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Blogger's Note: There has been some speculation about former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney being a Green Party candidate for national office in 2008. Ms. McKinney had a distinguished, but controversial career as a progressive state legislator and Congresswomen from Georgia (is there any other way to be a distinguished progressive in this conservative-dominated Empire?).
Ms. McKinney delivered the following remarks at a March 2, 2007 fundraiser for Pacifica Radio station KPFK in Los Angeles
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We Must Resist
by Cynthia McKinney
I'm hoping there are some folks here tonight who have never been to an event like this before. I'm hoping that people are so moved by their own intolerable circumstances that they are now willing to do something different in order to get something they've never had before.
For, in order to solve the massive problems this country now has, it can no longer be business as usual for a critical mass of us.
Whether it's the thawing tundra in Siberia or the melting glaciers in Greenland, our contribution to global warming is something that must be dealt with.
Whether it's the massive amounts of money we spend on the war machine or the fact that we still don't know what happened on September 11th, the values and priorities of the American people must be reflected in the public policy we pursue. I do not believe that is the case today and there are specific reasons why.
I have long said that the black body politic is comatose: unable to sustain itself after the massive infusion of COINTELPRO-type "clean Negroes" who don't truly provide representation for a body of people in need.
Unfortunately, now, the entire American body politic is in dire straits, too.
I have also said that the prescription for the black body politic is radical surgery. So, too, now, I believe, is the case with the American body politic.
The extreme corruption of our political system by the greedy, unseen hand that comfortably operates in the backrooms of power is turning our heroes into caricatures of themselves.
Why can't we know the truth about 9/11 and this war on terror?
Why can't we immediately repeal the Secret Evidence Law, the Patriot Act, and the Military Tribunals Act?
Why can't we get back that 2.3 trillion dollars Rumsfeld admits is missing and use it to fully fund education and health care and infrastructure?
They're asking poor, devastated university students to return their Hurricane Katrina money, but I don't see anyone going after Blackwater mercenaries, the law enforcement officials who took federal money and then denied Katrina survivors safe passage over public thoroughfares. They're not going after the Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff whose incompetent behavior directly led to the delayed response, causing as-yet unmitigated pain and suffering on the people of New Orleans, and whose continued bumbling results in one of the largest depopulations of an American city in memory.
Why can't we know if there were explosions along the levies, as historically was done before to safeguard certain parts of New Orleans?
The reason we can't get answers to our questions and doubts linger is because our leadership today just isn't what it used to be.
The current state of black America didn't arise only because of Republican policies. Despite the election of thousands of black elected officials since passage of the Voting Rights Act, nearly half of the black men in New York City between the ages of 16 and 64 are unemployed - according to the New York Times. It will take 200 years for black Chicagoans to catch up to the quality of life enjoyed by white Chicagoans - according to a Hull House/Loyola University report. It will take 1,664 years for blacks in this country to achieve a homeownership rate equal to that of whites; racial disparities on infant mortality, family income, unemployment, police stops, imprisonment, and more, have not been eliminated and in some cases are worse today than at the time of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
People of color have less wealth, less net worth, work longer hours with insecure pensions and stagnant wages.
And now all Americans do, too!
We have got to do something different because we can't stand any more of this.
So what are we to do?
Just voting isn't enough. Voting is necessary, but it isn't enough to get the kind of change we must now demand. We have to change the structure within which we cast our vote.
We must have a different kind of leadership than is possible now without the kind of change I'm talking about.
This is revolutionary in its impact. And so, I will be fought even more fiercely than I've already been fought, and all I wanted to do was improve the lot of people of color in the U.S. and around the world; institute the kind of respect for human rights at home and abroad that would change the policies of our government toward the global community, including the American people; and make the U.S. government accountable to the taxpayers for the way it spends their dollars. Now, that's all I wanted to do. And you see what's happened to me!
So, what I have in mind won't be easy. But it will be worth it. And, I believe, it's possible to achieve.
Now, it would be nice if we could count on someone else to do it for us. And we would all join that person and make it happen. But, I reluctantly say that if no one else will do it, then I guess I'll have to do that, too!
Just like the Articles of Impeachment.
Finally, I have complete belief in the young people of our country and their ability to lead the kind of change that I'm talking about.
After all, it was the young people from just a few generations ago who faced attack dogs, water hoses, police beatings, and lynch mobs. They sat in at lunch counters across the country and stood up for our country.
And they won. And I know we all can do it again.
Now, should you ever waiver in your faith, just acknowledge this:
The world's most marginalized and dispossessed are already ahead of us in taking their countries back! Of course, starting in 1959 with Cuba, but then Venezuela, Cote d'Ivoire, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, India, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Haiti, and Nicaragua all have stood up to imperial domination - and won!
In the meantime, we have to demand more from our representatives. How can you be against war if you finance war? And how can you be against George Bush if you won't impeach him?
The American people are being fed madness as sanity. But, this is not Oz, Wonderland, the Twilight Zone, and it's not 1984!
With every fiber in our being we must resist. Resist like Mario Savio told us to resist: with our entire bodies against the gears and the wheels and the levers of the machine.
We must resist because we claim no partnership in war crimes, genocide, torture, or crimes against humanity. We claim no complicity in crimes against the American people.
We will build a broad-based, rainbow movement for justice and peace. And we will win.
I want to thank Dedon, Adrienne Cole (my former Chief of Staff), Anastasia King (Producer of American Blackout), Tracy Larkins (my scheduler, host, and everything assistant), and all the people associated with this program, and all of you for supporting it.
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Cynthia McKinney can be contacted through her web site: All Things McKinney