By Rick Banales
Clearing House" -- -- -I watched the returns
come in Tuesday night the way I watch a scary movie –
through the fingers of my hand. And as the evening went on,
it seemed like the shift that we had all hoped that the
country would take was finally happening, like all of a
sudden the people who were too busy, scared or brainwashed
to listen were all seeing what we had been seeing for years
– the flag-draped caskets, the dismantling of the
Constitution, the use of interrogation techniques that would
have shamed the Spanish Inquisitors.
So today, Congress is in the hands of another party. We have
to remember we have all been here before – this point of
seeing a new direction in America, the unobstructed
panoramic view that begins to get cloudier and more
cluttered as the days go on. We all had high hopes for the
country after Clinton was elected – it was surprising to me
that he ended up being just a kinder and gentler Republican
in Dem clothing.
I think the difference now is that we have all seen the
brink – we have all been Frodo at the fiery mouth of Mount
Doom. We have all seen how unchecked and absolute power
corrupts absolutely. And we all have to look at this new
change in the wind as a commitment to do the work we are
called to do – to help make peace in the world.
We have recently heard from two women who, even with this
new perspective in the land, are still out trying to make
change, still out working to make peace a reality.
Sara Rich has had to deal with not only sending her daughter
Suzanne Swift to war, but with the degrading, humiliating,
and unconscionable way the modern Army treats its female
Patricia Isasa was one of Argentina’s ‘disappeared’ –
kidnapped and tortured as a 16-year old high school student.
Instead of silently suffering her abuse, she initiated an
investigation into the kidnapping that has culminated with
eight suspects in jail and awaiting trial in Argentina.
Sara and Patricia are both asking the same questions – who
is accountable? Who is holding the mantle of responsibility,
who will have to give testimony?
We have to be as vigilant as Sara and Patricia – the country
spoke this week, and it said in a loud and common voice that
they do not trust this administration – not with their
money, their oil, their children, the accused, the ballot
box, Social Security, Medicare, bankruptcy protection…and
they certainly don’t trust this Administration to come up
with a half-reasonable reason to go to war.
There is a very well-known quote from the Marvel Comic
Spiderman – an admonition spoken to Peter Parker by his
grandfather: With great power comes great responsibility.
Our mission is to make sure that the gains we have seen in
the last week become real changes for the citizens of this
country, and consequently the world at large. We have shown
that we are the mainstream, and that we reflect the wishes
and dreams that people voted for in droves.
The worst thing that could happen in a situation like this
is for us to become complacent, to expect that people who
were saying very recently that they would fight a better and
more efficient war on terror will go anywhere near stopping
this war mindset on their own unless we bombard them with
We have a group of people we have to deal with now in
Washington who are just as in debt and beholden to the
corporatocracy as anyone there before – our mission now is
to use this springboard to make sure that they understand
who elected them. It was NOT General Electric, it was NOT
Halliburton, it was NOT FOX News – it was the people who
expect that our representatives will listen to us, work for
us, and make change for us.
We have to remind these people that health care, whether we
are talking about community medical centers, Medicare Reform
or Universal Health Care, is the responsibility of our
elected officials to deliver – not the wishes of the
Hospital, Insurance or Pharmaceutical industries.
We must let them know that a populace empowered with the
truth is a great force, and that reinstation of the Fairness
Doctrine, the return to actual journalism, and a quest to
report the unfettered truth will only be a benefit to their
own job experience and the American public as a whole.
We must remind these people that until we have the
900-year-old principle of Habeas Corpus returned in this
country – whole, undiluted, for citizen and non-citizen
alike, we really do not live in America.
And we must be vigilant in letting them know that war is a
failure of the human condition – it is a failing of
intelligence, of morality, of compassion, and of maturity.
Not only do we need to stop this ugly war in Iraq, we must
let them know that war is never an option in the future –
this country needs to get on the track of speaking
eloquently and clearly to the world at large so we can all
get to the important work of beating our swords into
We can all be proud of the work we did to make this past
Tuesday a reality, and I look forward to pushing forward
with you all.