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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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

I meet a KKKer today

An unhooded KKKer that is....

I've just entered Maine when I spot an O'Reilly's Auto Parts Store and I wheel into the parking lot. I buy my veggie oil filters there & I want to be well supplied before heading off to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor where such conveniences might be rare.

Other than the man driving the tractor trailer that was abundantly enthusiastic with his horn and fist and big smile, it's been hours and a couple hundred miles since I've seen a Black person, let alone a person of color. I do see a couple of Mexican food restaurants and even more Chinese food, but everyone else I see is white.

So I'm forewarned.

Heading through the busy parking lot into the store, I see only white men. I do not get an immediate hostile stare, as in the previous store, but a very large, as in obese, young white man lumbers into the back to get my filter that they have in stock! Yeah!!!

After I pay, I ask for the bathroom and I'm directed down a long hallway that meanders through the storage area into another room with a shared loading dock backing onto a tire company.

When I'm in the bathroom, I check the internet and read that the KKK is recruiting in several cities in Maine. I'm sick yet now I know where I'm heading after Acadia for there's a large anti-racism group organizing in at least one of the targeted Maine towns. Plus I'm thinking I should ask these white men I'm running into about the KKK.

I get the opportunity almost immediately when I leave the bathroom, for three white men have gathered around the loading dock desk and all turn to look at me as I'm shutting the door. The oldest man, probably pushing 50-something smiles and asks me how I'm doing.

I'm tempted to smile back and say fine but instead I say I just read something horrible, that the KKK has come to Maine (not that it ever left...) and is recruiting.

He startles but before he can fill his open mouth with words, one of the 2 younger men - the one with the black hair and pasty cheeks, nods vigorously and says yes, he read they were in Augusta and some other place I've never heard of but must have been close, given the look of disbelief the older man gives him.

The third man, youngish 30's maybe, the one with the reddish blond short hair, cropped on the sides and stiff square bob on top almost like bangs, leans towards me menacingly and declares he's been recruited, he's joined the KKK.

I've faced many angry white men before, I've known hatred and bigotry, I've been spit on intentionally and mere spittle flying from slobbering screaming tight-lipped red mouths; I've confronted police, military, and asshole bikers with knives that have slit cords on my megaphone and banners I've held; I've been threatened with pickup trucks gunning motors and driving up on curbs, I've even had 2 riffles and a hand gun drawn on me at different times; sometimes truckers try to run me off the road and often large pickup trucks cut me off, belch black smoke, toss things out the window at me, or even moon or expose their penises to me.

But I don't remember ever standing two feet away from an angry white male outing himself as a KKK member.

I think his co-workers are equally shocked, at least they are silent and I hope it is shock and not camaraderie that has taken away their words.

I search his face to see if maybe maybe maybe he was doing some kind of sick joke – but his face is suddenly so full of anger and hate.

I ask the young man why and he snarls at me because it's amerikkkan. I say it's hate, you are keeping hate alive. He retorts that he doesn't judge me so I shouldn't judge him.

Fury has taken over my entire body and mind as I call him a liar and tell him oh yes, you DO judge me. I turn to the other two men and point the finger at their co-worker and make them look at who they are working with.

The KKKer repeats he doesn't judge me and I retort in my most sarcastic fierce authoritative voice oh yes you fuckin do as I storm out to the front of the business shouting again that he is keeping hate alive.

No one is behind the front counter when I emerge but a tall, blond young white womon rapidly approaches me smiling and asks if she can help me. I ask her if she's the manager and she says no, he's out this week and can she help. I get his business card and then inform her that she is working with a KKKer.

Her blue eyes widen and her smile disappears as she glances apprehensively towards the storage room and asks me "who?" I describe him to her and she nods, not shocked, but apologizes for his behavior and promises me she will take care of it.

I leave the store, still shaking but the rage has left me & I feel sick. The hatred, no the evilness on this man's face was so ugly and terrifying I can't imagine how Black people were and are able to persist in this fucked up racist country.

Miss me yet?

I'm quite enjoying driving two lane roads through the beautiful countryside of Vermont and New Hampshire - most of the road paralleling lovely rivers or skirting large lakes. Lots of water here in the Atlantic Northeast! And lots of greenery.

I wish I could have stopped to take a picture when I rounded yet another curve and spotted a large photo and sign hanging off the pretty dark brown siding of what appeared to be a deserted but sturdy barn.

It read "Miss me yet?" underneath a large photo of doofy-looking Bush (not to be redundant).

So far, so positive!

I set off for Maine last night, leaving the wonderful womyn's land I've been resting and repainting on for almost 3 days to head upstate New York and begin my journey over Vermont and New Hampshire into Maine. It's been years since I've driven this way.

The Adirondacks are beautiful, soft and curved, misty and very very green. I'm on the thruway for several miles and lots of white people passing me are so positive, honking, waving, thumbs up, and I love you's!

At the rest stop, two different white men approach me, one in his 40's maybe, one over 75. They don't directly comment on my truck but the oldest one asks me what kind of reactions I get on the road.

I share my most recent interactions on the thruway and he seems dissatisfied, as he shuffles from one foot to the other. He has said he has to leave several times as the other man talks to me about how I must not have voted for tRump....duh!

The old man with the sweep of a gnarled veined hand, makes a broad, untrue statement about free speech in amerikkka so I move quickly to grab his attention as I tell him speech is free in the u.s. as long as it's the speech of those racist sexist old white males in power. My truck has been spray painted with penises, my tires slashed, my windshield smashed several times - and when my truck was painted mostly in spanish, I came out one morning camping at Yellowstone to see "GO HOME" written across the side.

He wishes me luck and I respond with good luck to all of us, yeah?!

The younger man wants to engage with me about global warming, claiming it's cloud cover, moisture raising temperatures. I'm like, no shit, we're melting the glaciers, burning fossil fuels - at which point I get to inform him that the military the number 1 consumer of fossil fuels in the entire planet, and our country is the number 2 consumer - but he's not convinced that we have to stop burning fossil fuels nor that we are causing the increased cloud cover. But he's trying to convince me we can find a way to melt the clouds without decreasing our consumption of fossil fuels of course.

I urge him not to wait for technology but to cut down right now his use of fossil fuels at least until his technology can catch up.


But this morning when I wake and head into the welcome center, the white womon working there rushing over to me, a huge smile on her face, asking me about my truck. She wants to take pictures, she gushes, as she tells me coming to work this morning, my truck made her whole day.

She tells me she doesn't often get to meet people as awake as I am at this center or in her community. I acknowledge she's the one who's trying to wake people up around here. The sadness that replaces her wide grin is palpable as she recounts stories of trying to wake up her neighbors. And she tells me, what we all know - most people do not want to be woken up, we value our sleep even here in these beautiful mountains!