Why We Do It

by Terri Grayum, CommonDreams.org, November 6, 2005 

We are women who stand on street corners holding signs declaring our beliefs, our disbeliefs about current events, the Bush administration. We stand in the hot sun, the pouring rain; we cheer when people honk in support, take abuse from those who vehemently disagree.

We oppose Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rice; the WTO, Clear Channel, the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, the invasion of Iraq, the exploitive recruitment of young people with no choices. We mourn and rage. We march in protest, rally and chant, sing and drum. We wear wild pink outfits and silly hats to draw attention to ourselves. We collect signatures, register voters, distribute information, meet with congressional delegates, organize.

Why do we do it? What keeps us going back out week after week amid all the discouraging news?

We do it because we have to, because to do nothing is unthinkable. Because we are witnessing the dismantling of the best parts of America –compassion, justice, democracy, integrity, hope. Because we have a responsibility to the next generations, to our communities, our families, our selves.

We do it because we cannot remain silent, complicit, cannot allow the abuses to occur in our names, cannot allow one more young man or young woman to be sacrificed at the altar of oil and greed.

We do it because we are outraged at the lies, the spin, the audacity and incompetence. We are outraged at US imperialism, the contempt for anything that doesn't feed the corporate-military beast. We do it because of pre-emptive strikes and hurricane response, because of cronyism and stolen elections and gross hypocrisy. Because a president who calls himself a Christian refuses to attend a single funeral of a soldier he sent as cannon fodder to an illegal, immoral war – or to meet with the mother of one of those dead soldiers. Because a president played dress-up and declared mission accomplished, when nothing was accomplished but chaos and death. Because a president squelches dissent with bullying.

We do it because of a Congress and a media who won't do their jobs, who suck at the teats of the fattened sow, milk-drunk, greedy and oblivious.

We do it because we are women who won't be silenced by fear; women who were told that nice girls don't make a scene, told that the President, the boss, the men, know what's best for us – but we know there's a better way than the path they've set us on.

We do it because we are creative and passionate, because we believe in peace and justice, because we love this country, we love this planet and are committed to nurturing her back to health and sanity.

We are women who raise children, raise gardens, raise consciousness – and now we raise our voices, raise our fists and raise hell.

This article appeared in The Peaceworker, Salem, Oregon, November 2005. www.oregonpeaceworks.org

Terri Grayum is a writer and a member of CodePink in Portland Oregon.