“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
Chicago. In Union Park. It’s noon on Saturday. The weather is cold and bleak enough to make one wonder if today will be worth it or not. The people are coming in to the park in waves. It really is a sight to see as the police are across the street watching the park getting ready to choose their positions for during the rally. However, that is not my concern. My concerns are the many people walking around with petitions who are from various different parties.
I get on the phone and call my partner in crime who has been going with me everywhere in Chicago to get signatures for Dennis Kucinich to get on the ballot in Illinois. I mention that Bill Richardson’s campaign is here already with a table. We should have our base set up and be attracting pissed off voters to our table telling them how Dennis is the answer right now. I tell him to hurry and hang up.
Our group, Greater Chicagoans for Dennis Kucinich, gets here minutes later. It soon is apparent that we aren’t the only group offering a way out of this mess America is in. The Ron Paul Revolutionaries are here trying to get Democratic voters to switch parties for Ron Paul’s isolationist foreign policy. The Green Party members are getting signatures so they can run several candidates in the Green Party primary in Illinois as an alternative to our two-party dictatorship. The Socialists and Communists are walking around giving out flyers for a workshop where they will discuss how to defeat our disgraceful capitalist system that has made our nation so wicked. No matter how much we agree on ending the war, stopping a war with Iran, impeaching Cheney then Bush, and regaining our stolen civil liberties, it is clear that we stand divided on how to achieve those goals.
The people are now flowing into the park in a steady stream. The clouds are parting and the sun is shining. People talk about loving Kucinich but claim he can’t win. No problem. I’ve figured out how to get everyone to throw money at him like they are betting on a horse that’s a shoo-in. We get people to donate hundreds of dollars just based on the fact that in order to stay in the debates and keep Democratic candidates talking about REAL issues Dennis must have money. After all, Gravel was kept out of Tuesday night’s debate. Naturally, these concerned citizens get what I am driving at. Besides that, many are surprised that in Illinois we have to practice democracy and get signatures for every Democratic candidate so he (or she) can be on the ballot.
The most refreshing and exhilarating part of the day comes when I take part in my first march ever. I head over to line up. Marching with a “Bring the Troops Home Now!” sign that has two Dennis Kucinich signs taped on the other side, I am free as a bird. I walk down the street doing what I could have only dreamed of doing years ago. I’m standing up for my freedom. I am surrounded by World Can’t Wait members, 9/11 Truth people, Veterans for Peace, Green Party members, Ron Paul Revolutionaries, etc. These are my fellow Americans and I am proud to stand up for America with them.
It is clear that Chicago is the epicenter of Midwest activism. Groups from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio have come here to stand in solidarity. While state borders divide us and prevent Illinois Kucinich supporter from getting much needed signatures to get Dennis on the ballot in Illinois, they still donate money to keep his campaign alive. And we talk about what we can do to keep standing up for our freedom.
But at the end of the day, I cannot help but be upset by how divided we are. While we all have the same goals, as previously mentioned, our methods for getting out of this mess are far from the same. And as irritated as we are, it does not take much for disputes to spark between us on what is the best thing for Americans to do.
There seems to be four methods. One method, the method I support, suggests that we all recognize that the Democrats are favored to win in the 2008 election but there is only one true Democrat running, Dennis Kucinich. Therefore, we must reject the status quo, campaign on the streets, and vote Dennis Kucinich or else the Democratic Party is dead and we might as well expect four more years of Republican rule where more wars are waged and more civil liberties are stolen. (And for Republicans, it's vote Ron Paul to rescue the Republican Party.) The second method is to recognize that both parties are corporatized, racist, and weak so voting third party is necessary. That third party is the Green Party because it has managed to establish itself in many states across the U.S. The third method is to reject our system entirely and recognize that we must get rid of capitalism before we can correct our nation. People upholding this method include the Socialists and Communists. Then there is the fourth method which is issues-based. Veterans, peace advocates, and World Can’t Wait people refuse to campaign for any party or individual and just plain understand the wars are wrong and the stealing of our civil liberties is uncalled for. They do not feel like applying pressure to our elected officials but would rather stage protests, sit-ins, and rallies, etc. to draw attention to injustices.
I have a tough time believing we will get out of the situation we are in where everything that is wrong seems to be further compounded by another issue and another issue and another issue, etc. The only way we can sort out how to regain our civil liberties, fix our economic structure, rework our electoral system, repair our system of checks and balances, reinvent our foreign policy so that our hegemony can be maintained in a manner that is compassionate and not imperialistic, etc. is to hold a gathering for millions in a large venue where leaders from each faction of our protest movement can hold forums, debates, discussions, question and answer sessions, lectures, speeches, etc. to persuade people which course of action must be taken to get out of this mess. We would then democratically vote on and select a path out before we enter a permanent state of fascism. Only after holding an assembly will we be able to undergo a process for taking back America.
Discontent and demoralized Americans must understand no protest or rally is going to change the minds of our leaders. While it is good to let them know every day how we feel, we must come together and form a better way of regaining citizen power and respect. Americans must sacrifice their lifestyle now so that later on their children will be able to live free.
While an assembly as proposed may not be allowed under the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, I see no reason to cave in (after all it is not law yet).
After hearing an Obama supporter at the anti-war rally last Saturday say, Obama is against war with Iran and wants to end the war with Iraq but just hasn’t said it, after hearing an Edwards supporter say he’s donated money to Edwards so no matter how much better Kucinich is he cannot change his vote, and after seeing Obama dance on Ellen DeGeneres’ show today, it is even more obvious...
...I am part of a neverending nightmare of epic proportions. And I realize that all Americans are going to be yanked around more and more in the next two months as Democratic leaders test our apathy, commitment to the Democratic Party, and our patriotism as Americans. The Republicans are going to watch and together, NewsMax, Drudge Report, and FOX News will keep track of all that happens. While Rovian warriors sit at their desks plotting ways to disenfranchise voters of color in the 2008 elections, the new puppets (Obama, Clinton, and Edwards) will listen to the puppeteers who used to make the Bush administration talk and walk tell them they understand that their party’s time is now but they must understand that they still have to do what the Republican Party was required to do: Listen and do as they say.
And America...A Democratic-led fascist state is going to be way worse than a Republican-led fascist state. So, we owe it to ourselves to organize an assembly or to save money, use outlets like OpEdNews to hash out our ideas for getting out of this mess. We owe it to ourselves to research other countries who are doing better than America is in reforming their country and learn from their successes. And we owe it to ourselves to act now.