Somehow, the disconnect persists. Despite a steady stream of polls and statements indicating public opposition to the war in Iraq, the stay-the-course consensus continues to suffocate DC.
Last week, a New York Times poll showed that 52 percent of Americans want immediate withdrawal, and that only 44 percent now feel that the United States "made the right decision in taking military action against Iraq." Yet, aside from a select group of representatives--like Progressive Caucus chair Lynn Woolsey, who convened an unofficial hearing on withdrawal last Thursday--calls for real change have been met with deaf ears on the part of the political class.
But, as tens of thousands of citizens are set to converge on the Mall this weekend for what could be the largest US protest yet against the Iraq war, and with some of America's largest cities having passed resolutions calling for a pullout, ignoring the public may no longer be politically tenable. Last week, the Chicago City Council voted 29 to 9 to become the largest US city to pass the "Bring Them Home Now" resolution. The Windy City joins Philadelphia, San Francisco, and more than fifty other municipalities that have called for withdrawal.
"When you have a city as diverse and as large as Chicago weighing in on this important issue, I think it will have real impact," Ald. Joseph Moore (49th), a leading sponsor of the resolution, told the Chicago Tribune. "We are from the heartland."
The nationwide push for local resolutions is being led by Cities for Progress, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies, which also works towards passing local bills on extending health care benefits, establishing living wages and opposing the Patriot Act. The movement has grown considerably since its inception last March, when dozens of towns and cities in Vermont called for withdrawal. Organized labor has joined in too: in July, the AFL-CIO called for "the rapid return of US troops" and scores of local, state, and national labor organizations have passed similar resolutions.
If you're tired of seeing $5 billion squandered each month in Iraq while our own national infrastructure remains in a shambles, click here to download a step-by-step guide detailing how to help convince your City Council members to pass the resolution. The tide's not going to turn without us.
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Co-written by Sam Graham-Felsen, a freelance journalist, documentary filmmaker and blogger (www.boldprint.net) living in Brooklyn.