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Jeremy Hogan
“You are a guest … Bush is our neighbor”

(page 2)

Arlington "South" - Crawford, TX

Week 2, day One

This week I got three hours of sleep and a better rental car. It’s important … I’ll be sleeping in it. It’ll be my apartment, my office, my guerilla journalism news bureau for the next couple days.

There is no way to cover this without Cindy Sheehan. I had to come back … there was no choice.

A sign reads pro-Bush rally this way … I know the George and Laura on the billboard I just passed would approve. Just look at the smile in the picture.

But I pull into the Peace House parking lot and a man asks, “Are you on the right or on the left …” …

“Neither, I’m a journalist … I’m looking for the truth.”

“Isn’t there a law against that,” he mocks in jest?

“Not the last time I checked but then again thousands of pages of the new Patriot Act is on the books so who knows … fuck it. I’ll rely on the first Amendment while I still can,” he gives me this look … there’s a spot for you at the end of the lot … you’ll have to squeeze in.

“How far is that right wing rally,” I ask some long haired baby boomer who has a ponytail … and I get a really strange look … “about 2 miles down but it’s way too hot to walk in this heat … you won’t make it.”

I am already late … the trip from Indiana took longer than I thought it would. I had stood half an hour in line for my rental car where a Latino man was the only worker … the man behind me was impatient … he was pissed they wouldn’t give him his car on the spot … then he was talking about colored people. His wasp energy was bad, real bad and I pictured him being part of the cop convention in Las Vegas Hunter had written about 30 years ago.

Maybe he’s one of those police psychologists claiming to be experts in criminal behavior. Perhaps he created a study on how to profile based on race and class. He looks like one of those silver spooned conservative professors the Universities are full of who wouldn’t know reality if it blew their house down. I don’t know but he’s definitely an arrogant asshole.

I walk across to the peace house and a man has a sign, “Cindy … god took Casey.” The counter protesters, or whatever they are, stand over there on the corner with some other “right wing” protesters.

Just down the street another man is hammering in a sign, “No Parking Private Property.” Nice.

I figure I’m not going to make it to the right wing rally … but the Yellow Rose is just up the Street and I’ll get all the rhetoric I need from the other side there. And I’m not disappointed, there is a cardboard cutout of W. behind the huge statue of the Ten Commandments.

People are milling about. Some are waving flags, some are wearing flags (which I learned in Boy Scouts is a no no) and many just look like pissed off middle aged, SUV driving, yuppies from Los Angeles or somewhere.

But one man with a sign reading “support the troops” looks like he might be ok. He seems very conservative but maybe not totally right wing and hateful. I know him, but I don’t, Indiana is full of people like him. He wouldn’t hurt anyone. If someone were broken down in the country he’d stop to help. He believes all that stuff about being a good American and tries to live it. He’s a victim of the spin and the bullshit as much as Casey Sheehan was. He’s not a high paid dick like Bill O’Reilly. I’m sure O’Reilly talks about the elitist media but what is he … doesn’t he get paid millions?

“Who are you working for?” the nice Republican man queries.

“I came here independently …” I reply. And this seems to be a good enough answer. He relaxes …

My boy was one of the first to die in Falluja he says. He says he’s here to support the troops. He and his wife are just as polite as can be. We began to converse and then somehow the subject becomes my own father.

“Yeah … he’s a Vietnam Vet,” the man’s smile rolls off his face like ice from a windshield.

“But, that’s war. By the way, where is the bus to the anti-Sheehan rally … didn’t they have a bus coming from California …”

“Yeah it’s at the Stadium,” he says.

I got the hell out of there. So I am walking back down to the Peace House where I think I will be able to catch a bus to Camp Casey 1. The line is way too long. But I heard there were a lot of right-wingers there and there was going to be a show down between them and the Sheehan supporters outside Bush’s ranch. However, today there was no shuttle, the cops shut down the road. Someone reminds me that the cops not allowing Sheehan’s protest is impossible after the government burned around 80 members of the Branch Dividian religious sect during the early 1990s in Waco.

A woman passing in a mini van … she could definitely be a soccer mom… recognized me from last weekend when the anti-war vigil continued without Cindy Sheehan. The door flies open, “get in. I’ll take you to Camp Casey II, there’s no way to get to Camp I.”



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