Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Two Americas

The Sandrat sent me the following letter as an email. I cannot vouch for its authenticity, but I did find this news item about the Women in Black.

The letter speaks for itself. I edited the letter slightly for apparent typo's.

There has been over the last two years a group of women I am involved with called "Women in Black". periodically they have stood silently in a group in down town Lawrence Kansas. We wear all black with veils holding signs that states the current death toll of both Iraqis and American service people in the Iraq war. Or other appropriate verbage.

A month ago myself and a group of women (some of us part of Women in Black), started a sign blogging group. We wanted to reach people outside of our insular circle of left leaning liberals friends and community. We painted signs denouncing Bush and Bush administration policies and posted them in high traffic areas. We tried to post them at times and places of high traffic.

In our college town we thought "Game days" were the perfect time.Football is big in our college town. So on Game Days, along the side of the hi-way, or at major intersections we put big banners that say things like "Bush Lie 1000's Die", or "Re-Defeat Bush" etc etc.

Then we decided to take it a step farther. I am not a sport person. I have never been to a football game in my life. It's true. I just am totally uninterested. Because of this I have never experienced the "tailgating" phenomena. Tailgating is a pre football game activity where hours before a game fans bring barbecues, RV's Tents and Drink,cook and party, up until the game. It's huge. Here in Lawrence the stadium is in the middle of campus with a large parking lot around it. 1000's of people are there pumping up and partying for the soon to be football game. Yesterday's game was a big deal because it was between Kansas University and Kansas State. A big rivalry.

We, wearing black and veils and carrying our "Bush lies 1000's Die" and "1157 US dead 15,000+ Iraqi Dead"! and other signs. slowly walked through the crowd. It was the most frightening experience of my Life!! Screaming angry people yelling obscenities at us "Cu**'s Bi***'s Whores, Suck my D***, F*** you, Go to Iraq, traitors, whore's!" for 30-40 minutes ( I don't know how long it felt like hours) we walked through the most hostile environment I have ever been in. (And I realize that's not saying much. I live in a pretty safe world.) But this is my town. These people hated us. One group even had a microphone where people took turns calling us "C***'s!" and asking us to perform oral sex for them. At one point I feared for my life. I thought Jesus, in this mob if one person instigates throwing a stone at us were dead.... Was this what it was like to be a Jew in Warsaw in the 30's? These people were scary......And these are Bush's people.

We were silent, we walked silently ! through. A couple of macho guysstood in front of us trying not to let us by and harass us. We walked around. I walk with a cane (because of MS). One guy was holding his flip flop and waving it in the air yelling "flip flop, flip flop" (mind you we had no Kerry signs with us). He stood holding his flip flop and stepped in front of me to block my path. I was looking down just trying to move forward. I looked down at his bare foot blocking my way and it was all I could do to not slam down the end of my cane right through the bridge of his foot...... but I didn't....... I am no saint. I was scared but these people were also pissing me off. After that I started to just chant in my head, "I am strong, I am strong".

There were lot's of "Get a job!" "get a life!". It was Saturday and they were at a football game. Go figure. We didn't react verbally. When people were yelling these obscenities particularly over the microphone it was best to just let them hear themselves echoing down the street. I had to wonder did those silent and watching have doubts about the crowd they were with. Watching these big bulky men yelling at these 8 little women walking silently through a jeering crowd.

Of the thousands of hostile jeers I had 3 positive comments. One women walked along the side of me and said, "you're so brave, thanks for doing this." I appreciated that but boy I didn't feel brave. Another guy, a black guy, took his hat off as we walked passed. He said thank you ladies for doing this. As he said that another man ran up to us swearing and telling us to "get the f*** out of here" The black guy held him back and said something like, "I'm a Vet you don't know about war man, these people are trying to help us." He continued to talk to this guy as we walked on.! He was my hero. Another guy yelled "way to go keep up the good work." Other than that, I feared for us. We got through it. Our friend was waiting for us in a van, we got in and drove away. It took several hours and to drinks for my heart to stop racing. The good news is I might have lost a pound or two through the whole event.

One of the things that impressed me most was the hostility toward us as women. The sexual threats the references to our anatomy. Most comments were very misogynistic. There are some very unhealthy men out there. Not that there wasn't some women out there yelling out at us. Percentage wise it was 98% men 2% women. That's just a guess but most women just watched..... I did have one elderly blue haired lady give me the finger. (That's a little disturbing).

After it all looking back on the day I can't help but think if this is "George Bushes America", "George Bush's people". They can have it.
I'm going to keep working on my own America.

That was my saturday.

I love you all!!

~retta


There really are two Americas. After reading this, I have to wonder how long the Union can hold.

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