Cindy e-mailed her statement. She knows I'm an uncomfortable public speaker so we did a back and forth of cyber sentences in which she encouraged me.
The words Cindy wanted me to read to the crowd told the story of her arrest just minutes before the State of the Union address when she exposed her T-shirt printed with the words: "2,245 Dead. How Many More?" Her article, "A Capitol Offense" was in newspapers and on internet sites for the world to see. In it, she spoke of all she's lost""her son Casey and her 1st Amendment rights. She ended her message with:
I am taking my freedoms and liberties back. That's why I am not going to let the Bush Administration take anything else away from me. They already took my son away. That was more than enough.
I'm sure many of you have read this and felt as outraged as I did when I heard she'd been removed and jailed for four hours.
Debra Sweet, National Coordinator of The World Can't Wait, introduced me. She said:
Missy Comley Beattie is a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She lost her nephew Chase just six months ago. The last time he called his grandparents, Chase said he was counting the days until he returned. He had 73 left. Missy's friend Victor is with her and he wears a shirt with Chase's picture for you to see. Cindy Sheehan asked Missy to read her statement today.
And then I made my own declaration: "The world can't wait for George Bush to care. He never will."
Juan Torres, another member of Gold Star Families for Peace, spoke about the death of his son, Juan Torres Jr., killed in Afghanistan. His voice was filled with pain as he talked about his heart-shattering sacrifice and his wife's tears as she visits their son's grave each day.
The 94-year-old activist, Doris "Granny D" Haddock took the stage and said, "America's values lie in tatters as a result of President Bush's sociopathic behavior."
Despite the rain, the crowd grew. Despite the wind, the crowd stayed. Speaker after speaker demanded an end to a regime that has eroded our rights by using fear.
So many people believe the world can't wait for George W. Bush to step down. In his State of the Union address, the president said one of his priorities is ridding the world of tyrants. There would be one less if he'd resign, two less if Cheney left with him, three less if Rice departed and four less if Rumsfeld joined them. Let's also add Rove to those on the exit ramp.
The world can't wait. We can make this happen. We have to.