I am a peacenik

I am a "peacenik" ~ one of those crazy people who believes that war is never justified.

I am a "peacenik" ~ my favorite philosophers are Gandhi, Jesus and Buddha.  In fact, I believe that philosophical discussions should begin and end with Gandhi, Jesus and Buddha.  I am not Buddhist...I tried to follow Buddhism once (the version advocated by Buddha himself, not the watered down ones that is in vogue these days), but had to give up because it was too hard (I could not stop wanting things, and desire is a No-No in Buddhism).  I tried to follow Christianity once (the version that means being like Christ), but had to give up... I ended up concluding that there has only ever been one true Christian, and He is dead.  The rest of us are just pretenders.  Fortunately, Gandhi did not advocate any new religion that I can fail at, and I have become somewhat good at the only 2 things Gandhi ever advocated as "religion".

I am a "peacenik" ~ I have solar panels on the roof, and I marched against the war in 2003.  I believe that Gandhi would have prevented the holocaust if he wasn't in prison, and that he could have walked on water if he had wanted to.

I am a "peacenik" ~ and yet, I have sent money to the HRC for President campaign (and before that, I supported Joe Biden).  My friends often ask me why ?  They both voted for AUMF, how can you support them ?  Why do you not support Obama, who was against the war back then ?

The answer is quite simple: my anger is directed not at Clinton, or Biden; but at the American people.  I remember the dark days of late 2002, early 2003.  The duly elected American President, with near universal support of the American people, and with bipartisan support of the American congress was on a warpath.  I remember marching against the war in Hollywood, and telling my wife "I think that if we can get 51 million people to march against the war, the war will be prevented" (because Bush had gotten 50 million odd votes in 2000).  But that was never going to happen.. About 2 million people marched across the US ~ we were 49 million short.  Were were YOU, and YOU, and YOU!  All of YOU that are now so horrified at the war...where were you back in 2002/2003.

Ah yes, I remember... YOU were busy sending Max Cleland to an early retirement... because he was too soft on Osama.  This is MAX CLELAND... the man who left 3 limbs in Vietnam... he was called a traitor, and YOU did not rise to his defense.  In fact, YOU cheered the man who called him a traitor.

YOU were busy jeering those of us who marched.  "Nuke Iraq, Nuke Iraq", we heard from those Hollywood liberals that you see in Hollywood.  "*uck Saddam", shouted a yellow haired hippie that was the spitting image of what Republicans love to campaign against.  "You did not know anyone that died during 9-11, did you ?" asked a latte sipping male in his mid-40s of a friend of mine who was distributing pamphlets at a Starbucks. "We are going to stand with the NYPD... marchers are not allowed on the sidewalk" declared a posse of policemen when one of us wanted to go to a public bathroom close to the Mann's Chinese Theater.

I was not surprised that the Democrats in Congress voted for AUMF.  I was disappointed, yes...but not surprised.  Courage is hard to come by in public office.  There have been some instances of courage in politicians.. I remember 1992, when several democrats voted for Bill Clinton's "tax package" knowing that it would cost them their reelection (the famous losses incurred by the Democrats during the 1990s was largely the result of this courageous vote).  Marjorie Margolies Mezvinsky...the congresswoman from Philadelphia who cast the deciding vote comes to mind (and yes, she too lost in 1994...in a landslide).  And then there is the famous example of Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Right legislation, even know he knew he was handing the South to the Republicans for a whole generation.  Courage is hard to come by in politicians, but it does happen...and so I was hopeful, but in the end, the American people wanted blood...and the politicians voted for blood.

It is better to be strong and wrong, than to be weak and right...these were Bill Clinton's words; and he was the only one that democrats could look to..to make any sense.  It is no wonder that they caved.  They caved in the Senate, in the House, and in Statehouses all over the US.  They caved on the streets, and on TV.  They all caved.  Even General Schwarzkopf (Stormin Normin himself), who had initially opposed the war, caved... last he was heard, he was sputtering that "he was with the 85% of the American public who were for the war"

The only ones that did not cave were the ones that were in safely democratic districts (with very few exceptions...Paul Wellstone comes to mind).  Barack Obama was in a safe district, his job was not on the line... he could afford to be courageous.  Barbara Lee was in a safe district... her job was not on the line.  Al Gore was already a joke (Mr Calculator himself..such a pity that they could do that to him), and was risking nothing in speaking out against the war.

They all caved when it counted.  And for that, I am not angry at them.  I am not angry at Bill Clinton, I am not angry at Hillary Clinton, I am not angry at Joe Biden.. I am angry at YOU.

Obama had it right when he said "we are the ones we have been waiting for" It also means that WE should be angry at ourselves for what WE did in 2002/2003.

Alas, the WE includes YOU, but it also includes me.. and I am a peacenik.

Tags: AUMF, Buddha, clinton, Gandhi, obama, war (all tags)



Re: I am a peacenik

Well said.  I hope that my generation, which grew up with Vietnam and Watergate as distant memories, has learned a grave lesson.  I certainly know that I have.

by freedom78 2008-02-21 07:23PM | 0 recs
Re: I am a peacenik

The cynic in me believes that "we" never ever learn any lessons.  But then, I remember Gandhi's words which are quoted in my signature... and I feel better !

by SevenStrings 2008-02-21 07:26PM | 0 recs
Re: I am a peacenik

Leadership is standing for what's right in the face of public opinion.

by Satori 2008-02-21 07:51PM | 0 recs
Re: I am a peacenik

What is right and what is wrong ??

That is not an easy question...that has never been an easy question.  (1) we must do all we can to find out what is right and what is wrong.

It is easy(ER) to stand for what is right once you know what is right... the right always prevails...always! Without fail...no exceptions.

That was Gandhi's 2 part religion.  Simple, isnt it ??

by SevenStrings 2008-02-21 07:56PM | 0 recs
Re: I am a peacenik

You, Satori are very wise.  I'm both impressed with your chosen screen name as well as your subtleties...

by freespeechnow 2008-02-21 07:58PM | 0 recs
Re: I am a peacenik

I'm with you on that one, but I will note the 23 dissenting votes on the AUMF before passing judgement on the population at large.  I thought the collapse of collective conscience and opposition on the part of Congressional Democrats, with a few notable exceptions, was deplorable.  I cannot think of any good reason to reward that conduct now and I believe it cost us the election in 2004.

And the media, the NYT and the whole lot of them, just caved in too, in fact fanned the flames of pointless antagonism.  The low point in our recent history, if you ask me, and the comparisons to a nation responding to Pearl Harbour just made it worse.  Shame on the lot of us.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-02-21 08:53PM | 0 recs
Re: I am a peacenik

Great post. Isn't it ironic that Ted Kennedy and John Kerry keep reminding America that Hillary Clinton voted for the war?

by LadyEagle 2008-02-22 03:32AM | 0 recs
Re: I am a peacenik

The newly converted always bring irrational fervor to the cause...Ted Kennedy and John Kerry are just 2 examples of that.  If you look around, you will see many more amongst your friends, family, coworkers etc.

by SevenStrings 2008-02-22 06:16AM | 0 recs
Re: I am a peacenik


by SevenStrings 2008-02-22 06:15AM | 0 recs


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