wade tillett on Wed, 6 Mar 2002 22:44:05 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> FW: A Prayer for America


Speech By Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH)
To The
Southern California Americans for Democratic Action.
February 17, 2002
Los Angeles, California

A Prayer for America

I offer these brief remarks today as a prayer for our country, with
love of democracy, as a celebration of our country. With love for our
country. With hope for our country. With a belief that the light of
freedom cannot be extinguished as long as it is inside of us. With a
belief that freedom rings resoundingly in a democracy each time we
speak freely. With the understanding that freedom stirs the human
heart and fear stills it. With the belief that a free people cannot
walk in fear and faith at the same time.

With the understanding that there is a deeper truth expressed in the
unity of the United States. That implicit in the union of our country
is the union of all people. That all people are essentially one. That
the world is interconnected not only on the material level of
economics, trade, communication, and transportation, but
innerconnected through human consciousness, through the human heart,
through the heart of the world, through the simply expressed impulse
and yearning to be and to breathe free.

I offer this prayer for America.

Let us pray that our nation will remember that the unfolding of the
promise of democracy in our nation paralleled the striving for civil
rights. That is why we must challenge the rationale of the Patriot
Act. We must ask why should America put aside guarantees of
constitutional justice?

How can we justify in effect canceling the First Amendment and the
right of free speech, the right to peaceably assemble?

How can we justify in effect canceling the Fourth Amendment, probable
cause, the prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizure?

How can we justify in effect canceling the Fifth Amendment, nullifying
due process, and allowing for indefinite incarceration without a

How can we justify in effect canceling the Sixth Amendment, the right
to prompt and public trial?

How can we justify in effect canceling the Eighth Amendment which
protects against cruel and unusual punishment?

We cannot justify widespread wiretaps and internet surveillance
without judicial supervision, let alone with it.

We cannot justify secret searches without a warrant.

We cannot justify giving the Attorney General the ability to designate
domestic terror groups.

We cannot justify giving the FBI total access to any type of data
which may exist in any system anywhere such as medical records and
financial records.

We cannot justify giving the CIA the ability to target people in this
country for intelligence surveillance.

We cannot justify a government which takes from the people our right
to privacy and then assumes for its own operations a right to total

The Attorney General recently covered up a statue of Lady Justice
showing her bosom as if to underscore there is no danger of justice
exposing herself at this time, before this administration.

Let us pray that our nation's leaders will not be overcome with fear.
Because today there is great fear in our great Capitol. And this must
be understood before we can ask about the shortcomings of Congress in
the current environment. The great fear began when we had to evacuate
the Capitol on September 11. It continued when we had to leave the
Capitol again when a bomb scare occurred as members were pressing the
CIA during a secret briefing. It continued when we abandoned
Washington when anthrax, possibly from a government lab, arrived in
the mail.

It continued when the Attorney General declared a nationwide terror
alert and then the Administration brought the destructive Patriot Bill
to the floor of the House.

It continued in the release of the bin Laden tapes at the same time
the President was announcing the withdrawal from the ABM treaty.

It remains present in the cordoning off of the Capitol. It is present
in the camouflaged armed national guardsmen who greet members of
Congress each day we enter the Capitol campus. It is present in the
labyrinth of concrete barriers through which we must pass each time we
go to vote.

The trappings of a state of siege trap us in a state of fear,
ill-equipped to deal with the Patriot Games, the Mind Games, the War
Games of an unelected President and his undetected Vice President.

Let us pray that our country will stop this war. "To provide for the
common defense" is one of the formational principles of America.

Our Congress gave the President the ability to respond to the tragedy
of September 11. We licensed a response to those who helped bring the
terror of September 11th. But we the people and our elected
representatives must reserve the right to measure the response, to
proportion the response, to challenge the response, and to correct the

Because we did not authorize the invasion of Iraq.
We did not authorize the invasion of Iran.
We did not authorize the invasion of North Korea.
We did not authorize the bombing of civilians in Afghanistan.
We did not authorize permanent detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
We did not authorize the withdrawal from the Geneva Convention.
We did not authorize military tribunals suspending due process and
habeas corpus.
We did not authorize assassination squads.
We did not authorize the resurrection of COINTELPRO.
We did not authorize the repeal of the Bill of Rights.
We did not authorize the revocation of the Constitution.
We did not authorize national identity cards.
We did not authorize the eye of Big Brother to peer from cameras
throughout our cities.
We did not authorize an eye for an eye.
Nor did we ask that the blood of innocent people, who perished on
September 11, be avenged with the blood of innocent villagers in
We did not authorize the administration to wage war anytime,
anywhere,anyhow it pleases.
We did not authorize war without end.
We did not authorize a permanent war economy.

Yet we are upon the threshold of a permanent war economy. The
President has requested a $45.6 billion increase in military spending.
All defense-related programs will cost close to $400 billion.

Consider that the Department of Defense has never passed an
independent audit. Consider that the Inspector General has notified
Congress that the Pentagon cannot properly account for $1.2 trillion
in transactions. Consider that in recent years the Dept. of Defense
could not match $22 billion worth of expenditures to the items it
purchased, wrote off, as lost, billions of dollars worth of in-transit
inventory and stored nearly $30 billion worth of spare parts it did
not need.

Yet the defense budget grows with more money for weapons systems to
fight a cold war which ended, weapon systems in search of new enemies
to create new wars. This has nothing to do with fighting terror.

This has everything to do with fueling a military industrial machine
with the treasure of our nation, risking the future of our nation,
risking democracy itself with the militarization of thought which
follows the militarization of the budget.

Let us pray for our children.

Our children deserve a world without end. Not a war without end. Our
children deserve a world free of the terror of hunger, free of the
terror of poor health care, free of the terror of homelessness, free
of the terror of ignorance, free of the terror of hopelessness, free
of the terror of policies which are committed to a world view which is
not appropriate for the survival of a free people, not appropriate for
the survival of democratic values, not appropriate for the survival of
our nation, and not appropriate for the survival of the world.

Let us pray that we have the courage and the will as a people and as a
nation to shore ourselves up, to reclaim from the ruins of September
11th our democratic traditions.

Let us declare our love for democracy. Let us declare our intent for

Let us work to make nonviolence an organizing principle in our own

Let us recommit ourselves to the slow and painstaking work of
statecraft, which sees peace, not war as being inevitable.

Let us work for a world where someday war becomes archaic.

That is the vision which the proposal to create a Department of Peace
envisions. Forty-three members of Congress are now cosponsoring the
legislation. Let us work for a world where nuclear disarmament is an
imperative. That is why we must begin by insisting on the commitments
of the ABM treaty. That is why we must be steadfast for

Let us work for a world where America can lead the day in banning
weapons of mass destruction not only from our land and sea and sky but
from outer space itself. That is the vision of HR 3616: A universe
free of fear. Where we can look up at God's creation in the stars and
imagine infinite wisdom, infinite peace, infinite possibilities, not
infinite war, because we are taught that the kingdom will come on
earth as it is in heaven. Let us pray that we have the courage to
replace the images of death which haunt us, the layers of images of
September 11th, faded into images of patriotism, spliced into images
of military mobilization, jump-cut into images of our secular
celebrations of the World Series, New Year's Eve, the Superbowl, the
Olympics, the strobic flashes which touch our deepest fears, let us
replace those images with the work of human relations, reaching out to
people, helping our own citizens here at home, lifting the plight of
the poor everywhere.

That is the America which has the ability to rally the support of the

That is the America which stands not in pursuit of an axis of evil,
but which is itself at the axis of hope and faith and peace and
freedom. America, America. God shed grace on thee. Crown thy good,

Not with weapons of mass destruction. Not with invocations of an axis
of evil. Not through breaking international treaties. Not through
establishing America as king of a unipolar world. Crown thy good
America. America, America. Let us pray for our country. Let us love
our country. Let us defend our country not only from the threats
without but from the threats within.

Crown thy good, America. Crown thy good with brotherhood, and
sisterhood. And crown thy good with compassion and restraint and
forbearance and a commitment to peace, to democracy, to economic
justice here at home and throughout the world.

Crown thy good, America. Crown thy good America. Crown thy good.

Thank you.

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