Division, Danger and Diversion | The Nation


Division, Danger and Diversion

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Division. Danger. Diversion.

This is the text of the speech given by the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., at the anti-war rally in Washington, DC, on Saturday, October 26.

About the Author

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson
The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson is founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

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Resolving this injustice could open doors for diplomacy between the US and North Korea. 

A transparent election in Côte d'Ivoire is essential to restoring that country's democracy and economic might. It is time for Côte d'Ivoire to overcome its history of violence.

And potentially destabilization. Those "4 Ds" will be the legacy of this partisan, quick-let's-change-the-subject, unilateral, short-term strategy. But we do not have to go there. We could try another list of Ds: debate; deliberation; delivering aid and investment.

We could try democracy.

The Bush Administration mistrusts democracy so much that they even double-crossed the 9/11 families. Bush promised them a commission, to find out what went on prior to 9/11. Then, when the press wasn't looking, he betrayed those families.

We need to change his mind. We need a 9/11 commission, and we need some regular citizens on it, not just Congressmen and other elites. We need some of the 9/11 family members on that commission.

There is still time. We can still stop this war. And you, especially the young people among you, could lead the way.

If we trust in democracy, we will build a new peace movement based on nonviolence, and reaching out directly to regular Americans, to soldiers.

This time, the "silent majority" is on our side. Most Americans do not want this war.

If we trust democracy, we will come alive November 5. We will take advantage of the right to vote, that so many martyrs gave their lives for. Let's come alive November 5 for Paul and Sheila Wellstone.

A Democratic History

Look at America through an open door, not through a narrow keyhole.

One way to look at America is the story of an expanding democracy, attained through struggle. Nonviolent struggle. Coalition struggle. Principled struggle. The sons of liberty, throwing tea into Boston harbor. The suffragettes, chained to the White House fence. UAW sit-down strikes in Flint, Michigan. Cesar Chavez's grape boycotts. The Montgomery bus boycott. Selma. "Letter From a Birmingham Jail." Dr. King and the march on Washington. Marches for women's rights, gay and lesbian rights, here on this mall. Vietnam Moratorium Day, right on this mall, thirty-three years ago.

You are here today, in that tradition. A history of hope, of struggle, of change.

Never forget what Dr. King taught us: The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.

Someday soon, swords will be beaten into plowshares.

Someday soon, lions will lie down with lambs.

Someday soon, justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

The struggle for peace will be long. It may be unpopular; but it must continue. Paul Wellstone's death challenges us to choose reconciliation, choose negotiation, containment, coalition--to choose hope, not war. We must choose co-existence over co-annihilation.

Remember Dr. King's teaching:

Vanity asks, Is it popular?

Politics asks, Will it work? Can I win?

Morality and conscience ask, Is it right?

This is the haunting, urgent question now. Is it right? Is war necessary? Is it a remedy? Is it right?

Keep hope alive!

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