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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 25, 2019

Liberty Hill hatred

It’s so hard to experience ignorant racist misogynist hateful white men who spout the worst of things, believing them and putting them forward as fact when in fact they are just bigoted, prejudice, violent, scary white men – especially when they present themselves as so ‘nice’ before they open their mouths. 
Even after all these years of ‘dialoguing’ with the ‘other’, this is still a hard blog to write. When white men – or white women but the men are more ignorantly unreasonable and tend toward violence – spout things you want to laugh at and put down as fuckin ridiculous but can’t because in reality, their beliefs are fuckin scary as they actually believe without a doubt in what they’re saying. It's like discussing a cruise around the world with someone who believes the earth is flat - only these contemporary bigoted beliefs are not at all so benign.
The white, close-to-senior, auto parts guys came off so nice at first, I was entertaining the hopeful possibility that maybe there were two additional liberal-leaning white males in Liberty Hill. Of course, they were selling me something and maybe I was their only customer on this frigid, windy, post tornado day.
The first guy, most likely the owner of the business, had me especially examining him carefully. He appeared to be a cheerful, former red-head still slightly freckled, compact dude who was tripping over himself trying hard to find the filters I needed for my truck while trying as diligently to get me to like him, or so I thought. When he walked outside with me to my truck so I could retrieve my paperwork, he just as studiously avoided reading any missive, keeping his eyes focused on the ground. I think he must have absorbed the gist thru osmosis or maybe, like in Mexico, word had preceded my arrival for instead of filter part numbers he began earnestly talking about the government, expressing his pain and disgust with the man in the white house.
I’m finding that this expression of disgust tinged with betrayal is a surefire way of knowing who voted for tRump and now regrets it.
But then he tries to cover up the betrayal by asserting "all of them are the same, democrat, republican, doesn’t matter – they’re all rich and out to get us."
I want to glibly question if he felt that way when he originally voted for ‘that rich man’ but instead saw an opportunity for common ground, not that I think there’s no difference between repubs and dems, I think there’s just not nearly enough difference.
While nodding agreement with the “rich men out to get us” our common ground evaporated when he asked me what “CodePINK” is – proving he did read something on my truck.
Thus began the discussion I couldn’t cut short even though I needed to leave. He was indignant that 3000 “innocent” people were murdered on 9/11. I agreed and asked him did he know how many innocent people we’ve murdered since, using 9/11 as the excuse? Of course he doesn’t know so I tell him I do know, although we really don’t keep track of the brown and Black people we pay our military to kill.
Then with deep agony he protests the 3000 people killed here were not soldiers – like the 25,000 plus people we’ve killed in Iraq alone were? 
I point out neither Iraq nor Afghanistan barely had a military, especially compared to our forces.
He then mindlessly mouths with the fervor of an evangelical preacher in front of a womyn’s health clinic the rhetorical 'justification' that “those people” have been killing each other since time began. I ignore his declaration of “we need to go in and finish them off instead of the pussyfooting around that we’ve been doing” and ask him if he knows how many human beings the u.s.ofa. has murdered since the end of WWII?
He calms to a light pink as he shakes his head no. I state 25 MILLION give or take a few thousand.
Again he waves my facts off, saying with a shrug “Oh, I don’t know these things.” I say “Oh, I do.”

Changing the subject he turns the deepest red again after innocently asking me where I’m going next and I inform him to offer assistance to refugees at the border.
Suddenly he’s back on the ‘terrorist’ kick, talking about how now we have a wall to keep those terrorists out.
What? I ask him what terrorists he’s talking about, as I furiously reflect on all the real terrorists that wall is keeping in. I think of the 200 plus mass murders committed this year thus far in our country, the over 600 womyn murdered by the man who claimed he loved her, the 96 people a day shot in this country let alone the number of Black and brown people police have gunned down – almost all committed by white males, who I want to point out, are the real terrorists in our country.
But no, he believes there are millions of terrorists coming from all over the world waiting to sneak ‘illegally’ across the Mexican border into this country in order to invade us.
I point out that while he’s waiting to be attacked by these so-called terrorists, our military and corporations are going to other countries and attacking them.
He kicks furiously into high nationalistic gear, spittle flying, fists clenched, almost propelling himself over the counter separating us, promising he’d kill terrorists himself with his bare hands if they dare to come threaten anyone in this country.
I diffuse his anger slightly by asking him if he’s ever been to the wall, if he’s ever taken a look at who is coming across the border.
He backs off a little and admits no he hasn’t. I tell him I have, I have seen the children, the womyn, the men who are trying to escape the violence we’ve provoked on their country. I ask him why he thinks terrorist are the ones coming across the border.
He claims I’m making him really really really angry now & we better stop talking.
I tell him I’ve been enjoying talking with him. I ask him if he’s ever had a conversation with anyone who thinks the way I do? He firmly states “No never.” I don’t tell him I’ve had this conversation so many times I could be sick to my stomach knowing there are so many white men like him around the country.
But I tell him that this talking with each other is important, people like him need to talk with people like me so that we know the truth about each other from our interactions, our experience with each other and not from what we are fed by the media – I don’t say fuckin fox news.
But the media was the wrong thing to mention. It sets him off into a racist mantra. One of his workers, another older white male, takes that moment to join us – or maybe he was somehow summons by the owner, who points to him and proclaims that they discuss things every day.
Fading Red declares the media reports what the people are demanding. Like when Obama was in office – before he was president you never saw a Black person being killed by police. It’s Obama’s fault the media was stuck on reporting this every day, riling up Black people.
I tell them, “No it wasn’t Obama or the media but the murder of Trayvon Martin, the violence of police…”
The other man breaks in with “It’s really the fault of the NAACP”. They have the audacity to point out that it is the ‘good’ negroes that come into their shop and never cause any trouble. I’m given an explanation that these white men divide Black people into two categories ad it occurs to me that I haven’t had this ‘discussion’ with such blatant racists in a long time. They attempt to use the “n” word and I warn them not to – “but those are the bad ones” they protest.
Really? These white men, two or three hundred years later are embracing a derogatory, anti-human white-constructed name to label Black people who are forced to STILL fight their racism?
“Sounds to me like those are the people who don’t make you comfortable with your white ideas demanding Black people act in a certain subservient way in order to make you feel superior and secure.”
The owner of the shop abruptly leaves as the other man shakes his head in denial. The remaining man stutters that all people are free to act however they want in this free democracy we all live in.
I raise my eyebrows and ask him if he thinks it is dangerous for me to be having this kind of discussion here in Liberty Hill.
He glances around, a smile broadening on his face, as he points out that I am in the middle of bush country, the ‘so of course I should expect violence’ understood.
I don’t think I’m successful in making my point, that ‘people’ are free in this country as long as white men are mollified, their beliefs not challenged so I state it outloud. He doesn’t bother to deny it.
I ask him to think about how his knowledge and expectations of Black people are formed by racism, whether intentional or not. I suggest he read Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow”, but he doesn’t like to read – of course. So I suggest he watch the video “13th”, which I write down on the back of my card that he accepts.
I thank him for his openness and willingness to dialogue. I’m late getting back on the road but I’m able to get back on the road. The small things to be grateful for.


Liberty Hill Texas stranger help - the kind of help you want!

            I can’t believe how fuckin cold it is here in Liberty Hill Texas. The wind is blowing cold gusts of air, the sun has barely lightened anything. As I see the town spring up stretched on either side of the highway, I wonder when this town of 987 people named their town “Liberty Hill”. It invokes unpleasant memories of the irrational, scary nationalistic fervor that encased the country after 9/11 and sure enough, flags abound along with gun billboards and liberty bells here.
            I only talked briefly over the phone with Daniel, the diesel mechanic my local Texas facebook senior lesbian friend referred me to. He is not promising he will be able to fix my veggie oil system as he normally works on 18 wheelers – 37 years of experience – but he’s curious about my system and willing to give it a go, especially after I told him my veg oil mechanic will be standing by on the east coast to assist if he needs.
            Daniel has beaten me to the QT station where we agreed to meet. He ambles over to my truck, a tall slim older white man with an amused look on his face as he tries in vain not to stare at my missives. I shake his hand and share the story about my grandson asking a potential playmate camping by us in Maine “what do you think of tRump” in order to judge whether he wanted to play with him. I tell Daniel maybe I should have asked him that question.
            Daniel responds remarkably the same way that Mark’s father responded, turning slightly away, frowning deeply saying “I don’t want to talk about him” in a voice laced with disgust and even hurt that makes me know, even tho he’s deep into repub territory, he’s not a tRump fan.
               I laugh and let him know that’s exactly what Mark’s father said to and feel better about allowing him to work on my baby.
            Daniel turns out to be not just competent but careful and treats me as if I know what I’m doing as well. He is not condescending at all. He discovers one of the two veg oil fuel pumps is not working, goes to the auto supply place a heartbeat down the highway and returns with a $100 fuel pump that he got for $50, his good local customer discount.
            He also calls another parts place again a heartbeat up the highway this time, to see if they have my air filter in stock. They do so I go there after Daniel replaces my fuel pump, intending to buy the filter and then head out of town, testing the fix and wrapping my head around suddenly being free to continue my journey south to the border.
            On the road again, I flip the switches after the engine heats up, crossing my fingers, gladly leaving Liberty Hill and turning south when the truck shuts down, once again…oh goddess. I’m tired and freezing cold but I text Daniel, apologizing for the delay, and ask if he can return to the QT and work again on my system.
            He texts back immediately that he’ll be there in 20 minutes. I head back and this time I go into the QT to see if there’s anything I can eat. I haven’t eaten all day and my fridge is bare. He arrives and begins working on the truck while I’m inside the QT not finding one edible thing. It’s even colder now as the sky has clouded up and it’s late afternoon.
            Daniel closely examines and tightens the clamps then blows air into the lines, clearing them I hope of any debris. He is so careful and particular – and determined to do a good job getting me back on the road – that I think this time, I’ll make it.
            And this time I do! YEAH my veggie oil is finally working and although it's too late to get to my veggie oil guy, it's not too late to restock at Whole Foods before heading to Brownsville!
             Oh and Daniel tells me I can pay him anything I think is fair for this second round of repairs. He says he feels bad that it wasn't fixed and I already paid him. But he has worked for an hour at least and so I give him $50 more dollars...