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An Open Letter to Patti Smith

by ALLEN THOMPSON

 

I am writing you as a long term fan; one who has loved your music for over 25 years and who admires your commitment to creating a better world. I was deeply saddened yesterday to find that there is something important we no longer share; support of Ralph Nader’s presidential candidacy. I still have a video tape of you playing at one of Nader’s super rallies in 2000, leading the audiences of over 10,000 supporters of ending corporate rule in singing your awesome song “People Have The Power”. In the summer after the 2000 election, I ran into you at the San Francisco airport. I thanked you for the work you had done on the Nader campaign. You made sure that I knew that that work was still going on.

Yesterday afternoon at a CD signing party in Seattle, I was pleased when you declared that people should not blame Nader for Gore’s defeat in 2000. You said it was up to the Democrats to go out there and get people to vote for their candidate if they wanted to win. You pointed out that at least 50 million voters did not vote in the 2000 elections. When you signed my CD I thanked you for not blaming Nader to which you replied that “He is my friend.” You also said that it would be great if people would stop being fearful and would go back to being who they were on September 10th, 2001; before the massive wave of fear set in that was started by the 9-11 attacks. In the evening at your Seattle concert I was shocked to find that you need to take your own advice.

Towards the end of a great show, where the music was often accompanied by fitting video footage, including clips of anti-Iraq war protestors, you did a rap about the fall election. You announced that we had to do everything we could to replace Bush with John Kerry. Stunned, I shouted out from the audience that Kerry was a war monger. You replied that you did not think he was and that the things he did over 30 years ago in opposing the Vietnam War proved it. You soon launched into last night’s edition of “People Have the Power”. On the screen in back of you appeared clips of the massive anti-WTO protests that occurred here in Seattle in 1999.

Patti, in case you don’t realize it, Kerry voted for NAFTA and the WTO. Your use of that video footage after your pro-Kerry announcement was just too ironic. You also must realize that Kerry not only voted for the Iraq war authorization but that he also just said he would do it again, even knowing that there were no Iraqi Weapons Of Mass Destruction. He voted for The Patriot Act and is against cutting the military; in fact he wants 40,000 more US troops deployed around the world.

In endorsing Kerry, you are endorsing someone who stands for so much that you have fought so eloquently against.

Sincerely,

ALLEN THOMPSON

 

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