PEACETANK

PEACETANK

I came up with The Peacetank in the days prior to the start of the U.S. war campaign in Afghanistan. On October 9, 2001, I wrote:

I don't know about you, but since September 11, I have felt a strong need to DO SOMETHING to reinforce the illusion that I have some control over events. So I decided to re-interpret my ConferenceBike in the form of a device that inspires international understanding. A metaphor: world leaders, traveling around the world together, putting out the fires of unrest and suffering. It was to be called Peacetank. Since I was the creator and the only American, I had to be President Bush. The other leaders were chosen somewhat on the availability of good masks.

Sunday, October 7 was a perfect fall day to surprise the people of Amsterdam. My crew of Castro, Blair, Putin, Mandela, Mao/Jiang, and Arafat suited up at my place and headed out into town. We quickly got into the spirit of seeming to be working on a great mobile treaty. None of us are actors, but behind our masks we were soon acting out the kind of photo-op overblown hugs and handshakes that we've seen world leaders exchanging so many times. Public squares were packed with tourists and Dutch people. The reactions were powerful and heartwarming: smiles, waves, laughter, comments shouted, hundreds of photos flashing.

NY Peace Tank

THE PEACETANK with Barack Obama at the wheel, fall, 2008, New York City

bestbernie

JOURNEY FOR BERNIE

In the spring of 2016 I started to feel the Bern! Inspired by Bernie Sanders' egalitarian principles. And I thought: I can be a spectator or I can be an activist. My conscience had the answer. As I began to reassemble the PeaceTank I realized that only Putin was still on the world stage; and how few realistic masks of current world leaders were commercially available. Then it occurred to me that I should be the only masked performer, riding around as Bernie and inviting passersby on board, an even better metaphor for the inclusiveness that he represents. I ran 5 journeys for Bernie in the summer and had 100's of people jumping on and off the CoBi.