Sunday, August 21, 2005

Salt Lake City Mayor Calls for Demonstrations against Bush

Salt Lake City??? Yep, it's true, as this story points out. Rocky Anderson calls for "the biggest demonstration this state has ever seen" to protest President Bush's appearance Monday before the national VFW convention.

The VFW is meeting at the Salt Palace and Bush will be speaking. I can only imagine what he's going to say: War on Terror, 9-11, Saddam Hussein Gas His Own People, 9-11, Stay the Course, yada yada yada.

Well, Mayor Rocky has had enough. "There should be a collaboration of health-care-provision advocates, seniors, the [gay, lesbian and bisexual and transsexual] community, anti-Patriot Act advocates and other civil libertarians, anti-war folks, pro-Social Security advocates, environmental advocates, anti-nuclear-testing advocates, and anti-nuclear-waste-shipment-and-storage advocates," the mayor wrote in an email to about 10 political activist leaders. "Don't let him come to Utah and not see huge opposition, even in the reddest state! This would send such an important message."

Predictably local VFW members started howling in outrage. Mike Parkin, senior vice commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Atomic(!) Post 4355 in Salt Lake City: "Excuse my French, but - that son of a bitch! [Some of those redstate religious values at work there?] It makes the mayor look very, very unpatriotic. It makes him look despicable." Parkin went on with the usual shit about aid and comfort to the enemy, etc. Read the article if you need the ugly details.

I wish we'd heard about this earlier. I'd like to be there as a Vietnam veteran demonstrating in support of the mayor and against the illegal murderous regime of Baby Doc Bush. Anyone in the Intermountain area who can get away on short notice, head on down to SLC. The mayor needs you to be there.

Kinda makes me wish I'd actually joined the VFW, so I could demonstrate as a member.

But I never did. And that was for a couple of very good reasons: (1) In my experience, Vietnam vets were not really made to feel welcome by the older WWII vets who dominated the membership in the late 1960s and the 1970s -- it was like "we won our war, and you fucked up and lost yours" and (2) both the VFW and the American Legion demanded that you certify to a belief in god. Whatever the fuck was up with that I don't know, but I was not about to join any non-religious organization that demanded public affirmation of what is essentially a private belief -- or lack thereof. I still get periodic prodding from my vet pals to join VFW or the Legion -- "Oh, it's different now, we're in charge, it's getting more progressive, we can make a change" etc etc etc, blah blah blah.

Bullshit. I still don't want to join. I have plenty of places to drink alcohol and plenty of opportunities to talk with my fellow veterans. I belong to the veterans organizations that are having a positive effect on the nation and the world, organizations that already support my political and social values -- Veterans for Peace and Veterans and Military Families for Progress. I don't need to join a couple of still-reactionary quasi-rightwing organizations with the hope that I could somehow help to pull them to the left. I don't have that much time left in my life, and I'd rather use it productively.

And I still refuse to join any organization that demands that I certify to a belief in god. I won't say the phrase "under god" when I salute the flag, and I also won't swear "so help me god" when I testify in court.

Anything less would be rank hypocrisy.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

DAMN. YOU NEED TO LIKE GET A RADIO SHOW, BECOME A JOURNALIST, RUN FOR OFFICE, ALL IN FAVOR SAY YES. YES. OK. You are brilliant. We need you in the public forum. Think about it. I mailed your blog out to every one I know. Bought your book. Hey, go to Crawford, and tell the media what for. Cindy could use someone like you. There is a niche for you. Seriously, we need you. This is embarrassing, if someone else reads this, lol. Oh Well. ROCK ON, Pac.