Friday, September 30, 2005

More Pictures and the Speech That Says It All

I just received an e-mail of a transcipt of the most moving speech at the rally.
Here's the e-mail:

you know, i took charles barkley at his word during the 1990s when he said "I am not your role model". i do not look to commercial/professional sports for spiritual metaphors or inspiration; it is part of the entertainment industry, and despite it being the only avenue to survival for so many people of color, that avenue is generally not packaged with real power to change the system. any more than hollywood celebrities are necessarily politically astute, unless they are making deliberate, risk-taking choices with their art that consistently reflects their beliefs.

but, there are exceptions. great minds break through. and at last week's anti-war event in d.c., the nba's etan thomas stood up and made the speech below. share it, hear it, let it be what he intended it to be. bless him, bless you all.

“Giving all honor, thanks and praises to God for courage and wisdom, this is a very important rally. I'd like to thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts, feelings and concerns regarding a tremendous problem that we are currently facing. This problem is universal, transcending race, economic background, religion, and culture, and this problem is none other than the current administration which has set up shop in the White House.

In fact, I'd like to take some of these cats on a field trip. I want to get big yellow buses with no air conditioner and no seatbelts and round up Bill O'Reilly, Pat Buchanan, Trent Lott, Sean Hannity, Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Bush Jr. and Bush Sr., John Ashcroft, Giuliani, Ed Gillespie, Katherine Harris, that little bow-tied Tucker Carlson and any other right-wing conservative Republicans I can think of, and take them all on a trip to the ‘hood. Not to do no 30-minute documentary. I mean, I want to drop them off and leave them there, let them become one with the other side of the tracks, get them four mouths to feed and no welfare, have scare tactics run through them like a laxative, criticizing them for needing assistance.

I’d show them working families that make too much to receive welfare but not enough to make ends meet. I’d employ them with jobs with little security, let them know how it feels to be an employee at will, able to be fired at the drop of a hat. I’d take away their opportunities, then try their children as adults, sending their 13-year-old babies to life in prison. I’d sell them dreams of hopelessness while spoon-feeding their young with a daily dose of inferior education. I’d tell them no child shall be left behind, then take more money out of their schools, tell them to show and prove themselves on standardized exams testing their knowledge on things that they haven’t been taught, and then I’d call them inferior.

I’d soak into their interior notions of endless possibilities. I’d paint pictures of assisted productivity if they only agreed to be all they can be, dress them up with fatigues and boots with promises of pots of gold at the end of rainbows, free education to waste terrain on those who finish their bid. Then I’d close the lid on that barrel of fool’s gold by starting a war, sending their children into the midst of a hostile situation, and while they're worried about their babies being murdered and slain in foreign lands, I’d grace them with the pain of being sick and unable to get medicine.

Give them health benefits that barely cover the common cold. John Q. would become their reality as HMOs introduce them to the world of inferior care, filling their lungs with inadequate air, penny pinching at the expense of patients, doctors practicing medicine in an intricate web of rationing and regulations. Patients wander the maze of managed bureaucracy, costs rise and quality quickly deteriorates, but they say that managed care is cheaper. They’ll say that free choice in medicine will defeat the overall productivity, and as co-payments are steadily rising, I'll make their grandparents have to choose between buying their medicine and paying their rent.

Then I'd feed them hypocritical lines of being pro-life as the only Christian way to be. Then very contradictingly, I’d fight for the spread of the death penalty, as if thou shall not kill applies to babies but not to criminals.

Then I’d introduce them to those sworn to protect and serve, creating a curb in their trust in the law. I’d show them the nightsticks and plungers, the pepper spray and stun guns, the mace and magnums that they’d soon become acquainted with, the shakedowns and illegal search and seizures, the planted evidence, being stopped for no reason. Harassment ain’t even the half of it. Forty-one shots to two raised hands, cell phones and wallets that are confused with illegal contrabands. I’d introduce them to pigs who love making their guns click like wine glasses. Everlasting targets surrounded by bullets, making them a walking bull's eye, a living piƱata, held at the mercy of police brutality, and then we’ll see if they finally weren’t aware of the truth, if their eyes weren’t finally open like a box of Pandora.

I’d show them how the other side of the tracks carries the weight of the world on our shoulders and how society seems to be holding us down with the force of a boulder. The bird of democracy flew the coop back in Florida. See, for some, and justice comes in packs like wolves in sheep's clothing. T.K.O.'d by the right hooks of life, many are left staggering under the weight of the day, leaning against the ropes of hope. When your dreams have fallen on barren ground, it becomes difficult to keep pushing yourself forward like a train, administering pain like a doctor with a needle, their sequels continue more lethal than injections.

They keep telling us all is equal. I’d tell them that instead of giving tax breaks to the rich, financing corporate mergers and leading us into unnecessary wars and under-table dealings with Enron and Halliburton, maybe they can work on making society more peaceful. Instead, they take more and more money out of inner city schools, give up on the idea of rehabilitation and build more prisons for poor people. With unemployment continuing to rise like a deficit, it's no wonder why so many think that crime pays.

Maybe this trip will make them see the error of their ways. Or maybe next time, we'll just all get out and vote. And as far as their stay in the White House, tell them that numbered are their days.”

D.C. March and Protest 9/24-26/05

Ok! I finally figured out how to post pictures here. That's me in the blue "Peace Monger" shirt with my daughter and husband.
We spent 5 days in the DC area - and we spent 4 whole days in DC and I still only got to see a smidge.
It was a very moving trip - from the sightseeing to the rally/march and protest at the White House.
We saw the Lincoln Memorial - really beautiful (and huge), the Viet Nam Memorial (I told my little girl that each name represented a soldier who died, and her reply was: "I wish there weren't so many names"), the WWII Memorial (I need to go back and spend more time there -it's incredible), the Washington Monument and the Capitol. It was SOOOOO hot that day!
I have to say, although I am for the most part a pacifist, of course, I still believe that we must resort to war sometimes. WWII was justified...I think that goes without saying.
The rally/march on Saturday was fantastic. There were 150,000 people in attendance. As you may have read, it was the largest demonstration since the start of the war.

The march took much longer than expected, so we missed Joan Baez. Oh well - she'll be at the next one, I'm sure!
Cindy Sheehan spoke at the rally before the march. Although she only spoke briefly, she just hit everything dead on and she really energized the crowd.
I was so glad that it was a peaceful march - there were only 3 arrests for minor offenses. My little 7 year old marched along w/ us - her godfather and his wife joined us. She said afterward that her feet hurt - not from walking but from getting stepped on! Poor babe.
I also protested at the White House on Monday. I was right next to the fence, but then heeded the warnings about arrests (aw)and got right behind the barricade - I wasn't sure how long I'd be held, and we were to fly at 5:30. NEXT TIME I'll make better plans and stay longer!
I was there for about 3 hours. I lost my voice, but it felt so good. People from all walks of life - black, white, old, young, straight, gay, clergymen, Buddhist monks, and MOST importantly, Iraqi vets.
I spoke to a very cute young soldier who served there when the war began. I asked him if other soldiers felt the way he did - he said "oh yes, definately, but we don't have the luxury of free speech in the service, so you could end up in deep shit and lose the benefits we nearly die for." I asked him about morale, and he said it's VERY VERY LOW. The soldiers live in constant fear, it's very dangerous, they're worrying about their families, their families worry about them. They know that once they go home, chances are they'll be deployed's very hard.
I also met a mother from Scotland who lost a son, she founded an organization (I have to look again at my picture) but it's something like "military families against the war."
I felt so good flying home, I don't feel so alone anymore - because most people around me honestly do not have any feelings one way or another about this war. To see that others are as outraged and vocal about their feelings, really gave me a sense of hope. I've repressed so much anger about Bush, and it was starting to drain the life out of me.
We need to use our voice - that's what democracy is all about.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

All we are saying...

"Naturally, the common people don't want war, but after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a facist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country." ~ Hermann Goering, Hitler's Reich-Marshall at the Nuremberg Trials after WWII

Well, I'm gearing up for my first trip to Washington, D.C. It's sure to be a trip I'll always remember, for not only is it my first time visiting our fine Capitol, it will be the first anti-war rally I've ever attended.
Cindy Sheehan really snapped me out of my complacency regarding this illegal, immoral slaughter that is occuring in the name of "freedom." Mothers will save the world. It's our nature to preserve and protect life.
I've been deeply depressed since we first attacked Iraq, but haven't done a damn thing to voice my opinion about it, which is a crime really. So now I'll be able to rest a little easier, and hopefully this have some kind of impact.
The events are taking place over three days, starting with an "Operation Ceasefire" Concert/Rally on September 24th at the Washington Monument and it will go on for about 11 hours. I'm only familiar with a few of the bands/artists on the bill, but I am THRILLED to see that Joan Baez was recently added. Also appearing are Thievery Corporation (they actually organized the event -they're kewl), Steve Earle (I like him), Sweet Honey in the Rock (I saw them at a Newport Folk Festival - they're wonderful) and many others (whom I've never heard of!). Jello Biafra will host, so that will be interesting.
On Sunday I'll be sightseeing (well I have to be a tourist for a day, right?).
On Monday, the 26th I'll participate in a mass civil-resistance demonstration at the White House and there's a chance I may get arrested (although it's only a slight one). I'm ready to walk the walk! (My husband, Sujoy and our 7 year old daughter, Anjoli will not be attending though - so it will be a little weird. That's ok).
Wish me luck!
If you are interested in attending, check out
Please come - we need lots and lots of warm bodies! If you do come, just look for a chick in a blue "Peace Monger" t-shirt! :)
Peace and love to all...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

My Green Nose

I'm reading Augusten Burrough's Dry and I love it. I'm nearly done and I don't want it to end. Augusten and Anne Lamott make me want to write a pithy, self-deprecating memoir. Maybe blogging is a start.
Anyway, Dry has inspired me to really get sober, once and for all. I'm not out of control anymore, thank GOD (literally) but it's time to get healthy and really start LIVING.
Today, after getting out of work earlier than anticipated (like 2 hours!) I thought I'd "treat" myself and go hang out at this great organic, vegan, raw food restaurant here in Chula Vista called Cilantro.
So, I ordered a "double shot" of wheatgrass (lawn clippings as my not-so-granola friend Mary calls it) along with a 16 ounce glass of carrot juice. Ooh baby - when I make up my mind to get healthy, I just don't hold back! I felt so good, passing up my usual Starbucks Caramel Macchiato for a cocktail of enzymes, chlorophyll and vitamins. They even served the wheatgrass in a shot glass, no less. Fancy.
So, I read for a while, savoring the betacarotene beverage. I took my time.
When I left the restaurant, I honestly felt more energetic; my walk had a bounce to it.
I got to my car, picked up my daughter at school, chatted briefly with friends and teachers, and we drove home.
I'm feeling good about conquering demons, happy with my new job assignment - teaching 8 special needs kids, la dee dah. Then, I look in the mirror to assess the state of my mop top from hell (I am so sick of my hair) and I notice there's a HUGE smudge of green on my nose - it looked like someone took a paint brush across the tip of my nose! I was horrified. WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME I HAD DRIED WHEATGRASS ON MY NOSE????
Ah, just one of the perils of living in soCal, I guess.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Ants Make Me Feel Small

So one of the perks of living in paradise a.k.a. San Diego is having to play hostess to a deluge of ants. arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.
They have invaded my kitchen and they will not stop.
It's not a cleanliness thing either. My counter is spotless (well now it is) because I am constantly spraying the little buggers with a non-toxic lavender cleaning fluid. They die on the spot.
I googled non-toxic solutions to ant infestation, and saw a few good tips. Apparently the most effective natural deterrent is the bay leaf. So now my counters are strewn w/ bay leaves, but those clever insects are now crawling in droves just beneath the counter.
I suppose it could be worse - cockroaches maybe, but still, I looked in the mirror last night and there was a dead ant on one of my eyelids! Pretty!
So the moral is - we can video conference with our spouses while they are away on business trips (and have them do a little dance in the nude for you!), we can shop for groceries on line and have them delivered to your doorstep within minutes (although I am not THAT lazy...yet), and of course let's not forget to mention the proverbial rocket ship to the moon, yes we have all these wonders of science in our midst, YET, these ants have me on my kneees!!!!!!!!! I am begging them to just LEAVE ME ALONE!!!

But, really, who am I to whine? As I sit at my desk, squishing yet another little black nuisance, I think of the poor souls in New Orleans who wish they HAD A HOME to give shelter to these pests.

Yes, it's true: nature will always show us who is boss.
She's truly humbling. Not always nice, but always humbling.