Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Broken-hearted Valentines

Our beautiful action that I spent most of yesterday planning disappeared just like that – POOF – into the ether. Washington closed many of its doors, or they just never opened them today due to “inclement weather.” Here within the ever so rugged and testosterone filled Beltway, inclement must be designated as anything over a half an inch of snow. So Feith, who we lovingly refer to as an LSS, will get off easy this week because the class of his that we had so carefully scoped out an action to occur simultaneously with the free hugs happening in another building on the Georgetown campus and his course had to be cancelled when the campus closed. The Pink students we had coordinated and planned with were so psyched. Maybe they will carry on in their own way and get that war criminal removed from the campus and stripped of his status as a Visiting Professor.

Anyway, that was yesterday, the first thing that happened today as we gathered in the atrium of the Hart Bldg. was to have a female police officer come up to us, as we wished her happy Valentines Day, she responded by saying that there would be no warnings before arrests today because they were short staffed. Huh? Apparently the rights we have and can act upon as well as express are determined by the number of police available to tail us. Most of these cops are okay guys (or gals) but the ever changing “what are we enforcing today” bit gets old. We are threatened with arrest before we have even gathered together to greet those of us who arriving from somewhere other than the Pink House.

We consider ourselves lobbyists – albeit unpaid ones— who are here to get the message of the peace community in the U.S. out to our elected officials. We effectively have no money to buy our way through the closed doors that separate most House and Senate inner sanctums from the waiting/reception rooms. The message we convey has to be transmitted in a memorable way with humor so we do not cry and so as to highlight absurdities and inconsistencies as we speak from our hearts with messages carefully researched and crafted through with both hemispheres of the brain communicating with each other.

Another day, another day of pink for peace-ness, and since it was Valentines Day we had donned our very finest pink clothing and accoutrements and trudged off toward Capitol Hill (Senate side) through slushy, icky snow to give as many Senators as we possibly could a personal “broken heart” valentine conveying our hearts’ conditions as long as this war and ever escalating death counts continue. We also told their Legislative Aids for Iraq, if we were allowed to speak with them, that we wanted them to read and support S121 and S448. When we had delivered that message we then presented the outer office staff with an oral recitation of an original CODEPINK poem.

Violets are blue
And roses are PINK
If you don’t stop funding this war
We will make a big stink.

We made it to lots of the biggies’ offices; I made sure to give my Senator, Kyl of AZ, a Broken Heart Valentine and joined in with Laurie as she conveyed the same message to Lugar Of course other states such as New Mexico, Colorado, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Florida, and California - to name just a few – were also visited.

After finding that every kitchen we might normally eat in in both House and Senate were closed or had gigantonormously long lines we finally managed to grab a bite at the Longworth Cafeteria. Lines were outrageous there too, but we braved them so we could refuel for an afternoon of hearings and gallery monitoring. Although we were stopped by photo op requests a few times. But these requests are so worth it; today we spoke with gentlemen working for Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation that is sensitive to the needs and rights of Palestine and these guys were Jews. Another group was composed of high school senior girls who all wanted to have their pic taken with CODEPINK. I gave out a couple of CODEPINK buttons to young women who promised to wear them with pride. These young women get it. Goddess, it is so good to see young women who are seeing us simply as women exercising our rights and participating. There are no black/white, on/off positions in the real world. Everything is process. We live in an analog world.

After a late lunch as my sisters in peace moved on to attending hearings on Veterans health care, I escaped to the Library of Congress to listen to Amish Hymns recorded by Lomax in the 1930s to get a flavor of the tunes that had been in a part of the world I’m writing some things about. I also ran across some tall stories collected by the WPA from the area where I grew up…. And sure enough I found some very tall tales recorded that were very similar to ones my father teased me with as a child. The one about the “Hoop Snakes” stands out most clearly.

I have to consciously remember to balance the torture and terror awareness and actions carried out to stop the atrocities happening in the world with a bit of humanity. I headed out for the LOC after reading each of the names and really looking at every photo of the Faces of the Fallen that were displayed outside one office. Many Senators and Representatives have put up these displays, but for some reason I was drawn in to one particular set today. It was all I could do to not break down sobbing in the hall. Fortunately a gentleman stopped me as I was exiting the building to talk to me about CODEPINK, the actions to which he’d taken his daughters, and how glad he was that we were here doing this. Turns out he is the Executive Director of the Alliance for Community Media. So we chatted about the importance of community media and how it brings diversity of viewpoints out on to the airwaves that we the people own anyway. We also touched on the valiant struggle Access Tucson has waged as corporatists try to kill it time and again. That was such a highlight of the day. Media. We have to be the media. We’ve forgotten that. The media is a tool of the people. We have to reclaim what is rightly ours. Corporations may have media outlets but we the people are the media and the fourth estate reports to us. Literally. Take ‘em to task and tell them to quit showing infotainment and start giving us real news that matters. If they did that, situations like our illegal and ill-conceived invasion and occupation of Iraq would not have happened.

Power to the Peaceful. Right on.

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