Sunday, March 20, 2005

At the rallies, we ask, "Why Are You Here?"

With tape recorders and pads and pens, we each hit different rallies in different locations on Friday and Saturday. We includes Ava, Jess, Ty, Jim and Dona of The Third Estate as well as Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, C.I. of The Common Ills and Betty, a Common Ills community member who will soon be starting her own blog. (We already love her title but we're sworn to secrecy.) Covering ten locations in two days, we went with one question on our mind, "Why are you here?" A question we asked at events on Friday and Saturday and one that the mainstream media should be asking but we doubt they will even if they cover some of the rallies.

Each of us whittled it down to twenty people and then to ten. Over much objections, we present more or less eighty voices. (More or less because technically there are eighty-one thanks to a sneaky trick by C.I. who used the fact that two young women alternated sentences to call them one voice, Tammi & Rhonda. If we had the time, we'd present all the voices we recorded and wrote down.) We've tried to present a diverse groups of voices and attempted also to present a diversity of opinion from the people we spoke to at various rallies. And if we had the time, we'd present the voice of everyone spoke we to.

Robyn, 19 year old female: "I would have driven hours to take part in something this weekend, to show my support for peace and to call an end to the occupation but I was really glad to see that local events were springing up all over the country. I look around at the turnout here and I'm thinking people will be going back to schools and work on Monday and someone will say, 'So what did you do this weekend?' and we'll be able to say I attended a rally downtown. It won't be about 'those people' streaming into D.C., it'll be something that happened close at home and it will give the peace movement a local face."

Doreen, 57 female: "My partner's son is back and badly damaged and no one's really helping him and the government says 'support the troops' but they don't do it. He's damaged and really bad off and there's no assistance for him coming in. It's like nobody thought about what to do if they live and come home, you know? Nobody thought about nothing, nobody in charge anyway.
Bush just wanted to prove something that had nothing to do with 9-11 or nothing but wanting to prove he was a big man and bigger than his daddy. And for that we got our boys and girls dying over there and we've got Iraqis dying there and we got nothing but blood pouring and hurt. Comes a time you got to say enough and for me that's why I'm here."

Ira, 62: "I'm here to say no to the occupation. And I'm really impressed with the turnout and with all the young faces I'm seeing because I wasn't expecting them. You got the prison scandal, you got the torture, you got the rapes, you got a scandal every other week and nothing seems to lead to any outrage. Why do I think that is? Because Bushy got some Madison avenue wiz to come up with a market slogan: 'support the troops.' And everyone keeps repeating that bullshit slogan. And it just shuts down debate, discussion and awareness. When I was a kid, you'd have seen a group of us screaming back, 'Fuck no!' but you don't get that today. And we're all managed and manipulated. And the extreme becomes 'Oh that's awful . . . but I support the troops.' And that shuts down any thought a person might have. In the 60s, you had a range of opinion and a range of people speaking out and being heard. But the range now is basically two voices: 'I support the troops and the president is right!' and 'I'm shocked that whatever happened happened but I support the troops.' That's it. No one can talk about anything for more than three minutes without piping off, 'I support the troops.' It's disgusting to see how well this war has been marketed from the lead up to the occupation."

Boyce, 32: "I'm here because I couldn't live with myself if I wasn't, know what I mean? The things out of control and we need to bring our troops home."

Sabina, 20: "I wanted to come out today partly because I wasn't sure there'd be a lot of people and I felt like there needed to be. I am really glad so many people came out on Saturday and said this is wrong, this can't continue. I want to know where we go from and I think a lot of people do but I'm glad we all made this statement here today."

Jasper, 24: "Why am I here? Look around you, man, this is America. This is the spirit of America at its best. This is people calling for accountability from the leadership. No place I'd rather be."

Tammi & Rhonda, 16 (overlapping): "Our parents said, 'You're not going to some hippie love-in.' So we told them that we were hanging out at the mall. I know a lot of kids at our school wanted to be here and we've seen like five so far but its like everyone's parentals are in denial about what's going down. They can't deal with the fact that we were lied into war and that a lot of them bought into the lie because they were scared. You try to talk about at dinner and you get speeches about how Saddam was a menace and you try to say, 'Well what does that have to do with WMD or any of the lies we were told' and it's like, 'Eat your potatoes.' They have bored us with stories about their wild and radical youths but they can't deal with the fact that they turned out to be these incredibly conformist people who could so easily be faked out by a war criminal. He comes on TV with his tricked out logic and no one thinks to look behind the curtain and look at where we are now. Our parents have a lot of guilt they don't want to deal with. They really defined themselves as so different from their parents and like get togethers are still confrontational but the reality is that they aren't that different from their parents which I think scares them. And we're not saying we're different from them or from our grandparents or that we're this new wave that's going to sweep the country cause that probably ain't happening. But we can look at a lie and call it a lie and that's why we're here."

Donnie, 17: "My mom says, 'Oh, there's not going to be any draft.' And it's like, how do you know that? Cause Georgie says so? Well what lie hasn't he told? If there's a draft, I'm not going. I don't support this war and I don't support this imperalism. We have so much falling apart over here that needs fixing and we're bogged down in another country, killing and destroying and it's just hypocritical and criminal."

Name withheld, 25: "I was there. It's fucked up and it ain't getting better. There's no plan now, there was no plan before. I just tried to keep my head down and not get shot."

Laura, 27: "I'm here because of Michael Moore. I saw Farenheight 9-11 and it just pieced together everything and made sense of what never did. It has nothing to do with a threat from Iraq and since I saw that movie I've been speaking a little louder and telling myself I would do more. When I heard there was a rally, it just made sense to come."

Marvin, 59: "I'm here because we got to speak out and we got to find our way and each day that we stay silent we lose a little more of our humanity."

Ruth, 52: "Why am I here? What, I should be home watching another CSI or Law & Order, God forbid? I'm here for the same reason everyone else is, to protest this illegal war and say enough. I repeat, enough. Bring the troops home."

Robert, 50: "Peace, brother. I'm here for peace."

Kendrick, 22: "Got a better question for you, why ain't the media here? You see any TV cameras? Somebody counting on getting reality from their TV screens is going to be in for a shock because they don't even know this thing is going down. They don't know that people are sick and have had enough. They don't know that this movement is growing and growing. TV's keeping them safe and ignorant and it's going to be a shock for them when they suddenly realize that their neighbor next door is against this illegal occupation and so's the guy on the on the other side of them, and the lady down the street. The movement is growing and growing and if you're sitting at home watching your TV for the truth you got a nasty shock coming down your way."

Lance, 32: "The yuppies have come home to roost and we're all paying the cost. We're over in Iraq redistributing poverty and creating ghettos all so a few over here can increase their own portfolios."

Peggy, 49: "I am here today because each of us has a responsibility to speak out when we think our elected officials are failing us and I think that's happening. I think that, having invaded a country that did nothing to us, we are now breeding terrorism in other parts of the world. I think that the whole thing was about oil and I think that as more and more lies are revealed, the quicksand beneath George W. Bush threatens to swallow him up. I think we need to see the notes from Cheney's energy task force and I think there's a reason we haven't."

Lynn, 58: "I am here because, in the words of John Lennon, "Imagine all the people.' The Iraqis are not savages or the other. They are human beings like us with thoughts like us and hopes for their children just like us. But you don't hear that on your radio or see it on your TV where they're treated like strange savages or weak children either needing us to tame them or coddle them. Who do we think we are? That's my question, who do we think we are?"

Fredrick, 19: "Like that sign says [points to sign] George Bush is a war criminal. When history is written, let it be noted that some of us didn't go along quietly and willing but stood up to the propaganda. Let it be noted that we didn't buy into the lie or let others shout us up. I can only take control of my own voice and that's what I'm doing here today."

Jeff, 53: "I'm here because I have children and grandchildren and I want them to have a future and if I wasn't here then what kind of a person would I be?"

Suzette, 21: "We are here tonight because we refuse to participate in the myth propagated by the corporate media that everyone supports this war, that this war is noble, that this war is just and that we are bringing democracy to Iraq."

Oliviea, 30: "Because in times of war it is especially important that free speech operates in a democracy and that we participate as citizens and not just as consumers or couch potatoes."

Georgia, 43: "To say no to the occupation. To say bring the troops home. To say this war is wrong and was wrong from the start."

Harold, refused to give age: "Cause this is where all the right thinking men and ladies are."

Michael, 20: "I'm here because I can't take the lies of liberation of Iraq, of saving Fallujah or of spreading democracy. I'm here to say no more lies to our liar-in-chief."

Amanda, 18: "I am here because the revolution will not be televised. What you have is two narratives. One is a myth and it is handed down by the adminstration and swallowed in whole by a compliant media. The other narrative is springing directly from citizen action and it is the voice of the people.

Martin, 37: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, won't get fooled again. That's what our idiot leader said and I don't think he'll fool us again. I think we're waking up to an ugly reality that's messier than even the liars running and ruining this country expected."

Rena, 39: "I'm here because I actually heard about this on my radio this morning and that never happens. The fact that my local radio station mentioned this is so huge to me and I'm hopeful that it is a sign, like recent polls, that the tide has shifted and we can start to seriously address the issues of how we were lied into war and why we need to pull out now."

Philip, 15: "I am here because I saw a poster for this rally and wanted to come and I asked my dad to come with me and he said 'cool.' So we're both here today and we are saying no to war."

Josia, 18: "Because if I wasn't here, I would be saying that I agree with this war and I support it."

Randy, 19: "I don't believe that this war is legal and I don't believe that it can be justified."

Tame-hi, 21: "I am here today to make myself presented and accounted for in the call for the end to the occupation."

Chet, 21: "I am here because I trusted the media to tell me what was going on and why we needed to go to war and I believed what was reported. By the sixth week of the war, I saw that friends who had told me it was all based on lies were right and I was outraged. I am still outraged and I hold the administration and the media responsible for the loss of lives on both sides. I am here today because I object to this war and I object to being lied to and tricked."

Antonio, 17: "I am here because a recruiter showed up at my high school lying to us and that was the last lie of all the lies about this war that I could take. He told us, with the principal standing right next to him, that if you sign up and it doesn't work out, you can just go home.
And people were talking afterwards and saying stuff like, 'Well it would pay for college and if it doesn't work out, I could just leave.' And I was saying, 'Oh no, that's not how it works.' But a lot of kids in my school believe it and the lies have to stop and the only way they will stop is when enough people show up and say 'no más.' That's what I'm saying today and that's why I'm here."

[Note: "No más" is Spanish for "no more."]

Nolonda, 29: "I am here because I see people from my old neighborhood who were just trying to get some sort of a boost, a chance to make something of themselves, being sent off to an illegal war and used for reasons that do not make sense. I am tired of my community being destroyed and raided everytime the government decides to lie to us and start another unholy war. As a Christian, I am dismayed to see much war mongering coming from preachers who should know better. As a Christian, it is more important that I speak the truth and say the war is wrong than it is that I go along to get along."

Alison, 20: "I do not believe that war is an answer and I think we're seeing that now in Iraq where we destroy whole villages like Fallujah and then turn around and crow, 'We've brought them democracy!' Democracy at the end of a rifle isn't democracy and an illegal war spreads nothing but more violence. The cycle has to stop."

Raynha, 29: "Because this war was no good from the beginning and it is inflaming tensions in the Arab world that will have long term effects for our country that we are not prepared for because the reality is far removed from the TV coverage."

Denny, 23: "Because the only way we end this is by making our voice heard and that's not going to happen from the comfort of your couch so it's important that when people gather to support truth and justice you show up."

Safwan, 41: "To protest an illegal war that has made us turn from the things this country is supposed to be built upon and that we are supposed to believe in. I believe Congress and the media abdicated their role and I am not impressed with the lack of Congressional leadership on this issue. I voted for Hillary Clinton in 2000 gladly, but I will not vote for her again as senator or as president because she's turned into a war monger like everyone else and I expected more from the person who spoke so elequently of the need for community and the need for the purpose."

Julio, 19: "I am here because I have a friend who's over there and I keep thinking that every day we continue to plunder and destroy Iraq is another day my friend could die. We don't belong over there, we need to come home. And I will say that until I am blue in the face and out of breath with the hope that somebody will listen."

Wes, 49: "I am here because I woke up to reality through things like BuzzFlash and Free Speech Radio News. I am here because for the first time since college, I'm buying The Nation. I am here because journalists like Amy Goodman, Dahr Jamail and Juan Gonzalez are alive in this country and getting us the news that we need. I am here because I no longer will be lulled into a false sense of awareness by the soothing tones of The NewsHour or NPR. I am here because I have seen the ugly face of reality and I will not take part in endorsing the lies of this war. I am here because I care about my country. I am here because I care about our troops. I am here because I care about the Iraqis."

Bahija, 22: "Because I'm sick of being fed lies daily by the media. I listen to Pacifica Radio and only Pacifica because nowhere else do I get any truth. I go online to various sites because the newspapers in this country have failed us. I refuse to endorse the occupation and I refuse to support the corporate media that cheerleads and advocates for death and destruction as it pushes one lie after another."

Keanu, 13: "Because it's the right thing to do. Because people do care about what is going on in our names."

Barbara, 64: "I am here despite all my friends who said it wouldn't make a difference. They also said no one would show up but look around. I did not support the invasion, I do not support the occupation. I am an old woman now and if I can't speak out after all the years I've lived, then I might as well start picking out retirement communities and lock myself away in one because it's either speak out or be silent and let the lies build. I am here to speak out. And I'm glad I'm here."

Stephen, 28: "To stop the insanity of this war."

Jonah, 17: "My rabbi is a wise man and I have asked him to explain this war. He's never been able to and my concept of God does not support attacks on innocent civilians or on reporters who refuse to be embeds. I think The New York Times has a bunch of cowards working for it and my parents no longer read the paper as result. Judith Miller has a great deal to answer for and someday history will hold her and the paper accountable. I am here today with my parents because we are saying no to this war."

Patty, 55: "Because I'm an old lefty who knows and understands the power of protest and is willing to do her part to stop the madness of the current administration."

Kebin, 21: "If you don't do something, you're saying you're okay with what's going on. I'm not okay with it. I'm not okay with napalm being used in Iraq. I'm not okay with DU. I'm not okay with rapes rooms and torture being run by us. So I am here today to say that."

Levi, 17: "To say to George W. Bush, you are not representing me and you are not serving our country and you do not speak for me."

Jed, 47: "Better question for you, why are we over there in Iraq?"

Nadira, 42: "With no proof of linkage to this day between the attacks in 2001 and Iraq, there is no justifiable reason for this war and it is time to call for an immediate withdrawal of all troops."

Max, 30: "Because reality and the truth break through. And it won't come from The Washington Post or ABC or CNN. We've all woken up and realize that. If there's one good thing about this illegal war it's that big media has been exposed to people like myself who spent years defending it. In 2002, I subscribed to two papers and really believed that they would tell me the truth. I watched CNN around the clock and never missed Nightline. I defended our press and felt like I was getting solid information. The lead up to the war and the coverage since has exposed big media as nothing but the mouthpiece for official sources. This issue impacted real people, average citizens. And you didn't and don't see them in the coverage. I can't believe how blind I was to the bias towards official sources until this war began. But now they've destroyed my trust and they can't have it back. They refused to give voice to dissent and they refused to listen to the average person. They have destroyed the fabric of our country as much as George W. Bush has. The best thing to come out of this, the only good thing, is that people like myself will no longer watch them or read them and they may have to find a way to actually earn a living and that might mean actually doing some work. I just learned of Democracy Now! in January and that's about the only thing I trust. A friend gave me the book by Amy Goodman who hosts Democracy Now! [Exception to the Rulers] and I read that. In 2001, I probably would have read it and thought she was wrong. Maybe even thought she was crazy. Because I was still blind to reality. But this war has opened my eyes to the realities of how the media clamps down on opinions and offers no real debate or discussion. For the first year in my adult life, I didn't donate to NPR. I don't even listen to it anymore. But I got a letter reminding me it was time to pledge and I just tossed it in the trash can. I hope Cokie Roberts and the others get tossed out on their asses and have to actually work for a living. They have whored themselves out and they do not speak or care for what impacts our lives. So I do not care to give them money to speak. I'm a lot smarter and wiser than I was two years ago and it's too bad that so many people had to lose their lives for me to wake up to reality. That's why I'm here."

Pilar, 24: "I do not believe that the attacks on September 11, 2001 just happened with no advance warning. I believe there was a huge break down in information gathering, yes. But I also believe that a lot of the advance information was kept from us and continues to be kept from us. We have yet to see anyone fired for their actions on that day. And to me, this illegal war on Iraq is a distraction on the part of the administration to avoid dealing with accountability on any level. It's a shell game where they distract us with one thing to avoid us focusing on something else. I am not saying that our government planned the attacks. I am saying that the failure to prepare for and respond to those attacks was not because no one could have imagined but because people did not do their jobs. Why they didn't do their jobs, I do not know. But I do know that two wars have served to distract us from the reality that a horrible thing happened to America on September 11th and I do know that were we at peace, people might be demanding the answers of how and why. The attacks have been utilized repeatedly by the administration to justify everything but no one's bothered to address the how and why of the attacks and that's a huge failure on the part of our elected officials. By instilling fear and terror in all of us, the administration has used the attacks to justify everything from a failed economic plan to war and
I am sick of it. Iraq did not plan the attacks of September 11th and I do not support a war built and waged upon lies."

Owenn, 29: "I am here because killing and torture are not moral values and I am sick to death of hearing right-wing idiots go on and on about whatever today's reason or talking point for this illegal war is. The shifting sands have exposed them as liars and have awakened the people to a media that does not serve the public interests."

Kim, 20: "Why am I here? Do you see CBS here? Do you see Peter Jennings or the loser who replaced Tom Brokaw [Brian Williams]? How about some reporter from the holy New York Times? No? Me neither. So I must not be here. This must not be happening. It's all a figment of our imagination. Because if all these people were really here, surely our media giants would be here, right? Judith Miller would be here standing next to me with her steno pad ready to take down my dictation if this were really happening? Why am I here? Because if I wasn't, I'd be as useless as they are. I'd be part of the banality of evil."

Cozette, 31: "Because I'm sick of the bullshit lies. I don't care if it's from the mouth of the Bully Boy or if it's from the mouth of some overpaid network newsy. I'm sick of the bullshit and I'm sick of the destruction and loss of lives. It's bullshit and I will not be stop calling bullshit bullshit."

Molly, 73: "I've lived too long to just go along. If I'm still here, there's a reason for it and it's because one angry old lady adding her voice to this rally shows the kids that just because we're old doesn't mean we stopped caring. I think I'm the oldest one here and that disappoints me because people my age have little to lose from standing up. I don't have some political future that attending might cost me votes. I don't have a job where I could be fired if the boss finds out I'm here. I'm an old woman and I think me being here says this crosses generations and is an issue that touches us all."

Akiko, 22: "To protest the war that has been wrong from the start and to say to the media you can ignore us but you cannot make us go away. I blame the media even more than I blame Bush because the media was compliant and went along when they should have questioned."

Perry, 26: "I am here today because the lying and dying will not stop until each of us wakes up to reality and stops living in a Bush created fantasy publicized by the media. You are the only one I've seen talking to people here and you're with a web site which is further proof of how our media has failed us since this crowd is a story and the reason we are gathered here today is a story. But true stories have little place in today's media and that's become apparent with each passing day as the press rushes to assure us that the sky is green and the grass is blue just because Bush or Condi says so. I have given up on the media to tell the truth in this country or to serve the public and nothing I've seen here today changes that belief. Here today, on a Saturday, with little news breaking, I see no reporters moving through the crowd and obviously that's because the media doesn't think this story matters. It is this attitude that has destroyed circulation for newspapers and demolished the ratings for news broadcasts. News consumers want reality and when they realize they aren't getting it, they turn off their TVs and stop subscribing to papers. Press releases were sent out on this protest and yet where are the press?
People gather to protest the actions of their government and where are the press? Were this the Ukraine, maybe The New York Times would be interested? But hundreds of people showing up for a demonstration to protest the actions of the government is deemed not news worthy by the media and that's the reason the people are deeming the news media not worthy of their attention."

Qudsiyah, 31: "I am here because the war is wrong and until those of us who believe that say it and repeat it enough, we will never be able to end it. There are issues here that matter to who we are and how we see ourselves and to what sort of country we live in. We must not give our consent to an illegal occupation and we must not stop speaking just because we aren't an issue to the big media companies. This is grass roots activisim and it is having an effect and it will continue to have an effect. And with or without big media, we will get the message out. That's what today's all about, getting the message out that we are opposed to the war and saying, 'We have spoken and we did not get tossed into jail despite the Patriot Act, so you can speak to." Creating a zone where people realize that there are others like them and that free speech is something you must utilize because a Ted Koppel or a Cokie Roberts or a Brian Williams will not speak for you because it is not in their interests to do so. So you must speak for yourself. And independent media is the key to that and it has been the only way to get the word out. I learned of this protest not from big media but from a web site and as online news coverage and information becomes the only thing speaking to those of us not holding an elected office, big media will continue to wither. It has made itself useless. I trust few people in the news media these days because they are so full of excuses and mea culpas that never result in any change in their coverage. Words are useless when they are meaningless. That is why blogs and magazines and Democracy Now! are the last resources for the people who want reality. I read Harper's, The Progressive and In These Times. I know that the people there are working to put things in perspective and to get the truth out. I share those magazines and Amy Goodman's Exception to the Rulers with my friends. One by one, we are building an area of truth and it sickens me that we have to do that because big media has failed the people in this country."

Hollee, 20: "Because I do not believe this had anything to do with 9-11, had anything to do with weapons of mass destruction, had anything to do with liberation. And I'm left with only reason for this war and that is oil. And I do not believe that reason is reason enough to justify the killing of innocent civilians in Iraq who are slaughtered every day at check points and in their homes in the so-called name of liberation."

Nora, 29: "Jewel sang 'I won't be made useless, I won't be idle with despair.' And I listen to that song and I think what can I do? And this is what I can do. If I'm not here, I am useless and I am idle with despair. I'm here to be proactive."

Franklin, 40: "Because this mess gets worse each day and that will go on and on until we start saying over and over end the war and bring the troops home."

Vincenzo, 31: "I'm sick of being played by the government and the media which has acted together to push this illegal and immoral war. Everyone who is here today is saying no to this war and no the increasingly lazy and increasingly useless media that provides the public with lots of calories and no nutrients."

Tuesday, 19: "I cannot live with myself if I do not do my part in my own small way to say I object to this war. Comes a time when you realize what you can live with and what you can stomach and I can't live with anymore lies and I can't live with myself if I just act as though it's not happening. A war is going on and people are dying. We can all get caught on who's going to win on American Idol and act like nothing is happening in the world other than Michael Jackson's trial or whatever. But the reality is that a war is raging and if you don't make your objection known, whether you state you support the war or not, you are supporting it. So this is my way of saying I do not support this war."

Leroy, 44: "Because a nephew died over there and he should have never been over there to begin with. Send Jenna and Barbara [Bush] over there if it's so goddang important."

Bruno, 39: "The longer people refuse to stand up, the longer this war goes on and it should have never been started in the first place."

Carolyne, 28: "It is important for those of us who see the lies to bear witness."

Dhitika, 33: "I do not believe in war as a means to end. I do not believe it solves anything. I do not believe we are helping ourselves or the Iraqis. I believe we are creating ill will that can only harm us."

Eddie Paul, 25: "I was raised in Waco, Texas and, like the Dixie Chicks, I am ashamed that George Bush is from Texas even if he wasn't born there. I think he is the worst president we've ever had and I think he has destroyed our sense of morality and values. I think our troops are over there dying for a reason that makes no sense and a war that's been started for no reason. I think we've been lied to over and over and I'm sick of it and I'm here to take part in this protest because that's what Americans do when their government lies them into a war."

Carmine, 44: "I am here because it is important that we continue to build the community opposed to this war and create an environment where it is safe to object and to protest. With the attacks on protests coming from the administration it is more important than ever to show up for these protests and say my right to free speech will not be easily taken from me."

Gail, 41: "My husband asked me that same question this morning. He wanted to know why I was going. I'll tell you what I told him. No, I don't think this protest will end the war. I do think it is a step and that each step brings us that much closer to ending the war. I wasn't expecting there to be this large of a turnout. And I've spoken to two people already who've told me this was their first protest. I've got a garden in back of the house and it's easy when the squash comes up in summer to just think, 'Oh there's the squash.' But it didn't just pop up. The seeds had to be planted. The ground had to be watered. That's what this protest is about. And it is one step along the path that will force Bush to bring the troops home."

Zacharias, 30: "I am here to say we do not all support this war and we will do not all support the illegal occupation no more how many liars get on the TV set and claim that democracy is spreading through the middle east. Lebanon has held elections for some time. Arafat was an elected leader. Liars get on TV and talk of a 'spread of democracy' and they look like fools and liars. I refuse to be made a fool of."

Mia, 17: "I'm here because I couldn't vote basically. If I could have voted, if my friends could have voted, I don't think that idiot would be sitting in the White House. He's the biggest joke of my high school and he's on his way to becoming the most hated man in America because he's destroyed this country with lies."

Juan, 30: "I refuse to buy into the fantasy that this war was needed or a response to the attacks of September 11th. I refuse to swallow any more shit that's being served up by a lazy media that practices stenography and not journalism."

Logan, 25: "This was not a great war, it was not a noble war, it was not a just war and it was not a legal war. As an American, it is my duty to object to this war."

Delilah, 19: "9-11 has become a pretext for Bush to turn us into everything we supposedly stood against. We now torture. We now kill. The judicial system is shut out of the equation and we practice trial by sniper. The bullet is the judge and jury and if we kill someone, they are supposedly guilty. We have destroyed our freedoms and our liberties while we run around like chickens with their heads cut off and scream 'Protect us! Protect us!' when what we need protection from is the big bully in the White House."

Lewis, 24: "Oh boy, that's like an essay question. How much time you got? I don't believe that our government told us the truth. I don't believe that our media did their job. I don't believe that we should be in Iraq. I don't believe that our presence there helps anyone or anything. I don't believe that there were weapons of mass destruction. I don't believe that journalists just died by accident. So what do I believe in? I believe in saying no to lies and I believe in saying bring the troops home. I believe in bearing witness and that's what I'm doing."

Jamal, 21: "No one should have to give their life for a lie and that's what's happened and what continues to happen."

Shelia, 35: "I will not. That's my message. I will not buy into the lies. I will not put a bumper sticker on my car saying support the troops. I will not support this war. I will not. I'm digging my heels in the sand and saying no more to the lies."

Aziz, 57: "Because when one engages in illegal war, there is an effect that follows and we will be feeling the fallout from Bush's actions for years to come. We need to pull out right now."
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