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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 29, 2004

if only i could freeze the world for 4 more months...

This morning we met up with operation bubbe, a jewish get-out-the-bubbe vote organization - there's nothing in the world like connecting with over 100 committed jewish activists mostly from NYC as they decend upon florida with the goal of reaching the older jewish voter. The first time we approach the gated retirement community, i continue to pass by, worried my truck will cause the caravan of activists to be turned away. After all are safely inside and knocking on doors, I re-approach. The guard asks me what I'm doing in that huge truck - I say I'm coming to do voter turn-out work! He grins broadly and opens the gate for me quickly!
These buildings are 2 story rows of apartments stretching rectangular like a long, straight motel. there are at least 20 apartments in a row before another building starts. We find out soon we cannot wear our "Pink Slip Bush" t-shirts cause the old people just see the BUSH and start screaming at us, thinking we're for bush. Even after we explain, no we want to fire bush, they are still wary or anyone that would wear the word on her chest! After covering over 100 apartments each, we decide this is a waste of our time: first of all, there is not one bush supporter in their mids; second of all most of the old folks have already voted absentee or intend to vote at their community center (which they all have to give us elaborate details of how to get there, when the buses run if you can't walk, how to get a special pick-up if you need it); and third of all, everyone wants to feed us and give us drinks or candy or questionable food, taking way too much time at this late date. I'm feeling anxious to get to jacksonville while Ariel is collecting shabbas dinner invitations!
We finally get on the road to return to Jacksonville, Duvall County, Ground Zero for katherine harris's 2000 voter disenfrancisement. We receive 9 yeahs, one thumbs down and 2 fuck you's before we get to the most northern west palm beach border - AND stopped traffic. Yes, there's been an accident and both lanes of 95 north are stopped. So off the exit we go, spy a giant publix shopping center and decide to take a break there. It is 1000 wet degrees, tons of bush/cheney signs surrounding us, and a few bush/cheney folks on the corner first trying to greet us pleasantly with yeah, a truck = must be for bush enthusiasm which quickly turns into shock as we produce our kerry/edwards signs. Ariel grabs the loudspeaker & says 'bush will be defeated' to their stricken bodies.
We park in a strategic location for the highest visibility and proceed into the store. Upon returning to the parking lot, not one but 2 police cars are parked within 2 parking spaces of my truck. I ignore them and proceed to unlock the truck to put in the groceries. A young, white male police officer approaches with a cocky grin and asks "so are you outside agitators planning on disrupting the elections?" I say "we leave that up to the republicans" as he appears baffled. "you know, like they did in 2000". He tells me he doesn't want to get into a political discussion & explains his reason for his query - when all those outsiders came down to that world government thing & tried to reek havoc - i interrupt & say he must want a political discussion or he wouldn't be asking me such questions. I attempt to mimic his cocky grin & cavalier tone, especially when i respond to his "I'm a police officer, I can ask you any question I want to" with "And I'm an american citizen, I believe I can also ask any question I want to." I turn my back & continue to put away our treasures. He has grinned his icy grin, waves & turned heel to go.
Several cars have driven by, giving us the thumbs up! A womon approaches - she's a Emily's List volunteer from New Jersey staying in the hotel across the street. As we compare notes on Florida voters, several more cars pull up, wimmin talking about voting kerry into office, about the aggressive republican presence here in this neighborhood, about how much hope we have for this election.
I get this overwhelming desire to postpone the election for another 4 months - if only I could freeze all the shit that's happening in the world, then spend the next four months talking w/folks, I could feel mission accomplished. There are so many people to talk with, so many minds to engage, so many hearts to open. We spend over an hour talking in this parking lot as the sun begins to dip - so many folks have approached us we consider briefly joining the bushettes on the corner with our own banner. One young white womon who has her son w/her wants us to stay and do one tomorrow at noon. We talk about nov3, whether kerry wins or bush steals, what our plans are for moving forward. We try to encourage her to get her friends to do the banner waving - we HAVE to go to jacksonville for these final days. As we're talking, a white, male security guard drives up in his little important golf cart & asks us how long we've been in the parking lot, saying he's seen us here too long.
I have less patience for him then I did with the police officer. I bid him to leave us alone and go do his job. He insists we've been there too long & need to move. I instruct him again to leave us alone and go call the police. He shouts he will & tries to wheel off rapidly - a feat in a two-seater cart that he fills adequately.
Finally, we're on the road again to Jacksonville - the new codepink chapter wimmin open their homes to us and we decide to meet in the early a.m. to make plans for the final 4 days of this election!!!