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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 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

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Convention of Extremes

Today, the progressive democrats met all day at a Boston campus. I tabled again with CodePINK and listened to many inspiring speakers from Dean and Kucinich to our very own Barbara Lee and Medea Benjamin!!! Both wimmin gave the best speeches of the day, of course, and I wish I woulda taken notes, as you all are now familiar with the state of my brain – could be early onslaught of Alzheimer’s.
Barbara lee spoke so eloquently as usual about how clearly the young African-americans in her district (that’s my district!) really get it and how they want exactly what the democratic platform should be about: universal health care, good jobs, decent housing, quality education, and a future that doesn’t threaten their lives of course.
Medea spoke about things no other person mentioned, if only I could remember, not to mention my poor paraphrasing! She spoke about her great sorrow learning that yesterday, more Iraqis were killed than in any other day since the bombing stopped. She spoke about Nader’s decision to run, the green party’s decision to run in uncontested states only, and our patriotic right and duty to do so with the most important goal of not only defeating bush and his regime, but of making our country a place we want to live in. Both wimmin said other wise things that maybe I’ll remember later.
Leaving the progressive democrats, we headed back to the convention. This is the last nite, the Kerry nite. Edwards speech last nite was so great until the end, when he got on the war band-wagon. This nite, Kerry’s speech would begin with the war call, but the end was the moving inspirational part.
The CodePINK organizers wanted desperately to get our huge pink slip into the convention. The problem was two-fold: first we had to make one that was appropriate for Kerry. The ones we have say ‘Pink Slip Bush’ and ‘Impeach Bush’. The other problem was the law that the democrats made saying you can’t bring your own signs into the convention. So how to sneak in a 40 foot banner when your bags and body are thoroughly checked when you go into the convention and then spot searches were also happening. We decided to cut up the banners and make smaller pink slips that read: “Bring Our Troops Home Now”, or just “Troops Home Now”. As we attempted to get close to the convention center, police lined up effectively blocking anyone from proceeding forward. I forgot to mention how they also have brought in all manner of huge dump trucks and semis and the like to block the view of the demonstrators from the delegates – now who thought of that? How come someone doesn’t want the delegates to know we’re out here? Not only are we supposed to gather in a pen, but we’re supposed to out of sight and view – is this democracy?
Medea and Gael leap to the front of the crowd and mark off space at the foot of the policemen’s line, where we spread out blank pink banners. Volunteers from the crowd provide markers (which we have inadvertently forgotten) and help making signs – it felt like feeding the crowd the fish and bread story, only this was obtaining the markers and artists story! Some of us had passes into the convention hall – not the delegate’s floor, but the upper levels. We bundled ourselves in pink banners perfumed by magic marker and attempted to enter thru the long lines and security gates. We all got in. Several Kucinich delegates had volunteered to hold banners up on the floor – a brave womon from Massachusetts was one. I don’t know the others. The rest of us tried to get seats on the upper levels but we were so disappointed – not only were all the seats claimed, but the police and security came around and made us move first out of the stairs, and then out of the seating area all together. I couldn’t get a seat let alone unfurl my banner at the right time –  tears!
I was discouraged as well as pretty beat anyway so I took the T home. I caught Kerry’s speech on the tv with my friends. None of us could listen to the beginning – all the military and war lords lining up – but how he addressed domestic issues were righteous. I especially loved all the overt digs at bush and his regime, including the last: “We will not claim god is on our side; but we are on the side of god” – or something like that!!
So for me, this DNC has been one of extremes: extreme hope and inspiration; extreme militarism and police presence. I’m ready to head back to sunny, not to mention kool and breezy California.