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Democrats and The Sailfish Capitol of the World

3/20/05 One observer reports on antiwar demonstration and encourages more participation

How things have changed! When I first participated in demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq before the war began, we encountered as much hostile feedback (even including death threats) as we did supportive feedback from passersby. After the invasion started and our troops were on the ground in Iraq, the hostility intensified and outweighed the expressions of support.

Today, on the second anniversary the invasion, as we demonstrated at the Roosevelt Bridge, for every thumbs down or obscene gesture made at us there were easily 25 or more thumbs up and horns honked. We intend not to stop with this single commemoration of the Anniversary of Shame, but to renew regular demonstrations at the Roosevelt Bridge on Friday evenings.

The tide is turning. Public demonstrations of dissent are critical to increasing the pressure on this reckless administration and encouraging dissent and resistance to its Iraq policy, which will encourage wider resistance to other immoral policies, from the rape of the environment to the undermining of safety net programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

I implore you to consider participating in future demonstrations and engaging in other forms of active, visible dissent. I will keep you posted about organized opportunities to do so.

(William O. Jenkins)

3/19/05 Sojourners organize peace vigil on Roosevelt Bridge (Stuart) on Saturday March 19 at 1:00 PM

March 19th, 2005 will mark 2 full years since the bombs started falling in Iraq. As of today, 1,516 American troops have been killed in combat, and over 11,220 have been seriously injured. Uncounted tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died, and millions are without electricity or running water. The Bush administration is in the middle of an optimism campaign on Iraq, and wants us to believe that a stable peace is around the corner. But most realists see years of chaos and violence ahead. The two-year anniversary of the invasion is an important time to come together in response. Our friends at Sojourners--a network of progressive faith-based communities--are organizing peace vigils all across the country. It's a first step--an opportunity to mark this date with a solemn recognition of those we have lost, and a firm commitment to finding a better way. The vigils will take many different forms. Some are hosted by churches, synagogues and mosques and include religious prayers. Some are hosted by local peace groups and are non-denominational. Common elements include reading the names of fallen Americans and Iraqis, prayer for peace, and silence. This anniversary is also an important time to reflect on the war itself, and where we go from here. The fundamental error of the invasion has left us, as a nation, with no opportunity for a quick fix. But together, we must address the catastrophe Bush has created, and ensure we are never again deceived into a reckless war. Last summer, a survey was taken to determine where folks stood on Iraq. An overwhelming majority of us agreed that we need to have a clear exit plan. And that consensus remains: in order to gain the trust of the Iraqi people, they must know that we don't intend to be there forever. In the days ahead, we will work together to end the war, by pressuring the President to negotiate a binding exit plan with the Iraqi government. We will push to ensure that America doesn't establish permanent military bases in Iraq, which would send such a terrible message to the world about our motives there. Together, we will demand that Congress root out the corporate corruption that has undercut the rebuilding efforts and washed billions we've already put into Iraq down the drain. This is especially crucial as Congress prepares to approve another $80+ billion for Iraq. And we will counter the Bush doctrine of shortsighted, go-it-alone militarism by promoting healthy engagement with the international community--the best way to accomplish diplomatic goals, and address real security threats. Finally, we'll organize to increase the political consequences for misleading the country into war. Future lawmakers must know that illegitimate wars come at a great political cost. Our work together goes on. But this Saturday, let's begin by commemorating what has happened, mourning those we have lost and building hope together for a more peaceful world.

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