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Ten protesters occupy the railroad tracks near the Pantex nuclear weapons factory. They stayed three days and were not arrested. Pho to by Gay lon Wamp le r We do it, obviously, so as not to blend in. We do not want to cultivate the attitude of, for instance, the town of Los Alamos, as described by Vivian Gornick recently in Mother Jones: “In Los Alamos you need never confront a human being who makes you question your life, your work, your values. This, indeed, is the point of small-town life respite from the fierce and painful struggle of the city. . . . In Los Alamos . . .the fact that the residents see it as `a town like any other’ is, to me, inappropriate and offensive.” We, the bike riders, are an odd and freaky people; perhaps. We are a bombaffected people. On to Amarillo! I want to see the Pantex plant loom up before me, and I want to get there on the slow and pensive route. I want to see who drives that long farm-to-ranch road to make $11.84 an hour to put our warheads together \(high school graduation, “Q” clearance and manual dexterI want to post a kooky road sign in West Texas: APOCALYPSE. WHEN? Surrounded We stop for lunch in Post, at the Holy Cross Catholic Church, where, again, the church madres serve us a bountiful meal. The town is hurt from layoffs at the Burlington textile plant, but still the congregation has been busy lately trying to raise the bail bond money to spring two Central American refugees from jail. Back on the highway we bear down on Lubbock. There seems to be nothing but cotton fields for miles around. By three in the afternoon, a group of us rolls into town. We make our way to downtown Lubbock, such as it is, and get comfortable on the town green, across from the federal building. Jimi Clark, a senior at Westbury High in Houston, is talking about music. He has been playing the guitar since he was 14 and is serving as the bard of the bikers on this trip. Bobby Slovak asks him if he’s listened to Phil Ochs. “I think I’ve heard of him,” says Jimi. “Oh, you really got to get his albums, man, you’d love him,” says Bobby. At 5:00 a sizeable crowd of cyclists and Lubbock peace activists gathers at the federal building. A twenty-foot-long blue banner with white dots is raised; the inscription explains that there are 50,000 dots on the banner one for each of the world’s nuclear weapons. One hundred dots are outlined in red: “100 dots = Enough to Destroy Most Life on the Planet.” After a few songs, ribbons are distributed and the crowd joins hands and ribbons in an attempt to encircle the building. The chain only makes it three-quarters of the way around, but from the front, at least, it looks complete. Betty Anderson, vice chair of West says such symbolic actions have made a difference, “from Vietnam to the present.” She retains hope that -the arms race could be reversed “if enough people willed it.” But how is she able to hold onto that hope, I wonder. She pauses and thinks. “If you don’t have hope, all is futile,” she says. Marcie Winsler, who has been involved in peace politics in Lubbock for six years, says “It’s something we always wanted to do: to encircle the federal building in downtown Lubbock.” In these parts, the victories are small and simple. That night, at the Casa San Jose a surprisingly good satirical skit called “The Wheel of Misfortune” is presented to the local activists, with Jimi Clark in the role of game show announcer. As contestants are awarded points for helping to set up nuclear disasters, Ruth Roberts in the role of disillusioned housewife suddenly announces “The only way to win is not to play the game,” and thereby hits the jackpot, for that was the game’s secret phrase. At 10:00 Channel 13 news gives the day’s anti-nuclear activities the top five minutes of the broadcast. The messages that there were nearly enough peaceniks in Lubbock to surround ‘ the federal building, and that a group was bicycling to protest weapons-building in Amarillo go into the homes of 46,000 solid citizens. Lubbock in the Rear-View Mirror Friday we have a short ride from Lubbock to Plainview 45 miles. This is the wisdom presented on a plaque in the Dairy Queen in Hale Center: Winning is not a sometime thing. It is an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; You don’t do things right once in a while; You do them right all the time. There is no room for second place. There’s only one place and that’s first place. Vince Lombardi There could be no better example of the philosophy that created Pantex and Trident and the MX, and now, Star Wars. There is no room for second place. The leaders of our country believe this. We as a country believe it. * By and large the peace movement considers the Vince Lombardi Ethic as dangerous, even ridiculous. This presents us with a tremendous problem perhaps the central political problem of our era: how does one enter into a competition with a violent system led by men hellbent on “winning” without coming out on the losing end of the one struggle that, ultimately, matters most? Between the superpowers, it may be true, the only way to win is not to play the game. But what is the way to win the fight against the Bomb, and the system that creates the Bomb? I am travelling with the wing of the peace movement and this is only a view of a miniscule, perhaps unrepresentative portion of the peace movement rank and file that wants to reject the American win/lose ethic. Those working to influence Congress, and those in the National Freeze Network, are likely to play the conventional game by the conventional rules \(taking *As for what Lombardi’s wisdom has to do with Dairy Queen, the line of explanation was “Dairy Queen is Everybody’s Everything.” THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9