Fargo #59 Report Back
As I wait, press arrives. I’m soon outnumbered: both public radio is there and another white guy who identifies himself as a reporter for the largest radio AND TV station in Fargo…. my eyebrows shoot up as I question “radio AND TV?” He is mute.
They are inching toward their vehicles. I mention that I gave birth to a daughter in Grand Forks, to make me more legitimate in their eyes. Then I tell them, I’m not going to wait for others & why don’t they come in with me.
They do. As I ask to speak with the Congressman, I’m told he’s not in of course. And I’m told the chief of staff is not in, nor is the district manager. But Gail is in – she’s an outreach person. I ask if we can speak and she invites me into the district manager’s office.
I invite the press to come in but they begin asking me questions right there in the waiting room. Gail has gone into another office to confer with someone. I answer their questions and the press leaves, not interested in Gail’s point of view I guess.
When I sit down with Gail, I again mention my daughter’s place of birth and the other wimmin who were here but left. She says she was looking for people all morning but didn’t see anyone.
I begin by telling her I was sure she’s aware of how strongly the American people want the occupation of Iraq to end quickly and how much we were counting on the Dems to end war now that they are in power.
I ask her to explain Pomeroy’s vote against the timeline. She tells me he knew the president was going to veto it so he voted against it.
I don't ask about Pomeroy's crystal ball, but ask her if it is Pomeroy’s policy not to vote for things that Bush is going to veto. She tells me she wasn’t going to answer any more questions but she will get someone else to answer me in writing.
I challenge her to please answer but she bluntly states am I saying Pomeroy votes to please the president - I just look at her for she has answered my question.
I ask her how could Pomeroy proceed, after denying our troops (and our citizens & people of Iraq) the possibility of having a timeline for withdrawing from Iraq, and then he turns around and votes to give Bush $100 billion to continue the occupation of Iraq?
She refuses to answer. I ask her to please explain why Bush was not afraid to veto his own request for $100 billion and Pomeroy was afraid to veto more money for continued war?
She promises me he would answer my questions in a written response and send them to the North Dakota Peace Center.
After I leave her office, I finally contact a local Fargo CodePINKer – she meets me at an organic coffee shop downtown Fargo and we talk and talk until I am once again late leaving for Bismarck.
Sara is an awesome young person, beautiful, smart, courageous, energetic – yet afflicted with the terrible disease most of us suffer from, that which enables us to continue dragging ourselves through the "bc" war life styles we led, and enables us to turn our backs on those that most need our activism at this moment in their lives.
She parrots the voice I ask her if she recognizes as her Mom's: "Nothing I do is going to work anyway so why do it?"
She tells me how Michael Franti changed her life. Before attending a concert of his last winter, she was not political at all – not concerned with life beyond the borders of Fargo, her mom, music, and the job she has serving food to others of little concern as well.
Hearing him, taking in his music and his message, inspired her to go to D.C. for Jan 27th, which is how she hooked up with CodePINK and the North Dakota local coordinator Patti!
I’m encouraging Sara to become one of the local coordinators for Fargo, along with her friend Taya, – it is a very large city, after all, I had a hard time finding my way around only rivaled by Chicago! Home of probably 100,000 people, and lots of college students.
Sara recounts to me how empowered and even joyful she felt holding up anti-war signs on the Main Street bridge over the Red River awhile ago, how positively 99% of the people passing by reacted to her, how even though she was the first and only one there for several minutes, she was sure & proud of herself, and happy she was taking this stand for peace.
I tell her about CodePINK wimmin vigiling every Wednesday around the nation, on bridges similar to this one in Fargo, or in front of recruiting stations, or on busy street corners, anywhere from between 5-7p.m. – so if she’s ever by herself again on a Wednesday evening, she will know that she stands with many wimmin around the country, making that invisible but indestructible web of peace in our land.
I tell her it doesn't matter what anyone else does or is doing - of course we'd like them all to join us, but if they don't, that is not what matters.
What matters is what SHE is doing, who SHE is, what kind of an activist SHE is - I tell her she cannot wait for another leader to come along - SHE has to be the leader - and I can see it in her.
I’m late for Bismarck and Sara re-commits to embracing activism again in her young life.