Excerpted from Coleen Rowley’s reflections about peace-leaders’ engagement at campaign events.
Coleen Rowley, August 2011
Thousands of attendees at Iowa’s recent Republican straw poll responded positively to the “Come Home America” message a group of citizens and I brought there.
The Des Moines news reporter who noted our anti-war theme for the Ames, Iowa event was just not present long enough to see the real story.
Our “Endless War = Endless Debt” and “War IS Taxing” warnings caught on with people from all political perspectives—including many from conservative, libertarian, and socially progressive backgrounds who stopped to speak with us. Most exciting was to witness many give up an hour or two to help us spread the word.
Attendees seemed genuinely interested when we encouraged them to sign our letter to President Obama. We told them we were part of a non-partisan effort to focus on the most important issues of the day. Instead of the promises, slogans, winks and other campaign antics of any particular political candidate, they related to our encompassing message.
The truth they shared with us is that no party or political beliefs wins if the US government doesn’t pull the plug on military engagements.
Progressives who support social safety nets, funding of public education, and who are opposed to widening disparities between the wealthiest and the poorest in the US cannot possibly see their goals realized without a break from a decade of destructive, costly wars.
Libertarians will not see a return to adherence to the Constitution, civil liberties and away from national security policing and “War Presidency” empowerment.
Greens will not see more funding and research diverted to sustainable and environmentally clean energy technologies.
And fiscal conservatives cannot possibly get the small, decentralized government they long for while the United States government manages costly oversight of empire-building and superpower status.
All people’s critical needs are connected by money. And thus are antithetical to the US’ astronomical spending on militarism run amok.
If the US government continues to be controlled by the military-industrial-congressional-media complex in defiance of its citizens’ consensus, none of these groups’ objectives can succeed. Throwing trillions of hard-earned and increasingly scarce taxpayer dollars on bombs, drone technology, armoring tanks, and corporate contractor fraud is no answer to populist problems.
While hundreds of national media in Iowa covered the straw poll near-tie finish as Michele Bachmann beat Ron Paul by a mere 152 votes, the media did not seem to care about the enormous outpouring we witnessed. Though numerous national polls, including those by Gallop and USA Today, confirm the powerful reality.
People of all different political backgrounds and loyalties are showing unprecedented consensus to support the end of wars and runaway militarism.
Our “Come Home America” kick-off at the early Iowa Straw Poll event revealed the unique moment our Country is in. What we are all watching is a “perfect storm” of various formerly polarized rationales coming together.
Look for our Come Home America initiative to engage this non-partisan convergence and build momentum. We’ll continue strengthening the consensus outside many of President Obama’s upcoming speeches as well as at other major political events, throughout the nation. We’ll mount many more banners like those that caught the attention of so many citizens at the Iowa event.
While politicos and bettors talk on and on of choosing between the “lesser of two evils” one thing is clear: it is real people’s issues not political personalities that matter most. And promotion of economy-crippling war is the greatest evil for all for our citizens as well as citizens of other countries.
It is the one that contaminates our economy and poisons everything else citizens care about. These issues therefore transcend political party loyalties.
Coleen Rowley, a former FBI agent, is a “TIME Person of the Year“ and recipient of retired CIA officers’ honors for integrity in intelligence. For uncovering mishandling by the FBI that had delayed the arrest of 9/11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. Rowley is a peace activist.