Thursday, July 14, 2005
Risky Acts of DissentOkay, let me start out by saying that I am not naked right now. It's still July, still un-godly humid, but I have clothes on. For now.
Today, in an act of patriotism and dissent, I hung up my peace flag. I bought it in Florence two years ago, but it sat in a closet for two years because I didn't own a flagpole, or one of those flag holder thingies, or a power drill to put the whole operation in place. But since May, and my purchase of a Black and Decker orange and black electric drill, it was possible to make my dissent visible and hang the peace flag.
The purchase of this wonderful little tool has significantly altered my status in my household. I have gone from Slacker Couch Potato to Butch Goddess Fixer of all Things broken for $89.99. My reputation as Tank Woman, known only to the twelve people on the Internet who read my posts, fails to impress my partner A., and often when I am in the middle of writing some earth shaking essay, A. will yell up the stairs, "Are You Going To Take Out the Trash Before The End of the DECADE?". Its a sad but true fact that even Tank Woman has to wash the dishes sometimes. But since the purchase of the power drill, and my elevated status to Butch Goddess yada yada.., when A yells up the stairs, "The recycle Bin Is OVERFLOWING!", I yell back, "Honey, I'm trying to figure out how to fix the toilet!", and she yells, "Oh, okay!", and then I go back to drinking beer and watching "Alias". Since becoming home owners, A. and I have faced an assortment of challenges related to the upkeep of the house. When the screen door blew off of it's hinges last year, we surveyed the damage, looked at each other, and said, "We'd better call someone". The screen door stayed missing for a long time until I finally found a porch guy to fix it. Let me just say that it was exorbitantly expensive. And looking at the guys butt crack peeking out of his jeans was not pleasant. But these problems no longer exist. You don't have to now refer to me as Butch Goddess Fixer of all Things Broken, just call me BG for short.
Okay back to the peace flag. I didn't have a flag pole, so I took this escalating pole from the window squeegee, (which I've never used) and unscrewed the squeegee part. I put the flag on the pole, attaching it with duct tape so it wouldn't fly off into some Republican neighbors yard, and climbed up the ladder to hang it. The ladder was precariously leaning against the gutter (which is as old as my house, and that's like 80 years) so I thought that I should hang on to one of the wooden beams that I was about to drill into. I was up there on the ladder, hanging on with one arm, holding the drill in one hand, and the screws in my mouth (how's that for butch?) and wondering if the impact of my middle-aged, slightly overweight ass falling on the flagstone below would be enough to kill me. I decided that my statement of dissent was worth the risk, and managed to drill all of the screws into place without killing myself.
Statements of dissent should never carry the risk of so much danger. America used to be a country of ideas, but today if the idea is different from the status quo, the risk has to be weighed against the back lash. Just consider the case of Joe Wilson. He told an unpopular truth, and in doing so, endangered his wife along with some other CIA operatives, who risked their personal safety for service to our country. There are soldiers in far away places risking their young lives in the service of their country for a reason that is dubious and suspect. Having the desire for peace, and bringing home these young people has become somehow radical and treasonous. Because we love these young soldiers, sons and daughters of people we know, or people we don't know, we are accused of being un American. Because we would rather that these kids were not following orders from civilians (civilians who have never risked their lives for anything) who would send them to an untimely death for reasons that are known to be untrue, we risk the anger of the talking heads, mouthpieces for those who would willingly trade the lives of American soldiers for free trade and an endless supply of black gold. The talking heads have learned to twist the facts so easily and smoothly that Americans can sometimes not discern an outright criminal act from one that is supposed to protect the nation.
My act of dissent, a middle aged woman climbing a ladder to protest war is the least I can do for these kids risking everything for a lie.
And hey...now all the straight women in the neighborhood know that I have a power tool.
Republican Men, Look OUT!
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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