When you first arrive in town you are encouraged to stop at the Peace House in downtown (if you can call it that) Crawford and check out what is happening that day and get a feel for the place. It is a great place to stop in, escape the heat and talk with like minded people. It is covered in posters, cardboard torn into pieces big enough to write a message to president bush. There are people helping cook, helping clean, making phone calls, greeting new people, writing up press releases and so much more.
When you first get there, a team of volunteers gets you orientated, explains the rules and the events of the day. Today was about a million degrees outside so the volunteers were absolutely melting but they were still friendly and helped us get our bearings. I was disappointed that there was no dancing or singing of show tunes.
There were a couple of loud vocal performances of a different kind though. We arrived just as school was getting out and children were returning home on their busses. Three buses, the standard yellow kind, rolled past while I was standing out front. “Go Home” they shouted verily at us, obviously annoyed by the invasion of all of us liberals in their town. They hissed and snarled but I could only make out what one girl said, “Go Home!” I wondered why she cared so much. She was far too young to drive and be unconvinced by the traffic. She was probably indoctrinated by her parents. “Go Home” she said again, as if we didn’t get it the first time. I wanted to say, “Stop yelling at me and spend your time reading, thinking beyond what your parents say.” I didn’t say those things because it would have taken far longer than the 2 seconds to yell and if I tried, I would just be yelling at other protesters but directed at the bus. I also didn’t yell because she probably doesn’t know any better. Out here in nowheresville, Texas there aren’t 20 newspapers to choose from and internet isn’t as readily available. People are trapped with ideas regergrgated by bad politicians because they don’t know how to expose themselves to other ideas. New information can be uncomfortable and should be investigated only when most necessary if you are live in some parts of the country
I tried to get online at the peace house but I couldn’t. I couldn’t talk to my bayba just then and I was disappointed. I wanted to share our triumphant arrival. Donna then wanted to go to both of the camps and see which one she liked more. I had gotten directions to both camps before leaving.
We drove past camp 1. Camp one is the camp that you have probably seen on news reports and in the news paper. When I saw it, I literally had a new respect for Cindy. The camp is a long series of cars, tents and chairs set up along a drainage ditch. This isn’t any pseudo drainage ditch either; it is a real ditch with a long dip in the middle. People were lining up, happily sleeping in a ditch for the cause we all believe in. Tents are all different sizes, shapes, colors and some have been individualized by different posters and signs. Some of the posters just demand answers; some of the posters are more blunt or viral than that. Some people put the banner from the organization they represent on their cars to block the sun and to advertise their cause.
Ditchville is full of people who have been here since nearly the beginning; camp 2 is for newbie’s and those who might need a little more comfort. I think amongst those who have been here for more than ten days feel that camp Casey 1 (Ditchville) is the heart or the capital of the protest. It the place where it all began and hopefully it will be the place where it ends. The peace house may be a logistical center but the movement’s momentum comes from camp Casey 1.
The sheriff’s department has decreed that any car that doesn’t have all four wheels off the concrete will be towed. This makes sense because the town is very small and the roads are narrow. Every night they come by and if they have a bug up their butt they tow the offending cars away.
Everyone told her there wasn’t much room in camp 2 but I wanted to look anyways. It turns out there is more than ample room for tents there and we could have easily stayed. Excited I jumped out of the car and hoofed it to the tent.
Camp 2 was on land whose use was donated by a local rancher. The ground is flat; there is a beautiful meadow all around us. It is springing up with what look like mini sunflowers. There is a giant tent, rumored to have been used by “W” for a fund raiser, is an impressive sight. It is white, set against the greens and blues of this part of Texas; it stands about thirty feet high with three rises held by six giant poles. Each pole has at least one light the size medium television hanging off to illuminate it during the evening. There is a full kitchen including two gas stoves with ovens, tray warmers, cleaning areas, prep areas and serving counters. There is a team of volunteers that work seemingly around the clock to make sure that the protestors are fed and watered. You literally don’t have to buy any food once you are here.
Each of the camps has a medic, water, food, fun stuff to do, and great conversation.
Donna decided that she would ask permission to stay at camp 2. I didn’t hear what she said but I got the impression that she conceded the loss before the negotiations began. Donna had talked us out of a spot in the palace and we returned to Ditchville. By then all I wanted to do was be done with walking around. I set up my tent and made a b-line for the shuttle.
The shuttle runs to both camps and the peace house. It is run by volunteers and it isn’t strictly regimented. Shuttles are always air conditioned though. It is a nice break from the world to go in the ten minute drive and escape the heat. It is sooooooooo hot here.
I came to camp Casey 2 not knowing that it is so sophisticated, for a squatting area. It has a media camp and wireless internet access. CNN was there when we pulled into camp. I guess they are trying to catch a riot or something.
The stories are so interesting. People were all inspired by the same thing and different things as well.
I was befriended at the Peace house by a man named Darby. He bravely came from across Texas. Darby’s brother in law believes that the 9/11 attackers were from Iraq and in fact none were from Saudi Arabia. He became irate when Darby even suggested that he was wrong. Saudi Arabia is our friend he argued, Iraq is our enemy. Mr. Brother in Law got so angry he left the restaurant in a huff.
Darby had always been against the war, he saw through the bull sit bush was spewing. Still, Darby has to fight the good fight in the belly of the beast. When he heard about Cindy he did everything he could to get down here to assist her in her efforts. He lives four hours away and has made the trip to Crawford several times.
Tom is a professional bachelor. He lives in Louisiana on 57 acres in the bayou. Tom admitted to me that he wasn’t very knowledgeable but could see that the war is crap. He is a vet from Korea (I think). He is very mild mannered, even keeled and introverted. His lifestyle doesn’t allow much cross talk, communication and debate. He doesn’t have a television, he doesn’t subscribe to a news paper. He is exactly the kind of person you don’t expect to be at a protest, especially for a peace group.
He heard about Cindy Sheehan and looked it up on the internet. Subsequently, Tom stumbled on to information he was disgusted to learn. He learned and was outraged by the man who shot off his gun and the man who drove through the sacred cemetery. He felt that the people of the protest might be in danger and he wanted to protect them. “Let them go through me.”, he commented.
Tom was moved by Cindy and by the people of the community acting so hostile toward the protestors. Tom’s urge to protect the protestors, their beliefs and his country drove him to come to Texas.
Allen was my shuttle driver last night. He came because he finally felt there was a person he could rally around. He left his job with nearly no notice to come here for two weeks. His wife came here when Cindy first arrived. She was here for a couple of weeks. They, as a couple, are so motivated for the change that could be made here, that they are willing to sacrifice their jobs and their financial well being to participate in something so important.
I spoke with a secret service officer for about ½ hour. He told me where he used to work an explained why in the hell they do counterfeit money and protection. (We have all wondered.) He explained all those things that made me wonder. He also told me that they have a good idea of who is here. I guess that means I’m busted but he didn’t arrest me. (He doesn’t know everything I guess.)
I was up in camp two until six in the morning talking to people, writing in my blog. Day two tonight.