All of our planning for the big conference next weekend is going smoothly. Ermete and his friends are testing out some of the hardware and software for the telepresence rooms. Jess is talking to local community groups in and around Carbondale about the conference. For about a day, there was some concern about the rules for serving food from outside sources on campus. But then we found an administrator who helped us to get special permission because the food was all local and some of it came from an organic garden on campus. Now that most of my organizing work is done, I took some time off from all of that this weekend to help with a local solar installation.
It’s been good to be busy again. I like to feel productive, so when I take a break from one thing, I just work on something else. Sometimes that adds up to a lot of work at the end of the week. But the change is refreshing. Just when I was getting tired of talking to people endlessly about global warming and Miami, I got to go up on a hot roof and help install some solar modules. It’s hard sometimes because you have to focus on the technical details of the job while you’re up there in the heat (or cold). But that’s part of what I like about it. It’s hard work, but it’s good work, and I can lose myself in it for a whole day.
Of course, because everything else is going so well, something bad had to come up.
I’ve been getting these phone calls. I didn’t know who it was at first because they would just call, listen, and hang up. It was a few different Southern Illinois numbers, but always the same behavior. Call, listen, hang up. Strange, but no big deal.
It was a much bigger deal when they started telling me to go home.
The first voice was a very male voice. I say very male because his voice was like gravel and about two octaves below mine.
The second voice was a woman. She sound like she may have been an older woman.
“Go home you [blanking] [blank] [blank]!”
The third voice was a young man who spoke in a quiet but very stern tone of voice.
“Go home, green. You’ve been warned.”
I honestly found that one the most disturbing. Not because of what he said, at least not entirely. It was because of the way he said it. He sounded angry, but also very disciplined. This wasn’t some prank call made on a whim. This was serious.
Alejandra told me I should call the police. I wasn’t sure. Whose side are the police on? What if they’re the ones making the calls?
I eventually decided to call them. The woman I talked to seemed to take it seriously, but it sounded like nobody would be following up on it anytime soon. She also gave me the number of someone in Homeland Security, but honestly I don’t know if I really want to go looking for trouble like that. It’s just some phone calls. Probably just some locals who think they can scare me away with a few threatening phone calls.
They must not know me very well.
It’s ironic because I do plan to “go home” to Miami eventually. But not because these bullies made an anonymous phone call. And if they mean “go home” as in get out of America, then they really need some educating. I’m just as American as they are. I was born in America, I grew up in America, and I’ll probably die in America. This is my home too. And demanding that our politicians actually listen to the will of the people about things like global warming is very American of me too. More American than secretly threatening people on the phone because you disagree with them.
Anyway, I’m not trying to worry anybody. The main reason I’m mentioning it is to see if anyone else is getting these phone calls, or visits, or anything like that. I don’t just mean in Southern Illinois, although that’s important too. I mean anyone who’s working on Miami or global warming or related issues. If you’ve had anything like this happen, let me know. And don’t let them get you down. They’re just scared because they know that most people want change and they’re not ready for it.