Friday, March 14, 2008

Stoles, Tents, Lasagna

Last night was the second camp out at City Hall to protest Seattle's inhumane and unconstitutional sweeps of homeless encampments. I had passed on the first one back in December in the interest of my own emotional stability. It was too soon after my daughter's death and I wasn't up for any more stress.

This time Anitra and I were there. I still wasn't up for a full 15 hour camp out. So we did it in two shifts. We came for the dinner and rally, went home and chilled, then came back around midnight and stayed until after 8 AM.

For me, the high point of the event was discovering clerical stoles. I'd never really paid attention to clerical stoles before. Most of my life whenever there has been a priest or minister with a stole, he or she was alone and I felt no compulsion to make comparisons. But during the course of the dinner and rally I ran into 7 members of the clergy and several of them were wearing stoles.

The first one was David Bloom, who happens to be on the Real Change Board. He had a beautiful stole with gold embroidery. I begged to feel it. As I did he told me the stole was from Assisi. Wow, I thought. "Are all stoles from Assisi?" I asked. No, they're from all over.

Or are they? I conducted a survey throughout those clergy there that I was able to spot and corner. The results: Assisi, 1. Thailand, 1. USA, 1. Guatemala 3. Unknown Central American country (possibly also Guatemala), 1.

Apparently our US clergy are supporting the importation of foreign-made clerical stoles at a rate of 6 to 1. The United States is tied in last place for a share in the clerical stole market with such backwaters as Thailand and Assisi, while a Guatemalan stole cartel has taken over.

[Below: Mayan stoles! They're here; they're bold; they're taking over!]

I heard from more than one of the clergy that whenever they got together in their little clergy groups they bragged up their stoles and showed them off like peacocks.

It represents what Real Change and the Real Change Organizing project is all about. We're bringing classes together and finding common ground. After the clergy strutted around in their stoles, I was able to show off my stuffed skunk plush-toy, which I proudly purchased from the Goodwill Outlet Store at $1.79 per pound.

We all ate lasagna, slept in wet tents, and shared three porta-potties and a disgust for the Nickel's administration's homeless sweeps.

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