We the People, Do Not Consent

March 17, 2007

Peace Rally at the State Capitol
Santa Fe, NM

We are gathered here at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, as others are gathered all across this country today, to remind our government, and to remind ourselves, as we said some years ago in our declaration of independence, that all power ultimately comes from the consent of the governed. We are here to remind the media, the Congress, the courts and the executive, that when a government conducts a war of aggression earning the opprobrium of men and women of decent opinion all over the world, and when, at the same time, it neglects and treats with shoddy disdain those wounded, maimed and personally destroyed whom it has engaged to conduct that war, it squanders our consent and dribbles away its power.

When a government commits torture in violation of our federal statutes, it squanders our consent. When a government deprives its citizens of their constitutional privilege against unreasonable search and seizure, deprives anyone whom it especially suspects of habeas corpus, puts persons in prison indefinitely, when it deprives prisoners of the right to counsel, when it listens massively to phone calls and searches library cards by the thousands, picks up our dark skinned neighbors and holds these human beings without bail because they are dark skinned or practice a different religion, then that government has squandered our consent and dribbled away its power.

We are here because embedded in our history is the sacred idea that without consent of the governed neither the President nor the Congress has moral authority or the natural right to go to war. We are here to remind the President and the Congress and the courts, all three, that if such policies are self-serving for the luxuried and limousined class and for them alone, or if such decisions drain the incomes and the savings accounts of those of us who toil in the vineyards of the middle class, or if such decisions are justified because they aid the free market even though they may cause untold suffering among the working poor, or if such decisions are in violation of the laws of nations thereby insulting all classes everywhere around the globe, then that government has squandered our consent and dribbled away its power.

We are here to remind the courts, President and the Congress that we have not forgotten 700 years of legal history, that we will do all that is in our power to exact the judgment of generations who fought and sacrificed to give to us a free country, an equal chance in the game of life, and a society based in moral principle, not in the raw power of tyrants.

There are those who say now that if they had known in 2002 what they know today that they would not have voted to authorize war against Iraq. We are here to say that if they did not know, in the fall of 2002, that we were about to embark upon an illegal aggression, about to commit crimes against humanity, about to commit war crimes, that if they did not know that they were about to authorize a search for weapons of mass destruction that did not exist…

we are sorry, but that is not good enough, that we here, even we here way out in New Mexico could tell that the evidence was doctored, could tell that the Congress was being steamrollered, and if the Congress could not tell that it was being hoodwinked, deluded and lied to, then the Congress was asleep at the switch. We are here to say, from this day forward, in every way that we can, that if the Congress lays its head upon the tracks that not only the good people of this country but the institutions of government themselves are in mortal danger, because they will lose our consent and dribble away their power.

We are here to say that we see today the exact same progression of excuses and justifications for avoiding diplomacy in the case being made to attack Iran and we will not again accept any explanation that the Congress or the courts did not know what was happening, that they did not know what we already know here, way out on the slopes of the Sangre de Cristo.

It is therefore shameful that the Congress this week deleted from its supplemental appropriations bill the limitation against spending for a war in Iran. It is shameful we say, that a new war for oil, for one company, Haliburton, should be disguised as a war about nuclear weapons and that there seem to be few in the Congress or the courts who any longer have the common sense to see what we can all plainly see here on the slopes of the Sangre de Cristo.

It is shameful that while we seek to spread the rule of law throughout the world, our own regime, a regime that seeks to put strict constructionist judges on the Supreme Court, now urges us to ignore that constitution by condoning Presidential signing statements. The rule of law does not allow the president to determine what law shall govern the president.

We are here to say, that if the Congress does not tell the President that if he goes to war in Iran on his own account, all consent whatsoever will be gone, that we will rise up as a mass to demand that he be impeached, and we will hold the Congress and the courts to our account, to enforce the rule of law and our Constitution.

We are here to say that we are not through being citizens. We are not even tired of being citizens. We have only begun to be citizens. You have squandered our consent and dribbled away your power and we are ready now to re-claim our inheritance, re-claim the rule of law, re-claim decency and respect for all those amongst us who have suffered economically, physically and psychologically for your wars. Your wars are not our wars and we will resist them in every lawful way we know how. Every day. With every ounce of moral authority we can muster. Not for ourselves. But for the future of humankind.