Sunny... especially for San Francisco, describes not only the weather of our last 9/11 Truth Street Action (August 11th, 2009), it also offers imagery of the reaction of the public to the day's events.
San Francisco is not a sunny place. I thought so, when I moved here from NY in 2006, but I was sadly wrong. The weather here is changeable, sure, but most often it is cold, and grey. The attitude people think of when they hear SF is also sunny, and sadly wrong. The heart of ultra-left America often preaches acceptance and openness, but usually constricts freedoms and ostracizes those who do not fit into its dogmatic, inarguable beliefs.
That is why I hope you take heart in the work that was accomplished, and I hope you see in these little details I can provide, what I see. The people are ready for a change, and we cannot fail.
Street Action set up on Powell & Market, the main street that runs through SF. The extra bonus is that this is the spot where those infamous rice-a-roni trolleys take off from, so the line of tourists is always looooong. In a few hours we were able to reach out to hundreds of people. Many of their reactions were achingly typical. Scuttling by, trying not to make eye contact with us, while trying to see the banners at the same time. We had a couple of large banners, and a nice layout of cards, bumper stickers, DVDs, fliers, etc. The line of people curved opposite us about fifty feet away, there wasn’t much else to look at, we were the only entertainment game in town for the moment. I spent a lot of time watching their reactions, and I think they were trying to reconcile themselves with conflicted emotions.
No matter what anybody tells me, I know that the “youth protestor” has become an important archetype in our society. In the same way we connect with the image of Paul Revere on a horse, we feel some admiration for those wacky protestors in the 60’s. The nostalgia for that has been constant my whole lifetime on TV, and in the media as a whole. When people come to San Francisco, I think they look for that, or hope for some echo of it. And, I think they were conflicted then, to see these assumedly liberal SF protestors talking about 9/11. Weren’t the 9/11 Truthers in New York? Weren’t they supposed to be nuts? Is this really, the beginning of this generations cultural revolution?
Yes folks, we told them, it is.
Dynamic, and knowledgeable activists gave out information and enlightened anyone who would listen. The research was so good, and their conviction clear. And while that is important so you’re prepared for someone aggressive and argumentative, I think I’ve learned that its even more important than that. Knowledge, real understanding of the facts, not the memorization bs they force on you in school, lends you calmness. I saw people at first fearful to talk, nervously look into the face of the Truther talking to them, searching for signs of dishonesty. But the faces of our friends was always calm, and that did not mute their passion on these subjects, it gave that passion credibility, and thus communicability.
This one Lady did piss me off though. Really the only bad apple of the whole day, and of course, I’m ashamed that she’s from New York. I was walking around when I heard a woman by the banners growling about “I was there, I saw it you don’t know what you’re talking about,” etc. And she got a little too close for my tastes to one of our members and I had to say something. I tried to keep my cool, but I know a fat mouthed witch from Long Island when I hear one. She was pretty quick to scuttle behind her two friends (who were also curiously almost as wide as the were tall), and say I was just lying. Sure lady, I’m not from New York, my Father wasn’t down there risking his life at ground zero, and Phillip Zelikow has “nuthin’ to do with anything”. Pretty shameful, she had a lot to say to a young Californian (who New Yorkers assume to be meeker, and an easy target to bully), but when a grown woman also from New York pops up its time to beat your flat fat feet.
I got the feeling that the experience would stick with her though, and after a few sleepless nights, she’s going to have to take a second look at 9/11 to reassure herself that she knows “the truth”.
As time passed, the line by the trolley was more and more interested. I’d watch, and when I caught the eye of someone who looked interested I’d motion for them to “come on you can do it”. They’d look nervously around them, say a quick something to the people they were with, and then make a break for it, unable to hold back a naughty grin as they escaped “THE LINE”. The action, no matter the age of the person, was incredibly youthful, the smile, the hurried walk, trying to hold back a run. They’d come over and have questions, although usually questions laden with preconceived answers (things they’d probably heard about the movement that were negative). But it was easy to explain the negative PR, and they seemed to somewhat have figured that was what was going on. They were always very savvy to the idea that the main stream media lies, and that big business holds the real power in this country. A smile of grateful relief always met the words “I don’t want to tell you what to believe, I just think you have a right to all the information.”
People of all social strata, colors, and creeds came over and took home DVD’s. Groups of teenagers, senior citizens. There were a lot of really kind people of faith, which was a nice thing for me. I still have some stinging scars from my activism involving prop 8, and the pitting of gays vs religion was extremely hard to deal with. I can’t remember the last time so many people said “God bless you” to me in one day. It was, though I’m not practicing any religion myself, enchanting.
In fact it was almost always positive. Even the folks who started to walk by sneering diminished the look when I looked them in the eye and asked if they’d like some free information. They’d stop and give the cursory look to everything as a courtesy, most times still find it too much to swallow, but politely shake their head and say no thank you. These people as well, I feel will look more into 9/11 because of the experience. Some people, understandably, need a more private way of finding out. And they’ll go home and fire up the internet too, I’d bet my bottom dollar (if still had one, anyway, I would) on it.
I also had a lot of fun with all the international tourists, who were the most excited and interested of all. Two 20 somethings from France were short on English, but their enthusiasm was extremely evident. They said the internet and the youth were all about changing things, and they were very aware about 9/11. Our conversation was difficult, but we talked for over half an hour anyway. A smartly dressed Brittish citizen escaped the trolley line and grabbed all the cds and we talked about free speech zones and cameras. A man from Taiwan new very little English, but the two words he did get out: “CONTROLLED DEMOLITIONS?” A conversation I will never forget was with a lovely old woman from Italy, very wise, and very … I don’t know how to describe it… very fucking alive. That’s about as close as I can get. And she said something to me that I’ll never forget.
“Never, Jenny, follow only this,” she indicated her head, mind. “Because in the mind lives the fear and the lies. And Mussolini knew this, and the Hitler knew this. But if you follow God, and God lives in your heart, so you follow your heart, you can never be afraid.” And she took my hand, and looked hard into my eyes and said: “You must not be afraid.”
That’s quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever been asked to do, but I promised I’d do it, and I try my hardest to keep my promises, especially to my elders.
The time is now. Get out on the streets. People are ready for a real change, a real revolution. Someone out there needs you, and they are waiting, and they are lost, and they are unaware of the dangers they face until you reach them. You must not be afraid. Good luck, and you’re not alone.
"Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act."