Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Obama Encounter & Scolding Dems (now with Lebanon!)

Dear Blogosphere,

It's been another fun day in DC, representing for Peace & Justice with Code Pink (yes, grammar-hawks, the word “representing” can now be employed in new, fresh & funky ways -- see Merriam-Webster online, if you don't believe me*).

I spent most of the morning reading newspaper articles, reviewing the (false/alarmist/bellicose) language of the bipartisan House and Senate resolutions calling for a blockade of Iran (an act of war... but a bipartisan one, so that's... well... sort of... progress??), and attending to my e-mail backlog (a relaxed morning, all in all).

I spent the early part of the afternoon writing... AND THEN THE PINK FUN BEGAN!!!

I was going over some U.S.-Iran history with the demure and charming Leslie when there suddenly erupted a great hue and cry from upstairs!

Squeal!!! Yelp!!! Yow!!! WooHOOO!!! Leslie and I halted the history session to investigate.

Upstairs we were given the scoop: “OBAMA is going to speak to the Democratic Caucus in the (Happy Donkey?) room in the Cannon Building!!!” Des informed us.

Supercool -- an opportunity to inflict some Code Pink messaging on an actual presidential candidate! Sweeeeet. (What? You grammar hawks don't like “messaging,” either? Again, I must refer you nerdlingers to*

(...and don't be bothering me about “nerdlingers!” If you have to look it up, you know what you are...)

In any case, a short while later, decked out in (wait for it...) PINK, we were off! First stop: The Rayburn building and the House Foreign Affairs committee. The subject: Lebanon!

A quick rundown of the hearing: Ackerman/Pence/Witness (ex-Ambassador Feldman) all lament current body politic in Lebanon... The largest Christian faction uniting with largest (Shi'ite) Muslim faction against minority Siniora government (Sunni) and foreign (U.S.) meddling (Christians + Shi'ites = “Unholy Alliance” per Pence); Pols decry throngs of thousands of Lebanese celebrating return to country of terrorist/freedom fighter/alleged child-murderer Samir Kuntar (freshly released from Israel's dungeons in prisoner exchange); Rep. Rayhall notes that Israel refused U.S./U.N. requests for info on where they dropped thousands of (child-killing) cluster munitions now littering Lebanon's southern border; Congressmen/witness lament popularity of Hezbollah and celebrate country's remaining divisions (Pence sees hope in “divided house”); Feldman sees hope in new President Suleiman's actions as Army Chief, protecting Siniora after '06 war and fighting Sunni extremists in Palestinian refugee camps last May (including al Qaeda offshoot, Fatah al-Islam, Sunnis funded by U.S. -- via the Saudis -- in order to cause trouble for Shi'ite Hezbollah -- per Sy Hersh's March '07 report describing “redirection:” U.S. employing “old lady who swallowed a fly/spider/rat/cat...” method of “fighting” terrorism); Pols/witness fret about coming (March '09) elections/Hezbollah's prospects and the recent Doha Agreement's prohibition against “strange gerrymandering” (which hadn't done enough, apparently, to prevent Hezbollah from doing well in Lebanon's '05 elections)... and so forth.

AND NOW for the BARACK OBAMA and Democrat-Scolding Intervention!!!

After leaving the hearing, I rejoined my Pink peers outside the Cannon Building (after a brief chat with m'good friend Jen and the legendary “Start Loving”).

Des, Liz, Tighe, Jen, Cynthia, myself... and several others (members of the Great Un-pink Masses) were amassed outside the west exit of the building... some of us in the full knowledge of what we were waiting for (the Obama- egress -- the quick, Senatorial dash to the black SUV waiting in the street with the engine running)... and others were just loitering about.

We chatted pleasantly with some members of the security detail, passersby, and Congressional pages. We caught a glimpse of Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (my senator), and I took a moment to thank her for the strong role she played in the Senate hearing about “enhanced interrogation” a few weeks back, featuring witnesses Alberto Mora, Diane Beaver, and Admiral Jane Dalton.

And we continued to wait...

Des took a position sitting on the wall across the street with her peace banner. “Hurricane” Liz waited with the rest of us, bullhorn at the ready (Liz had earlier made the leap from Code Pink “Hero” to “Legend,” in my estimation, making it to the Cannon Building on a tandem bicycle -- sans partner -- bullhorn, backpack, and all! The only thing that could have made it more impressive, I thought, would be if she had also been transporting a CELLO... or live animal -- something large and unwieldy, anyway... Karl Rove, perhaps).

“Look,” someone shouted, “it's Anderson Cooper!”

Several yards away I saw the pin-stripe suit-jacketed back of a grey haired, svelte-ish man briskly walking toward Independence Avenue with a cell phone glued to his ear.

“That sonuva-bitch,” I thought, recalling Cooper's abysmally shoddy March report, “Shock and Awe: 5 Years Later,” a putrescent piece of pure propaganda that had excised virtually every significant fact about the Iraq war. (Anderson had apparently decided to let former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer do the editing... in addition to framing most of the issues in his “report.”)

I took off like a shot, running after Cooper to give him the very last piece of my mind (that's how much it meant to me). Doing the 100 yard dash in my Tevas was no problem. In moments I'd caught up to...

“Who the hell is THIS guy?” I wondered (not Anderson Cooper). So I did my own 360 and soon joined Des, sitting on the wall outside of Longworth, across from Cannon.

Des: “It wasn't Anderson Cooper, was it?”
Me: “Nope... It wasn't even Chris Wallace.”
Des: “Thems the breaks, kiddo.”

[Caution: Dialogue may be slightly fictionalized... kiddos.]

So we waited for a while longer...


Suddenly, the police, secret service, and security folks were all talking into their wrists, lapels, and spy-shoes. They immediately corralled all of us, telling us we had to be “three trees back” from where we were standing (even the Congressional pages, tiny things though they were).

Soon, the candidate would appear, but FIRST:

“James, look at all of those (bleepity-blank) Congressmen coming out the front of the building!” (Des, swearing a blue streak, as usual)

“Fuck a (bleep)” -- Oops... (Scratch that)... “(Bleep) a duck,” I said, “that IS a whole gaggle of Congressmen!”

“Go get the 'Pin the War on the Democrats' banner, you (bleep bleep),” Des directed me... and off I was (again putting my Tevas to the test).

I dashed across the street (“Hurry!” shouted Des behind me) and snatched up the banner, heading to Independence Ave. to head them off at the... Ave.

And there I stood for the next, oh, half an hour at the most, at the corner of (Cannon) and Independence, engaging one Democratic representative after another, thanking some, scolding others, letting them all know that:

“It's not just George W. Bush's war, anymore!” and “You (bleepity-blanks) ignored your (blipping) mandate...”

(Ok, there really wasn't ANY profanity in these exchanges -- especially not on Des's part... and me, I don't even know most of those words...)

LONG blog short: Obama DID exit the building, striding confidently (sans bowling ball) to the black SUV on the street. My Pinky friends let him know JUST how they felt:

“Out of Iraq!”
“No war with Iran!”
“We want a Peace President!” (i.e., Dennis Kucinich)
“Impeach Bush!”
“Impeach Cheney!”
“Re-Impeach Clinton!”
“Nice suit!”
“What the (bleep) did you do to FISA!??”

...and then it was all over (sigh) -- all but the part where one of us gets hassled by the one overzealous, (green) cop on the Pink beat: “How long have you had that bullhorn? Do you have a license for that banner?” (and so forth...)

When I asked my sister Pinkies about Obama, I received mixed reports:

“Good eye contact...”
“Too much swagger...”
“That lapel pin really makes him look taller...”

And then we headed back to the Pink House for pizza, veggie-burgers, and leftover soup...

WHAT a day! (I can't WAIT for the Republican Caucus in the Cannon Elephantitis Room with Senator McCain!!!)


*(Made you look!)**
**(...unless I didn't... )***
***( which case: damn bee-atches, you're just too smart for me!)****
****(...or just plain lazy -- how hard is it to go to your browser and type “”?!)


JimPreston said...

Sorry about the cello, I left it at home.
Thanks for helping the ladies out so much.

misa said...

wow I miss you guys. You are all my heros! I'll send pictures of HR COde Pink at the No War in Iran demonstration tomorrow in front of the Norfolk Naval Station..Lisa Petry

CODEPINK said...

What a great piece, JOD. I do love your prose. I wish I could have been there. Seems all I do these days is wish I was there, but reading this, I almost feel like I was. Almost. You all are amazing

SarahRRoseJensen said...

We miss you all

Big hugs to Lisa P