Lest We Forget: The Insanity of the BUSH RUSH to WAR--Personal Attacks from bush_junta
Tim Robbins delivered the following speech on April 15, 2003 at a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
I had originally been asked here to talk about the war and our current political situation but I have instead chosen to hijack this opportunity and talk about baseball. Just kidding. Sort of.
I can't tell you how moved I have been at the overwhelming support I have received from newspapers throughout the country these past few days. I hold no illusions that all of these journalists agree with me on my views against the war. While the journalist's outrage at the cancellation of our appearance in Cooperstown is not about my views; it is about my right to express these views. I am extremely grateful that there are those of you out there with a fierce belief in constitutionally guaranteed rights. We need you the press, now more than ever. This is a crucial moment for all of us.
For all the ugliness and tragedy of 9-11 there was a brief period afterwards where I held a great hope. In the midst of the tears and shocked faces of New Yorkers, in the midst of the lethal air we breathed as we worked at Ground Zero, in the midst of my children's terror at being so close to this crime against humanity, in the midst of all of this I held onto a glimmer of hope in the naïve assumption that something good could come out of all this. I imagined our leaders seizing upon this moment of unity in America, this moment when no one wanted to talk about Democrat vs. Republican, white vs. black or any of the other ridiculous divisions that dominate our public discourse. I imagined our leaders going on television, telling the citizens that although we all want to be at Ground Zero we can't. But there is work that is needed to be done all over America. Our help is needed at community centers, to tutor children, to teach them to read, our work is needed at old age homes to visit the lonely and infirmed, in gutted neighborhoods to rebuild housing and clean up parks, and convert abandoned lots into baseball fields. I imagined leadership that would take this incredible energy, this generosity of spirit, and create a new unity in America born out of the chaos and tragedy of 9-11. A new unity that would send a message to terrorists everywhere: If you attack us we will become stronger, cleaner, better educated, more unified. You will strengthen our commitment to justice and democracy by your inhumane attacks on us. Like a phoenix out of the fire we will be re-born.
And then came the speech. "You are either with us or against us" And the bombing began. And the old paradigm was restored as our leader encouraged us to show our patriotism by shopping and by volunteering to join groups that would turn in their neighbor for any suspicious behavior.
In the nineteen months since 9-11 we have seen our democracy compromised by fear and hatred. Basic inalienable rights, due process, the sanctity of the home have been quickly compromised in a climate of fear. A unified American public has grown bitterly divided and a world population that had profound sympathy and support for us has grown contemptuous and distrustful, viewing us as we once viewed the Soviet Union, as a rogue state.
This past weekend Susan and I and the three kids went to Florida for a family reunion of sorts. Amidst the alcohol and the dancing sugar rushing children there was, of course talk of the war. The most frightening thing about the weekend was the amount of times we were thanked for speaking out against the war because that individual speaking thought it unsafe to do so in their own community in their own life. "Keep talking. I haven't been able to open my mouth."