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

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Please quote the scripture...

Right inside the border of Georgia and Alabama, we saw a sign for a flea market, so off the freeway we went. It was close to 3:00pm by this time and most of the vendors and customers were gone but Pam was still there. She agreed to speak with us, but not on camera. Pam is a white womon probably in her late 30's with a 21 year old son. Pam insisted she knew nothing about politics and didn't like to speak of politics: that it was her husband who studied the newspaper, watched the news, and told her how to vote and this is the way it has always been for her.
Even so, she talked with us probably 30 minutes expressing things her husband told her I guess. Every time she would make a statement and we would ask a question about it, she'd say she didn't know.
We asked her if she thought bush was good for the nation, doing good work as president, and she talked about how he wasn't taking care of the abused children or abused wives; she talked about being out of work for over a year, losing her job; she talked about having a car sit in her driveway for over a year because she couldn't afford to fix it. She revealed it would cost probably a hundred dollars to fix or even 200 dollars maybe, but she had other bills.
“But bush is a christian,” she'd insisted. “He is definitely not doing a good job, giving all our money to help those Iraqi’s instead of helping americans. But kerry is definitely way evil because he is for abortion and for same-sex marriage.”
Thus continues the preferred theme from fundamentalist christians: kerry's stand on abortion and same-sex marriage being the major, if not the only, deciding factors in their votes.
I ask Pam “Why is same-sex marriage an issue for you?”
She indignantly throws her hands on her hips, leans into my face, and began searching her brain to quote the bible. “It’s an abomination, the scriptures say so!”
“Please quote that scripture,” I request as non-judgmentally as I can womonage.
But she can’t quote the bible because she doesn’t know what verse or chapter she was quoting, although she is sure same-sex marriage is outlawed somewhere.
“Those people, their friends, they could get married like the Indians used to, on a hill, under the eyes of their god, among their own people,” she insists.
I told her if she was my friend, I would want her to stand up for my right to marry and to not support a president who wanted to make a law that said I can't marry. She quickly qualified her friendship with gays by stating that she knew which booths homosexuals sat in at the Waffle House. She always said hello when taking their order and had conversations with them but didn't talk with them about marrying or about their homosexuality.  
While Pam was talking, another white womon, probably in her late 60's came over and roared "No one, not my husband (who has been dead for a long time), not my sons, and certainly not the two of you (me and Rae), are going to tell me how to vote, now or ever. Period." And off she flew.
Later I found her and lauded her independent feminist view. I asked her if she was willing to talk with us about women and voting on camera. Sadly, she was not but she wanted us to know she was voting and it was none of our business or anyone's business how she voted.
Back in the parking lot, a car pulled up and Evelyn, a young womon probably in her 30's, got out and gave me a big hug! She demanded bumper stickers and information, which I handed out readily to her. She said she was going to pass them along to all her friends, who were all voting to out bush! She said she lives in a democrat and Black neighborhood and everyone there – and her church – is talking about getting rid of bush and his regime. She came back twice to get more information and bumper stickers and posters. She wanted several of everything we had. I asked her if she was interested in starting a CodePINK chapter in Alabama and she said she would look us up on the internet and let me know. What she was interested in doing is getting bush out of office. We didn't have Alabama voter registration cards yet to give her but she said she was going to get some first thing on Monday! She was inspiring!
Another person, a man originally from Jordan, came to talk with us also. He collected information for his wife and I asked him if he knew Evelyn, which he did. I asked if he'd pass on the information to his wife that Evelyn might be interested in starting CodePINK in Alabama and maybe his wife might want to also.
A white male truck driver approached us, saying he had never voted but he might in this election. Rae gave him a national registration form, as he lives in Washington, and we spoke about how important his vote is, especially as Washington is a swing state.
A great way to begin our journey through Alabama!
Next we hit Birmingham and went to the Civil Rights Institute. It was closed but we were able to interview three wimmin who all identified as christian and who all thought bush was anti-christian. They all agreed to speak on camera! It was a great, exciting interview. All three wimmin spoke fiercely and authoritatively. Plus they were committed to getting bush out of office and thought that many folks in Birmingham – at least the Black folks, they couldn't vouch for white people – felt the same way.
We rushed to the library and picked up two dozen voter registration forms before we drove off to a state camp ground to spend the nite!

I HAVE to talk!

Fixing to leave Atlanta early this a.m. and unable to find a biodiesel distributor here, I pulled into a CITGO gas station. A middle aged African-American womon drove passed my truck and parked.
She jumps out her car and blurts:“I HAVE to talk!” I smile broadly as we exchange bear hugs. “I’m a retired school teacher and just recently moved to Atlanta. I cannot tell you how happy I am to see righteous thinking in Atlanta.”
She had migrated from New York, has never lived in the south and didn't know if she was going to stay here, but for now, she was looking around. She loved the neighborhood and thought there were lots of progressive folks in Atlanta, which she appreciated!
When I went into the gas station to pay for my gas, there was a young man originally from Columbia collecting my money. He said he LOVED my truck, that he read every single side and every single word and he agreed with everything. He is voting in this election and is personally registering all his family and friends also!
Leaving the gas station and on the way down the street to get our fix at the local coffee shop, a white womon in her 30's stopped me, again loving my truck. She said she was working with the kerry campaign and wanted to talk with me about people's reactions to my messages. She was especially interested when she found out that I drive around the country. I told her that since my April trip this past spring – but really almost every trip I’ve taken with the exception of the first few days of the official bombing – the primary response has been overwhelmingly positive.
I shared with her how I figured out on my trip to Arizona last winter that even tho the count is always more yeahs to fuck-you's, it is the f.u.'s that tend to dominate, because they are so violent and so aggressive in their response. They tend to erase the gentler, positive, happy responses.
She related stories about the people she's met that are afraid to drive thru certain neighborhoods and/or parts of Georgia with a kerry/edwards sticker on their cars. Of how they tape the sticker on so they can take it off when they go somewhere 'unsafe': i.e. republican. She asked me if I thought republicans ever felt that fear.
“Are there republicans anywhere that are afraid to put 'bush/cheney' stickers on their cars or signs in their front yards?” she implores.
“Hell no, I haven't met one in all my travels around the country.”
“And why is that?” she wonders out loud.
“I think that is because these are white men who are most likely rich, straight, christian - or wannabes or believa-one-day-be's – at least that's what I’ve met and they are at least 90% of bush's support. Most white men do not know what it is like to face an oppression or violence - they are truly free to go anywhere say anything without fear.”
“Unless they’re gay, not able to ‘pass’, and/or out,” I add.
Talking with Rae later she also felt that republicans are not likely to go to neighborhoods where they might meet opposition and if they did, the opposition is not violent.
I continued to the coffee shop, which had large 'voter registration here' signs plastered out front and inside. The young womon behind the counter even asked me if I was registered to vote before she asked what drink I wanted!!! Go Atlanta!
On our way out of Georgia, I had to stop and get an oil change. There, we registered six people and handed out a couple of forms to folks who were going to get friends and relatives registered. Several men thought they couldn't vote because they had former felonies on their record. I will have to research this but believe there are 'only' 7 states which do not allow citizens who have been convicted of a felony to vote – Florida, of course, being one!
So what a great way to leave Georgia and get back on the road. By the way, the count today on the way into Alabama was about 25 yeahs and claps and peace signs and shouts to one little tiny ugly fuck you! and that's Georgia!