What We Want
- Yes we cancan have peace!
Lisa Savage, local coordinator for CODEPINK Maine, writes about how her weekly vigil, dressed in pink on a bridge, is a protest for peace that she hopes is noticed by local news media.
My New England grandmother had a couple of sayings that have stayed with me in the decades since she died. "Fools' names and fools' faces are often seen in public places" is one. "Pretty is as pretty does" is another.
What she wanted was to prepare me for a life of comfort and respectability, a safe life where I would make myself attractive to viewers, and not risk being viewed as a fool.
Isn't that what I wanted, too?
I wanted to be comfortable, yes, but I also wanted to stand up for what was right, and not be well off while other people starved and suffered somewhere off camera, supporting my affluence.
I didn't want to make a spectacle of myself, that's for sure.
Margaret Chase Smith was a neighbor of ours and an icon of a woman who wasn't afraid to stand up to bullying by Joe McCarthy in the U.S. Senate. Even in her very old age she was an independent woman who would take time to talk about the affairs of the day. The bridge I stand on every Sunday for an hour in a vigil for peace was named after her. Right after the U.S. invaded Iraq my friend brought a sign with her that said, "What would Margaret Chase Smith do?"
I've had my picture taken many times on that bridge. I used to want to keep a low profile (remembering grandma's admonition) but now I want my fellow citizens to notice and care about our vicious, costly occupation of Iraq, and Afghanistan, and our relentless expansion of empire.
I want to get my picture in the paper wearing my towering hot pink wig. It's happened before, with the result that people stop to ask me: Why do you do that? Why are you standing there, dressed up in so much pink?" I want them to notice that I am witnessing for peace.
I want my grandma to realize that pretty is a tool, not a goal. Acting pretty would mean acting out of love, on behalf of the people who the government uses my tax dollars to kill. Children sleeping in their beds while an unmanned drone fires smart bombs at their village would not care if I was pretty. They would care if I was speaking up for their right to live, fear free, in the world as we know it.
Photos of the many CODEPINK demonstrations for peace and against violence changed what I want, because now I want to be noticed. I want to be right on the front page, right on the evening news, dancing a cancan that says: "We want peace!"