Now Playing: THE LONE VET VISTS SENATOR MERKLEYS OFFICE
Topic: ACTIONS !
Report of the Adventures of Individuals For Justice and Noble Friends
Barbara, Malcolm and I met Tuesday at 2:45 PM at The World Trades building. It was going to be an interesting meeting with the staff of Senator Merkley.
The day before, I, Judith, and José were also refused entrance to his office to drop off a letter telling the Senator what we Individuals For Justice wanted him to do concerning a pending vote on using air/missiles to attack Syria. The security guard told me the same thing he told Robert, Pam, and Barbara last Friday when they wanted to drop off a Pam’s letter to the Senator.
I told the security guard that I would be, “over-there,” pointing to the middle of the lobby. I sat down in the middle of the lobby and started to hand out copies of the Constitution I had picked up from Rep. Blumenauer’s office just before going to Merkley’s office to see what the hell was going on with access.
After about 30 minutes, Merkley’s constituent-service director Joel Corcoran came down and tried to tell me that they were glad to see us, but we needed an appointment to go upstairs. I said that was unacceptable and was prepared to remain on the floor handing out copies of the Constitution. Joel arranged a conference room off the lobby and offered to meet with us for about 20 minutes. After a vote with José and Judith, Judith and I went into the conference room where he and I got into a screaming match about access with Joel telling me not to scream at him.
We got almost nowhere except on Monday, Joel emailed me and said that if we wanted to, they would be willing to meet on Tuesday and they would make the arrangements. How many would be there and they needed our names. I polled everyone and nobody would agree to that.
So there we were Tuesday at 3 in Merkley’s conference room, the three of us, Joel, and a staffer in charge of access, Merkley’s state director Jeanne Atkins. Because I’d emailed Joel our agenda about access and Syria, they’d arranged for us to skype with Merkley’s senior foreign relations adviser, William L. White to tell us how the Senator Merkley would vote on attacking Syria.
We were not prepared to present our arguments about Syria because we were there mostly to protest access to the Senator’s office and that his staff in Portland were hiding, (in our view) from his constituents. We did a good job presenting what has been our opposition to President Obama’s insistence that the way to peace is bombing. We told White that bombing was foolish and would cost more lives and get us in the middle of a civil war. That the opposition to Assad was worse than he is. And the fact that Senator Merkley was saying he was undecided was most distressing.
We also told Joel and Jeanne and White in DC that we want leadership from Merkley and not some person who tests the wind before making up his mind. We have Senator Wyden, we said, and do not need another one.
Bottom line, did we accomplish anything by spending an hour with the staff. Yes!
Barbara suggested that because building security isn’t going to change its policy, that the office be moved out of the WTC. And we talked about moving to the Federal building where once people go through the metal detectors, that’s it. We also reminded them about how open Rep. Blumenauer’s office is and how constituent friendly the staff is. I don’t know of any Congressional office that is like going to see the President. Security must serve more than just keeping people safe, we kept emphasizing. It must include a way for constituents to stop and get something, to ask a question, drop something off, or just visit the office. We shall see.
Malcolm got in his concern about what is happening in Japan with its leaking reactor at Fukushima. White seemed up-to-date and shared our concern. When we departed the office we felt OK. Not great. But OK. I have not met this staff and meeting them was good in itself. They now know who we are and how we think. There will be follow ups by Individuals For Justice to see how they are doing. Life is so strange sometimes, but as I told the staff of Senator Merkley, you cannot just hide, or protect other staff members 24/7.
We have had very little contact with this staff, so it may take some time for them to change any access policy. We will watch and keep an eye on things and let you know. Meanwhile, please call their office (503-326-3386) and ask that easy and immediate access to the office be open. Tell them they should not be hiding behind some security guard who will tell constituents that they need to make an appointment and cannot go upstairs to drop off anything or just visit to say hello.
I was tired, so off we went home. I was scheduled next day to attend the City Council meeting and a high noon protest about drones. So, we had some fun, took some knocks, laughed a bit and enjoyed every minute of the last few days.
The Council meeting was cool. They acted like human beings and even passed a resolution to send a letter to the FDA about their regulations excluding some people from donating blood. Here’s the URL about it:
We came out of the Council feeling good. Did not yell at anyone and had that high-noon drone protest. I saw José and Cheeto so went over to say hello. But from across the street a guy started yelling at José. Thing were looking OK until this guy came over and went face to face with José. José turned away. I thought the guy was going to sucker punch Jose because he twisted his body to hit hard.
I got in between them and yelled, “Stop!”
The guy picked me up and slammed me down on the concrete. Unfortunately, the first part of my body to hit was the back of my head. I reached back to feel my head and came back with a hand full of blood. I said “shit” a lot.
I asked David who works for the city attorney to call for an ambulance. The bleeding continued until the ambulance arrived along with the fire department and lots of cops. Everyone was concerned because I had a head injury and that is not something to mess with.
But I did not want two things: one, no arrest; two, no hospital unless I had to go. We sat for a time. The ambulance paramedics put me though some memory exercises and left it up to me. I did not go and feel OK, and will watch myself very carefully. Thanks to Charlie for escorting me to the car so I could be driven home by a kind and noble lady.
Tomorrow I fully expect to go to the County meeting and ask them to join our City Council in this wonderful resolution to allow people who are gay to donate blood.
Keep the pressure on concerning the new war they want to get us into, laugh and enjoy life. It is a lot shorter than you think. Thanks, Barbara, Malcolm, Judith, José, the staff of Senator Merkley, the City Council for making me proud to know ya. Thanks David for being so concerned and calling 911 and, yes, I am still an Assho-- Ha!