On April 13th, 4:00 p.m. at Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office on Washington Ave in Minneapolis there was another peace protest.
This is this Indy Media journalista’s report of the event.
There was a gathering of about 80 people there, along with corporate media
represented by KSTP, Fox News Channel 9/29, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the
St Cloud Independent.
The first thing noticeable was the rather large number of grey hairs present. I am not sure if there was anyone younger than 40 at this event, except perhaps Melissa Hill. There was the usual assortment of signs, white tee shirts with red
hand prints, obviously signifying blood stained hands and other types of
political theatre props.
At this stage I decided to do some interviews. It was time to ask some muck-
I approached some of the protesters and leaders and asked the same basic
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“What should the response of the peace movement be, if the Congress and Senate do
decide to vote for the requested $33 Billion?” What amazed me was that about half
of those asked, looked shocked at the question. I also asked how many of them
had voted for Senator Klobuchar. These were the responses I received.
Linda Thomson described herself as a long time peace activist with North-West
Neighbors For Peace. She looked shocked and puzzled when I asked what we should
do. Her initial answer was “outrage, we should be outraged.” When pressed
further she talked of Kathy Kelly being a role model and how this “showed the
moral and financial corruption of our nation” and would “justify a strong
non-violent response from the peace community.” She had “voted for Klobuchar
albeit with reservations.”
Tom White responded “We need to stop paying our taxes which is funding this
war.” He had also voted for Klobuchar and states “We need to vote ’em out, plain
Heidi Upgaard RN also looked shocked at the initial question and also responded
“outraged but we have no effective response.” She had also voted for the
Darlene White is a member of Grandma’s For Peace and she was more hopeful in her
response. She stated “we need to put emphasis on those in Congress who do not
represent us and our progressive values. We need to make sure that they pay a
price.” She also pointed out that “The media are not helpful.” Darlene has voted
for Senator Klobuchar.
Steve Clemmons was asked and his response was “We need to continue to insists
and find other non-violent acts of Direct Action with our leaders. Then we need
more effective solutions to get the message to our Senators.” When the question
was asked again as to what our response should be if or realistically when the
war funding bill goes thru he answered “We cannot continue with these policies
which create civilian policies and that even those who support the war should
see that as counter productive. That we should be clear that there should be no
re-building of Iraq until the occupation ends.” When I asked again as to what
should the peace communities response should be, Mr Clemmons answered “continue
with a non violent program and resist.” I did not ask if Steve voted for
Melissa Hill on the other hand was very clear when asked. She responded “More
Civil Disobedience, plain and simple.” and further clarified “Don’t wait for
them to act, do it now.” Of course you could expect this from the person who ran
for City Council on the platform of Civil Disobedience.
As an aside, Melissa Hill is still this Indy Media Journalists hero. Melissa had
not voted for Klobuchar.
Then I decided to visit inside the offices where a number of activists were
located and trying to get a phone conference with Senator Klobuchar started.
Once inside it was asked if any there had anything to say on why they were
there. I responded that I was there as an Indy Media Journalista and repeated my
question as to what the response of the peace community should be if and when
the Congress did vote for the further $33 Billion War Funding Bill.
Marie Braun responded immediately that “We are not here to talk about that.” I
suppose that denial of reality is one response. It must also be noted that Marie
Braun was in charge of the events in the Senator’s office, asking questions
during the phone conference that happened later in the day. It must also be said
that while Marie may not have been there to ask this question, she does not
speak for the entire peace community or indeed for myself. Marie was also one of
the main speakers at the rally on the street and is a regular speaker at peace
rallies in the Twin Cities. Which continue to have a message that is strictly
I walked outside again and then saw Coleen Rowley. When asked she gave a great
response. “We need to come back with twice as many tomorrow and twice as much the
next day and on and on until thousands are here everyday. To end this insane
war” She then pointed out that “Apathy is a huge part of the problem, so why are
there no people on the street?”
Good question Coleen. I have a further muckraking question.
When will the peace and justice community come to grips with the stunning,
undeniable reality that the Democratic Party is the war machine just as much as
the Republicans? What will you do about that and when will you “allow” that
message to be spoken at the tightly scripted peace rallies in this town? It
might even explain some of the small numbers at peace rallies in recent years.
I end with this quote by another man of peace who also told it like it is.
“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it
politic?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a
time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor
popular but because conscience tells one it is right.”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.