Monday, January 10, 2005
HISTORIAN HOWARD ZINN SPEAKS OUT
"...Yes, Bush was reelected President, and whether there was fraud in the voting process or not, John Kerry quickly threw in the towel. The minnow called for reconciliation with the crocodile."
"The reelected Bush triumphantly announced that he had the approval of the nation to carry out his agenda. There came no sign of opposition from what was supposed to be the opposition party. In short, the members of the club, after a brief skirmish on the campaign trail (costing a total of a billion dollars or so) were back having drinks at the same bar. When, in mid-November, the Presidential library of Bill Clinton opened, former Presidents, Democratic and Republican, along with the current President, sat side by side and declared their fervent desire for unity."
"But someone was left out of the celebration, this insistence that we were all one happy family, accepting the President for another four years. The American people were not quite in agreement."
"The President may insist he has "a mandate," but it is up to the rest of us to declare firmly that he doesn't. Sure, he had more votes than his Democratic opponent, but to most of the electorate [counting the 40% who stayed home], that candidate did not represent a real choice. More than half the public, in opinion polls over the past six months, had declared their opposition to the war. Neither major party candidate represented their view, so they were effectively disenfranchised."
"What to do now? Harness those fierce emotions reacting to the election. In that anger, disappointment, grieving frustration there is enormous combustible energy, which, if mobilized, could reinvigorate an anti-war movement that had been slowed by the all-consuming election campaign."
"It is in the nature of election campaigns to siphon off the vitality of people imbued with a heartfelt cause, dilute that cause, and pour it into the dubious endeavor to propel one somewhat better candidate into office. But with the election over, there is no more need to hold back, to do as too many well-meaning people did, which was to follow uncritically in the footsteps of a candidate who dodged and squirmed on almost every major issue."
"Freed from the sordid confines of our undemocratic political process, we can now turn all our energies to do what is discouraged by the voting system--to speak boldly and clearly about what must be done to turn our country around."
"And let's not worry about offending [those, the 22% or so] who are religious and political fundamentalists, who invoke God in the service of mass murder and imperial conquest, who ignore the Biblical injunctions to love one's neighbor, to beat swords into plowshares, to care for the poor and downtrodden."
"Most Americans do not want war."
"The reality of what is going on in Iraq is more and more coming through the smoke of government propaganda and media timidity. It cannot help but touch the hearts of the people of this country, as they see our soldiers going innocently into Iraq, but becoming brutalized by the war, practicing torture on helpless prisoners, shooting the wounded, bombing houses and mosques, turning cities into rubble, and driving families out of their homes into the countryside."
"Do we want to be reviled by the rest of the world?"
"Do we have a right to invade and bomb other countries, pretending we are saving them from tyranny and in the process killing them in huge numbers? (What is the death toll so far in Iraq? 30,000? 100,000?)"
"Do we have a right to occupy a country when the people of that country obviously do not want us there?"
"The Bush administration, riding high and arrogant, adhering to the rule of the fanatic, which is to double your speed when you are going in the wrong direction, will find itself going over a cliff, too late to stop."
"If the leaders of the Democratic Party do not understand this reality, do not squarely address the desires of people in every part of the country (forget the red, the blue, the nonsensical generalizations that ignore the complexities of human thought), they will find themselves tailgating the Bush vehicle as it heads for disaster."
"Will the Democratic Party, so craven and unreliable, face a revolt from below which will transform it?"
"Or will it give way (four years from now? eight years from now?) to a new political movement that honestly declares its adherence to peace and justice?"
"Sooner or later, profound change will come to this nation tired of war, tired of seeing its wealth squandered, while the basic needs of families are not met. These needs are not hard to describe. Some are very practical, some are requirements of the soul: health care, work, living wages, a sense of dignity, a feeling of being at one with our fellow human beings on this Earth."
"The people of this country have their own mandate."