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

Friday, July 02, 2004

Never has a war been so wrong...

Nebraska begins all flat and boring, greener than the flat parts of Wyoming, but broad and empty also. I pretty much drive straight thru from gas station to gas station. I’m thinking how far I’ve made it, almost to Iowa which is about two thirds of the way across country with only one fuck you in California and two more in Wyoming – actually the count in Wyoming was eight yeahs to one thumbs down.
But then I get two strident fuck you’s in Nebraska, but I also got twenty enthusiastic yeahs and one thumbs down.
Just before Omaha, the end of Nebraska, I get three fuck you’s in a row: all from young white males, of course, driving new cars and one in a truck.
 Iowa is my home state – only in that I was born there and lived there until I was two. I can’t pull into a rest stop without seeing my grandmother, my dad’s mother, exclaiming proudly Iowa’s rest stops were the favorite, most modern picnicking places for Iowan’s with the spacious manicured lawns, clean toilets, grass and trees. And my dad grimacing, retorting with: “Yeah, now that all the trees have been cut down except for the three or four that surround the farm house to make room for the agriculture industry.”
His heart would be broken today as that’s what is blanketing Iowa’s rural landscape: fields of only corn and soy as far as the eye can see, with the occasional huge family farmhouse sporting the two or three huge trees.
 As I return from the bathroom, an older white womon is frantically waving at me. ‘Is that your truck?’ she enquires. “Well, my husband  is a professional photographer and I want him to take pictures of your truck!”
I notice she is dragging a skinny older white man behind her urging him to get the best shots. “Honey, I love your truck” she gushes. “And we’re from Idaho although he was born in Iowa,” she motions behind her to her reluctant photographer husband. He complains he doesn’t have that many pictures left. She offers to go get more film. He begins snapping – the camera that is.
“I want the other side too,” she insists when he tries to slip away. He begins to complain about the sun, the light, the distance and she says “Oh honey, you know how to take care of that.” And so he does.
I mention I was born in Iowa too, trying to bridge the distance, warm him up to his task a little. He kinda smiles, grimaces actually, and continues snapping as he continues to complain he doesn’t have his right camera with him on this trip. They’ve come back for a family reunion.
I’m curious if the subject of bush and the war came up at the reunion, so I ask and they both looked horrified as if I asked them if they were eating skewered baby hearts and hinged goat toes.
She reiterated firmly that they were from Idaho, stressing the last syllable in a some coded message , as if I should know what that means, and then wished me a very safe journey as she gave me a hug and traipsed off after the photographer!
Again, I’m past Des Moines (my birthplace) and to the most eastern parts of Iowa before the fuck you’s come.
Thru Iowa, I got an whopping forty yeah’s to four thumbs down – and then six fuck you’s, rapidly, right in a row!
At the last gas station before leaving Iowa, I was approached by an older man who told me he was from Guam. He said he fought in Viet Nam and then was in the military in Guam also.
He said never has a war been so wrong as this one is. I of course, have to let him know that I believe ALL wars are wrong. He doesn't appear to agree but he certainly doesn't disagree either.
We talked about veterans against the war and military families against the war – he hadn’t heard of either organization but says he’s internet ready so he’s going to look them up. I give him some CodePINK flyers to pass on to his family and friends before we part, both grateful we were able to connect.