Four Years of Shock and Awe

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THE SOLEMN STREETS OF PROTEST
FOUR YEARS AFTER SHOCK & AWE
by Jack Random

For the fourth time, on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the Iraq War, I walked the streets of protest in San Francisco. Beneath the pounding drums, the booming oration and chants of solidarity, the mood was solemn and sober.

After four years of protest and a pivotal election victory, the war is not ending; it is escalating.

We have arrived at a critical conclusion: The war will not end with a Democratic congress. The war will not end with the election of the next president. The dominant parties have seemingly struck a deal to continue the war indefinitely.


The leaders of the antiwar movement challenge us to believe that the war can be ended only on the streets of protest.

We look around and we see a great gathering of the most progressive element of society. We see a festival, a common ground, but we do not see an end to the war.

Many of us are old enough to remember the last war, the war on Southeast Asia, and the uneasy, awkward feeling in 1975 when Richard Nixon pronounced its end. We know that history is full of ironies, that times change and reality often turns on a dime.

We can hope that the war will end on the streets of protest, we can dream, but we cannot hope that protest alone will close this gruesome chapter.

We can hope that a mainstream candidate – perhaps not yet announced – will run on a concrete pledge to end the war but we cannot rest our hopes on this alone.

We can hope that independent candidates will rise up on the backs of the electorate to replace Blue Dog Democrats and war leading Republicans with antiwar progressives and libertarians.

We can and should hope that a convergence of many forces will ride the waves of solemn truth into a new America.

We should understand that reality is pliable. It answers to the call of truth. It yields to the overwhelming voice of the people.

So let us return to the streets of protest united and strong.

Let us speak out until all the people understand that nothing of substance can be done to ease human suffering around the globe, to shelter the homeless, to heal the sick, to be rebuild broken dreams, to answer the demands of natural disasters, to alter the decree of global climate change or to restore America’s standing in the world until this war is ended.

Let us find and support viable candidates among college professors and social philanthropists willing to take a stand against the war.

Let us find the face of the antiwar movement from among those rare individuals with wide appeal and uncompromised character. (Ralph Nader is right: Bill Moyers should run.)

However remote, let us also leave the door ajar for the possibility of a mainstream candidate with a pledge to end the war.

History teaches us that only a convergence of powerful forces and events can affect the profound changes that America in the 21st century must undergo.

If we are prepared on all fronts, our time will come.

Let each individual answer the call in her or his own way.

The one thing certain is that a change is in the air. There is a fundamental understanding beyond words and symbolism that the nation has wandered astray. Only a lunatic would continue to wander. Only a people gone mad would allow it.

Jazz.

 
JACK RANDOM IS THE AUTHOR OF THE JAZZMAN CHRONICLES (CROW DOG PRESS) AND GHOST DANCE INSURRECTION (DRY BONES PRESS). THE CHRONICLES HAVE APPEARED ON THE ALBION MONITOR, PEACE-EARTH-JUSTICE, THE NATIONAL FREE PRESS, PACIFIC FREE PRESS, LEFTWARD, DISSIDENT VOICE AND COUNTERPUNCH. SEE RANDOM JACK: WWW.JAZZMANCHRONICLES.BLOGSPOT.COM

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