City of Roses
Tomorrow, we kick off our longly-anticipated major rally in downtown Portland.
Less than twenty-four hours from now, we're expecting as much as 30,000 to march in on the North Park at and around 8th and Everett.
I, myself, will not be speaking at this rally, for we believe in having a diversity of speakers from the over a hundred local organizations taking part. I am being considered as a keynote speaker the next time around, sometime after the election. I'll be dancing and marching with the thousands of others, with their signs, masks, henna tattoos, tie-dye T-shirts and political paraphernalia worn on their shirts and sleeves.
As the first debate proved Thursday evening, which Kerry clearly won, we can expect more of the same from Bush should he be elected another four more years. More war with no exit strategy in sight. More suppression of our civil liberties. More broken promises and slander.
While Kerry had an impressive, groundbreaking performance which set out how his opinion of Iraq differs from Bush, laying out that there is indeed an alternative choice to Bush's ongoing war, filled with flavorful dialogue, research to back him up and empathy in his tone, Bush was inarcticulate, failed to respond to Kerry's points, looked flustered, smirkish and angry on camera, slow in speaking and bland of language, and, quite frankly, was left debating himself the final 60 minutes.
On top of all that, Bush said eleven times during his monotonous soapbox, "It's hard work!". This sure explains a lot. If it is truly hard work for him, shouldn't we have someone who is more fit for the job, someone who simply just needs a soy latte and then can say, "I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty!"?
It's been over a year now since September 7th, 2003, when Bush asked for $87 billion more for Iraq, admitting for the first time that the war will cost many hundreds of billions before it ends. Besides the thousands of deaths and permanent life-changing and life-afflicting wounds and injuries, the $87 billion could have easily been spared for too many things that actually help for the better.
This $87 billion is approximately nine times what the government spends on Special Education. Ten times what the government spends on environmental protections. Seven times what the government spends on Title I for low income schools. Eight times the total given in Pell Grants for college tuition. And...frankly...87 times what the government spends on after school programs.
While Bush continues to "talk" our values, the way this administration has funded contradicts what he talks.
And, in result, this war on Iraq has costed this nation approximately $7 million an hour. That's over a billion a week! In addition, it is costing each American family $3,400!!!
In the meantime, more than a million have lost their basic health care and have nowhere to turn but emergency rooms and are then turned over to collection agencies when they can't pay the rising costs.
In the meantime, over two hundred environmental laws have been rolled back while alarming rises in autism, ADD and cancer accelerate, while three times the level of mercury is being released into the atmosphere from power plants, while premature deaths caused from pollution by coal-burning power plants have risen to 24,000.
In the meantime our scientists continue to be suppressed, and their reports distorted by the White House of dire warnings about climate change, stem cell research, the dangers of mercury and hundreds of other toxic chemicals, the dangers of depleted uranium, Agent Orange, mining, nuclear weapons storage, and the power plants themselves. Even as over 4,000 scientists including 48 Nobel Laureates have come out accusing the Administration of this, they continue to be blacklisted and harrassed, suppressed from releasing information to the public that is critical of the Bush Administration and its corporal contributors.
In the meantime, right here in Oregon, Oregon has received a D+ grade in a report on its health and well-being of its children this year, down from a B- in 2002, the lowest grade for this state in 12 years, with an increasing rate of uninsured children, a rising unemployment rate, a lack of affordable housing and a lack of child care for low income families.
The message is clear. Instead of funding these billions of dollars into America's children, into protecting our environment, into finally no longer making America the only industralized nation in the world not to have universal basic health care for everyone, the Bush Administration would rather spend these billions as blood money, fighting an albatross of a war that cannot be won.
As we come out tomorrow to protest, to gather in this incredible rally, we will not only be marching against this war, against all occupation, against the irresponsibility of this Administration. We will be marching FOR increased funding in job creation, in health care, in education, in environmental protection, all the basics that make families and a country healthy and strong.
We'll be marching for change, as volunteers for a silver lining. Volunteers for democracy. A majority believe America is heading in the wrong direction, and we believe Kerry deserves this chance in finding the right direction for America.
God Bless You All, and we will be excited in seeing some of your familiar faces this Sunday at North Parks, yay!
Peace, Love and Harmony,
"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20