Codepink member arrested for reading the Constitution - now that's Freedom!
The pro-occupation group "Vets for Freedom" held a rally at Upper Senate Park
here yesterday. The well-choreographed event resembled a high school football
pep rally as about 200 veterans (of all wars) dressed in beige polo shirts spoke
to about 300 of their hand picked supporters (mostly family), dressed in red
polo shirts. We in pink (with freedom of choice in shirts, boas, and tiaras)
and our friends from SEIU (dressed in their traditional purple tees), were not
allowed into the red audience - but we made our presence felt as we gathered on
the sidelines with banners and enthusiasm. Invited onto the peppy stage of
jingoism were some of the same Congressman who received Codepink's
"Certificates' of Shame" the day before for their misguided and strong support
of the illegal occupation in Iraq. They included John McCain (AZ), Johny
Isakson (GA), John Cornyn (TX), Roy Blunt (MO), and another who they referred to
as their favorite Democrat (SHAME!), Joe Lieberman (CT). Several of the
speakers where reasoning that we were in Iraq to support "freedom" - the "same
freedom," they said, that enabled we Codepinkers to loudly yell out truths from
side lines as these politicians spouted their lies. Ironic that four people
were arrested for expressing these freedoms. Including one Codepink member who
was arrested as she loudly read the constitution. Many of us engaged the
celebrated warmongering Congressmen as they walked off stage and back into their
hired cars. I, for example, had the wonderful opportunity to ask Joe Liberman
several times, and maybe a bit loudly ... "How will we end a war on terror,
Joe? Really, does that make any sense? Isn't that just an endless war Joe?
Find your soul, Joe, so that you can live out the rest of your life a happy
man!" He didn't answer me, but we did have some nice eye contact.
We had spent most of the day before this event on our "Sisters Don't Let Sisters
Vote for War" campaign. We selected 14 female Senators and 8 female House
members to visit and STRONGLY encourage them to sign a letter generated by the
House's Progressive Caucus that they will only support a funding bill for
withdrawal of our troops. We met with staffers or legslative aides in each
office and usually got the same old runaround, but we got some real engagment
too. Joel in Feinstein's office wanted to know "what was code pink's position?"
as 12 of us met around the large conference table in Feinstein's office. (Fund
withdrawal, was our answer!) The press secretary in Hawaii' rep. Mazie Hirono's
office sincerely asked if we felt impeachment was a good idea or if it would be
a distraction from the job of bringing the troops home. (Yes, exposing truth
will help bring the troops home, and it happens to be the House's obligation
under the constitution, is what we taught him!). We visited a couple of
Congress members who have good voting records who had yet to sign the letter.
They were actually happy to get a visit from us after hearing about us for two
plus years and indicated that their bosses would sign the letter soon. Liz,
bless her heart, made sure that when we visited Ohio rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones
office that her staff wish her a happy birthday which she knew she had recently.
(These Codepink ladies really know their details!)
Codepink had about 130 participants representating 37 states this week! Each
time we visited an office, the Codepink constituents from that state were moved
to the front so they could engage with Congressional staff directly. "This is
what Democracy looks like!"
After a long day, several of us went to the Rayburn atrium to sing peace songs
under the direction of the magnificent Betsy Rose, a musician who has been
staying in the house for several days. The accustics were amazing and many
people would stop and pause to listen our messages of peace sung sweetly.
Then it was back to the Codepink house for another crowded but comfy dinner with
fellow friends and peacemakers. Potluck, wine, stories, (another one hour
meeting about today's highlights and tomorrow's actions) and then a wonderful
concert from Betsy Rose. After that, brainstorming ideas for signs for
tomorrows action on Blackwater. Then finally bed.
I know that right now, I'm at the right place, at the right time.