Location: St. Vincent & Grenadines

You were driving home in the dark on one glass-slippered heel, window sliced open and bathing in the snowliquor of the night air. We heard you singing, and couldn't bear to wake you.

24 March 2007

Awright, awright a'ready! Here I am: rock you like a hurricane.

Is what, you know, I'm going to do. Eventually. When I'm ready.

Last week was the four-year anniversary of the war in Iraq. The war has now lasted half as long as my marriage. I went to a gathering in the plaza downtown on Monday evening.

We stood in a big circle as dusk fell, and some of us came forward into the circle to say or sing something. I stepped in and said:

Thank you for coming here. I find it helpful to come to gatherings like this, because they help to remind me that I'm not alone in how I feel about this war. The tide of public sentiment has shifted in our direction, but it has taken too much time, moved too slowly, cost too many lives.

Four years ago, I was part of the largest anti-war protest in history. Somewhere between six and thirty million people worldwide took to the streets on the same day to send a clear, unified, unmistakable message of disapproval from the world community. I was in San Francisco, and I heard Martin Sheen speak. He said: "None of us can stop this war. There is only one guy that can do that, and he lives in the White House."

Of course he was right, and as we know, that guy didn't so much as twitch in the face of this unprecedented level of dissent. He just didn't care. We had no guns, money or oil, so we were not part of his equation. The will of the people is unimportant to him. He is the decider, a deeply insecure man who, like many children of aristocrats, is terrified of being rendered powerless. He has been taught never to show weakness, and to him that means never flinching, never wavering, never giving in. He will not listen to us.

I understood that four years ago, and something in me died. We've been lucky in that we've never before had to deal with a president as bad as this one. But democracy will be challenged eventually; like children, the leaders of the world will keep pushing the boundaries of our tolerance, checking to see if we really mean what we say. When democracy is challenged, we defend it or it dies. George W. Bush is the bully who says: No, I won't stop. Make me. Go ahead. What are you going to do about it? Stop talking and make me.

Gatherings like this can only be the beginning of something else, a shot in the arm to provide the energy to get the real work done. Do we really want to stop the war? What are we prepared to do?
Do we believe that voting is enough — do we believe that our votes matter? Or is there something more that must be done?

I don't know the answer, and I don't believe the best answer can be a monologue. No one person can know the will of the people. But I know that people are dying because of the man in charge of this country; I know that their deaths are horrible and unnecessary and spawn further deaths, further violence. I know that the killing can and will be stopped; the only question is when. The only question is how long we will allow it to continue before we can stand it no longer. When we are resolved to end the reign of George W. Bush by trial and impeachment, the war will be over. When our actions bring about the justice that we know in our hearts has been denied, we will have moved beyond protest and into revolution.

Revolution is not a dirty word. It is the foundation of this country, but it is no antique; it is our birthright, and was long before the United States were formed. The overthrow of tyranny is not a privilege. It is a responsibility — difficult, dangerous, essential, and immediate. It is upon us now. Let us seize it.


Anonymous Anh said...

Thanks for this. Did you prepare these remarks? You should publish them everywhere.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Felix Helix said...

This is what I would have said if I had prepared remarks, but I hadn't; what I actually said was pretty close to this, but not word for word.

Where should I publish?

7:53 PM  
Anonymous frederika said...

Deja vu. In a bad way. You did something similar in the first Iraq war. Good for you for keeping up the good fight.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anh said...

your paper, my paper (the Post)
I'm sure Lynn Woolsey would love to hear this. Boxer and Feinstein.
Obama and Clinton and Edwards. All the political blogs you love. All the political blogs I love (MyDD, Dailykos, The Newsblog)

8:25 PM  
Anonymous frederika said...

Where oh where has Yosha gone?

6:17 PM  

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