With the exception of Rev. Al Sharpton, the performances at Wednesday nights Democratic National Convention were a cross between a Simpsons Halloween Special and Saturday Night Live in its heyday. The fascist Barbie Governor of Michigan and John Edward's lizard like tongue movements punctuated by a nano-second Jimmy Carter Grin offer fertile fodder for any moderately talented comedian. Unfortunately the future of our country and the planet are not laughing matters.
After hearing over and over again of Kerry's military record and promises to expand the military and the "Homeland Security" budget can anyone honestly say that a vote for Kerry is the lesser of 2 evils?
Tear gas, batons, riot gear, bullets, bullet proof vests,K-Rations(or whatever letter they're up to) bombs, planes, surveillance equipment all make a lot of money for a lot of people.
Around the world these products maintain a world order that makes it safe for people to work for a pittance. A world order that makes it safe for people to die of diseases that are preventable and curable. A world order that makes it safe for American corporations to murder those who organize for decent pay and working conditions. A world order that makes drug use-legal and illegal commonplace "in the greatest country in the world in the best of all possible times." A world order that gives young people a choice of war or prison.
Strengthen homeland security-more women being forced to drink their own breast milk before they're allowed to board an airplane? More hollywood hotties forced to bear their chests to show their nipple rings? More easily recognizable actors made to take their shoes off to show they have no weapons? More men with guns at the entrance to parking lots, bridges and tunnels as we drive around this "free" country?
The war that John Kerry fought in was a war against the tiny country of Vietnam. this is a country that fought the Japanese, then the French before the US came. Already devastated from years of war, they did not have fancy weapons. They didn't travel halfway across the world to bring communism to our shores. They were invaded by the most powerful military machine the world has ever seen and they won anyway. Men, women and children fought against the invaders who raped, mutilated and burned their way across their land. Since when is that something to be proud of? The DNC has loads of veterans telling of their support for John Kerry. Where are the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW?) Outside most likely.
When they played, "Dancing in the Streets" they didn't segue to the "free speech zone."
Which brings me to the musical part of the Convention. Let's start with:
Jackson Brownes, "Lives in the Balance"-
"They sell us the President the same way they sell us our clothes and our cars. They sell us everything from youth to religion the same time they sell us our wars."
Well I guess we'll buy anything.
Al Sharpton made a great speech. He ended by saying something like, we never got our 40 acres and a mule, but we're going to ride this donkey as far as it will take us.
I don't think that's the right way to go right now. Maybe it's because I'm 50. I remember going to see Mc Govern speak in Elizabeth NJ in 1972. I remember that I disliked Nixon, but I did not feel that McGovern was enough. Later, I succumbed to the lesser of 2 evils argument and voted for Carter. In all that time, which way has the world gone? Since Vietnam and Chile, Newark and Detroit, Kent and Jackson State, the murders of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, El Salvador and Nicaragua, Cointelpro, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, the Patriot Act and Iraq again when is it going to stop?
Get off the donkey. Give it a whack on the rearend and send it packing. John Edwards was saying last night, "Hope is on the way." Well hope as been on the way for more than 200 years. When's it gonna get here? And what will it do when it does. Do we really need more hope? You can't eat hope. Hope can't shelter you or clothe you or give you medical care education clean air and water, a sustainable environment or peace. It takes more than hope for that. It takes action.
Those of us who have fought in whatever small way for justice and democracy know what acting means. We stand with the Americans who fought for decent and safe working conditions; who organized labor before it was legal;
Song: Solidarity Forever
"They have taken untold power that they never toiled to earn.
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.
We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn,
the union makes us strong."Sub: In union we are strong.
Who fought for civil rights
Song: Aint Gonna let nobody turn me 'round
Turn me round, turn me round.
Ain't gonna let nobody tun me 'round.
I'm gonna keep on walking, keep on talking
Marching toward freedom land.
For womens rights
Song: Bread and Roses
"As we go marching marching.
We bring the greater day.
The rising of the women
means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler
Ten that toil while one reposes.
But a sharing of lifes glory
Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses."
Who fought to keep schools and firehouses and libraries open in our communities.
Song: It Isn't Nice
It isn't nice to block the doorways.
It isn't nice to go to jail.
There are nicer ways to do things.
But the nice ways always fail.
It isn't nice, it isn't nice.
You told us once, you told us twice,
but if that is freedoms price, we don't mind."
Who fought so no husband, father, son mother, wife or daughter would have to die halfway across the world "hanging on the barbed wire, crying out for water."
Song: Masters of War
Well what do I know to talk out of turn?
You might say that I'm young.
You might say I'm unlearned.
There's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you:
Even Jesus could never forgive what you do."
It's past time to part company with the donkey. We can walk together forward "in a column that's a century-wide. It's still a long and a hard and a bloody ride" in 2004.