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Why I marched on Washington

Friday, September 21, 2007  
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By Jonathan Carroll

Last Thursday I began the journey to Washington D.C. in my car with four friends.  We were going to protest the war in Iraq and George W. Bush.  I was surprised at the overwhelming number of people who wanted to come; in fact I had to tell some would be protesters that my car was full.  Not only was I surprised by the large number of people who wanted to come with me, but also at the support we received from other people.  Someone who I have only met a few times came up to me and offered me a large stash of quarters that he had been saving in his room to help us pay tolls.  I was rather confused and told him that we had money and I didn’t want to take his quarter stash.  He explained to me that he really wished he could go but the best he could do was try to help us get there in some way to support the cause.  I had all kinds of delicious baked goods offered to me to bring on the trip; all by people who told me thanks for doing what I was doing and that they supported me.  As if I wasn’t already overwhelmed by the amount of support we received someone offered to pay for a hotel room downtown.  I was shocked at the support we received. I really wasn’t expecting it.  It felt great to know that so many people are paying attention and are upset about the actions of our government.

I am not exactly sure when I decided I needed to march on our nations’ capitol in protest.  I read the news online on a daily basis and this is probably what started it.  I have never supported the war with Iraq.  Iraq had nothing to do with the events of September 11th despite what the mainstream media and the Bush administration would have you believe. It makes me sick at my stomach to read surveys showing that large portions of America still believe that Iraq or Sadam had something to do with it.  It is a war of aggression against a country that someone didn’t like.  That someone is your president.  It made me sick to sit there and watch your president twist the truth in order to gain support for this war.  Notice that I say your president because I really don’t want to claim the man or his administration.  I am ashamed of his actions and what he has done to the reputation of my country in the international community. 

It was when I heard suggestions that the administration now thought we needed to wage another war of aggression with the country of Iran that I was pushed over the edge.  I just couldn’t take it anymore.  The Bush administration was talking about Iran just like they were talking about Iraq before the war. It was like history was repeating itself right before my eyes and I had to do something about it. I read about the protest a few months ago and knew I had to go.  I couldn’t sit around any longer and watch my country spiral further downward.  I started writing my senators on almost a weekly basis sharing my opinion with them, but despite how many letters I got back from Inhofe and Coburn talking down to me I kept writing. 

The other thing that gets me upset is the Bush administration’s insistence on taking away civil rights to fight the vague “war on terror”.  Legislation has been passed that essentially made habeas corpus go away.  Did you know that the government can call you an enemy combatant and detain you without trial for as long as they want?  This is something you should know and it should bother you.  Thursday the senate voted to restore this important right, but republicans blocked it, again.  Did you know that if you make an international phone call the government can listen to your conversation without a warrant?  I am going to end my list of rights that you no longer have here, but I encourage you to research it online because I could go on for awhile.  These are all important rights that are the foundation of our country. They are slowly being taken away and no one seems to care.

I would love for you to share your comments or thoughts with me, but if you are going to send me an e-mail telling me that I should leave the country if I don’t like it, you can save it.  You aren’t being original or clever.  I have heard it plenty of times before.  This is my country too and I will work tirelessly to change it for the better.

“As we all know now, we were lied into this war and it is lies that are keeping us there,” said Sergeant Adam Kokesh, a former marine and Iraq veteran who spoke on stage before the protest.  “They lied about weapons of mass destruction, they lied about Jessica Lynch, they lied about Pat Tillman, they lied about al Qaida and Saddam — and those are just the lies we know about. But, I’m not so mad that I was lied to, as I am that I cannot trust my government any longer. It astounds me that yet so many Americans want desperately, more than anything, to believe the government. When will we wake up and realize that the power of truth is greater than any force brought to bear by any army ever fielded.”

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Photos by Jonathan Carroll

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