by Martin Murie
(Swans - September 8, 2008) Alison and I searched the media for reports on protest at the meeting of the Donkey tribe. Nothing, except for a brief mention in The New York Times that protesters would be allowed space the size of a football field, out of sight, out of mind. But yesterday, at a truck stop on our way home, we saw a full report on protest in USA Today. Headline: "Protesters Mix With Music, Then March To Pepsi Center." An estimated 8,000 people gathered at the Denver Coliseum, music supplied by Rage Against The Machine. "We are here to hold the Democratic Party accountable," said Jason Hurd, a National Guard veteran of ten years. "We voted them into office in '06 and they have not done their job."
Ron Kovic, paralyzed Vietnam War vet was there. He said, "This is history happening."
The march to the Pepsi Center was led by "about 30" Iraq Veterans Against the War members who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan. USA Today even showed a photo of demonstrators. A banner reading "Support GI Resistance" formed the front border of "more than 1,000 protestors."
While Jim Lehrer and his carefully selected "experts" talked knowingly about the "historic" event inside the Pepsi Center, protesters were putting their bodies on the line, watched by wary cops armed with pepper spray and batons. Those demonstrators are an integral part of the history of our country, carrying on the tradition of peaceable assembly to express grievances that is written into the Constitution.
Barack Obama has pledged to pull troops from Iraq and "redeploy" some of them in Afghanistan within 16 months of his taking office as president. Sixteen months is an awfully long time. Obama, in his desperate attempt to please everyone, will step into the imperial presidency bear trap and the wars will go on. We are in the sixth year of this tragic, unnecessary, and illegal invasion of a sovereign nation, an invasion launched on a tide of lies.
Did you notice the "world leadership" pose and, especially, the rhetoric throughout the gathering that every child should have a chance to climb as far as his or her abilities allow into the ever-growing economy and dangerous strife of the U. S. of A? This is rugged individualism gone wild. The care by which the politicians stayed inside the bounds of polite discourse was astounding. The closest anyone came to switching to a COMMUNAL response to the mess we Americans are in was given by Hillary Clinton, who called on the gathering to think of themselves as together. Follow the Leader theme overwhelmed everything else. This is Sure Death to building a democratic people's movement.
It is another "historic moment" when national and local media follow the standard line, keep protests unmentioned, hidden away. That too will be noticed by future historians, if our species survives long enough to create a new brand of historians.
Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader, and other "minor" candidates, what about them? Why aren't they all invited to the debates? How more miserably mean and corrupt can we get? This too will be noted by future commentators.
McKinney, an experienced politician, is far savvier than the blatherers we heard in Denver and will hear from the gathering of elephants. Cynthia has fire, and that is what we desperately need now. Let's not spend our energy on Follow the Leader. Let's support fringe candidates who are at the heart of our attempt to bring people power into being. The "minor" candidates know they don't have a chance to win; they know full well that they are a part of an upsurge a-building. Yes, even in far north New York State.
If you find our work useful and appreciate its quality, please consider making aMoney is spent to pay for Internet costs, maintenance and upgrade of our computer network, and development of the site.