Sunday, January 28, 2007

Peace March Weekend Report

I didn’t make it out to any of the Peace Marches that simultaneously went on while the main march was going on in Washington DC yesterday. I’ve been pretty sick and laying on the sofa for the most part of the last three days. But I did see where C-Span was going to have live coverage of the march, so I watched it on TV.

Hard to say from the cameras that were panning the crowd how many were there. The commentator, when the broadcast was over, said there were several thousand people.

Actor Timothy Robbins had some good things to say. Jesse Jackson, Medea Benjamin, the founder of Code Pink, also spoke up against the war in Iraq. Jane Fonda was one of the dignitaries on stage.

The caption at the bottom of the TV screen simply said, Jane Fonda, Actress. But I remember her being so much more than that when the Vietnam war was going on. She was an activist to end that war 35 years ago just as she is now. I was angered at her way of doing things back then. Many thought that she was siding with the North Vietnamese, the very people that our government told us were the enemy.

After my combat duty in Vietnam, I decided, like Utah Phillips said, “After Korea, I decided not to let anyone tell me who my enemies are,”

Jane Fonda has been consistent with being against war, that I can say for her. And with some forgiveness on my part, it’s not hard to listen to what she has to say about this current war. The difference this time around is that she now wears the insignia of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and if she is practicing what she is preaching. She is now Honoring the Warrior and Not the War.

Otherwise, as Peace Rallies go, this was pretty normal. Speakers making their poignant comments, thousands carrying signs, all wanting an end to war. I couldn’t help but notice that even though there were many people there, I saw no sign of any major media coverage and didn’t see any political leaders showcased as either speakers or even being in attendance.

In fact, C-Span went right on to a Town Meeting in Iowa where Hillary Clinton was speaking. This is one of her first appearances as she is planning on a run for the White House in 2008. The question and answer period after her short speech answers some questions in what I would consider a good way, and in others as not so good.

For instance, she says she will fight now as a Senator and in the future if she gets elected President, for Universal Health Care, continued total funding for Veterans Benefits and Education. She didn’t answer questions about the 22,000 troop surge or the war.

She told of the 1993 Health Care programs put forth during the Clinton years in the White House, and that this current administration has cut back on these and many others, like Veterans Services. She mentioned the No Child Left Behind program and lambasted it because it is driven by test scores. She claims that a test score is a point in time general guide that doesn’t take into consideration the individual student, their learning style, background, socioeconomic status and environment. I agree with all of that.

Teach your Children

My problem is that I feel that if our country being at war is not the first priority of a politician, they aren’t worth any consideration. Men and women dying must be more important than any other issue. And it makes perfect sense to me that 500 billion dollars would fund a lot of programs that the American people seem to be asking for to get the balance of rich to poor to look more like a bar instead of a slope.

When Hillary was asked about troop surge from a Veteran of the first Gulf War in 1991, she told of the terrible situation that we have because we have to fund the VA every year and overall, we’ve lost funding dollars, and how this is wrong. But there was no response to “the surge” or the war in general.

I wonder what part of America she is seeing. I wonder if any of our elected officials are willing to stand up and just call for an end to it. Maxine Waters has. Kucinich has. Looks like they have the same problem in the legislative branches of government that we do in the private sector. Not enough showing up to make a difference that can not be ignored.

There is a guy on the blogs and I read his comments around a few sites I visit. He once commented about the war, ‘I looked out my window and I didn’t see anything so I don’t worry about the war.’ or words closely to that effect.

I hope and pray the tanks don’t ever rumble up our own driveways. I hope and pary we can be strong enough in words and actions to make a difference now. Keep up the hard work.


betmo said...

well, in all fairness to jane- she was part of a movement that was leading the way. there had not been a movement like that in any other time in history- although there have always been war protesters. she was a young person and young people don't often see complexities. if she has taken the last 30+ years and grown up and realized that you can criticize the war and value and support the warriors- then take her as who she is now. not having been aware of my surroundings at that time :) i won't prejudge jane or the vietnam vets who can't or won't forgive her.

Mary said...

The Washington Post reported that it was 10's of thousands and the organizers said 100's of thousands. I was there and have no reference for either number but I think the pictures will show there were alot of damn people there. It was awesome.

No said...

Are you going to be holding your peace ralley today in Ashland today? I don't know how the weather is where you are, but in my neck of the woods, it is about 100 degrees below zero today!!

Fuzzylogic said...

I have missed out on all the happenings at this blog of yours Spadoman.Great work and I agree,why is not even a single politician able to call a spade a spade and talk openly against the war.I wish you all the best and its good to see people making such a honest effort to have the voices heard.I know which blog you are referring about that guy who said that and it is sad to see how not many people care.I definetly honor the soldier and not the war.Take care and hope you are feeling better now!

deuddersun said...

The Jury is still out on Jane Fonda with me. I can't forget that she was passed notes to loved ones from American POW's and she turned them over to their North Vietnamese captors. I think she should stay home and support the effort financially. She is too divisive and provides ammunition for the Right to dredge up her inglorious past and use it to paint all of us who are against the war as also being against the troops. I can see no good reason for her to be involved in this. I, personally, will not participate in any thing involving her.

Stay home Jane, stay home.