by Nell Greenberg
Last week as I sat in the Oakland airport waiting for my flight to CODEPINK, DC I read an email from Howard Zinn that began: “We are not politicians, we are citizens. Let the politicians advocate half-way measures if they choose, but only after they have felt the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not what is winnable.”
Zinn’s words gave me a blaring focus on what the role of a citizenry should always be, especially during a time of war. But it wasn’t until I got off the plane and met the inspiring women that reside in the new DC house, that I saw the embodiment of Howard Zinn’s stirring words. I have never encountered women who are more fearless in their resolve to “speak for what is right” even when it’s not immediately winnable.
How inspiring to be amongst you women who—despite how many times you were told by politicians to be pragmatic and respect the process or how many times you were pushed back by police who somehow think their weapons have more authority than your signs of peace—were unwavering in your commitment to a single, simple truth; our military escapade in Iraq is morally outrageous and must end now.
It is impossible not to feel disheartened by the cynicism and compromise imbedded in our political process. Despite the undeniable peace majority that made itself known in the last election, despite the number of young military men and women who have come forward against the war and those that are dying for it everyday, despite the resounding support to end a war that feeds an unsustainable oil addiction; we have been told that we must wait for justice and instead wade through the paperwork that comes with a politics of compromise.
But none of you women that I had the privilege to live with this last week were willing to compromise even one inch. And you held your position with all the impassioned, life-affirming force that is desperately missing inside the unfeeling walls of Congress. It is with that moving spirit and righteous spunk that you have taught me the real meaning of a citizen, a woman’s role in wartime.
And so I thank you for rejuvenating my hope that we really can inspire the change we want to see, and who better to do it than a band of wild women in pink!
All my love and utmost respect,