Conversations with Raytheon Women

 

 

YMCA Hot Tub

Talking with the Raytheon worker yesterday at the YMCA women’s hot tub was a trip. She really believed what the media says. She asked to me at one point in our conversation, "You mean that the media doesn't tell us the truth?" She thought we needed bombs to protect ourselves from the Islamic forces and thought that we should killed all of them. I explained to her that she was talking about millions of people who believe in the Islamic faith. She felt we needed to be top dog. To that I replied that the military is planning to develop nuclear weapons in Outer Space so that they can be top dogs of the world. I asked her if she felt that was morally right.

She didn't reply, but said that she thought that the bomb-making game was about making money. I asked her how much the Raytheon Corporation paid her. She said 10 dollars an hour. I asked her how much other workers got. She said the café workers get minimum wage. Bomb makers get more, 17 to 25 dollars an hour. She said that they had two rooms of 50 people in each room who construct the weapons. I asked her if they were making depleted uranium weapons. She said she thought they were making them. They had radiation badges they had to wear to work. I asked her who she thought was making the big bucks. She didn't know, but after talking to me, she realized that she was a peasant within the organization.

I asked her if she ever felt guilty working for a bomb-making corporation. She said that she didn't because after Sept. 11th, we needed the weapons to fight evil. Saddam Hussein to her was evil. She thought it was necessary to drop bombs on Afghanistan to kill the terrorists. At that point, I thought that maybe I should walk away from the conversation because she had been so brainwashed by American propaganda that it was a hopeless cause to try to converse with her in any meaningful way. But I continued and replied that hundreds of innocent people were killed indiscriminately in Afghanistan by the bombing. US bombs murdered children and whole families. Now many Afghans were in refugee camps because their cities had been destroyed. I told to her a bumper sticker I saw on a friend's car, "Jesus was a refugee." I asked, "Do you think if Jesus was alive now would he be working in a refugee camp helping people recover from the war, or would he be one of the bombers firing weapons of destruction at their homes?"

Then she asked me if I believed in the Devil. I answered that to me bombs, made to kill people, were evil. She asked me if I believed in God. "Yes, I believe in a Great Spirit within myself. If the Kingdom of God is within us, then we can't look for a deity outside ourselves." I asked her if she was a woman. She laughed at me because she was a big breasted, fat woman and said, "Of course, I am a woman! "Well, then," I retorted, "if you are a woman and God is within you, then God is a woman. In fact, she is a Goddess." She answered, "I thought God was a man. Didn't God, the man in heaven with the long, white beard, make Adam and Eve?"

To that I responded, "If God is love, then wouldn't it make sense that God is the love that brings Adam and Eve together in union? I told her a little bit about the philosophy of tantra as a way for her to imagine herself breaking free of the patriarchal, militaristic mindset. Still trapped in Christian mythology, she took me back to the Garden of Eden and said that it was the snake that was evil. I informed her that in Goddess thealogy, the snake was a symbol of life on Earth. It was the symbol for DNA. I could tell at that point she was beginning to question the belief system she had been indoctrinated into. She said that she was confused.

Finally she asked me why the Moslems, Christians and the Jews couldn’t live in peace. Was it just human nature, and war will always be with us? I answered, "There were deeper ways to connect with the self and nature than through patriarchal religions like the ones you’ve mentioned."

Trying to think of a way she could get alternative news, I asked her if she ever listened to Amy Goodman's radio show, “Democracy Now”, that aired on the Tucson community radio station at 9:00 am. She said she had a radio, but that she went to work at 8:00 am and couldn't listen to it while she was doing her job, shredding blue prints of the bombs they were making at the Raytheon plant.

I gave her my phone number. She didn't have email. I told her that if she contacted me when I got back from the East Coast, I would met her at the library to help her set up a yahoo email account. Then I would teach her how to serf the net. Such tools would give her the skills to do her own research into war and peace. There were places on the Net that she could find that would show her what the bombs, made at Raytheon, were doing to people in other parts of the world. Then she could decide, in an educated way, if bombs were good or evil.


12/10/2002

After Yoga, I talked with a woman named Betty who works for Raytheon. She is part of middle management. What she does is purchase the materials in which are needed to build missiles. She has 140 people working under her. She said they build missiles, not warheads. Warheads are built in rural locations in other parts of the country since they use explosive materials. I think she said one of those places is in Kansas. She said that at Raytheon in Tucson they do not deal with radioactive active materials, but they do deal with chemicals that are very toxic. Some cleaning materials that are used they tell pregnant women not go work around. She said that they have tanks on site which recycles the water.

She started to work for Raytheon in Southern California twenty years ago when her husband, who worked there, had a job with the company and got her the job. The company moved to Tucson because the EPA laws were stricter in California so they could get away with more in Arizona. They couldn’t keep down their cost in California because of the EPA laws.

She was at some banquet the other week and was pleased to see that they had recruited a number of young female engineers into the project, which before had been mostly males. However, the main leader of Raytheon is a woman and most all of the people who work under her are males. She does financing and is a businesswoman and was recently written up on Fortune 500 magazine as being one of the most power women in business.

She said that if she were more consciously aware, she would quit her job. She thought there are enough weapons in the world. She isn’t a republican, even though most of the people she worked with are. She couldn’t get into the mentality of many of the workers there who cheer on missiles launches and cheer when the missiles explode the way they are designed to do. She fears a war with Iraq and President Bush. She said she wouldn’t want people at your employment to know these things about her. Then she said that I shouldn’t get her wrong; she believed we need a strong national defense.

She asked me if I came regularly to Yoga. I said yes, and it seemed that she had more to tell me.


 
 



 
 
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