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Congressman Filner at San Diego FTAA forum

by Guy Berliner (for San Diego Indymedia) Saturday, Apr. 21, 2001 at 10:22 PM
1-619-233-5002

Comment by one attendee on remarks and personal interaction with Congressman Bob Filner at San Diego FTAA forum/teachin

The FTAA forum this Friday night at the First

Unitarian Church in the Hillcrest neighborhood

of San Diego started off with a brief talk by

San Diego Congressman Bob Filner (D).

Filner drew parallels between Reagan-era

"trickle-down" economics and the FTAA. He said

we have seen the effects of such policies, and it

it is time for a new agenda, which he referred to as

"percolate up." He said he, for one, was tired of

being "trickled on" by the social elites, drawing

laughs from the crowd. Instead of conferring endless

privileges, taxcuts, and like giveaways to the rich

and hoping that the benefits to them will somehow

"trickle down" to the rest of us, he suggested we

needed policies that would directly benefit the

majority of people, and give them greater input into

decisionmaking.

Filner also cited California's disastrous experiment

with electricity deregulation as an example of the

same economic zealotry. He singled it out as one of

the greatest thefts of wealth from working people to

the rich in the state's history. He called for

seizing the assets of companies implicated in

the fiasco.

Filner's talk was brief. He clearly spoke off the cuff,

not from a prepared text. He expressed gratitude to all

of us there for fighting the good fight.

On a personal note, when Congressman Filner walked past

the aisle where I sat, I caught him briefly to express

my gratitude for his actions this past January 6th. That

day, Filner was one of only a dozen Congress members to

challenge the Florida Presidential electors, calling

into question the legitimacy of the recently "elected"

President.

In a very brief but poignant moment, the Congressman,

clearly moved, said, "You know, I did it on impulse.

It just seemed like the right thing. And I somehow

thought that everyone would follow me. But no one did."

I was deeply moved by the Congressman's candor. It

brought home to me the enormous and insidious power of

the men -- seen and unseen -- who call the shots in

our country. Only eleven others of Filner's colleagues

saw fit to take a principled stand against the travesty

that was election 2000 in this country -- an "election"

about which we seem to learn more and more shocking

details, albeit usually from the BBC or other

non-corporate, non-US based media. I could not help but

be reminded of the bizarre Skull-n-Bones "rites of

passage" described in Ron Rosenbaum's recent piece on

New York Indymedia

(http://www.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=35574&group=webcast),

a rite endured by every initiate, including George

Bush Jr and his father before him, upon induction into

this elite fraternity of America's Golden Boys so many

of whom rule the leading corporate and government

institutions of the country.

In any case, one doesn't have to subscribe to conspiracy

theories to get a feeling something is deeply amiss

in this country's alleged democracy. Here was a Congressman,

a member of the country's greatest lawmaking body, from a

safe district, expressing powerlessness and bewilderment.

Filner's anguished admission brings home the fact that, if

ordinary citizens want a different future than the

one being crafted for them now by others, they won't be

able to rely on anyone but themselves to lead the way.

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