a.k.a. The Girl Who Told Everyone To Punch Nazis

I really should be catching up on my studies, but I’m too angry to do anything until I’ve said my peace. I can’t take another day of sitting here helplessly, completely useless to throw a wrench in the horrors we see before us. Today I read about a 3 year-old girl who succumbed to her wounds after she was stabbed at a children’s birthday party for being brown. I saw pictures of white men parading the streets with their nazi flags, screaming “USA!” at the sight of riot police attacking a small but kick-ass group of anarchists. Feckin’ NAZIS!

I knew this day would come. Things will begin to fall apart if we keep going down this road. I knew it the day I got attacked by police in my own neighborhood 18 years ago – just walking home from the store with my groceries. I didn’t give it a second thought when they announced that my city was under martial law. Obviously the police know what needs to be done, right? I didn’t think twice when I saw on the news that gas masks had been outlawed, and the entire downtown Seattle area was now under curfew, and anyone wearing a button or holding a sign protesting the actions of the World Trade Organization would be arrested. For some reason, it never clicked that any of this was unusual. I was so blind! It took me getting attacked by police in my own neighborhood for doing absolutely nothing to wake up. Some of you are just now waking up. Welcome. I had hoped to ease your transition with stories of what I’ve been through these last 18 years, but I’ve been a little busy.

Here’s a little primer on me, Jen Wallis. You probably haven’t heard of me, and yes my blog sucks, because I have zero interest in being a blogger. If you know me just a little, you probably vibe that I don’t quite fit in anywhere. It’s true. I’m terrible with all things organized, but I’m a good organizer. Just not what you’re used to. Not many people could stomach something like walking across the continent all by yourself with no funding or organizational support, but everything in my life trained me for that, just as it’s trained me for what I want to do next. I’m not a joiner, and I don’t subscribe to any -isms. I live with too much chronic pain to go many places now, thanks to having to jump off a train in an emergency back in ’08. I was forced to “settle” (I’ll let your imagination run with what that word really means), and my savings is almost gone. I’m terrible at fundraising, and am too much of a troublemaker for most NGO groups or labor unions or really any job now. That’s fine anyway. Between you and me, I did that walk across America for democracy back in ’01 for one reason and one reason alone – to stop going to meetings. I hate meetings. Lots of meetings with those outfits. Wretched necessity, but it’s not for me. Me? Why, I’m most comfortable when I’m traveling about the country, speaking with the folks who will never read a word any of you say on social media or teevee or the newspapers or hear what you say on your podcasts. If they get their news at all, it’s from Fox, but only because that’s all that’s available in their county. They’d like to be more informed, but they’re just too busy with the farm or the multiple jobs or taking care of the ill, and city folk don’t care about them enough to talk to them anyway, so why bother? But I did. I cared so much about what they had to say, I risked my life walking along highways for nearly 4000 miles. I spent eighteen months walking across this continent with my trusty dog (“Sure, weird walking girl, I guess you’re okay – but your dog!”) just to collect their letters to the president and hand-deliver them myself. That’s how much I wanted them to think about their hopes and concerns. I wanted them to feel like they were the celebrities… that the politicians should be falling all over themselves to hear their stories. I carried their letters, and they let me live. That was our deal. They were wonderful. I miss my people, but yes – they often drove me nuts. Almost as much as the liberals, most of whom wrote me off as some sort of nutcase. Don’t worry – it doesn’t bother me. I’m used to it. 

“But why are you walking across America for democracy?” they all said. “Why don’t you support a politician or legislation or walk for peace or something we can understand.” I got the advice all the time. Hunter Thompson at least insisted I should either walk naked or carry a gun. But I couldn’t shake my mission once it called me. It was democracy that was in trouble, and the people needed to know. My people. The outcasts. The ones who never quite fit in, and honestly we couldn’t care less. We’re the ones who’d just as soon  stay out of politics and live in peaceful ignorance. I was that way too, once. How I adored them! I thought I would be teaching them, but the truth is that they taught me all I know. I understand them more than even they know. The mounds of rejection letters I’ve received over the years in trying to tell their story only confirms why someone like Donald Trump would appeal to them. But you needn’t know all my secrets just yet.  

So I am a pilgrim. It’s not a paid profession, and it certainly didn’t come with medical, but it’s also an ancient, once-revered position in many societies, and I’m very proud to be a member of this club. All we do is bring the news to the people who need to hear it. It’s harder than you think, but we got it down. The people I met in rural America are smart and kind, but they have no idea what’s going on, though they might believe that they do. And I see you there, Mr. small-town conservative-thinking- I’m-talking-about-you. If you’re reading this, I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about the people who live in the digital divide… no internet, no news. The average American consumer of social media has no idea who they are, and obviously the kleptocratic news isn’t going do them justice. I can, if only given another chance. I can get them to vote.

I had hoped to get enough publicity at one point to help other pilgrims connect with each other, low-profile like. I have a great deal of wisdom as to how to survive such an endeavor, but the truth is that no one’s really cared before now. In many ways, this country deserves what is coming to us. People like me, who tried to sound the warning for years and were written off as paranoid, have passed on or gave up or soon shall pass on unnoticed, myself included. What dies with us is our knowledge and commitment to creating a new and sustainable era. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m personally sick to death of this post-industrialism bullshit. 

I need a few things to happen if I’m to continue this work. I’m not young, I’m disabled, and things are pretty bleak. Can’t talk about most of it because of litigation, but if I had the capacity to not worry about the financial stuff for a little while, I can make this happen. I need insurance a really lot! I need my disability insurance back. It was supposed to be paid to me for life, but I guess that’s a joke. I should’ve known. 

I hate asking for help, so if you want to help, I’m not gonna make it easy for you either. You’re going to have to contact me yourself somehow. I’d like to keep what little dignity I have left. These last 13 years have been rough.

I gotta get back to studying because I genuinely enjoy it, and am learning what I need to know to take back out there and help the average American understand in their own language. You can find lots of tidbits about me if you google Jen Wallis and BNSF or Jeanette Wallis and The Walk for Democracy. My heart is too broken for self-promotion, but I know I need to be out there helping. It’s what I do, and I’m good at it.

You want change to happen in November? Then you need to find people like me who aren’t afraid to hang out in small town bars and VFW halls and cafe’s and libraries and talk to the people. You need to help me train the youth! Many of them know more than me, but they’re not so good at people skills. I blame technology. 

And one more thing – if you’re a red-blooded American man, you need to get your ass out there to those protests and pull these nazis aside and ask ‘em to leave. You need to stand guard over your neighbor’s property if they are people of color so they don’t get stabbed or shot by nazis. And if you see a nazi threaten anyone anywhere, you need to pull them aside and punch them. It’s the patriotic thing to do. Now’s the time to be tough, brothers. I’m not speaking in hyperbole, and I’m not overreacting. You know things aren’t right. Do something! Don’t let us down. Hope to join you real soon. The other women are already there.

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