S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Something more powerful is needed

Not only "no!" But "Hell, no!" Excuse me. Many of us are feeling great frustration that so few people are demonstrating against the war, and that so few Democrats are willing to stand firmly for Constitutional civil liberties. Things are looking up a bit on the protest front, but the ranks of gutsy Democrats are still far too thin. And, as usual, the mainstream media's coverage of these more powerful expressions of principle are spotty and inadequate.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets yesterday to protest continued occupation of Iraq, CBS reported. Protesting in the street has almost become a lost art, in my opinion. To quote the story's key phrases (emphasis mine throughout this post):
"I got the sense that many people were at a demonstration for the first time," said Sarah Sloan, one of the event's organizers. "That's something that's really changed. People have realized the right thing to do is to take to the streets."

In the shadow of the National Constitution Center and Independence Hall in Philadelphia, a few hundred protesters ranging from grade school-aged children to senior citizens called on President Bush to end funding for the war and bring troops home.

. . . Vince Robbins, 51, of Mount Holly, N.J., said there needed to be more rallies and more outrage.

"I'm almost as angry at the American people as I am the president. I think Americans have become apathetic and placid about the whole thing. Where's the outcry? Where's the horror that almost 4,000 Americans have died in a foreign country that we invaded?" Robbins said. "I'm almost as angry at the American people as I am the president. I think Americans have become apathetic and placid about the whole thing."
The BBCNews covered the war protests. But the "hot new kid" on the Washington MSM block, (so far as a quick skim could tell) did not. Their piece, "Sunday Talk Show Tipsheet," showed its Republican reporting bias once again with these two contrasting paragraphs. The First Lady got first place; Senator Chris Dodd got a "loser" introduction. To quote, beginning with the lead:
First lady Laura Bush talks to Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” about her just-finished trip to the Middle East to raise awareness about breast cancer and other issues in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), still lagging far behind his party’s presidential front-runners, will be on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Hat tip to Glenn Greenwald's powerful blog post on the subject of powerful stances, for the link to Senator Dodd's recent powerful floor speech on the FISA bill. My own posts about Senator Dodd's principled work is titled, "Voting One's Conscience." Greenwald reports, to quote:
Demonstrating the increasing significance of these efforts, Chris Dodd has now been invited to appear this Sunday on Meet the Press, where he will be the only guest for the entire hour. His stance in defending the Constitution generally, and his specific efforts to stop telecom amnesty and warrantless eavesdropping, will undoubtedly be a major topic (see Dodd's superb Senate floor speech this week on these issues here).

This is what Chris Dodd will be talking about. Watch the included video, if possible. It is a powerful statement about the importance of the rule of law, not just an empty phrase with Dodd. To quote Senator Dodd's floor speech's concluding paragraphs (from the transcript):

The damage that was done to our country on 9/11 was stunning. It changed the world forever.

But when you start diminishing our rights as a people, you compound that tragedy. You cannot protect America in the long run if you fail to protect our Constitution. It is that simple.

Mr. President, history will likely judge this President harshly for his war of choice and for fighting it with a disregard for our most cherished principles.

But history is about tomorrow. We must act today to stand up for the Constitution and the rule of law.Mr. President, this is the moment. At long last, let us rise to it.
This is what is called for in these days of rampant passivity. Friday October 26, 2007 13:10 EST Chris Floyd guest posts for Glenn Greenwald: "Dissent or disgrace." Floyd lays out the options for powerful interventions -- disassociation, boycott, filibuster, strike. I would add my own list -- march, shout, tell the truth, refuse to legislate. There are lots of things that could be done that are not. To quote:
How does it become a man to behave toward this American government to-day? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.-- Henry David Thoreau

Every day it becomes clearer that Thoreau's answer is the only basis for a genuinely effective resistance to the accelerating depredations of the Bush-Cheney regime. Disassociation, boycott, filibuster, strike -- call it what you will, but the Gandhian tag might be the best: "non-cooperation with evil." The corruption and authoritarian tyranny that the regime has imposed on the nation are evil. The war of aggression it has launched against Iraq is evil. The war of aggression it is fomenting against Iran is evil. If you would not be complicit in evil, then you must not cooperate with it, and you must not acknowledge its power as rightful or legitimate (however powerless you may be to resist its application by brute force).
My links to protest local news stories for the participating cities: -- New York, Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Orlando, Fla., and Jonesborough, Tenn. and to its organizer, United for Peace and Justice.
(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)
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Kitchen Window Woman said...

You really let 'em have this time! I feel like I've missed an entire week with this fire thing here in our neighborhood.

I am glad you wrote about the demonstrations as there wasn't much on the news here. We had a demonstration planned for San Diego but it was canceled because of the fires. I am angry at the American people, too and would have been there in the street had it not been for the fire.

I missed the Dodd thing wished I would have seen it. I have been making protest signs that focus on the Constitution. Last time out I carried a small Constitution booklet with me and held it up, too. Many of the people passing by in cars look awful sheepish - my sign says "Have you read your Constitution today? Read it, Heed It, Don't Cede it!" Most of the sheeple have not read it and don't have a clue!!!

Anyway hope you are having a nice trip. Peace.

Carol Gee said...

KWW - So sorry you guys have had such awful stuff happen in wonderful California. Hope you, personally are OK. And I am sorry you did not get to demonstrate. Thanks for your kind words.