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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

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

First time ever staff refuses to meet with constituents - Knollenberg!!!

Or what a difference a party makes!

Yesterday Senator Debbie Stabenow's Regional Director Barbara invited us up to her office, and met with us for at least 30 minutes!

Today, we attempted to meet with staff from Congressman Joe Knollenberg’s office – and they actually REFUSED to meet with us! He happens to be Republican – although we’ve met w/republicans all across the country and in D.C.

Today, about 30 people showed up to vigil in front of Congressman Knollenberg’s office. Again, as yesterday, we are standing on a huge highway divided by a grassy medium (that the police do not allow us to stand on – impeding traffic and all that….). And again, as yesterday, it is hard to talk with the person standing next to me because of all the horn honks.

The person next to me happens to be Melissa – and this is her FIRST demonstration. She is a former staffer to the state republican senate and has been moved to protest our continued occupation of Iraq. She is a mother of a 3 year old daughter and she has been spending the past year getting ready to become active.

She tells me she’s finally decided to do something because she can no longer be silent. She told her husband, “if I don’t stand up and protest, who will?”

She tells me she wants to make sure her daughter has a world left for her and she wants to help shape that world.

It’s a joy standing next to Melissa. We are summoned back across the street to go into the Congressman’s office. About 20 of us head into the building, thru the hall and to his office door.

We ring the bell and a tall, skinny white male named Sean opens the door about a third of the way, peers out keeping a strong arm on the knob, and asks what we have to leave for the Congressman.

We say we would like to come in and sit down & talk with him. He is visibly shaking. He snatches the petition someone has and then slams the door before anyone can react.

Several of the Grannies and other protestors sit down. An older white male says we should leave because it won’t do any good to stay.

Most of us disagree and continue to sit in. Nancy, a Raging Granny, pulls out her song sheet, passes out copies and leads us in song. We make phone calls to the press to tell them that the Congressman’s staff has locked us out & refuses to meet with us.

Soon the police come in, tell us to stop singing and ask for the leader. We say we are all the leaders so the sergeant tells us we have to leave. We tell him we are not leaving, but we are waiting to speak with staff.

The police officer pounds on the door and says “police, open up”. Sean immediately appears, opens up and they disappear for several minutes.

When the officer reappears, he tells us that Sean will not meet with us – he’s taken what we’ve given him and that’s that.

Several of the grannies discuss getting arrested. The officer pales & tries to make folks leave. Several do leave. The rest of us ask about the procedure. He tells us he will take us to jail, finger print & book us, for a MISDEMEANOR! Then give us a ticket & release us.

My truck is parked on private property. I do not have the funds to rescue her from a towing company. Another womon says her invalid hubby is waiting for her.

We decide to leave – singing! The officers try in vain to quiet us. The keep threatening to arrest us once we are outside in the parking lot – they want us to leave.

Rest stop morning outside detroit

Black cotton candy skies

I wake this a.m. just as the black is slowly bleeding out of the sky. It has rained on and off all nite and now the air is as damp as the pavement. I start jogging around the rest stop, I can almost think I'm in the country-side, focusing on the birds singing to my right, attempting to ignore the traffic roaring to my left.

As I jog past, a straight couple, holding hands standing by their church van, smile radiantly, he slightly nodding, she raises her hand and waves. Another young man fiercely throws his fist in the air while his companion, a white man slouching against the door-frame, grins broadly.

I continue jogging for 25 minutes – a VERY slow jog. Every response I get – somehow folks, even the ones that have just driven in while I’m running, connect me with Imprison Bush – is positive and encouraging.

Detroit is another typical American city – a city at war and devastate by war. I am spending a lot of time driving around the “suburbs”, hanging out at Caribou Coffee houses, and organic food stores and restaurants, engaging white folks.

As is typical across the country, white people have sequestered themselves on the 'beautiful' land in the 'beautiful' houses sprinkled thru the 'beautiful' neighborhoods. And they have carefully made sure everyone else doesn’t get a tippy toe in – except for the chosen few that reaffirms their feeling everything is right and fair in their world.

I spend time in the suburbs although I demonstrate in the city, for it is in the city that the Senators have their offices, right down-town. I spent too long talking with a white woman at the NOW conference, a teacher at Wayne State who claimed, with such forlorn eyes, she has to tell her students how dangerous it is to step off campus.

I stumbled across Wayne State on one of my drives from the city to the suburbs. I park, walk around the campus and the neighborhood and just wonder. This woman, I’m sure, is kind, thoughtful, cares deeply about her students, would NEVER call herself racist, and yet she daily perpetuates racism – or as the sistahs from nyc would say, she’s a gatekeeper, holding the gates closed protecting those rich white males in 'power' and making sure certain folks are excluded and other folks are trained to do the excluding.

But this morning, I’m taking the time live up to my promise to exercise & work my body a little, as I allow the song of the birds to fill me, I weave among the trees and scowl at the grass, and notice the astounding skies: her earlier calm, even gray suddenly scrambled as if finely chiseled black candy cotton bursts with the sun’s blinding whites and pale pinks.

Off to travel in rush hour traffic, clearing that swatch of peace and anti-war in the condensation of American life in the suburbs.