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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

Friday, October 08, 2004

Saul with a "c", Caul

Our first stop in fayetteville, north carolina, on the hunt for a library and espresso, was a gas station where a young white woman, soft, sweet smile, eyes glazed, told me in that honeyed southern drawl she was 18 but she wasn’t registered to vote. She hadn’t thought about voting, although she was concerned with the condition of her town & country. She didn’t quite understand about deadlines and cards but if i brought her a form she’d probably register - sigh. I’m thinking the deadline was yesterday but maybe because of the weekend, it is Monday like it was in Ohio.
We proceeded to drive quite a distance thru fields and sparsely populated country before finally coming into a quaint little town boasting one rotary and a couple of tree-lined streets lined with little businesses & buildings – including a coffeehouse! At the far end of town, a huge modern library sat facing an empty park & a few warehouse-type structures. Parking the truck strategically so any street traffic would get a great view, we walked across the vast empty parking lots into the library. Several army-type mostly white males were hanging about the wide sweeping entrance to the building but seemingly took no notice of us.
Inside the frigid library, we were informed that if we didn’t have a local library card we couldn’t get on-line unless we purchased a $5.00 pass that was good for a week or two. grrrrrr. But we could check our email for 15 minutes free, which we did. Of course then we immediately snuck on-line and over-stayed our welcome while worried but polite librarians pacing back and forth, peering over our shoulders pointedly glanced at their wrists or the huge wall clock hanging above the mystery section until another lone reader would wonder in and consume their attention for the moment.
These same worried but polite librarians had no idea when voter registration deadline was - they thought it was yesterday but it could be today.....a young african american womon passing by told us it definitely was yesterday - it was too late to register anyone else, even someone who really wanted to vote. now, what is this, in this country? why can't people register right down to the last moment? especially in this hi-tech life we have.
Driving back thru downtown, we once again approached the coffeehouse. This time the folks sitting out front waved & hollered as we passed them, hunting for a park. We turned around & parked across the street right in front of a storefront that turned out to be the fayetteville women’s center, which unfortunately was closed that day! Crossing the street, a hand-full of gay men occupying one of the tables cheered our approach. Not only had we found the wimmin’s center, but we found the gay stomping grounds too! The movie house next to the coffee shop advertised a couple of gay movies, one including about something in ‘pink’ which we immediately identified with!
These men were open and eager to talk with us, expressing their pleasure at witnessing the sense & consciousness of my truck in the middle of this southern predominantly white straight & military town. We found out all too soon that the one African American male among the group, Mr. Saul with a c, Caul, loved president bush. At first I was convinced he was doing the ‘you-stupid-white-womon-who-doesn’t-know-there’s-not-a-black-person-left-in-this-country-who-could-possibly-be-so-ignorant-as-to-support-bush’ routine that I’ve experienced a few times cross country from men responding to my ‘are you gonna help pink slip bush?’ These were the men who’d give me that withering ‘what, do i look white & rich to you?’ glance as they’d scornfully profess their love for the great white massah.
Caul, who looked neither white, rich but comfortable & gay, continued to profess his attraction to bush, getting as dreamy-eyed as a straight boy being patted on the head by a naked brittney spears. He began making all those gay boy lewd gestures, panting at the thought of bush in tight jeans & cowboy boots. I tend to take all conversations seriously, but i couldn’t take caul seriously. Afterall, here he was a brother, african-american & gay, plumped down in the middle of hostile straight white territory among white gay friends yet chosing to lust over & profess love for the enemy, a REAL man.
I do not profess to understand gay men’s sexuality but I do understand there are voters who base their decision to vote for a candidate on sex appeal. I heard some other voters across the country say they don’t like kerry for some illusive reason making him just dull & not appealing – while the mean, hateful, bigoted spirit of bush gives him that edgy, hard masculine glint attractive to these voters. okay.
And seemingly attractive to Caul. When I asked Caul about bush’s record on gays, blacks, iraq, jobs, healthcare – all the issues, not the physicality I do not profess to understand, Caul admits ‘he has issues’ sic w/the prez. He admits these issues several times, as he also says he understands my position – a statement that feels as old and warn as the sun setting on Caul’s face. And very, very sad.
We discussed Caul’s position for so long & thoroughly, he felt he had to reassure me he was an intelligent man. yet when I asked him what was intelligent about supporting a man who not only hated him (for several obvious reasons) but who hated iraqi’s and the rest of common folks as well & was intent on at least depriving us if not destroying us, he could only admit he does have issues with the prez!
I still don’t know for sure if Caul was a strong bush supporter as he professed to be or if maybe he was trying to hurt the white men sharing the table w/him – men who were supposed to be his comrades but who perhaps had failed him thru their racism or maybe thru love. I’m sure Caul’s attracted to bush – go figure – or he wants his peers to think so, and I’m sure he wanted to shock me. He even asked me as I was fixing to leave, if I was shocked by his position. I told him sadly, not shocked, hurt maybe for I had come into a hostile town reeking of bigotry, conservatism & contempt and thought I’d found an ally on this little corner at this one table in front of the espresso shop.
So now i've met the statistic, the one gay, african-american male in a gazillion that supports bush. peace, sam

florida bound - first day

it's so lonely without rae!!! but ariel & i are handling it! we're speeding down 95, going thru maryland to virginia, and now we're in the middle of north carolina! we're collecting huge numbers of positive responses to the truck, including hand claps, fists in the air, thumbs up, and folks hanging out windows cheering and shouting! very, very few negatives and only 1 fuck you from an angry white man! we stopped in richmond for espresso & spoke with several folks, including a man who was a former felon who was forbidden to vote in this state of virginia. he spoke about bush & the lies he told to take us to war; he talked about the state of the economy & how rich people have benefitted from this administration; he talked about how he was forbidden to vote but that he is not forbidden to talk with folks about getting them out to vote, which he is committed to. i felt his great hope, tinged with such great saddness and we set off, more determined than ever to get out every possible vote for this election.
as we head to yet another swing state, i think about the folks in new york, connecticut & other non-swing but democratic states & think about the work we have to do there - whether kerry is in like flynn, we still need this election to be the MOST ever votes cast in this country - we have to make a HUGE, resounding statement in 24 days so let's get off our butts, take to the streets, talk w/the undecided & the non-voting democrats - forget about the straight white fundies males who are supporting bush - no time for them - focus on the undecided, etc. and we will take back our government! peace & love, sam

florida bound - thru the south

last nite we hit the whole foods in philly before delivering to two beautiful young wimmin who just happened to be on their first date!!! it was so niced being blessed by their beautiful, enthusiastic, raucous energy - not to mention their financial support - as we begin the journey into the deep south - or at least the coastal south.
in brief summary, thru maryland we collected 16 yeah's to 1 f.u. and 2 no's; virginia was again so rewarding with over 34 yeahs, 3 no's, and 2 f.u.'s!
north carolina we got 20 yeah's, 4 no's, and 2 fuck you's! south carolina felt by far to be the most hostile, altho we only received one fuck you. we also only received 9 yeah's and three no's. one little red-headed girl stuck her tongue out at us as she flew by - we couldn't tell if she was just generally hostile or if the conversation her parents' were having made her feel like she should stick out her tongue!
upon entering georgia, we were a little concerned because we had collected 4 no's to 6 yeah's the first 50 miles. we had an uneventful pit stop & then took off again. very quickly we gathered many more yeahs, so we were relieved. we ended up with 17 yeah's, 5 no's and 2 fuck you's! peace, sam