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Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney Addresses Anti-War Gatherers at
D.C. Rally

October 26, 2002

Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney
Saturday, October 26th, 2002
ANSWER Anti War Rally
Washington, D.C.

I cannot come here to this place at this time with all of you without first saying thank you Paul Wellstone . . . for your wonderful example of true warrior patriotism, fighting for our health care, for education, for our children, against discrimination, against war. Thank you Paul and the Wellstone family.

And thank you for being here today.

We know that when good men do nothing . . . evil triumphs.

That is why we are here today, so that it can never be said, that we good people of America did nothing in the face of evil.

Evil is all around us today - in every corner of the world. And sadly, even our own country is not the same as it used to be.

The good ol' days are gone, but the bad ol' boys remain.

And dangerous changes are daily taking place.

Even after a jury found that the FBI went too far against Judy Bari and Darryl Cherney, their families--and us--still don't have justice.

The USA Patriot Act and the Secret Evidence Act erode our constitutional rights.

Hard-earned savings of generations of Americans are being spent on the military and intelligence communities while poverty and homelessness affect millions in every city and town of America.

And now this Administration proposes to take this country to war against Iraq.

Yet, all across our country and those of our allies, veterans of the last war against Iraq still suffer the health effects of Gulf War Syndrome. Our Vietnam era veterans still suffer from exposure to Agent Orange while a new generation of veterans are reeling from depleted uranium.

And they have not been taken care of.

Sadly, 25 percent of all the homeless men and women who sleep on our streets every night, are our veterans to whom we've already broken our promise.

How many more veterans does George W. Bush want to create to whom we'll break our promise?

Mr. President, please look at the veterans who are sleeping on the streets right across from your window in the White House, Mr. President, please look.

Our government can monitor our cell phones, the keystrokes on our computer keyboards, the books we read at the library, but they can't give a warm meal and shelter to the veterans who have served our country and who are now in need.

Something is terribly, terribly wrong.

And what about the young men and women who now find themselves on the frontlines deployed in far away places like Oman, Djibouti, Bahrain, Philippines, Uzbekistan,

George Bush signed an executive order waiving the Administration's obligation to pay them their high deployment overtime pay!

If he would do this to our troops, what will he do to us?

We need only remember Florida to answer that question!

And Let us remember . . .

It's easy to talk war . . . if you've never been to war.

George Bush, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Rush Limbaugh, where were you when America called?

We slid into the Vietnam War with a Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that turned out not to be true.

Your strength and courage is now being tested.

We can stand back and do nothing or we can protect this Republic, over America, from abuse.

We gathered here today, represent every slice of America.

We are blacks and whites, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans; Christians, Muslims, and Jews; gay, lesbian, and straight; immigrants and native-born Americans; rich and poor and we've all come together as one.

Despite all our differences, we are here today with one desire - to restore the true ideals of America.

Don't be fooled by what they may say about you: You are the true patriots.

Our first President George spoke about you.

He spoke about what happens to true patriots and how we might know them.

He warned us to beware the empty bellicose flag waving of those who hold themselves out to be patriots. He warned us against false patriotism. He cautioned that the true patriot, the one who most loves his country, will become suspect and odious and they will watch while the false patriots usurp the applause of the people; the true patriots will know that our country's founding interests are being surrendered.

That first President George was George Washington. Read his farewell address.

We've known true patriots in our day: like JFK, RFK, and MLK.

But you too are patriots. And today, you are standing up for what is right and good about our country.

We have become the guardians for an America that will be loved around the world and not just feared.

Against today's backdrop of Washington DC, the most powerful capital city on the planet, I dream of the day when the power of love replaces the power of might.

That will be the day when our world will know the blessings of peace and our Republic will be in the hands of the people.

Thank you.


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