Our little apple tree has burst into beautiful white flowers for the first time. The Fig has got baby leaves on it. Spring is here in So. Cal. This is the 4th Spring since our country, under false pretenses, attacked Iraq. It's cost 3,210 US lives, 258 Coalition lives, and 64,729 Iraqi lives so far. It's cost $408,890,275,315 dollars so far.
Michael McPhearson, father of a soldier in Iraq, put the situation very well. He wrote about his first act of civil disobedience, taken last month to protest the war:
We are at a critical moment. Congress will soon vote for a $90 billion appropriation that could fund the war until the end of President Bush’s term. After this vote, Congress will have little power to end the war. We need to flood Congress with letters, phone calls, emails and faxes demanding they end funding. We must show up at their door in force. If enough of us sit in, they will end the war. If we don’t, they won’t. Maintaining a majority and a gaining the presidency is the priority of the Democrats. Ours is ending the war.
Here's an easy way to do just that: send an one-click letter to Congress saying NO MORE MONEY for this war! Next week the House will finally vote on this bill. Despite some good things in it, it would still give the President $90 Billion to keep sending troops. Tell your member of Congress "Sorry, when we say end the war, we mean end the war. Please vote against the Iraq war funding bill next week."
c/o True Majority
And we have to go to the protests AGAIN! Starhawk, one of my faves, wrote a moving letter just today about why:
I’ve got a garden to plant, and a thousand things I’d rather do, but once again this spring, I’m gearing up for action. The peace marches have become boring, strident and predictable. To be absolutely honest, I hate marching around in the street chanting the same slogans I’ve been chanting for forty years. I’m going, anyway. I’m so tired of die-ins and sit-ins and predictable speeches shouted over bullhorns that I could scream if I weren’t hearing in my ears the far more bitter screams of the dying. I’m even tired of trying to drum and sing and make the protest into a creative act of magic. It’s not creative—it’s a damn protest, and I have real creative work to do: books to write, courses to teach, and rituals to plan. Nonetheless, Sunday will find me trudging along on the peace march and Monday will find me lying down on Market Street in some picturesque fashion with a group of friends and our requisite banners.
Why? So I can look myself in the mirror without flinching, and answer to those hundred thousand ghosts. But more than that, because it’s time, friends. Public opinion has turned—now we must make it mean something real. It’s time to send the Democrats back to their committee meetings saying, “Hell, I can’t even get into my office—the halls are blocked and the streets are choked with people angry about this war.” Time to send the Republicans off to their caucuses murmuring quietly “If we continue to support this disaster we’re going to lose every semblance of power or popular support we once possessed.” Time to let the rest of the world know that dissent is alive and well here in the U.S.A. Time to regenerate a movement as nature regenerates life in the spring, with the rising energy that alone can turn our interminable trudging into a dance of defiance.
So I'm asking you all again, please go to your local peace march, vigil, sit-in, rally. There is a big one in LA on Saturday:
ALL OUT: March 17 Mass Anti-War Protest in LA
Live Music by Ozomatli, Ben Harper & Jackson Browne
Stop the War on Iraq! Fund People's Needs, Not War!
Saturday, March 17, 12 noon
Gather Hollywood and Vine
March to Hollywood and Highland
find others around the country here
MoveOn is also helping organize over 1000 vigils on Monday night, the actual anniversary of the start of the war. There's one within walking distance of our house. We'll be there:
19 Mar at 6:30 PM
Figueroa Ave. and York Bl.
Find one near you, or host one yourself, here
I'll finish with another quote from Starhawk:
Act because hundreds of thousands who are now alive are marked for death if this war goes on or expands into Iran. Act because every perfumed flower and every bud that breaks into leaf this calls to us to cherish and safeguard life.