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A Call for An American Revival - from Nord Stream to East Palestine
I delivered this speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. at the 'Rage Against the War Machine' rally on February 19, 2023
Brothers and Sisters,
We gather here this afternoon, before this national shrine dedicated to an apostle of healing, with the recognition that we are at an epoch of American history no less fraught than that faced by Abraham Lincoln, but with the knowledge that our nation has survived times of division by invoking the power of spirit, the light of truth and, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, through “making justice the measuring line.”
We are here in painful recognition that our government does not have the capacity to heal the divisions in this nation, nor the willingness to use the basic science of human relations, sincere diplomacy, to avoid violent conflict, and is, in fact, unwilling to end conflict peacefully.
Its greatest talent is to craft misinformation and disinformation to subvert the media, to misuse it as an instrument to incite fear and hatred among our people, exciting partisan divisions at home through crass politics and stirring ancient hatreds abroad through lies, deceit, false flag operations and provocations which profane the very essence of democracy.
In blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines, this government has deliberately circumvented Article One of the US Constitution, the authority of Congress, to make war; it has violated international criminal law by conspiring to commit acts of sabotage and violence on the high seas.
It has used illegal and unconstitutional means to destroy the energy resources needed to protect millions of people in Europe during winter and then to profit from its illegal actions by selling energy to Europe at a four to six times markup.
It has done so blatantly, cynically, simultaneously taking credit for the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines, and then denying any role in it.
I speak directly to those responsible: Thanks to a courageous journalist, Seymour Hersh, we know what each of you did at the Nord Stream Pipelines, Mr. President, Mr. Secretary of State, Mr. National Security Advisor and Madame Under Secretary of State. And we will not rest until you are held accountable by Congress, by the International Criminal Court, and by the American people at the next election for your reprehensible conduct which has debased our Constitution, undermined the Rule of Law and, in our name, committed an Act of War that threatened the peace of the world and the stability of our own nation.
No amount of balloon militarism will distract us from your profoundly lawless, reckless conduct. Even intelligence professionals are aghast at the White House’s incompetence and have lost trust in your ability to defend America.
Oh yes, you want to hold Russia to account. That will ultimately be up to the Russian people. But it is up to us, the American people, to hold you to account, to affirm that we are a nation of laws, not of men or women, to hold those in high office to the highest of standards of national and international law.
If we fail to do this, we have only ourselves to blame while our government descends into depravity and frogmarches us directly into a nuclear war. Under the pretense of the pursuit of national security, our government’s aggressive nature has alienated many nations of the world and caused them to withdraw from commerce with America, with long-term implications for the value of our dollar and our financial security.
Our government has ceded our sovereignty in matters of commerce to the World Trade Organization to the detriment of American industry and American workers.
It has ceded our national sovereignty in matters of peace to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which prefers military escalation to peace and is content, together with this Administration, to use the good, courageous people of Ukraine as pawns in a vicious and deadly geo-political chess game which began well before the illegal Russian invasion. And it is now planning to do for the people of Taiwan what it has done for the people of Ukraine, portraying China as the aggressor while surrounding China with about 200 military bases.
At home our government has supported devastating gain-of-function research which loosed the scourge of a pandemic across our land.
It has perverted social media to suppress legitimate debate over COVID policy, to the detriment of the health, welfare and the will of Americans.
Our government has enabled federal law enforcement to be weaponized against political opponents and has injected itself into social media organizations to impose political and ideological censorship in a manner characteristic of totalitarian rulers, attacking the patriotism of those Americans who dare ask questions.
Such a government is neither deserving of the trust of the American people, nor worthy of our tacit consent to make decisions in our interests.
This passage from The Declaration of Independence is compelling:
“ ….That when any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
We must change this government, before it destroys our nation. And we must change the way we are governed, insisting upon a government dedicated to peace, at home and abroad. Strength through Peace ensures our defense and our readiness by not wasting our resources on ideological warfare.
I speak not as a partisan, but as an American who believes that we are being led to the brink of annihilation by individuals lacking in self-control, obsessed with the exercise of global power, and incapable of invoking the power of nonviolent persuasion.
As a congressman, I warned America about going to war after 9/11. I led the effort against the Iraq War, saw the lies that took the lives of at least 4,491 American men and women, cost this nation more than $3 trillion dollars, laid waste the country of Iraq, killing at least one million innocents -- all because our leaders lied about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction and provoked great fear across the land. For fear is also a weapon of mass destruction. Hatred is a weapon of mass destruction.
Our nation used to lead the world in making steel, cars, and ships. Now we lead the world in making enemies, confusing defense with offense, arming ourselves to the teeth, spending trillions of dollars to advance an aggressive empire through the promotion of war.
But the wars, my dear friends, have come home. While our nation spends one trillion dollars, every year, to prepare for war, millions of Americans are ill–fed, ill housed, ill-clothed, ill-educated, without hope for the future.
We cannot fuel wars across the world and pretend there are no consequences. The wars inevitably come home. The carnage is now in the streets of our cities as millions of Americans are overwhelmed with anger, despair, hopelessness and unrelenting mass violence.
America’s destiny, in its founding, was to be the light of the world, a free and independent nation among nations, not a nation above nations, not a military juggernaut roaming the world conjuring dragons to slay.
We were to be the land of the free, the home of the brave, not continually locked into fear by a government made of fearful people who are afraid of balloons, but instead need to be really afraid of the American people, as we come to a realization that our government has been turned into a racket by corrupt, incompetent leaders.
This, then, is a call for an American Revival. A revival of courage, of authenticity, of a willingness to participate in the work of rebuilding our nation politically, economically and spiritually.
America longs for a return of government of the people, which focuses on taking care of things here at home. We, as a nation, cannot hope to favorably influence the conduct of other nations while at least 30 million Americans are food insecure, a half-million homeless people struggle every day to have a roof over their heads. American communities do not have clean water, while our nation has shown itself incapable of even responding to the urgent needs of the those affected by the derailment disaster in East Palestine, Ohio.
This government’s chilling lack of compassion and empathy is on full display, not only in East Palestine, Ohio but across the globe. Policies that lack human sympathy portend greater and greater destruction.
It is time to revive the Spirit of America, so that each one of us truly believes in the ability of the nation to function for the benefit of all of us. It is time to make real the dream of prosperity for all. It is time to make real the dream of education for all, health care for all, jobs for all, retirement security and safe neighborhoods.
It is time to revive the Spirit of Patriotism, which reflects a daily celebration of freedom where Americans are free from government prying and spying into their personal lives and where each of us is free to make decisions about our own lives, our own health, our own beings.
It is time to revive the Spirit of Peace. The Scriptures say, “Blessed are the Peacemakers.” It is time for America to establish a new role in the world, where we demand of our leaders the ability to reconcile with other nations, to make peace with our brothers and sisters.
We must coalesce as a nation, to seek and to find the underlying unity which binds us as Americans. Love of Life binds us. Love of Peace binds us. Love of country binds us. Brotherhood and sisterhood binds us. Love of children binds us. Love of family binds us. Love of home binds us. Love of church, synagogue, temple and mosque binds us. Love of work binds us. Love binds us all in a union of hope.
And as we revive our oneness as a nation, we proclaim the deeper meaning of our first national motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” ‘Out of Many We are One.’ It is then we can truly unite with the rest of the world.
For human unity is the ultimate truth. We are interconnected and interdependent with people everywhere, and as nations strive for self-sufficiency, so, too they must strive for cooperation. It is human unity that will save our planet from destruction and enable us to achieve a heaven on earth.
It is the realization that we are, all of us, created equal and entitled to self-determination, and self-fulfillment individually and collectively. This our county, this land that we love, to whom Americans pledge allegiance, must in turn pledge its allegiance to We the People, allegiance to Truth, to One nation, under God, Truly with Liberty and Justice for All.
Let us proceed, then, guided by these words from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural, “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right….”
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