Friday, November 04, 2005

C2EA American Heritage Caravan

American Heritage Caravan update # 14

By Vaughn Frick
American Heritage Caravan rider.

November 3, 2005
Charleston, West Virginia to Richmond, Virginia.

Last night our hosts at the Asbury United Methodist Church found homes (with BEDS!)for us all to rest in. David and Andy hosted nine of us in their spacious house. The Jacuzzi was wonderful.We all went to a friendly local Gay bar in a building that surely been a speak-easy way back in the day.
As this caravan draws near to Washington, D.C., today my idealism waned. We had hoped to have hundreds of people joining us at this point.The number of riders on this caravan are 26. For some on this caravan it has been an opportunity to visit many Gay bars in exotic new cities between snippets of events and media exposure. For me today it felt like a big, lost opportunity. Two weeks busing through America's heartland has given us a unique story and perspective, and helped connect many groups and individuals, but all the big goals set beforehand feel a bit pie-in-the-sky.
Many excuses live in this land of lost opportunities. Pushing the original caravan and it's planned events back a month because of hurricane Katrina severely taxed many already over-worked rural HIV/AIDS activists. World AIDS day now is less than one month away, another whole set of HIV/AIDS events.
Probably what we have worked has accomplished some good, and made very evident the pit-falls for the C2EA planners of future actions or caravans.
Maybe what happens in Washington, D.C. this weekend will turn things around.
So here it is night and I sit in yet another church basement.This time it's the Metropolitan Community Church of Richmond, Virginia. We were supposed to meet up here for a big rally with the other caravans, only the Florida caravan showed, bearing four riders. Two other caravans due here tonight got delayed as both had to take riders to hospitals. As it was in Louisiana after Katrina, we are starting to drop off in the streets, will our deaths again go unnoticed? There was another church service here after we all were fed, then housed, by the generosity of yet another quirky little church congregation far out of the mainstream. Word from the site of actions is not good, the city of Washington, D.C. is throwing up hurdles against us, the riot police now are preparing for us with batons, rubber bullets, and tear gas. A Little band of sick HIV/AIDS individuals should be very easy for them to subdue, before our tattered little band disperses to die invisible off in their little dark corners in this land that was America. Less than ten days of what it costs to blow apart the bodies of the children of the cornfields of America could fully fund the Ryan White CARE Act. But that would be using tax dollars to keep people alive, to stop them from getting infected then sick in the first place. Silly, stupid, me- tax dollars are only for KILLING and DEATH. So this weekend all of you safe in your little corners of America, be very, very silent, as when the Angel of Death makes it's pass over your heads, you probably won't be noticed. I remember what that nice lady told us at that truck stop, that GOOD people don't die from AIDS. And you all are such good people after all, right?
So here I sit in the dark of the dawn hours away from our fate in Washington, D.C.
Instead of the garden of Gethsemane, this lone long-haired pagan hippy sits alone.The only garden for me is inscribed with the names of the dead, watered by tears. Somewhere off in the recesses of this basement I hear someone coughing with serious respiratory problems. No praying here, just the coughs of the dieing.
Maybe you will see a little sound-bite about this on your televisions this weekend, the safety of your little remote in hand. Maybe this time the Angel of Death will pass you by, good people.


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