Here are my remarks at the "Fighting Bob" Fest:
"Fighting Bob" Fest
September 6, 2008
Thank you Mr. Garvey, Mr. Nader, and Granny D.
Bob LaFollette said, "I do not want the vote of a single citizen under any misapprehension of where I stand: I would not change my record on the war for that of any man [or woman], living or dead." And with that, Republican Bob LaFollette launched a successful campaign for reelection to the Senate without backtracking one step on his antiwar position. And after that fight, under the banner of the Progressive Party, he launched a campaign for President that brought together socialists, Blacks, women, labor, and farmers. Bob LaFollette was a man of his times and yet was also a man ahead of his time. From the U.S. Congress to the Wisconsin governorship to a Presidential campaign, Bob LaFollette remained true to his values. And the people of this state courageously supported him.
For twelve years while in the U.S. Congress, I consistently voted no on Pentagon budgets that sent one half trillion dollars to an institution that couldn't even balance its books and prevented the entire government from doing so.
I voted against the record of Pentagon waste, fraud, and abuse that led that institution to admit that it had "lost" 2.3 trillion dollars and yet asked for more money because, as Donald Rumsfeld testified, U.S. taxpayers could afford it.
And yet year after year, at a time when poverty in this country was growing, the racial divide in this country was growing, income inequality was growing, both Democrats and Republicans forgot the people who sent them to Washington and voted for Pentagon budgets that led to Rumsfeld's dramatic testimony.
Where I come from, with the values I was raised with, it's outrageous to spend so much money on war toys that return so little--only death and destruction, to the people. In fact, it was Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower, who reminded us that every dime spent on the military and war was in a very real sense a theft from people who are in need and from our children.
Yet both the Democratic and Republican nominees plan to increase the Pentagon's budget, continue to add countries to Dick Cheney's list of 60 against which the United States must be prepared to go to war. And sadly, that appears to include both China and Russia. Both nominees sadly have voted to fund today's wars and occupations to the tune of $720 million each and every day over and above the half trillion that the Pentagon gets and then "loses."
"Fighting Bob" fought to protect the rights of workers in this country and abroad. Yet, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans want to revisit NAFTA and the Congressional majority has not even mentioned a livable wage for America's workers. I'm proud to have introduced legislation in the Congress to provide for a national livable wage.
"Fighting Bob" clung stubbornly to civil liberties protections embodied in the Bill of Rights, and defended the right of citizens to dissent from U.S. war policy. Yet, the people of this country and in the global community have been saddled with impediments to those protections with the passage of the Patriot Acts, the Secret Evidence Act, the Military Commissions Act, prosecution of the so-called War on Drugs as well as the War on Terror. Yet, neither of the political parties has suggested the propriety of repealing those laws, ending the War on Drugs, and decreasing the militarization of local law enforcement that is so prevalent from city to city across our country.
Why did Denver and Minneapolis need $100 million grants to the police to protect delegates to those Conventions from protesters demonstrating for peace?
Torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity, lying to and spying on the American people, and crimes against the peace are all hallmarks of our country today, and yet impeachment has been taken off the table!
Well, I rightly put impeachment, 9/11 Truth, Republican Party Presidential election theft in the 2000 Presidential election and Democratic Party complicity in that theft on the table, and I'm putting election integrity in 2008 on the table.
I am proud to have introduced the Arms Trade Code of Conduct to regulate U.S. transfer of conventional weapons. I introduced the National Forest Protection and Restoration Act to protect our remaining national forests from clearcutting timber barons. I authored legislation to end all use of depleted uranium, stop the funding for Plan Colombia, investigate the way conscientious objectors are treated by the Pentagon, extend Agent Orange benefits for U.S. soldiers, prohibit tax breaks for corporations that move U.S. jobs overseas, and I passed legislation that resulted in the U.S. Department of Agriculture admitting that for decades it systematically discriminated against minority farmers.
My very first campaign theme was "Warriors Don't Wear Medals, They Wear Scars." And I publicly wear the scars meted out to a black woman who dares to dissent in a political system that doesn't allow it. "Fighting Bob" was celebrated and ridiculed. The press lied on him and his patriotism was questioned. He even changed political parties, but he remained true to his values and understood that the only reason we engage in the political process is to have our values reflected in public policy. It is right that his values are annually commemorated and I thank you for including me in today's celebration of both a great man and a great idea: America.
"Fighting Bob" showed us that when our country has been hijacked, it is possible for the people to take it back!
We need a movement in this county and an opposition party! Let's take our country back. Power to the people!
Cynthia McKinney 'Power to the People' Campaign for President
Rosa Clemente, Candidate for Vice President
Green Party of the United States
McKinney for President 2008
www.runcynthiarun.org (Media Contacts)
Please Support Sis. Cynthia McKinney's Run For The Whitehouse By Visiting Her Official Campaign Website http://www.runcynthiarun.org