Rashida Tlaib has nothing about war or peace on her website. And she’s going to be elected to the seat held by Congressman John Conyers, famous for giving speeches for things like impeaching George W. Bush while telling reporters and colleagues that impeaching Bush needed to be avoided. So, take statements for what they’re worth (very little until followed by action). But action rarely follows silence, and Tlaib just said this:
“I don’t support military operations. If you go to the Department of Defense website, every day, Monday through Friday, there is an area called ‘contracts.’ Go there. You want to pay for college? Medicare for All? Pay to take care of Americans dying from famine to basic human rights abuses? Look at those contracts. I’m floored at how much money [they’re spending].”
When asked “Do you want to divert the DOD budget into social services?” Tlaib replied:
“Yes. We can build safer and more vibrant communities. I am tired of the earmarks for corporations. They aren’t going to Americans. They’re going to private companies. Not only have we made prisons into private corporations, wars are a for-profit industry. The [DoD is] a cesspool for corporations to make money.”
Those in the pay or hoping to be in the pay of the war profiteers don’t talk like this. This is socialism with seriousness, not the nonsense shell game where you claim you’ll provide decent services but refuse to mention the place where all the money is. (I’m looking at you, Senator Sanders.)
Congress members do not talk like Rashida Tlaib, or Ilhan Omar, or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Omar’s predecessor never talked this way. Even John Conyers never talked this way, with or without meaning it. Yet these three are very likely to be in Congress, and if they at all act on their professed positions, we need to demand that their colleagues join them.
To some extent, not entirely but to some small extent, I suspect that the blowback when these candidates say something honest or humane about Palestine is and will continue to be opposition to their entire antiwar position. Opposing Israeli wars is taboo in the United States, but so is opposing U.S. wars and U.S. preparations for more wars.
That position needs to be made acceptable. So, when three candidates for Congress who’ve won their primaries and are virtually guaranteed to join Congress speak up for peace, we need to celebrate it, make it more than just acceptable, make it enviable by other seekers of power.