Help prove that the public supports peace by donating money to the campaigns of members of Congress who voted against the war and now face tough re-election campaigns. And let the pols know exactly why you're supporting them. Chief among these, according to MoveOn.org, are Paul Wellstone, who faces a brutal Senate race in Minnesota, and Rick Larsen, Rush Holt and Jay Inslee, all running for re-election in hotly contested House districts.
Regardless of who's in office, though, it's critical to build up the grassroots. A national movement will give decent legislators the backbone to stand up to the hawks and will serve notice to less enlightened members of Congress that there will be political costs to their support for war. And the notion of peace is gaining traction. As the Washington Post reported yesterday--a week after The Nation's Liza Featherstone wrote about a nascent peace movement--people are seeing a "rising tide of student activism, of protesting by people who have never protested before and of an engagement on the issue that was absent prior to US involvement in Vietnam."
There are big marches being planned in Washington, DC, and San Francisco for October 26, as well as smaller events happening almost continously nationwide. The country is clearly not united behind Bush's policy of regime change in Iraq. The larger the protests, the more difficult this will be to ignore.
A majority of House Democrats on Thursday rejected President Bush's request for blank-check authority to wage war with Iraq, despite the fact that House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Missouri, helped draft the resolution and lobbied for its passage.
As expected, the resolution authorizing Bush to order the invasion of Iraq â€“ without a Congressional declaration of war -- passed the House and Senate easily in votes late Thursday and early Friday. The Senate approved the resolution by a lopsided 77-23 vote; the House by a somewhat narrower 296-133 margin.
The surprise came in the size of the vote against the resolution. Just weeks ago, when foes of the administration canvassed the House to determine the size of the opposition bloc, they counted just a few dozen firm votes against the administration's proposal.
You couldn't tell from press accounts, but more than 90,000 people massed last Sunday in nationwide protests against Bush's plans to invade Iraq. The New York Times reported "several thousand people" filling the East Meadow in New York City's Central Park for an afternoon rally. But organizers, and numerous Nation eyewitnesses, put the number much closer to 20,000.
Staged by Not In Our Name, an ad hoc coalition of groups and individuals, the day's efforts were largely focused around the Pledge of Resistance, a set of principles laying down a philosophical foundation for political and social activism. And the momentum is building. The Institute for Policy Studies has compiled a list of more than 250 events planned in the coming weeks on college campuses, in churches and in Congressional offices. This number could jump dramatically after today's Congressional vote in favor of Bush's war resolution. Check out UnitedForPeace, a new site recently launched by Global Exchange, for a close-to-comprehensive collection of event listings coast to coast.
Even after today's 296-133 House vote supporting the Administration's resolution, there's still time to make Iraq a key campaign issue in next month's elections. Get tips from the National Network to End the War Against Iraq, a nationwide coalition of more than 140 peace and justice, student and faith-based organizations. And after this week's votes in support of war, you might be tempted to consider Michael Moore's pledge to never again vote for any Democratic member of Congress who supports George W. Bush's war against Iraq.
With the 1996 welfare law expiring this fall, Congressmembers would do
well to stop congratulating themselves on its alleged successes and turn
their attention to the glaring failures of the ne
I was having dinner at a rather expensive restaurant the other night
when a man I'd never met before threatened to kill me. He was a
distinguished-looking fellow, dressed in a dark suit.