On my birthday last year, I declared my independence from a national
leadership that, through its votes in support of the war machine, is now
complicit in war crimes, torture, crimes against humanity and crimes against
I declared my independence from every bomb dropped, every veteran maimed and
every child killed.
I noted that the Democratic leadership in Congress had failed to restore this
country to constitutional rule by repealing the Patriot Acts, the Secret
Evidence Act and the Military Commissions Act.
That it had aided and abetted illegal spying against the American people. And
that it took impeachment off the table.
In addition, the Democratic congressional leadership failed to promote the
economic integrity of this country by not repealing the Bush tax cuts. They
failed to institute a livable wage, Medicare-for-all health care, and gave even
more money to the Pentagon as it misuses our hard-earned dollars.
We can add to that list, too, an abject failure to stand up for human rights
If the Democratic and Republican leadership won’t respect the right of
return for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita survivors, how can we expect them to
champion the right of return for Palestinians?
If this country’s leadership tolerates the wanton murder of unarmed Black
and Latino men by law enforcement officials—extra-judicial
killings—how can we expect them to stop or even speak out against
targeted assassinations in the Middle East?
If the Democratic and Republican leadership accept ethnic cleansing in this
country by way of gentrification and predatory lending, why should we expect
them to put an end to it in Palestine?
If the leadership of this country impedes self-determination for Native peoples
in this country, why should we expect them to support Indigenous rights for
And sadly, the sensationalist corporate media would rather trick us into
thinking that reporting on a pastor, a former vice presidential nominee and a
former cable TV magnate constitutes this country’s much-needed discussion
of its own apartheid past and present, so why should we expect an honest
discussion of apartheid and Zionism?
I hope by now it is clear. Our values will never be reflected in public policy
as long as our political parties and our country remain hijacked.
Hijacked by false patriots who usurp the applause of the people and all the
while betray our values.
I’ve decided that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will operate
any longer as business as usual—not in my name.
That Democrats and Republicans will use my tax dollars and betray my values,
not one day longer—not in my name; that neither the Democrats nor the
Republicans have earned my most precious political asset—my vote.
And that now is the time to do some things I’ve never done before in
order to have some things I’ve never had before.
And so here today, I declare my independence from weapons transfers, including
Apache helicopters; F16s; sidewinder, hellfire and Stinger missiles.
I declare my independence from occupation, demolished homes, political
prisoners and babies dying at checkpoints.
I declare my independence from U.N. vetoes, expropriated land, stolen resources
and the installation of puppet regimes.
I declare my independence from all forms of dehumanization and I am not afraid
to speak truth to power.
And I am happy to join with peace-loving people around the world who know that
there can be no peace without justice.
Let us never tire in our work for justice. Thank you.
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