Peace activists with Peace of the Action (POTA) had just set up across from the White House when police officers arrived to shake their authority at Cindy Sheehan with a badass threat of six months in jail. Of course, she and Jon Gold knew they were under a stay-away order and couldn’t put even a toenail over the line of demarcation–this order imposed after they were arrested March 20, 2010 and spent more than 50 hours behind bars for exercising shrinking rights to protest.
We POTA activists are focusing on a gargantuan dilemma–one that impacts our security with heartbreakingly vivid images of gushing oil, dead marine life, and a bleak prognosis for planet Earth. We gathered in Lafayette Park in DC across from the House occupied by an imperial president to declare freedom from oil addiction.
This declaration is significant. It addresses more than a cataclysmic rupture beneath the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It questions the meaning of humanity, our responsibility to our fellow human beings, and to other species with whom we share this planet. And it connects our energy consumption to endless war.
But here’s the deal: our action was attended by less than 20 peaceniks. Where the hell is the peace movement? Do people who were outraged by the militarism of George Bush really believe that Obama is different–that he merely inherited a mess and just requires more time to “fix” the problem? Obama is George Bush, droning and drilling, the bedfellow of Big Oil.
And we were heckled–for expressing concern for the environment, for our troops, and for the civilians in the lands we’ve occupied. One guy walked by, laughed, and said, “Free Nelson Mandela.”
Most looked at us with vacant-eyed expression. We just shook our heads and said to each other, “Maybe they’ll engage when they are either gasping for breathable air or they’re prevented from leaving their homes because the petroleum and dispersants are toxic.”
Wake up, people, and choose life. For yourselves and the children–the world’s children. And for all the species our greed is destroying. If not now, when?
Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com