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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, April 18, 2017

"Death to Racism" is violent....NOT

I decide to take the scenic route north from I40 to Fayetteville thru the Ozark Mountains and it is stunningly gorgeous. Lots of woods, hills, rivers, forests! Not many animals, at least live animals: a couple of dead possums along the almost 50 mile windy, steep, meandering road.

But several beautiful birds: brilliant red, glossy obsidian, even a blue bird. Then a beige bird with the longest double feathered tail!

It seems I’ve been on many 2 lane highways across the u.s. since and including North and South Dakota – roads with no shoulder on either side, no clearing really at all, let alone a sidewalk. The morning mist from the valleys mingle with low hanging clouds making the landscape seem mysterious and magical.

I want very badly to speak person-to-person with someone from Arkansas, some tRump supporter, but I haven’t been able to approach anyone willing to talk. Or anywhere (closer to the reason) I feel comfortable stopping. There are about 4 or 5 VERY small towns along the route but they all sport huge u.s. flags at their predominant churches with scalding jesus christ signs (where will YOU spend eternity???), visible gun shops, and appear to be very white if not all white.

So I’m not stopping until I get to Fayetteville where I’m going to the Food Co-op, maybe to find tRumpers but  alsoto stock up on food and maybe find a Y – and see what the progressives are doing in town.

An older white womon approaches my truck, telling me how much she admires my messages including the form, letting me know when I ask why is she here, she’s an artist whose family has ‘lived’ in the Fort Smith area for 200 years…

Then she gets a good look at my t-shirt, which today says “Death to Racism”. She vehemently objects, telling me that this is violent. “They” believe in killing, we can’t stoop to their level” she definitively proclaims, as if wanting to terminate racism is the same as wanting to kill a person you view as sub-human.

She tells me that even though she loves my truck – so much so she just spent 15 minutes inside the co-op getting people to come out and look at it – but if she had seen my shirt and the violence I’m advocating by saying ‘death’ to racism, she would have never talked to me, never told anyone about my truck.

I look at her and say really? Don’t you think we need to kill racism? She physically flinches when I state racism needs to die. She has told me how she fought the systems many decades ago to become a doctor and so I ask her does she think misogyny, sexism, patriarchy need to die?

 She nods and I see decades of fight, strength, and success flash across her face when she states the depths of misogyny womyn experience is unfathomable.

So I say racism needs to die just as sexism needs to die. She looks a little conflicted and remains silent pondering when I ask her, what would she do to racism? Have it hang around another 4 or 500 years? Put it in a corner or exile it to someone else’s country? Why does she not want to kill racism?

She tells me it is violent and makes me just like the violent alt-whrite. I tell her killing an ism, killing a practice, killing a structure, killing an institution is not the same as killing a human or the mother earth or any life on the planet.

 It is killing the disease, it is eliminating the infection, it is destroying the contagion.

I tell her, but I don’t think she really hears me, that the ONLY reason you’re saying ‘death to racism’ is too violent is because you’re white. You don’t have to care deeply, you don’t have to make the strongest statement you can summon, your life doesn’t depend on eliminating racism.

I know the mentality she’s coming from, or the frame of reference. It’s almost- except it’s not, it’s racism – like the people who say we can’t be against anything, we have to be for something. Fuck that. There’re LOTS of things I’m against – and for.

It’s using the “new age” or extreme ‘nonviolence’ blanket to not face what is REALLY violent, and that is racism so I tell her calling for the death of racism is not violent, but what IS violent is white silence. Every moment white people go thru life without saying anything about racism, every time we are silent or we accept the ‘comfort’ of walking into a place (like the co-op I just went into), or go to a job, or live in a neighborhood that is all white or mostly white & we don’t say anything, do anything, THAT is violence.

Painting “Death to Racism” on a t-shirt is NOT violent.

I can see she’s reaching as she (kindly) accuses me of basing my statement on hate, of being hateful and it is the hate that echoes the hate of racists.

I ask her, well how DO you feel about racism? She shifts uncomfortably, and I think she’s trying to come up with a strong feeling that does justice to racism but is not ‘hate’ for she really wants to be a ‘good’ person but one that hate and death doesn’t enter her field of vision.

I tell her I abhor racism, I detest it, I loathe it – I wish there was an even stronger word, and I believe it is not just right to despise and hate racism, but it is our duty to do so.

She’s nodding slightly so I ask her what message would she paint on her t-shirt, should she decide not to remain silent about racism, how would she say it? She doesn’t know but she acknowledges it’s a good question and promises to think about it.

Weeeeellll, not the conversation I thought I would have but I think it’s a good one.

The thing that scares me more than tRump...

A Latina family pulls in next to me at this nearly deserted rest stop where I’ve crashed for the night. I put my breakfast on hold to hop down and talk with the 40ish womon who is photographing my truck. She tells me she’s a Californian too, peers at me and asks me if see’s seen me on tv. I say maybe, if she’s from the Bay but no, she’s from the other California, Los Angeles.

Later I laugh at this: the first time my daughter & I went to California, we both hated L.A. because everyone there was working on being ‘discovered’ and would ask those kinds of questions. If you admitted you’ve never been on tv or in the movies, you lost your new friends immediately!

She tells me they are returning from South Carolina so they haven’t been keeping up with the news. Her warm smiles morph to serious as she steps closer to me and then states her fears in a low, urgent voice: things are not good and he’s going to take us into nuclear war.

We share our despair and for several moments, I feel the heaviness weight my heart down again – but it is a shared despair and fear and knowing her, even for a few moments, helps strengthen me.

I tell her I KNOW we the people can prevent this war, if only we have the commitment and compelling desire above and beyond all desires.

And that’s what scares me more than tRump’s warmongering fascism: our unwillingness to do whatever it takes to END and PREVENT our wars NOW!