Thursday, July 5, 2007
Pink Peace Faerie Dust and Fireworks!
With an eye to fun and beauty as well as peace protests, July 3rd found the Pink House Peace Room filled scurrying with activities to make Independence Day sparkle with pink and peace.
In-house artist and props-mistress Laurie established costume workshops for Radical Cheerleaders and Peace Faeries as well as banners to emphasize that DISSENT IS PATRIOTIC. Messages of liberation and revolution (and despite the alarmism of some “homeland security” types, what’s more patriotic on Independence Day than talking about a revolution?) spread throughout the room as Joel played peace and protest songs from the generations. Using strands of flowers and wired bouquets, I created pagan wreaths for Desiree and me to wear in our hair; tulle and bubble wrap tutus emerged from disheveled piles of pink on the floor, as did pompoms, twirling batons, and of course the Faerie Peace Wands.
The music, singing, company and diligence was soothing and empowering—we discussed how Bush’s pardon of Libby had come so soon, it could only cause more resentment, more shock at the administration’s arrogance and disdain for rule of law. Besides, I reckon, what does it matter if Libby spends two years in a country-club prison? He’s not the real culprit, he’s just a scapegoat. If it opens more peoples’ eyes to the complete disregard of the law, it’s a sacrifice well worth making.
And it seems that that may be, in fact, just the result—people who saw my Impeach t-shirt stopped me to say, “Yes! Especially now,” and I saw others shaking their heads over the NYT headline about Libby being pardoned.
So our fearless leaders left the Pink House in shifts beginning at 11 pm to camp out and hold our place for the parade the next day: Medea, Liz, Desiree, Rae, Sam (and her partner Jake)—the hardcore folks—stayed out there all night and got hardly any sleep. Wednesday dawned bright and cool (**AN ASIDE: what is going on with the DC weather? I’ve never seen this part of the world so moderate at the height of summer. Ordinarily I’d celebrate the anomaly, but with the climate change issues underway, I’m afraid it’s the herald of really bad things to come, a fear that was reinforced by the evacuation of the National Mall later the afternoon of the 4th. Although it occurs to me that a tornado wiping out all of the federal government and us having to start all over again from scratch would NOT necessarily be all bad …). We got to 11th and Constitution by 10:30 and found our space well-preserved and to the hilt with pink. Even the vendors around laughed and chatted with us: “We expect you pink folks to buy all your food here,” one hotdog vendor said.
The vanguard was already up at the main marquis with the gorgeous “Dissent is Patriotic” banner—Ena and Sam in the pink sequined dresses with their I Miss America sashes; Rae, Des and Liz in tulle tutus, waving wands and streamers; everyone twirling pink peace parasols in front of the TV cameras. The stands—and consequently the cameras—were so filled with pink, eventually the police made them get down. We danced down the street in a gang, singing peace songs like, “We defend the constitution/We’re the pink police” and “Impeachment’s on the table” while onlookers mostly cheered us and took photos. All the tourists wanted photos with the peace faeries and cheerleaders, so we kept having to stop to oblige.
Of course, there was dissent to our dissent. Allison, Liz and even I tried hard to engage those who sought us out to argue—one of my greatest lessons in the Pink House has been to engage, not enrage. But mostly, I think, our message is about fun and finding that doing the right thing—working for justice—is a joyous task, not an onerous one. I would like to think that even people who dismiss us: “Those CodePink folks, what a bunch of losers” are also just a little bit jealous because we’re always having such a good time.
We had such a good time, as we cheered on the parade participants and floats, that it was a truly rare group we couldn’t get at least ONE two-fingered peace sign from. From the marching bands, immigrant Americans and balloon carriers to the firefighters, Red Cross and veterans of 20th century wars, the response of peace for peace was ubiquitous. As Medea said to Bill O’Reilly last week, we’re no longer the “radical left”—CodePink’s position on the Iraq war (and, almost certainly, the potential military attack on Iran) represents that of the majority, not the minority, of this country. I think that was abundantly clear throughout the day.
Back at the Pink House in the evening, Des and helpers dished up veggie burgers and other goodies, and we “debriefed” with music, a few beers, and affectionate consultations. Never still for one second, Des and Liz were already planning out the next day’s Capitol Hill actions; unbelievably, Media and a couple of other die-hards actually went to bed before midnight. But as Joel and Jake played music, we sang and enjoyed the cool, damp evening, pleased to have had such a great day for—and OF—peace.