Trains this morning have headed due north along this Burlington Northern Santa Fe line.
Either they tow flatcars double-stacked with cargo from port Houston, hoppers that could carry Texas lignite coal, or tanker cars filled with the number one Texas export :
stocks from the Texas chemical coast (although if these cars are headed north, they probably are not bound for the number one purchaser of Texas exports:
China). As one train last evening made a blinking light out of the setting sun I counted 79 flashes between cars.
Crossing the tracks from the Peace House, the first line of defense offered by the town is the white limestone Security Bank of Crawford. Something about the name and location of the bank makes me want to learn more. It is an allied member of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and an official depository for Dawes County, Nebraska. According to the FDIC bank find, the Security Bank of Crawford is actually a branch office of the Security Bank of Whitesboro, a sole subsidiary of FIRST GRAYSON BANCSHARES, INC.
EMPLOYEE'S STOCK OWNERSHIP TRUST of McGregor, valued at $75 million. The banking operation has been doing business since 1940 with branch offices in Whitesboro, Collinsville, and Crawford.
Further on, crossing another slender highway called Lone Star Parkway, is the Yellow Rose, a retail haven for all things Bush (both Laura and W) complete with a storefront altar to the American civic religion: a monument of the twin tablets, written in the same English that Moses used to speak to God, and a fake liberty bell in between. From here we definitely want to take a left turn toward the coffee shop, not a right turn to the fire station
where Bush votes for himself. At the Coffee Station, gas is selling for a mere $2.35 per gallon. If we have not yet loved the oil companies with all our hearts, under W's leadership we're getting there.
At this point you can either pick up a copy of today's Waco Tribune with a top-o-the-fold color photo of activist Jim Goodnow, who hails from the arts community of greater Terlingua, or you can just shake Jim's hand as he spreads morning cheer to fellow customers who do not fail to smile back. A couple of months ago Goodnow was contacted by a Congressional office to see if he might be recruited as a soldier to help militarize the border with Mexico. In a letter to the editor of the Desert Mountain Times, he said:
"If this call for troops to be mustered impacts your heartstrings in any way, please call me and share your thoughts Should we not unite, stand tall, and in a strong firm voice, just say no?"
As the cashier rings up my coffee, she discreetly lip syncs the rapid-fire lyrics of Lynyrd Skynyrd on the radio. By this time, with tall coffee in hand, and Southern Rock grinding the air, I'm smiling too. On the pavement outside are tile markers placed in key positions that say "Pirate Country", and overhead is stretched a wide banner that announces the Tonkawa Traditions Fest. In Pirate Country, at least one has the courtesy to recall.
Returning to the Peace House along the South side of Cedar Rock Parkway,
I pass a newly carved ditch that is trying really hard to empty itself from heavy rains. Towering overhead are metal grain elevators marked with logos that say Coop or Sioux. Come harvest time, they will load hopper cars full of corn, wheat, or sorghum. With a bank on the Northside, a farmers Coop on the Southside, and with people heading west to buy and sell, at least the President has chosen a home town that is not too difficult to understand.
Just before I get too close to the KLIF car, which has been stalking the Peace House since I left, I cross the street to the Peace House. License plates around the Peace House say Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and California. Everyone is up and at it. Attorney Jim Harrington has just arrived from Austin to play sheriff for our side. Last time the cops here busted protesters, it cost the city $45,000 dollars in cash, not to mention the expense of a trial that had to be moved into the in the civic center. Harrington did that legal work pro bono, so we're all pretty glad to see him now. Time to catch shuttle number one out to camp.
Our early drive to the camp does not go unrewarded. "Fawn!" exclaims the driver as we turn a corner and see two spotted fawns following their mother into some trees. It's feeling more and more like a lucky day.
Driving the car is Burnet, a jovial host who was planning to return home to Houston tonight, but, "I'm having so much fun I might stay." The other passenger is Joe from Boston. And it's pretty remarkable if you think about it that the first two passengers to camp on this auspicious day both have PhDs. But Joe is the one with the PhD from Harvard.
Burnet points out the Broken Spoke Ranch on the right, where Bush will dine with millionaire supporters Friday night. The fence around that ranch is unusually high and new. Usually when I see a fence like that I look for antelope, seriously. But since the enclosure seems free of exotic game, this fence looks like it is built to keep certain creatures from jumping in. Finally we arrive at the splendid triangle, home base for Camp Casey.
Not only is this a triangle, but it's a right triangle with all the Pythagorean reverberations. No doubt the first right triangles were laid out like this on the ground. So let's begin where the hypotenuse meets side A. Here George Bush has been pink slipped, a code pink symbolic act, where they unfurl a huge pink cloth cut to the curvy image of a grrrl's body. This pink slip is hung from the windbreak of trees that hug the fence line at side A. It billows like a sail under prevailing southwesterly winds. "Out of Iraq Now" says the pink slip.
As we walk southeasterly along Morgan Road, Camp Casey is also waking up, folks sitting up, staring out tent openings, stretching, tying shoes, rolling up sleeping bags, and taking down tents. Camp director Ann Wright is already wearing a Camp Casey t-shirt--a very impressive sign of mobilization. On the back of the t-shirt is a black question mark overlaid with a pink W. On the front it says in red and black: "Bush...
Talk to Cindy! Moms & Vets will Stop War." Wright is the former Ambassador to Mongolia who wrote a long letter of resignation following the USA-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. She has 15 years experience in the diplomatic corps and 26 years in the Army reserves.
At a Veterans for Peace convention near Dallas last Friday, Wright thanked the VFP for existing. "This organization to me is one of the most important in America," said Wright as she introduced a panel of federal whisteblowers. "Thanks to the VFP, men and women in the USA military are standing up to say there is more than war, because some administrations misuse the military, and that is where we find ourselves today." Her introduction alone of whistleblowers Colleen Rowley from the FBI and Jesselyn Radack from the Justice Department drew a standing ovation from the full room of 50. And that was the day before Cindy Sheehan made her trek from the VFP tent.
Wright, of course, accompanied Sheehan on that first sweltering hike through the bar ditch of Prairie Chapel Road, and she has become part of this movement's central command. Folks out here express respect for Wright's diplomatic character. And she is ever on task. Soon she will be calling in transportation, reorganizing campers for the day's events, and reserving prime tent space for Military Families Speak Out.
A more radical wing of the movement is represented by the next t-shirt I see. It is a picture of Native American warriors: "Homeland Security: Fighting Terrorism since 1492." This is about the time I greet Will Pitt from Truthout as Scott Galindez works nearby with tripod and video camera, determined to prove that a revolution can be televised.
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