging to indicate my “End Violence Against Womyn & Children” message. His foul language & challenge for me to disarm him continues to be thrown in our direction.
            “Disarm your own damn self,” I retort while hoping like hell he’ll shoot off his prick when he attempt to use the bathroom.
His companion orders me over and over again to mind my own business so I turn my attention to her, letting her know we both know he started this. I order her to look at herself, why is she doing this, and try to appeal to her as a womon, telling her I believe she knows some part of what she – and he – are doing just isn’t right.
Donna and I continue our conversation, although the magic has dimmed. We’re both ready to hit the road, as much as I’m hoping I’ll hear him shoot himself.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Engaging with the be continued

             I’m sitting in the front seat, mapquesting my next destination, getting ready to leave the park when a white van approaches me, slowly circling around my truck - twice. I catch the eye of the driver, a grey-haired grizzled man maybe in his 50’s, smile what I hope is an encouraging (i.e. disarming) smile, while I watch him examining all sides of my truck. On his last drive-by, he swings out farther then pulls in close to me so he can position his driver’s side window next to mine.
            I smile and roll down my window. He could possibly be an activist. He has that kind, open face as he leans out his window and tells me he really likes my truck. He explained that he saw it from the highway and decided to come over and talk with me.
            Well he’s not an activist but a christian…he’s not Hispanic at first but Italian. Later in our conversation he admits he’s actually half Italian (on his father’s side – the father that didn’t stick around) and half Hispanic & Native (on his mother’s side).
            I find out lots of things about Dino and I once again wish I had a tape recorder, a voice activated tape recorder that I can use to remember what people say – people who come out with the most ridiculous unthinking, no, anti-thinking statements they’re repeating rotely from hate tv.
            I think I’m so focused on both not feeling anything so I'm able to try to reach their humanity, that I can’t hold on to what the hate (at best) they’re spouting.

He wants to know what I’m doing here – besides jogging around the park. I tell him, challenging him as he’s a christian with a young son who just went off into the military, how I first painted my truck “thou shall not kill”.
            He defends

            It’s so tired, the “they’ve always been fighting and killing each other since time began”.
            I want to shake him and ask him what the hell does that mean? First of all, just because men think it’s so god damned important to tell history by wars doesn’t mean wars are the only or even the most important shit that happened. 2ndly who does he think drew up the boundaries of Iraq, Syria, Isreal, Iran but England and France. And finally, supposed they were fighting forever, that means our country is justified to go into there and start murdering?
            He is visibly shocked when I tell him no Iraqis were on those planes.
            He wants to claim it’s okay to kill to defend yourself. I said really? Where does it say that in the bible? I read “do good to those that would harm you”
            He says the military is in other countries to defend us. I ask him to please explain that to me, how is our military murdering tens of thousands if not millions of human beings around the planet, how is our military occupying other countries defending us?
            I tell him I think he knows they are defending our corporations’ rights to take other people’s resources.
            He tells me I don’t appreciate this country, yet look how good I’ve had it. Aren’t I glad I am able to live without fear (as if), etc.etc.etc.
            I tell him that yes maybe once, long time ago, before I knew that my things, my life style came from genocide, enslaving people, wars, I probably did appreciate the ‘good life’. But now I know how we got to be so rich, I didn’t ask for this, I didn’t want this.
            Dion has an uncomfortable smile on his face as he confesses he thought we would have more in common, after seeing my truck. I tell him he must not have read everything too carefully. He admits he doesn’t speak Spanish but he was drawn to the “end violence” side.
            He has to start into womyn who are beaten and don’t want you to do interfere.
            I ask him if he thinks about what’s gonna happen to that womon after he has interceded? I see he gets it as he says it’ll be even more dangerous for her.
            He thinks womyn should just leave. Right. I tell him how hard it is to leave. He says yes because she isn’t getting love from anywhere else so she can’t leave his love.
            Really, fuckin really? This is how men think?
            I tell him it is society that teaches womyn this male violence is love, and that they need men no matter how they’re treated, they can’t make it on their own, etc.etc.etc. And society makes sure we don’t make it on our own – this is what womyn have been fighting for.
            I tell him tRump is not allowing battered womyn to seek asylum. He tells male violence is not a reason for asylum, asylum is only for war.
            Male violence is war against womyn.
            He thinks womyn should just leave those men. I try not to snarl “they are leaving, they are fleeing trying to escape, but not being allowed across the border.”
            Dino tells me he is so grateful he’s stopped to talk. He has never had this kind of conversation with someone who thinks so differently than he thinks. He starts gushing with admiration, saying I’ve had a great impact on his life, on his thinking.
            I think great and ask him if he likes to read – which he doesn’t really. I tell him I will gift him my book anyway. He can always give it away.
            He tells me he is tired of hating people like me that he’s never even had a conversation with. I tell him that’s the reason we’re not supposed to talk with each other, so we can keep hating.
            Then my heart breaks again as he expresses his support of the wall as it’s keeping out drugs. I tell him most drugs don’t get into this country being walked, driven, biked across the border. I don’t tell him if we just legalized drugs, this would no longer be a problem.
            He tells me criminals and gangs and terrorists are trying to come across the border.
            He tells me Mexico is lucky the u.s. took over Texas (I add and California, New Mexico, Arizona, parts of Nevada and even Utah) cause look at the terrible cartels and corruption directing Mexico now – at least these states are ‘free’.
            I ask him if he knows what about Mexican history? And then limit it to what happened when NAFTA passed in the mid 90’s. I’m not sure he knows what NAFTA is, but maybe he does. I tell him about the 17 million farmers lost they farms within the first fuckin year.
            That’s farmers – what about their families, the people they employed to work the farm, the stores, the drivers, etc.etc.etc.
            How can you recover from that?