Remarks of Salt Lake City Mayor Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson
Rally at City & County Building, April 29, 2006
MAYOR ROCKY ANDERSON We are gathered here today to say, “No more!”
No more killing.
No more expenditures of almost $6 billion per month on this tragic war.
No more denial of health care coverage for over 42 million Americans, when we are paying more for this outrageous war than what it would cost for universal health care throughout the US.
No more dependence on foreign oil, while we could become independent if we focused resources wasted in the Iraq war on clean, renewable sources of energy.
No more attacks on immigrants who work so hard to build better lives.
No more inaction by Congress on fixing our hypocritical and inconsistent immigration laws and policies.
No more complacency by our news media, much of which has served as little more than a bulletin board for false government propaganda.
No more raping and pillaging of our people by the outrageous profiteers in the oil industry, by the health care insurance industry, and by the billionaire buddies of Bush and Cheney like the crooks at Enron and Halliburton.
No more war in Iraq.
No more reliance on fiction rather than the science of global warming.
No more historic deficits forever demonstrating that our President and our Congress are total hypocrites and liars when they call themselves fiscal conservatives.
No more torture of human beings.
No more holding people in detention camps without charges – without lawyers – without any semblance of due process.
No more sending people off to be held and interrogated in countries where torture and brutality is expected to occur.
No more arrogant, blundering, incompetent leadership of our military.
Which means no more Donald Rumsfeld.
No more manipulation of our media.
No more arrogance and incompetence posing as leadership in the White House.
Which means no more Bush and Cheney!
And no more arrogance, incompetence, and timidity posing as leadership in the United States Congress.
No more illegal wiretapping without warrants.
No more complacency by the American people.
No more members of Congress who voted to turn into felons 12 million people our nation has encouraged to come here to work.
No more disastrous cuts in funding for those most in need in our cities.
No more destruction of American Indian urban health care centers.
No more cuts in Community Development Block Grant funding
No more cuts in Community Oriented Policing federal funding for our cities.
No more lies about a tie between Iraq and 9-11.
Which means no more Dick Cheney.
No more butchering of the English language.
Which means, of course, no more George Bush.
No more killing thousands of innocent people.
Which means no more of the Bush Administration.
And no more of those in Congress who have sat passively by while the slaughter continues.
No more killing.
No more maiming of men, women, and children, Iraqi and American.
No more apathy by the American people.
And no more refraining from saying “No more”!
We are gathered here today because we care deeply. We are gathered today because we can’t – and won’t – remain silent in the face of tragic dishonesty, tragic violations of international law and human rights, outrageous war mongering, and continually shifting excuses for beginning the war – a war that has resulted in the unnecessary deaths of probably more than 100,000 Iraqis and almost 2400 American members of the United States armed forces. Add to that tragedy the terrible injuries sustained by tens of thousands of people, and our nation’s conscience will forever be shocked and burdened.
We are not gathered because we are Democrats or Republicans or Greens or Independents or members of any other party.
We are not even because we are disgusted with the complacency, impotence, and timidity of so many so-called “leaders” in both of the major parties.
We are not gathered here because we seek to divide this nation. In fact, we seek to unify this great country behind principles of justice, compassion and an end to an outrageous, unnecessary war.
And we are not here because we are “nut cakes.”
There are those who have said, “Stand behind our Presid ent, right or wrong.” They say, “We are duty-bound to follow and support them.”
We are gathered here today to insist there are much higher authorities than George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld to whom we must listen for moral guidance.
Those who say we should blindly follow our governmental leaders are calling for no less than shameful individual moral abdication.
Never has so much evil been perpetuated than from following that call. A culture of blind obedience is a culture of immorality.
Nazi Germany was a society comprised of millions of people who did not question and who did not object. They followed. They followed blindly. They left it for their leaders to make the decisions – even the decisions as to what each individual would do, including the most inhumane treatment toward other people.
That culture of blind obedience was not one where most people asked themselves, “What should I do?”. The answers were already furnished by leaders bent on world domination – leaders who thought nothing of torturing, killing, and maiming millions of innocent men, women, and children.
People were not gathering together to say “No more.” Rather, they were calling out “Heil Hitler,” abdicating to political leaders the moral choices they each could have – and should have – made as individuals. In short, they forfeited the most important part of what makes each of us human.
We are gathered here to assert our moral autonomy – our moral power – our moral insistence that we will not be a part of the dishonesty, the brutality, and the hypocrisy behind the current war of aggression. And we will call out together for an end to the insanity – an end to the obscenity – known as the Iraq war.
At times like this, silence is complicity. Silence is an affirmation of the status quo. We will only see change when the people assert their own moral authority – and no longer leave it to the self -serving, shiftless, sycophantic servants of the corporate rapists and pillagers of our people, like Dick Cheney’s buddies at the sole-source-contracts-in-Iraq-profiteer Halliburton; like Exxon, the plunderer of almost every person in our nation; and like the pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies that have made certain the American people do not have affordable, universal health care coverage.
Rwanda was a culture of blind obedience. Tens of thousands of people heeded the call to slaughter their Tutsi and moderate Hutu neighbors, most of whom used machetes to hack men, women, and children to death. These were not people who asserted their personal moral authority. Instead, they betrayed their role as moral actors – as what most fundamentally makes a person a human being, by blindly following those who said, “Go kill the cockroach Tutsis.” As a result, 800,000 people were slaughtered, while our nation, while the United Nations, while the international community, which had been so hypocritically smug in insisting “Never again” since the Holocaust, turned a blind eye to the Rwandan genocide.
We are gathered here today to say no more will we stand by.
No more can any person asserting free agency stand by in good conscience.
No more will we abandon moral decision-making to so-called political authorities.
Let us each embrace our moral authority, let us each embrace our humanity, let us each embrace our responsibility – and insist in every way within our means: No more human and civil rights violations; no more hatred and inhumane treatment toward hard-working immigrants and their families; no more killing and maiming. No more Iraq war.
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