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, September 15, 2004

Protecting innocent UNBORN... but not the innocent BORN

We rushed off to the library to get voter reg forms before they closed. The first librarian, a too young white womon, stiff and frowning, didn't want to give us more than five forms but then we found another librarian, an older, robust brown woman all smiles and charm who was willing to give us more. We asked her about how the voter registration was going there in Clovis. She was so proud to say that “this was the first time so many folks had registered...” I smiled ... “republican....” I frowned.
Rae and I decided we didn't want to vigil in such a town after dark so off we went to the office depot to make some desperately needed 'pink slip bush' flyers and quarter page info sheets about marriage quotes from the bible.
Another young white womon began helping us. We found out she was 21 years old with an 18 month old son and a husband who was in the military. Missy said she didn't really want to vote. When asked about why, she blankly stared at us saying she hadn't really thought about voting, she certainly hasn't talked to anyone about voting and her husband didn't like talking about voting because he's in the military and was afraid he'd lose his job.
Missy identified herself as a christian, saying she's been one since she was 3 years old. She declined the opportunity to be part of our video but she did say that if she voted, she'd vote for bush because he's a christian. I asked her what is christian about bush and she basically said she wasn't sure, that she'd have to go ask her pastor but she believed maybe it was because he talks to god and because he's defending our country in Iraq. I asked her if she thought we should be killing people in Iraq and she said no. She didn't want her husband to go to Iraq and she knew families in Clovis that had lost their husbands and sons.
Missy quietly admitted, glancing around the empty store, she didn't really like bush but kerry was awful because he wanted to kill babies and do stem cell research and let gay people marry.
She indignantly confided that just a few months ago, she had to copy a holy union ceremony for these two, well, fellows, and she thought that just wasn't right. She said the bible said homosexuals are not holy - deferring again to her pastor for the exact chapter and verse of this alleged fact. We shared with her the marriage quarter pages we were just running off - it has several bible quotes on one side, and the marriage and divorce records of the opponents of same-sex marriage on the other. She confessed it’s been ages since she's actually read the bible but she was going to ask her preacher and look up those quotes because they weren't right either.
I asked her, as I do everyone who takes her position, trying to look into her very inner being "do you really want to dictate to me who I can marry or who I can't marry?"
She hesitated a few moments, uncomfortable yet thinking, and finally said “No, I guess I don't.”
“But bush is a christian,” she firmly continued, “because of his protecting innocence unborn babies.” I asked her “What about innocent born children in Iraq?”
She sadly nods unequivocally stating that it was wrong to kill babies in Iraq but that abortion here was wrong also.” We talked about the difference between being pro-abortion and being pro-choice. She admitted knowing how hard a decision it is for wimmin, her friends and she confessed she would take the morning after pill.....Rae pointed out to her that bush would not allow her to do that if he had his way.
Missy ended up taking all kinds of codepink info from us and promised to read up on the things we were giving her. She also REGISTERED to vote! AND she gave us big discounts on all the flyers we were copying!!! a sucess story!
We headed out of Clovis and spent the nite at a beautiful New Mexico rest stop under a tiny sliver of a moon and a myriad of brilliant stars we never get to view in the bay area!

Murder by War: Honoring a Family Legacy

We got to New Mexico just before dusk last nite – the town of Clovis. After going thru desolate, almost empty stretches of land, Clovis appears to be a huge city of around 30,000 with tons of military present and very visible.
We stopped at a convenience store and ran into two such young – I mean entering 11th grade – males in uniform: military recruits, one black, one white. These two young men-boys eagerly revealed, to our blossoming horror, they had already enlisted this summer in the army and were willing to die defending their country.
They bragged they were getting paid $1500 per month – more money than Ben’s mom made – for early enlistment (who could resist that, especially in this drab, dearth of a town in New Mexico). They both gullibly believed the propaganda that although Iraq did not attack the u.s. on September 11th, the war against Iraq is a war against terrorism and a necessity to keep Iraqis (Muslims understood) from invading us.
These young men fervently dialogued with us for close to 45 minutes and if we could have stomached it, they probably would have gone on for another 45 but let me say this: we (adults) have failed our youth in New Mexico. Ben, the young African American man-boy, was of the mind-set that slavery was good for his people because how else would Africans have come to this country? He reeled back in shock when I wondered if I should put him in chains and drag him off to China so his great, great, great grandchildren will have the opportunity of living in China. He of course declared his love of the u.s.ofa. vs China as I nodded and said, “yes, sir, that’s how your ancestors felt about where they were living.”
The young white man's whole life was a military legacy since his grandfather was killed in world war II, his dad in the Viet Nam war, and maybe he'll be killed in this war - he's willing to die for us, not to mention carry on a family tradition.
We wept.
Ben told us his mother would be very happy, very proud of him, if he was killed defending his country. They both spoke of honor, pride, self-preservation as if they had a clue what these things are and how to obtain them. They both said that even though they thought bush was wrong going to war against Iraq, even though they both believed we should not be at war with Iraq, they personally would fight there to protect our country when ordered to do so.
Ben was much more open to speaking with us and even invited us to come talk to his class of air force rotc recruits. George swiftly nixed that idea without a moment's consideration, titling his head as he shook it “no!” adamant the officer who taught the class would never allow us in.
I tried to point out to Ben how this is just a beginning example of how he was going to willingly give up the freedom his people had died to secure for him.
We talked for a few more minutes about how american was this and that it didn’t have to be this way.
Then we left sadly, hoping we had de-glorified war just a little bit in these boys' eyes.

Cadillac Ranch Opportunities

 We made a brief detour to the Cadillac Ranch (traveling with a youngster has its moments, for sure!).

Cadillac Ranch is a place outside of Amarillo where someone, an arteeest, has buried several cadillacs, nose first (or maybe feet first - my cadillac anatomy is lacking) into the ground so they are nearly perpendicular to the earth. I’m told they are at the same angle as a pyrimad.
These cadillacs are painted heavily over the 30 or 40 or so odd years they've been there. We know this is an opportunity to make our statements!
We've added a big "bush" painted in white in a black circle with a red line thru the bush and surrounding the circle. 
I’ll try to post the picture later help laura! 
Doesn't this look like what Bush is doing to the country?

We also painted "CodePINK: women for peace" and stuck “pink slip bush” stickers in appropriate places!
Now we're rushing off to New Mexico, a swing state, where we will register voters and spread imprison bush!  

The Code Pink message, brought to Cadillac Ranch in Texas.

Hope in Texas

We're continuing to get only visible positive reactions to the truck – and in Texas no less! What joy and hope! The last time I was in Texas, and only going rapidly thru the panhandle, I was inundated by f.u.'s and swerving truck drivers! This time, the negatives are pretty tight-lipped and silent.
When we stopped to get gas, two white truckers bounded over and gave me a 'teamsters for kerry' bumper sticker - I’ve made a row along the “imprison bush” side of the truck of bumper stickers folks are giving me!
Finding a health food store in Amarillo, Texas turned out to be a mixed blessing. It used to be a traveler could count on finding all the diversity in town at the health food store: folks of color, dykes, earthmamas, lefties. The same could be said for espresso shops.
Well in Texas, it looks like the christians have taken over the health food industry so when we pulled into the parking lot of the health food store, we are received mostly with polite nods. And christian white wimmin who didn't want to talk, who were voting for bush, and didn't want us to pass out any information or disturb the folks eating organic vegetables in the deli!
But our reception at the local Starbucks was completely opposite: a late 30's, large white man with long brown hair tied back in a straggly ponytail, rushed out from behind the counter to open the door and welcome us in! Everyone was all grins and welcomes and “Glad to see you's!” Everyone was registered to vote and our welcomer, after heatedly talking about how ignorant, uninformed and blind most Texans are, abashedly admitted that he was one of the stupid Texans who four years ago voted for bush!
I asked him how he went from a bush supporter to an adamant opponent of bush and then to a kerry supporter. He said four years ago, he was uninformed, he didn't read, listen or talk about what was happening. His eyes and ears were tuned into the propaganda he was receiving, and yes, part of that was fox ‘news’. He wasn't looking for the truth. But now he is and he's spreading the truth whenever he can as well!!!
There is hope, and in Texas no less!

Get A Vasectomy

I had no sooner pulled onto the highway this a.m. when, oh shit, a Texas state police officer pulled us over. We stopped and after several minutes, a 30-something white male, tall, full-bodied, blond crew-cut, gradated shades, ambled over to the truck to drawl: “License and proof of insurance please.”
As I pulled the limp, wet insurance paper outta my back pocket (it's been hot as hell this trip - totally humid as well), I asked him if he was stopping me because I had left the back door open again. (yes, it had been a problem once when we first hit the road - we forgot to close the roll-up door and traveled for a few blocks like this - grrrrr). He said, no, he was stopping me because he didn't think I had my seatbelt on.
Okay. I did have my seatbelt on - I had taken it off when he stopped me and then didn't approach the truck for a few minutes.
He then asked me about the paint job on my truck, as in 'why'? I told him I felt so strongly that bush has got to be defeated in this election: “You know, like he was in the last election but only better this time”.
“Well, I’m former military” he growls, as he turned to go. “Wait” I call after him. “Former military vets are some of our strongest supporters.” I counter.
He pivots around and declares “I don’t know about that but what I do like is that bumper sticker - the one about abortion.”
He actually said he believes it is a womon's right to choose, but he really liked that “get a vasectomy” line - and he only blushed a little as he stumbled over that last word.
Rae was so thrilled with this, she dug into our codePINK stash and found a 'peaceful police officer' pin for him and told him we'd like to present him with it - even though it says 'NYC'.
He took it happily and then stated that I was mistaken about Iraq - that he had been stationed there in 1996. I asked him at least five times in as many different ways was he SURE he was stationed in Iraq? He insisted he was, at a u.s. military base and he was training Iraqi's how to be soldiers. He spoke of the immense poverty he witnessed, the oppression of wimmin, and the general disrepair of the country. Again, I reconfirmed the date, 1996, and the country, Iraq.
I tried to keep the incredulity to myself as I asked: “You mean the Iraq that we had invaded five years previous? The Iraq that we had a twelve year embargo against where we didn't even allow medicine to enter - but allowed you to enter? The Iraq that we are now invading?
Then he backtracked quickly and mused, without blushing, “It must have been Kuwait – not Iraq.”
“So in 1996 you were teaching young men in Kuwait how to kill their own people??
UFB - to think, here he is, a man that has actually lived and worked in another country and has no idea which country he was in.
He then asked what I thought about the economy. I was so pleased I'd listened to Molly Ivan’s book on tape (thanks to rae!) and knew that bush had begun his term as governor of Texas w/a 6 billion dollar surplus - only to leave w/a $10 billion deficit. So I could say to this officer, “Hey, you're a Texan, weren't you here when bush turned a Texas $6 billion surplus into a $10 billion deficit in 4 years - just like he's turned our national 287 billion dollar surplus into a deficit so big I cannot pronounce the trillions of dollars we're owing.”
Now he did turn bright red, acknowledging oh yes, he did know what bush did as governor, as he backed away. He bid us a hasty good day and wished us luck on our mission!
So we're off to Amarillo, where we intend to find a health food store and another organic soy latte!