Millions of us turned out to oppose George W. Bush. We stood in lines for hours, in the rain, as part of the largest electoral turnout in our history. Bush received a record number of votes. So did John Kerry.
I am asking you to turn out again.
Bush will be inaugurated for his second term on Thursday, January 20, 2005. Bush believes that he takes this second oath with a mandate. He says that he has capital to spend, and he means to spend it.
I am asking you to challenge this mandate.
The results of this election stunned many of us. We can credit the loss of this election to many things, to the failure of the Democratic leadership, to Kerry’s inability to connect, to the corporate-controlled mainstream media, to ruthless campaigns and well-executed grassroots mobilization, to money, to questionable voting machines and methods, to divisive wedge issues, to the flawed electoral system itself. Ultimately, however, we must look to ourselves, to our families, and to our neighbors.
The vehemence with which 58 million approved not only Bush but also restrictive amendments to 11 state constitutions and some of the most right-wing, conservative Congressional candidates to come up in years highlights a dramatic divide. Many of us saw this divide before. Now we see the extent of it. We must change it.
I am asking you to make yourselves heard. I am asking you to demand better. If 55 million of us can turn out on election day to stand in lines, then 55 million of us can turn out on Inauguration Day to tell Bush: You do not have a mandate. We can turn out and remind the other half of this nation: We are here. We represent the best ideals of this nation. You cannot ignore us. Hear us.
If you have an organization, use it to organize. If you do not, then look for one or start organizing on your own. We must make ourselves known. We must not slink back into “well, it’s over, it’s just politics, we’ll get him next time, four more years, let’s beat him in 2006 and 2008” mentalities. We cannot wait for future elections to address the problems we face today. We must act now.
This is not just politics. This is our world, our home, our family, our community, our country. We have a right to this nation and to its freedoms. We must make sure that the administration and its backers know it. We must stand in at least one city in every state, preferably more, on January 20 and say, simply, “No.” We must tell not just the administration, not just Congress, but our own communities that we will not go away.
Gather in Anchorage, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, Eugene, Salem, Seattle, Spokane, Boise, Las Vegas, Salt Lake, Phoenix, Tucson, San Diego, Missoula, Helena, Cheyenne, Denver, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, El Paso, Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Topeka, Omaha, Rapid City, Bismarck, Pierre, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Des Moines, Dubuque, Independence, St. Louis, Springfield, Chicago, Little Rock, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Texarkana, Gary, Indianapolis, Louisville, Lexington, Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Jackson, Montgomery, Atlanta, Savanna, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Columbia, Charlotte, Raleigh, Norfolk, Richmond, Alexandria, D.C., Baltimore, Charleston, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, Lansing, Detroit, Pittsburg, Youngstown, Philadelphia, New York, Newark, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Hartford, Providence, Boston, Montpelier, Concord, Augusta, Portland, Honolulu.
On January 20, gather in your city centers or in the heart of your own communities. If you oppose any policy of the Bush administration, if you have any doubts, if you have any concerns, bring them and show them. Carry a sign that says simply, No; carry a sign that says, No Mandate; carry a sign that says No War or No Tax Breaks for the Moneyed Elite; carry a sign that says Peace Is Moral, Healthcare Is Moral, Respect Is Moral, My Family Is Moral; carry a sign with an image of your children, with an image of Iraqi children, with an image of our troops.
We have a lot to do, and I know that we do not all agree, but right now, we agree on one thing and we must begin. Whatever your beliefs, whatever other actions you may plan, please come together in this one effort to be heard together.
The captivity of our society, culture, and government by intolerant and militant forces angers and saddens me. It angers me not because I disagree with the positions of others but because I believe that this nation is crashing down a dangerous, reckless, destructive path. It angers me because I believe the Bush administration and Congress and all who have supported them have endangered my son’s life, my son’s future, your sons and daughters and families, the world’s sons and daughters, and the very earth beneath us. The hypocrisy, the neglect, the abuse, and the murder anger me.
I believe you must respect and show compassion for the life that is living. To do the following, as the administration and its supporters do, is immoral. To do the following disrespects and endangers life:
• Deny rights to certain sectors of the population;
• Control the bodies of others in an effort to protect the unborn without providing for the born;
• Wage war maliciously, preemptively and dishonestly;
• Train and support some terrorists and oppose others;
• Dismiss rather than discuss;
• Command rather than cooperate;
• Elevate an activist judge of one stripe while disallowing another;
• Put the teeth of the Bible or any religious text in our schools and our White House without enshrining its heart in your own;
• Rape the earth;
• Abuse workers here and around the world;
• Justify harm in the name of any god;
• Equate a minimum-wage, part-time job at Wal-Mart with a living-wage, full-time job with benefits in manufacturing, industry, and technology;
• Put troops into battle while denying veterans benefits;
• Deny health care to taxpayers and their families, who pay taxes to provide health insurance to the president, his staff, the congress, and all civil servants;
• Sell out public airwaves, public lands, public resources, public energy, public savings;
• Preach to those in poverty while you amass wealthy and luxury;
• Spend more on prisons than on schools.
If you agree with anything I have said, then gather. We must defy the idea that this is just politics. We must remind the nation that democracy is ongoing, that it requires ongoing participation and defiance. We have too much to do, to change, to share and to learn to let this go. Many of us do not believe we can compromise any more. Many of us do not believe the country has enough common ground left on which to unite. Many of us do. Many want to try. Many want to fight. Either way, we must begin with something.
Please join me on January 20. We do not have to march and yell. I ask only that we gather, in silence, with signs, with words and images, with ourselves. I ask that we lodge ourselves in our city centers for the duration of the Inauguration. I ask that we bring all who voted and those who didn’t. I ask that we bring our children. I ask that we stand and be counted again.
Check your local organizations and media to see if someone has begun organizing. If not, begin yourself. If you are affiliated with an organization, get the word out. We control this. We can do this. Let’s start now.