January 18, 2006
-- by Thomas Leavitt
... just had Cindy Sheehan's latest passed to me on an internal Green Party list, an article entitled The Opposite Of Good Is Apathy. After reading it, I'm now going to be paying a lot closer attention when I hear her name.
The lead, "The apathy of most of America is stunning and appalling to me.", is just the start.
Here's a couple more excerpts:
If we don't get off of our collective apathetic and complacent backsides to stop the barbaric killing in Iraq, when will the next candlelight vigil be? George Bush and the evil neocons are killing our precious soldiers at the rate of 2.78 per day. By my calculations, we should be lighting our candles again and singing "Kum bah ya" by October.
If I hear one more rendition of "We Shall Overcome" and then watch the vigilers or marchers go home and turn on their TVs and crack open a brewsky, content in the fact that they have done something for peace that day, I am going to scream! We can't overcome unless we take the proverbial bull by the horns and overcome!
and I really like this one...
Hillary Clinton told me that the "wheels of government grind slowly." This is a tired cliche and it is unacceptable blather while the war machine is grinding the bones of our children.
... I was concerned that Cindy's "ordinary American mom" shtick wasn't... but, clearly, she "gets" it, the systemic nature of the problem with the Bush Administration and the neo-cons, that the problem isn't just the war in Iraq and the soldiers dying there... but all the innocent Iraqi civilians: "By his own admission, [Dubya] is ten times the terrorist that Osama ever was. If George says 30,000 ... who knows what the truthful total is. It fills me with sorrow and hurts my heart to even contemplate the number." and damn near every other anti-policy initiative pursued by the Bush Regime:
America: this is what you are allowing your government to do in your name: Detain and torture prisoners without due process. Use chemical weapons on other members of humanity. Spy on Americans without a court order (I hope my conversations put them in a coma of boredom). Carpet bomb cities filled with human beings like yourselves.
Destroy the infrastructure of other countries. Destroy the infrastructure of American cities. Cut taxes on the rich while pouring money and blood into the thirsty sands of the Middle East. Decimate our treasury. Rape the environment. Et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum.
... "ad nauseum" is right. Every time I open up my email inbox, I'm confronted by an alert or plea about some new and emerging threat from the right... how is it possible for them to simultaneously do so many different things that are wrenchingly wrong and tragically stupid?
Hurrah for Cindy. She's right... we really need to pick up the pace, to take the movement to the next level... America will not be moved out of its apathy by anything less than truly radical action. Bluntly, we must make the nation ungovernable in the absence of action: this means direct action and mass non-violent civil disobedience on a large scale. The "Battle of Seattle" must be repeated a hundred times, until people wake up and realize there is a severe problem, until the governing elite of this country comes to the realization that we will not go away, that the "chaos" and "anarchy" on the streets will not stop until something is done, that "business as usual" is no longer possible in the face of opposition from the anti-war movement, and pull the reins in on Dubya and his gang of thugs and cronys.
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Cindy Sheehan is correct, has been correct, and her word needs to get out.
Posted by: Cali4nian at January 18, 2006 11:06 AM
I believe this is a case of misdirected aggression. It seems to me the peace movement itself is doing as much as can be expected. There is only so much that activists can do to motivate an apathetic citizenry.
I think we need to focus on apathetic as well as warmonger Democratic politicians. I'm hoping that Ned Lamont's primary challenge to Lieberman will wake up a few Democrats. I'd also like to challenge Jane Harmon and Diane Feinstein. That's the strategy we need to focus on.
I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate.
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season."
Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
Posted by: Alopex Lagopus at January 18, 2006 11:55 AM
It's not just the number of American soldiers being killed. What about the slaughter of Iraqis and total disruption of their lives with no end to this in sight? We're holding roughly 14,000 Iraqis prisoner? That's what I've heard, and that number is probably too low.
And how about living conditions there? On last night's Frontline about contractors in Iraq, enough of a scandal in itself, it was pointed out that all of them use scores of generators -- necessary in Iraq because they still don't have power. Add to that the destruction of their infrastructure in general. So Saddam was a Bad Guy. Certainly the average Iraqi wasn't. And we wonder why there's an insurgency?
Posted by: MJ at January 18, 2006 12:22 PM
"The "Battle of Seattle" must be repeated a hundred times, until people wake up and realize there is a severe problem, until the governing elite of this country comes to the realization that we will not go away, that the "chaos" and "anarchy" on the streets will not stop until something is done,"
My friend, I understand and empathize with your outrage and passion, but we tried this tactic in the '60s and tho we got out of Vietman and got a few other things passed, we unwittingly sowed the seeds of the cultural divide whch the GOP exacerbates for fun and profit daily. There are only two ways to go in mass resistance if you want to win for the long hall. One is non-violent civil disobedience and the other is economic boycott. And the civil disobedience had better not block an ambulence or other emergency vehicle.
These remedies would be simple and cheap to organize. How about on the third anniversary of the shock and awe, 50% of the US work force calls in sick and 80% refuse to buy anything but food for a week? That would get their attention!!
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