U.S. intervention in Afghanistan is facing increasing challenge, and this week’s dramatic Wikileaks revelations — the biggest U.S. war expose since Dan Ellsberg’s Pentagon papers — make it all the more difficult for Congress to keep funding this horrific war. It is an important moment for all of us who want immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to raise our voices.
It looks like there will be an up-and-down House vote this week on the Afghan war supplemental funding. The Senate has stripped the bill of all unrelated issues such as funding for teachers, so the meaning of the vote will be clear: there will be no excuses for voting “Yes” or abstaining (not that such excuses were ever legitimate.)
This is a crucial time to insist that your member of Congress vote NO on war funding! You can reach your representative through the Congressional switchboard 1-888-493-5443 toll-free. If you use this number, it will add to the Friends Committee on National Legislation’s count of how many people called Congress against the war supplemental, so your call will be tallied in two places. (If by chance you don’t know who your member of Congress is, you can find out at the FCNL website: http://capwiz.com/fconl/directory/congdir.tt)
The Network of Spiritual Progressives is joining with the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, United for Peace and Justice, Peace Action, CODEPINK, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Peace and Justice Resource Center, Historians Against the War, Just Foreign Policy and Progressive Democrats of America in this effort to rally support for a “NO” vote. If you can, please send us a brief email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know that you’ve made your call.
Our message is simple: Vote no on funding this escalation of war, regardless of whether it’s a procedural vote, and regardless of any good measures attached to it. Our phone calls this week won’t turn the situation around overnight. It will take massive and sustained street demonstrations, civil disobedience, teach-ins around the country, and other mobilizations to accomplish that. But a strong “NO” vote now will strengthen anti-war sentiment in and out of Congress, and will help build the mass anti-war demonstrations that are planned for October.
If our elected officials always believe that no matter how far to the right they move we will always be giving them our money and our votes becasue we fear something worse on the right, they have zero incentive to take our peace, justice, love, generosity and environmental sanity messages seriously.
We need to let them know that these positions of ours are not just “preferences,” but rather they are our bottom line and that we won’t support those who support war, militarism, injustice, and a worldview of domination and power over others, even if they tell us that deep in their hearts they believe something quite different. It’s not their hearts but their votes that we are looking at — we don’t assess whether they are good people or not, leave that to God.
What we care about is whether they use their power of office (and this goes for Obama as well) to support the values we hold, and if not, they should not count on our support. Please help us get this message to your elected representatives and to your local and national media — Rabbi Michael Lerner Chair, The Network of Spiritual Progressives www.spiritualprogressives.org Editor, Tikkun Magazine www.tikkun.org.