Address by Mayor Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson

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Dec 6, 2007, 11:49:18 AM12/6/07
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Address by Mayor Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson

Today, as we come together once again in this great city, we raise our
voices in unison to say to President Bush, to Vice President Cheney,
to other members of the Bush Administration (past and present), to a
majority of Congress, including Utah's entire congressional
delegation, and to much of the mainstream media: "You have failed us
miserably and we won't take it any more."

"While we had every reason to expect far more of you, you have been
pompous, greedy, cruel, and incompetent as you have led this great
nation to a moral, military, and national security abyss."

"You have breached trust with the American people in the most
egregious ways. You have utterly failed in the performance of your
jobs. You have undermined our Constitution, permitted the violation of
the most fundamental treaty obligations, and betrayed the rule of law."

"You have engaged in, or permitted, heinous human rights abuses of the
sort never before countenanced in our nation's history as a matter of
official policy. You have sent American men and women to kill and be
killed on the basis of lies, on the basis of shifting justifications,
without competent leadership, and without even a coherent plan for
this monumental blunder."

"We are here to tell you: We won't take it any more!"

"You have acted in direct contravention of values that we, as
Americans who love our country, hold dear. You have deceived us in the
most cynical, outrageous ways. You have undermined, or allowed the
undermining of, our constitutional system of checks and balances among
the three presumed co-equal branches of government. You have helped
lead our nation to the brink of fascism, of a dictatorship
contemptuous of our nation's treaty obligations, federal statutory
law, our Constitution, and the rule of law."

"Because of you, and because of your jingoistic false `patriotism,'
our world is far more dangerous, our nation is far more despised, and
the threat of terrorism is far greater than ever before.

It has been absolutely astounding how you have committed the most
horrendous acts, causing such needless tragedy in the lives of
millions of people, yet you wear your so-called religion on your
sleeves, asserting your God-is-on-my-side nonsense – when what you
have done flies in the face of any religious or humanitarian
tradition. Your hypocrisy is mind-boggling – and disgraceful. What
part of "Thou shalt not kill" do you not understand? What part of the
"Golden rule" do you not understand? What part of "be honest," "be
responsible," and "be accountable" don't you understand? What part of
"Blessed are the peacekeepers" do you not understand?

Because of you, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, many
thousands of people have suffered horrendous lifetime injuries, and
millions have been run off from their homes. For the sake of our
nation, for the sake of our children, and for the sake of our brothers
and sisters around the world, we are morally compelled to say, as
loudly as we can, `We won't take it any more!' "

"As United States agents kidnap, disappear, and torture human beings
around the world, you justify, you deceive, and you cover up. We find
what you have done to men, women and children, and to the good name
and reputation of the United States, so appalling, so unconscionable,
and so outrageous as to compel us to call upon you to step aside and
allow other men and women who are competent, true to our nation's
values, and with high moral principles to stand in your places – for
the good of our nation, for the good of our children, and for the good
of our world."

In the case of the President and Vice President, this means
impeachment and removal from office, without any further delay from a
complacent, complicit Congress, the Democratic majority of which cares
more about political gain in 2008 than it does about the vindication
of our Constitution, the rule of law, and democratic accountability.

It means the election of people as President and Vice President who,
unlike most of the presidential candidates from both major parties,
have not aided and abetted in the perpetration of the illegal, tragic,
devastating invasion and occupation of Iraq. And it means the election
of people as President and Vice President who will commit to return
our nation to the moral and strategic imperative of refraining from
torturing human beings.

In the case of the majority of Congress, it means electing people who
are diligent enough to learn the facts, including reading available
National Intelligence Estimates, before voting to go to war. It means
electing to Congress men and women who will jealously guard Congress's
sole prerogative to declare war. It means electing to Congress men and
women who will not submit like vapid lap dogs to presidential requests
for blank checks to engage in so-called preemptive wars, for
legislation permitting warrantless wiretapping of communications
involving US citizens, and for dangerous, irresponsible,
saber-rattling legislation like the recent Kyl-Lieberman amendment.

We must avoid the trap of focusing the blame solely upon President
Bush and Vice-President Cheney. This is not just about a few people
who have wronged our country – and the world. They were enabled by
members of both parties in Congress, they were enabled by the pathetic
mainstream news media, and, ultimately, they have been enabled by the
American people – 40% of whom are so ill-informed they still think
Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks – a people who know and care more
about baseball statistics and which drunken starlets are wearing
underwear than they know and care about the atrocities being committed
every single day in our name by a government for which we need to take
responsibility.

As loyal Americans, without regard to political partisanship -- as
veterans, as teachers, as religious leaders, as working men and women,
as students, as professionals, as businesspeople, as public servants,
as retirees, as people of all ages, races, ethnic origins, sexual
orientations, and faiths -- we are here to say to the Bush
administration, to the majority of Congress, and to the mainstream
media: "You have violated your solemn responsibilities. You have
undermined our democracy, spat upon our Constitution, and engaged in
outrageous, despicable acts. You have brought our nation to a point of
immorality, inhumanity, and illegality of immense, tragic,
unprecedented proportions."

"But we will live up to our responsibilities as citizens, as brothers
and sisters of those who have suffered as a result of the imperial
bullying of the United States government, and as moral actors who must
take a stand: And we will, and must, mean it when we say `We won't
take it any more.'"

If we want principled, courageous elected officials, we need to be
principled, courageous, and tenacious ourselves. History has
demonstrated that our elected officials are not the leaders – the
leadership has to come from us. If we don't insist, if we don't
persist, then we are not living up to our responsibilities as citizens
in a democracy – and our responsibilities as moral human beings. If we
remain silent, we signal to Congress and the Bush administration – and
to candidates running for office – and to the world – that we support
the status quo.

Silence is complicity. Only by standing up for what's right and never
letting down can we say we are doing our part.

Our government, on the basis of a campaign we now know was entirely
fraudulent, attacked and militarily occupied a nation that posed no
danger to the United States. Our government, acting in our name, has
caused immense, unjustified death and destruction.

It all started five years ago, yet where have we, the American people,
been? At this point, we are responsible. We get together once in a
while at demonstrations and complain about Bush and Cheney, about
Congress, and about the pathetic news media. We point fingers and yell
a lot. Then most people politely go away until another demonstration a
few months later.

How many people can honestly say they have spent as much time learning
about and opposing the outrages of the Bush administration as they
have spent watching sports or mindless television programs during the
past five years? Escapist, time-sapping sports and insipid
entertainment have indeed become the opiate of the masses.

Why is this country so sound asleep? Why do we abide what is happening
to our nation, to our Constitution, to the cause of peace and
international law and order? Why are we not doing all in our power to
put an end to this madness?

We should be in the streets regularly and students should be raising
hell on our campuses. We should be making it clear in every way
possible that apologies or convoluted, disingenuous explanations just
don't cut it when presidential candidates and so many others voted to
authorize George Bush and his neo-con buddies to send American men and
women to attack and occupy Iraq.

Let's awaken, and wake up the country by committing here and now to do
all each of us can to take our nation back. Let them hear us across
the country, as we ask others to join us: "We won't take it any more!"

I implore you: Draw a line. Figure out exactly where your own moral
breaking point is. How much will you put up with before you say "No
more" and mean it?

I have drawn my line as a matter of simple personal morality: I
cannot, and will not, support any candidate who has voted to fund the
atrocities in Iraq. I cannot, and will not, support any candidate who
will not commit to remove all US troops, as soon as possible, from
Iraq. I cannot, and will not, support any candidate who has supported
legislation that takes us one step closer to attacking Iran. I cannot,
and will not, support any candidate who has not fought to stop the
kidnapping, disappearances, and torture being carried on in our name.

If we expect our nation's elected officials to take us seriously, let
us send a powerful message they cannot misunderstand. Let them know we
really do have our moral breaking point. Let them know we have drawn a
bright line. Let them know they cannot take our support for granted –
that, regardless of their party and regardless of other political
considerations, they will not have our support if they cannot provide,
and have not provided, principled leadership.

The people of this nation may have been far too quiet for five years,
but let us pledge that we won't let it go on one more day – that we
will do all we can to put an end to the illegalities, the moral
degradation, and the disintegration of our nation's reputation in the
world.

Let us be unified in drawing the line – in declaring that we do have a
moral breaking point. Let us insist, together, in supporting our
troops and in gratitude for the freedoms for which our veterans gave
so much, that we bring our troops home from Iraq, that we return our
government to a constitutional democracy, and that we commit to
honoring the fundamental principles of human rights.

In defense of our country, in defense of our Constitution, in defense
of our shared values as Americans – and as moral human beings – we
declare today that we will fight in every way possible to stop the
insanity, stop the continued military occupation of Iraq, and stop the
moral depravity reflected by the kidnapping, disappearing, and torture
of people around the world.

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Informant: Scott Munson

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