Press Conference Remarks for Peaceable Assembly January 22, 2010 by Steve Clemens
In grade school I learned a basic tenet of our nation’s democracy is “consent of the governed”.
I am traveling to our nation’s capitol next week to make my position crystal clear to our President and my elected representative and Senators that I do not consent to our present wars and military occupations in either Afghanistan or Iraq. They must end and our nation’s soldiers and military mercenaries must be removed from those countries.
Dr. Martin Luther King – whom our nation praises but does not follow or listen to – said a year before he was killed, "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
Our President is proposing a military budget for next year (FY2011) which exceeds $740 billion – not including lifetime costs for caring for wounded and disabled veterans, our obscene arsenal of nuclear weapons (which are hidden in the Dept. of Energy budget), our covert attempts to destabilize and overthrow other governments by the CIA and other clandestine and unaccountable groups, or servicing the national debt, much of which was incurred to fight wars on credit.
None of this has enhanced our security as a people or our standing in the world community. It has actually made us less secure as the poor are left to fight over the scraps from the table set for the powerful by our politicians.
It is time (again) for people of goodwill and conscience to say with their voices and bodies in front of the White House and US Capitol, “No. Not in my name. I do not consent”.
These replica tombstones we will carry have the names of Minnesotans who have been killed in these wars. I carried one of these same ones when I protested at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul in the Fall of 2008 when a Republican Administration ran the war. Now it is the Democrats. It is not a partisan issue, it is a moral one.