Friday, December 21, 2007

So Long, And Thanks For All The Pink

We're watching a Special Comment by Keith Olbermann from January 2, 2007 on the obligatory retrospective show:
First, we sent Americans to their deaths for your lie, Mr. Bush.

Now we are sending them to their deaths for your ego.

If what is reported is true — if your decision is made and the "sacrifice" is ordered — take a page instead from the man at whose funeral you so eloquently spoke this morning — Gerald Ford: Put pragmatism and the healing of a nation, ahead of some kind of misguided vision.


Sacrifice, Mr. Bush?

No, sir, this is not "sacrifice." This has now become "human sacrifice."

And it must stop.

And you can stop it.

Next week, make us all look wrong.
Sing out, KO. Sadly, we were not proven wrong. Bush went ahead with his "surge" and Congress continued to enable his folly. So here I am in DC, running the halls of government wearing pink hats, orange jumpsuits and oversized George Bush heads.

As much as I was a C-SPAN and MSNBC junkie before I killed my television a couple years ago, and as much as I've read the news, blogs, etc, this week was still an incredibly eye-opening experience. The Anti Mister Smith vibe is probably the biggest thing for me: that distant Subway Stare we citizen activists got from our Congressional employees and the blatant contempt shown for actual constituents really exposed more than any intellectual exercise just how insulated and out of touch these people are inside the Beltway. Yet there were a number of moments where I did see some real engagement that gave me renewed hope, like talking with John Murtha, hearing a cop say they liked George Bush's prison garb, and having restaurant staff thank me for working with CodePink.

It's still frustrating, and the realization that it's going to be a longer, harder slog than I ever realized just exhausts me, but I know there's nothing else to do but keep fighting. In that vein a while back I blogged a favorite scene from my favorite movie, Casablanca:

RICK: Don't you sometimes wonder if it's worth all this? I mean what you're fighting for?

LASZLO: We might as well question why we breathe. If we stop breathing, we'll die. If we stop fighting our enemies, the world will die.

RICK: What of it? Then it'll be out of its misery.

LASZLO: You know how you sound, Monsieur Blaine? Like a man who's trying to convince himself of something he doesn't believe in his heart. Each of us has a destiny, for good or for evil.

Clearly CodePink is actively living out its destiny for good. Although I guess it's not so much a destiny as it is a choice. Each member has recognized her (ahem...and his!) responsibility as a moral agent, as well as an inherent power we all possess, then decided to act for change.

As I've said many times before we are all complicit, to various degree, with the crimes our nation has unleashed whether we voted for Bush or not. Not everybody is going to decide to use CodePink's tactics, but everybody who thinks murdering 1,200,000 Iraqi human beings, stranding our troops in a quagmire and mortgaging our future for seven generations has an obligation to step things up.

We criticize Congress for not doing more, for not being brave, for not standing up for what's right--well, put some skin in the game beyond voting, donating to candidates, writing letters or even marching. Gene Sharp cataloged 198 methods of nonviolent action. Choose some that you haven't tried before, go beyond your comfort level and escalate your involvement in stopping the horror. Then get a friend or two to join you. Pretty soon, we've got a movement.

CodePink has been acting as my proxy for a long time. I'm extremely grateful to them for that and for allowing me to stay down here in the DC and learn from them. I cannot fully communicate with words, pictures or even video just how amazingly energetic and dedicated everybody here is. I mean, geesh: speedwalk up to the Hill in the chilly morning after some coffee, watching Democracy Now and planning out a tentative schedule; demonstrate outside the RNC; split up to attend an FCC hearing and a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing; engage several Senators in the halls of the Hart office building; get harassed by the Capitol Police; grab a quick bite in the Dirksen cafeteria; meet and greet Senators in the tunnels; visit Harry Reid's office; back to the tunnels...all on my first day. The following days were even more eventful!

I hope that conveys some sense of what CodePink has done on a daily basis here. You might see a picture or a short video clip here and there, but that's representative of mere moments in full days that are consumed with giving voice to the voiceless and trying to counter the lobbyists, consultants and self-interest that drive our government.

There are many ways to fight. When you need some inspiration, visualize Des, Ellen, Gael, Joanne, Liz, Medea, Midge and all the other women and men working so hard, then go Pink in whatever way you can.



Chris Tucker said...

Thank you!

This old, sickly, arthritic streetfightin' man is grateful that there are still some who will gladly get in the face of Power and make damn sure they hear the Truth.

I do what I can, and I so appreciate the efforts of those who can do so much more than I can these days.

NTodd Pritsky: This weeks current Sort Duration Personal Saviour!

LaFajita said...

Yeah, what he said. Todd, you give good blog.

I get the Casablanca reference, but I personally feel like Roy Scheider's character in Jaws, right after he's been formally introduced to Bruce the Mechanical Shark. I wish we had a bigger boat.

Eileen Coles said...

Beautifully written. :)

As for me and movie references, well... I generally feel somewhere between here

and here.

Peaceful holidays ;-7

NO DAL MOLIN said...

Awesome blogging, Todd! Thanks for all you do and we hope you'll come back soon. WE NEED YOU!!

ntodd said...

CT - you da man. Thanks for your contributions to the Tastee Freez Capital Campaign.

lafajita - Damn, I wish I'd thought of that quote! It's spot on.

eileen - I hope you aren't disappointed by the fact that I went into the blog settings and blocked anonymous posting. You won't see your friend here unless he registers with Blogger.

Des - YOU DA MAMA! Thanks for teaching me so much this week. I will definitely see you in the new year.


caterliz said...

Thanks Todd for a Fabulous Week filled with action, laughter,many Congressional converstions,police detention experiences and ACTION~!~!!

Come BAck in the new year!

ntodd said...

Oh, I'm there, babe. I am SO there.

Eileen Coles said...

NTodd: I'm not disappointed. Those creeps are anything but my friends. I was glad to note their absence. Huzzah for a return to sanity and discourse with intelligent people.

LaFajita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LaFajita said...

Todd, I would like to thank you personally for raising the level of discussion on this board, and would hope you would share your secrets with others. I realize we have to put up with some cut-and-paste drivebys, but that business last weekend was a bit much.

Eileen, I watched your vids, and this Browncoat thinks you need more Kaylee in your diet. I mean seriously, wode pengyou. This is from a guy who could use more Jayne in his.

For those who are all Mu deng kao dai over what this is about:

Firefly Tribute

ntodd said...

LaFajita - heh, I'm often guilty of "feeding the trolls" as we say over at Eschaton, mostly because I am competitive and can never refuse a challenge, and also because I have a weakness for baiting them as they reveal their hypocrisy, bigotry and ignorance. I'm trying to work on that as my own personal transformation, but it's hard work!

I used to be in detention a lot for similar reasons...

Eileen Coles said...

Yay for Firefly! I bought a copy of the Serenity movie as a present for the DC house. I believe that Gael took it and ran happily off into the middle distance, heeheehee... hey Gael let some of the rest of them see it too, ok? :) That movie holds a VERY IMPORTANT message, especially if you learn the backstory. Firefly was one of the first TV shows that Fox suppressed because of it's content. Serenity is Joss Wheedon's revenge as much as it is an ass kicking story in it's own right. You peaceful warriors will LOVE it.

I do allow the red hair to get the best of me sometimes. I'd much rather be like Kayleigh fixin' the machines than having to be River kicking a bunch of violent punk warmonger ass, but since these folks have worked as hard as they possibly can to ruin my machine fixin' career, poking holes in the lies they've told in part to ruin chances for myself and others for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has become my job instead.

Thanks for the pointer about the blog settings NTodd. While shredding the propaganda and lies that the freepers like to spew here does serve a productive purpose for those capable of learning, it can get to the point where it feels like you're trying to teach pigs to sing.

Best wishes to all for peaceful holidays.

ntodd said...

Firefly and Serenity rock my world.

Just sayin'.

Potterchik said...

NTodd rox.

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