(Remarks at Feb. 15 peace march in New York City)
One of the Columbia astronauts is said to have looked upon the earth from the silence of outer space and said to fellow voyagers: “Look! The whole world is reflected in the iris of my eye.” As she watched the whole world, the whole world is watching us to see what is reflected in our eyes, the light of peace or the fires of war. We who gather carry a vision of peace. We see the world as one. We carry a vision of human unity. We see the world undivided. Today and tomorrow we act on that vision.
To those leaders in our country struggling in inner space, those who have war in their eyes and in their hearts and would project it upon the world: The whole world is watching. “Look, the whole world is reflected in the iris of my eye.” America is reflected in the irises of billions of eyes. The whole world is watching to see if the power of our morality is greater than the power which would unleash our weapons. Peaceful coexistence or war. The whole world is watching. A fist or an open hand. The whole world is watching. First use of nuclear weapons or leadership in global disarmament. The whole world is watching. Bombs or bread to the Iraqi people, to the Iranian people, to the North Korean people. The whole world is watching.
Some in the name of peace, prepare us for war, in the name of liberty, prepare us for submission, in the name of courage, prepare us to be fearful. Let all Americans challenge war, submission and fear! Some power has ruled there is no permit to march today. Yet we are on the march. The direction of peace is forward! We are on the march. The direction of human unity is forward! We are on the march. The direction of political change is forward. We are on the march. We will either bring an end to war or we will bring an end to a war-like administration. We are on the march!
Two hundred and fourteen years ago the First Congress standing upon the holy ground of a new Constitution met in this city. Their permit came from the Declaration of Independence. The same High Power which entrusted them entrusts us with the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. We call upon the Spirit of the Founders to guide us as we create a new world where all may live in peace.
The United States, brought forth by the power of human unity, seeks to be reborn. We invoke the Spirit of Freedom. We hear the cadence of courage echo across the ages: “Life, Liberty, pursuit of Happiness.” Once again, the hour has come for us to stand for unity, even as our government tells us we must follow it into war. Once again the hour has come for us to be strong of heart. The direction of human unity is forward. We are on the march. It is our government which must follow, or be swept aside. Thank you.
Dennis Kucinich is a congressman from Cleveland, Ohio. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.