Skirts Up for Cheney!
Click above for a fabulous photo!
Congratulations to my pal Mori and her friend Linda who did a dazzlingly creative action to welcome Dick Cheney to Ashland, OR -- here's her account:
Well, much has happened in the last few days. Getting ready for Cheney to come to Oregon and thinking of ideas in which to surprise the vice president. It all started when Linda got a call from a republican friend that said we could possibly get tickets to see Cheney. So, early morning three of us went down to republican head quarters to pick up tickets. There was some interesting paraphernalia like Rhine stoned elephants and funky ties.
There were many great ideas for Cheney's arrival but the one which Linda and I stuck with was the "lift the skirts for Cheney" routine. Linda's great idea will likely become a great tool for inside jobs. All women can wear skirts and we can use them!
First I thought we should go with a soft approach right to the heart of republicans with a Dorothy 'feel' like "US troops, there's no place but home" when my husband reminded me that fundamental extreme is not heard. So, we decided on the bold approach with a message on Linda's skirt, "dick lies for $$$" and on mine, "war profiteer." Thank goodness of the left we did because we had about two seconds to make our move.
The day started off with figuring a good plan for our vehicle so we circled the area and wound up under a shady tree as far away from the entrance as possible. We walked over cordially while stopped at a few check points, and then we approached the long double line in front of the expo. The conversation in line was as deadening as the hot sun, and while waiting I realized we had left the cell phone in the car and my pocket knife in Linda's possession on my key chain.
My thoughts were already clouded and it was too hot and too late and too obvious to walk back to the car so I stuck my pocket knife into the flower bed and continued on towards the entrance. There was talk about vets in Iraq, new blood (people) at the reserve offices and new comers puking on officers in charges' shoes, etc....
When we finally got up to the front of the line we were checked in by name and number on our tickets, bag checked and metal detected. It was time to find the bathroom and just as we did we ran into our good friend Steve Gilmore, head of home land security in Greg Walden's Medford field office. I mean we practically ran right into him when all I could say was "Hi." Covers were blown immediately and five to six secret people were keeping a watch on us from five feet to 12 inches away.
The crowd was as scary if not more scarey than a slew of angered riot cops. We waited, and waited for what seemed for days. We sat through torturous so-called humor and very bad speeches. Meanwhile, the so called good-natured folks got scarier and scarier. Then Cheney made his way to the podium and when he was ready to mention Iraq, we signaled to each other that it was time. We signaled several times before we finally got the nerve up.
We jumped on the only chair we had and was seized on contact. Linda started to scream "liar" I forced myself to continue holding up my skirt while heavy strong armed secret police urged my hands down. I was able to turn toward the channel 10 camera full skirt in the air. And then I began to shout "war profiteer, Cheney lies."
During our escort, a red haired young republican in a suit ran over and punched Linda in the stomach, at the same time she was being choked by a secret servicewoman, however she did not drop her skirt!
I asked the police man now handling me to loosen up on my hands, that I was not interested in getting arrested, that I was not a criminal, that I did nothing illegal and that I was just scared for my children's future. I said that he was hurting my wrist and he replied, "I am not hurting you." I said, "look at my wrist" and he began to loosen his hold.
We sat on benches in the front of the exit while a journalist came by for some notes. He recognized Linda and did not even see me. We both tried to show him our skirts but the police did not let us. They brought us over to the prettiest paddy wagon I had ever seen.
Being from Chicago, I have only seen dirty, bloody wagons. They wanted me to get in and this very fancy wagon had built in stairs so I just sat down. I mentioned to all five police that I was not a criminal nor a terrorist and that I could sit right there while they checked my stats. It was definitely a safer feeling with the cops then in that wretched crowd.
We began to talk about our reason for doing what we did and the cops would not talk politics. I guess they are trained that way. One officer asked me how we got our tickets? I asked him how he got his ticket? He said he didn't need one. I said oh you didn't have to get one. We were asked to leave peacefully outside the premise and that if we did so we would not be arrested and Linda and I agreed that we did our peace and that we would do so.
Walking back, a car for disabled stopped and a man inside the car asked if we thought our message was received and we lifted our skirts and I said, "those who vote republican, will have to live with blood on their hands." We were received rather well from that man in the car.
As we walked a gang of riot officers and a few men in fatigues stopped us and said we would have to go over the ditch and through the parking lot (We later found out that Cheney was leaving the building in a matter of minutes down the same road). I told the army/important dude that he would have to give me his hand if he wanted me to go into the ditch and I reached out for him and he backed up. He would not let me touch him.
Finally he went down in front of me and gave me his arm. Then I waited for his buddy that accompanied Linda to help me up the other side. I guess I had to see how far I could go. As we made our way down to the next set of riot cops, Stew was there to meet us. I changed clothes and the riot line said we could not move the car, and that gave Linda the chance to flip her skirt directly at Cheney's get away car. What a topper.
I said come on Linda, lets go and we drove off out of the next exit with my skirt in the back window showing "war profiteer" proudly. And all that was left at the expo was a threatening pocket knife good for only dividing apples for my kids. Maybe the gardener will find it. The news reporter that night said that there were a small amount of protestors but what they did not make in numbers, they made up in creativity.
I guess we blew any chance of seeing the president inside for his next appearance.