Will You March For The First Amendment?
By Jeanette Pontacq
The worldwide protests against Bush's War on Iraq slowed down his timetable. Congrats to everyone who marched, spoke out or acted out. Vive La France! There are good signs that many in the world have woken up to what the Bush Regime has in store for them if left unchecked. Whether a majority of Americans have woken up is an unanswered question so far.
Unfortunately, Bush has already sent a huge military presence to sit on Iraq's border and wait for orders to attack. That costs a lot of money...money we don't have because of Bush's deficit. Further, an army loses its "edge" rapidly if held in place too long without action. So something has to give. Either Bush needs to bring 'em back or he needs to use them.
Let's pretend Bush makes the unlikely choice to let the inspectors take over for as long as it takes. The first thing to happen will be that most of the marchers in the US will declare victory and go home. That is what happened after Vietnam and it will likely happen again. Getting people out on the streets in such numbers depends on having a big, easy-to-understand disaster to get the juices flowing.
We all need to understand that, even if the War on Iraq disappears, Bush will still be President. He believes God appointed him in order to conquer evil. His coterie of far-right fundamentalists will still be in control of our government. They will still push his messianic vision of unilateral global domination through absolute military superiority, just with different targets.
Other things that will remain the same: basic economic reforms needed to restructure/clean up our market system will not be addressed; corporate needs will still take precedence over the needs of the people; the very fabric of America, embodied in our Constitution, will continue to be the target of those who want to reduce our freedoms and create an Orwellian world where our every move is watched and dissenters detained. Unions will continue to be targeted for destruction. Workplace safety regulations will still be gutted. Basic environmental safeguards will be sacrificed to the financial needs of the corporations.
Americans will still be made fearful by jingoistic sound bites as news by the corporate media. Once in a while, an uncensored news item might get through, but not often. CNN disclosed several weeks ago that the military had decided sending body bags back to American families would not do well on the 6 o'clock news. The generals thus decided "our" dead soldiers would be cremated overseas. Thus no photographs of flag-draped coffins arriving en masse. After that one accidental disclosure on CNN, the issue never surfaced again as it shocked even the conservative talking heads. Which does not mean the military dropped the idea, only that the media did.
I find it hard to believe there will be large protest marches as Bush dismantles our America. A measured dismantling of the Constitution is not "sexy" enough for mass protests. Without a high-profile, easily-understood issue (such as the War on Iraq) to bring disparate groups together, those who understand the consequences will be back to writing letters to mostly-cowardly legislators. West Marin women will need to spell out longer sentences with their naked bodies... like Hands Off The Clean Air Act or Save The First Amendment.
Iraq or no Iraq, we need to get rid of George Bush via the 2004 Presidential Election. If he wins, his team will have no constraints at all on its far-right agenda. You can kiss the Constitutional protections goodbye. Only a Democrat can take the election from Bush: indisputable fact! And there IS a difference...not much...but enough to save our rights and at least give the people a chance to regroup.
The Marin Democratic Central Committee meets on the first Thursday of every month at Whistlestop in San Rafael, 7 p.m. I am told the Marin Dems are generally more progressive than the national party, but they have not even passed a resolution against war in Iraq, or in support of the Constitution. I am also told that there is a Democratic Club, generally more "out there." They meet on the third Wednesday of the month, same place.
March 6th is the next meeting of the Marin Democrats. Democracy is a messy and dangerous business. We have one year and nine months to take back our country using the only tool we have, the ballot box and the Democratic Party. I'll be there on the 6th, will you?
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