Wednesday, May 2, 2007

CODEPINK in Congress and at the White House

Today was another long day...

There are only a few of us CODEPINKers at the DC house right now. However, we were joined on Capitol Hill today by some new friends from Italy who have come to confront Congress about the U.S. military base being built in their hometown of Vicenza. They went with us to hearings in order to try to talk to representatives about their ordeal. There were three Armed Services hearings on the House side, but the first one proved to be difficult to get in because most of the seats had been reserved for staff and press... only 9 public seats were available in this so called "open" hearing. After that, I went over to the Senate side to participate in a hearing on Global Health where I stood in back with messages pinned to my shirt: "HEALTCARE NOT WARFARE" and "FUND HOSPITALS NOT THE BLOODY WAR MACHINE"... it was live on CSPAN3 so I made an extra effort to position myself in front of the cameras. The next hearing was a markup of the 2008 defense budget for military personnel. We all got into that one. Deseree and I were in our usual pinkish protester mode while Medea played it straight so she could help the Italians get access to the Congresspersons. I had my "STOP FUNDING WAR" nightgown on. It was an extremely short hearing as the committee voted unanimously to pass the budget request. As soon as the gavel went down, Deseree got out a huge graphic photp poster of a U.S. soldier holding a bloody Iraqi child and started yelling "No more bloodshed!" While that was going on, Medea ushered Thea up to talk to Republican Congressman Walter Jones so she could tell him about their wish to not have the military base in their community. He seemed to listen as they talked for at least 5 minutes. I snapped a photo as they shook hands at the end of the conversation. After lunch, we split up to hit a couple more hearings.

Later on in the day, we went to join the protest that had been called by Move On and World Can't Wait. Although we CODEPINKERS did not exactly agree with the tone of the protest being directed at Bush's Veto, we went anyway so we could continue to interject our primary message: "STOP FUNDING WAR" and "TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ NOW!" For the record, I am personally glad Bush vetoed the 2007 Iraq War supplemental bill as it was extremely weak and would not have taken most of the troops out of Iraq. Gael took some sidewalk chalk and wrote the number "3354" on Pennsylvania Avenue, then also added "600,000 innocent iraqis" and made chalk outlines of bodies to represent those killed since the U.S. invasion in 2003. Dave Barrows was there in his traditional "Bush devil" costume. Geoff Millard of Iraq Veterans Against the War was also there, but sat with his own signs on the curb away from the main protest because he wanted Bush to veto the bill... I sat by him most of the time because I had similar feelings in that regard.

Afterward, we invited some of the our friends who were at the protest over to the CODEPINK house where Patch Adams was joining us for dinner.

Whew... I am wore out!

Peace & Freedom,

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