Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A QUIET WALK @ THE RNC by Di Wood

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008 - High Noon
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SAINT PAUL, MN -- The streets of Saint Paul are nearly deserted as I walk the perimeter of the Xcel Energy Center in silence. It's lunchtime -- and compared to a normal business day, things are at a half-roar, not so much subdued, as uncluttered by everyday pedestrian traffic and cars.
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Real life has left Saint Paul for the safety of the suburbs.
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To me, the bizarre emptiness of the downtown scene places even more emphasis on Carlos' pick-up truck, with his son's casket in back, cruising the streets of Saint Paul, trying to get a witness, trying to make the right connection with the right authorities and bring them all home now.
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Even more important than our empty pockets and gas tanks, is what Carlos Arredondo and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Against the War have to say. Hearing it through all the carnival sounds and sideshows of a national political convention can be nearly impossible.
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Everyone on the streets seems to be some type of carnie, hard at work at trying to extract something from us. Few people seem to be here to give anything: to communicate, to understand, to look beyond the high metal fences and the ready-to-pounce authorites, to get beyond the outrageous amounts of firepower to protect -- what? The collective societal dysfunction that continually sends our young men and women off to unbelievably, unthoughtout wars for profit? Don't they realize it isn't all about "them and us" -- but about us all?
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Are all those heavily armed guards -- obviously filled with pride at the great job they are doing -- aware of what their job actually is? Are you there to keep our elected officials safe inside? Or to make sure the people don't try too hard to get inside?
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Why do our elected officials need such firepower to protect them?
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Is it because firepower (like war) costs money and can generate a hell of a profit? Or is it something deeper that requires thought, wisdom, communication, understanding and true forward-thinking to hear? Are you afraid that Carlos might burst your bubble in there?
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"My husband urged me to stay home today," I heard one woman say in Rice Park a few minutes ago. "But I just had to see this for myself."
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"You're better off staying inside the buildings, another woman said to me. "After those hundreds of protesters destroy the place, anything can happen." There was a smile on her face, "mal-curiousity" and I can see that her life must be devoid of the true excitement that living an inclusive, loving, generous life might bring to us all.
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"Didn't you see the damage those idiots did to the banks, the police cars, the windows? They just want to bring America down."
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Yes. I see the damage. And I hear how people are grabbing onto those images to discount the thousands of veterans who marched yesterday for peace. There have always been detractors from all sides and we must keep on marching anyway.
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Truth has its own way of rising to the Big Top. It is the Big Top. And all the red,white and blue popcorn, chocolate McCain & Obama suckers and free t-shirts in the world won't keep it down. And in this case, truth can be found in the faces, determined strides and lives of the young men and women of Iraq & AfghanistanVeterans Against the War and their supporters.
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And so, as I march the streets of Saint Paul, all by myself on my lunch hour, my heart hurts and my stomach screams out for Carlos' son and all the victims of our collective madness that I have witnessed in my lifetime.
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The most sane people I know, consistently through life, have been relegated to living lives as fringe dwellers, always wondering who's the crazy one. Why is that?
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Vietnam Veterans taught me about this. And it is a lesson I remember daily for fear of drowning in the collective madness myself. From the pain of Vietnam, all the way to the very now, humankind has seemed to work to destroy itself. If that isn't certifiable, then what is?
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And so, I say, because this is a blog and my place to sound off:
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RNC Leaders/Politicians: Open the gates of the Xcel Center. Meet your constituents. Call off your dogs! Be moved by us! Greed, profit, and personal gain feel "good" in the short run but in the end will destroy our children and life as we know it in the end. It is time to see the forest through the trees and honor the power we have given you by electing you to your posts. And it is also time to end the greed, profit and personal gain impulses in ourselves. We do not need to bring down our neighbor to build ourselves up. We are all in this together.
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And from my excellent vantage point in Saint Paul (that I hope I can get beyond emotion to report more fully from) I want to report that yes, I can see the entire carnival from where I stand. But what I believe is the most difficult thing of all to see is:
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Me -- looking back at you.
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Love,

Di


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3 comments:

mutt said...

pardon me....did you write that THOUSANDS of vets marched at the RepCon???????
mutt- http://vvawsandiego.angelfire.com

Alex said...

Lady is in the thick of it for sure...
keep safe... alex

windbender said...

Classic Lace...