Thursday, March 15, 2007

I'm in the throes of adjusting to the time change and I'm only now waking from a long and restless night of tossing and turning ...

It's almost 10:00 a.m. and I'm just now becoming alive again. Through the fog of half-sleep I heard my little clock radio pop on somewhere just before daylight -- it was a string of announcements about this weekend's demonstrations demanding the end of the war in Iraq. My early morning radio is always tuned to our Pacifica radio flagship station, KPFA-FM, and today was no different; except that ... .

I was suddenly wide awake and sitting up with a start that dropped the television remote (stashed under my hand in sleep) to the floor with a downstairs-neighbor-disturbing thud. The announcer was talking about Saturday's schedule of anti-war activities. There would be marching in the streets, locally, for those who can't make it to Washington, D.C., or any of the nearby population centers. These are my people. Never mind that few of my contemporaries are any longer able to show up -- but there had been that call from "Grandmother's For Peace" that I'd not returned. I marched with that group in a protest against the war to the downtown Oakland recruitment office last year; joining with friendly faces from various parts of my past. I'd planned to do the same this year -- but in the busyness of my extraordinary life I'd lost all thought of just when that would be. This is that weekend.

The day is here -- Saturday -- and I'm scheduled to be standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier delivering a 15-minute statement in honor of Women's History Month at that very hour! On the deck of the USS Hornet; and doing so as a representative of the World War II generation of women. What irony!

I must now pick up the telephone and place a call to the events planner for the Hornet and either announce my regrets -- given my anti-war position -- or let her know that my comments may not be in keeping with the occasion. Or, do I simply seize the time and make my "End the War and Bring the Troops Home Now!" statement? Where would I find a more opportunistic forum -- and right there in the belly of the beast? Would I be risking being unceremoniously escorted off the ship brutishly by the civilian version of the shore patrol? Do I dare risk losing my job because I felt compelled to act out my anti-war feelings in a public forum? But then I remembered that I'm a private contractor and not really a federal employee at all, so (except for the judgement call) I'm my own agent. I've surely done this before - but I was far younger and prettier and better able to confront power in ways that may simply be unbecoming to an older woman ... .

But I've left out an important entry in my blog that may explain the dilemma far better. It has to do with having attended the PBS/KQED-sponsored Ken Burns preview of his epic 14-hour documentary called, "WAR!," to be aired in the fall. It was shown to a packed house in the Castro Theater in San Francisco two weeks ago, and included a Q&A with the filmmaker at the end of the screening -- plus a seething Betty seated in the topmost row of the balcony wanting to scream in protest to what was being shown and what had been deliberately omitted!

But suffices to say that the experience served to build a fire under my reaction to this early-morning string of announcements of anti-war activities played against my upcoming appearance on that panel on board the USS Hornet on the same day they're gathering at Justin Herman Plaza readying for the march to the Federal Building in San Francisco!

... but I may need to let some of the angst settle before I write more.


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