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

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

I AM american...

This a.m. as I’m driving around Tucson, looking for things to buy for my business while I spread my anti-war, pro-peace messages around town, I notice a large white pick-up truck following so close to me I could hardly see it in my mirrors. Cars often zoom up to my truck on the freeway, suddenly slow down and hover - sometimes for quite a few minutes at the back, glide over to the side and hover some more before moving along side to (most of the time) wave, give me the peace sign, shout 'yes' w/a fist in the air, or sign 'I love you'. The more time they take, the more likely they are to respond positively.
This guy, however, was shadowing my every move, speeding up or slowing down with me, and riding so close as if he's trying to hide behind me. I move into the left-hand turning lane to leave the smaller road and get on a larger, busier road. As we wait for the light, I cannot see him at all but I know he's there. He didn't continue forward or turn off as I pulled to a stop. When the light changed, I made the turn. My truck has a very low starting speed - she goes about 5 mph in first, 10 in second, and maybe 20 in third. I was not completely out of 2nd when this asshole tears around me on 2 wheels and cuts sharply in front of me. If not for my excellent driving skills and lightning reflexes, we would have collided. Later, I’m thinking, why the hell didn't I just hit him? I’m driving the much bigger, older truck! Then he turns around in his seat, glares and flips me the finger as he slows to about 2 miles an hour. I can see he's a John Wayne type, very white, very male, very large truck as far as pick-up's go - the kind with the bubble on the outer back sides for double wheels, very white and very new truck. I coulda made a HUGE dent in that baby. Instead, I pick up my cell phone, grab a pen and pad of paper, jam my truck up to his ass, and pretend I’m talking to someone as I write down his license number - he notices, retracts his middle finger, revs his engine and takes off down a side street with a squeal and a puff of dust.
I growl and continue down the street, still looking for yard sales. Pretty soon, I see a long building full of old things and a bunch of folks set up in a far parking lot selling their wares. I park, notice all the outside vendors are selling mostly new merchandise which I’m not interested in, so I go inside. I wander around, find a beautiful old mahogany Eastlake shelf I want to buy so I return to the front counter to wait my turn.
As I’m waiting, an older white man, boots vehemently clacking on the cement floor, impeccable in pressed jeans and red and white striped button-downed shirt with a little dark blue bow-tie bobbing at his throat, demands of the people working behind the counter "Is that your anti-american truck out there" thumbing at my vehicle.
"Anti-american" I can feel my eyes flashing, drawing the old geezer to me like lumps of steel to those huge horseshoe magnets I could barely lift as a child. He looks first in denial but unable to keep his body from lurching toward me, his head lagging behind while he peers out the store window at the truck, then looks at me in utter disbelief and back again at the truck.
"Anti-american" I exclaim again louder, regulating my voice so it projects as much as his does among the small crowd which is suddenly frozen silent but busy making sure they don't look at me or him.
“That’s an american truck, son!” I exclaim.
“Wha..aahhh what – is that, that YOUR truck?” he demands.
“That’s my codepink womxxn for peace truck out there. My truck is anti-bush, anti-war but certainly not anti-american".
“Who drives that truck – you drive that truck?” he’s still stuttering loudly.
I say “Of course.”
“Well!!!" he's lowered his voice, grumbling now as his head has caught up with his body, attempting to tower over me. I move to approach him and he steps back.
"Anti-bush is anti-american" he attempts.
"Oh, you mean anti-american, like lying to the american public, or like manipulating the supreme court to appoint him president, or like disregarding the constitution not to mention the geneva convention, labeling folks 'enemies of the state' so he doesn't have to operate within the laws of our land and world?"
The guy can tell I’m on a roll and folks have continued to stay frozen around us, still not looking, not involving themselves.
"Well, there's two sides to every story," he now begins, "besides that truck is a lot more than anti-bush." He indicates another line on my truck w/a wave of his hand: "you didn't even spell the man's name right"
"Oh, asscroft, the man who's attacking our bill of rights - talk about anti-american" I begin.
"I support my country in any war we fight" he moves to change the subject. "And to not support our country during war is anti-american".
"See," I say, "you want to decide what is american and what isn't. That’s what is wrong with your thinking. I am american. My views are american. I am as american as you are and I do not support this war – or any war for that matter. I do not support the u.s.ofa. practice of going to war to get what you want. I believe there are other ways to accomplish things in the world.”
Again, he shakes his head as if indulging a small child who doesn't understand, "We have to go to war, it is the way of the world. It always has been, it always will be. And we must support our leaders".
"We only go to war because men lead us into war and men are willing to fight and kill. That's why womxxn need to take over and we will - we can think of lots of other alternatives besides killing and raping and bullying and bombing to solve problems." I declare as if I’m the head of state.
He's turning on heel now, that same look of ambushed surprise, as if he would find this amusing if it wasn't so scary.
"Oh, you think it is a male thing..." he begins kinda nastily. As if…
"No,” I interrupt, “in this country I think it is a white, christian, rich and male thing" just to clarify. "but yes, definitely a male thing."
He's leaving now, muttering something to himself. I have the urge to follow him around the store, continuing our dialogue, but resist. I only toss at his back “You do NOT get to decide what is american and what isn’t”.
The other folks standing around have now picked up the volume, resuming whatever they were doing, not meeting my eye nor looking at him. No one else will engage with me as I proceed to buy the shelf.