We're Sorry Too, Pete

By David Swanson

We’re at least as sorry as you are, Pete. You can be sure that your apology hurts us more than it hurts you. And it’s a safe bet it’ll hurt Iraqis and Iranians even more.

On Monday a big group of us packed into your DC office, Pete, and presented your Chief of Staff Debra Curtis with a Spine Award to present to you. We discussed scheduling a time to present you with a full blown backbone statue from the Backbone Campaign, an award given out only to those in public life who display exceptional backbone. Usually congress members show even more backbone after receiving an award. I don’t know if Curtis knew that you were, even then, preparing to bend your weak back down to the ground and plead with the president and the media to please deliver some swift kicks to your sorry apologetic ass. If so, she didn’t let on.

Back in March, the bulk of your Democratic colleagues voted to fund more war. A handful of heroes voted No. But you, Pete, you stood alone and voted “present.” That ought to have been a red flag to us these seven months later, that you lacked the courage of your convictions. In May, you came around and voted No, but in September you voted for a Continuing Resolution funding more occupation, and in March you looked like a donkey equidistant between two piles of hay, starving to death but unable to decide which way to move.

Last Congress you were one of the crowd of representatives who signed onto John Conyers’ bill (H Res 635) to begin an impeachment investigation. This Congress, despite pressure from your constituents, you have refused to introduce or sign onto any bills for impeachment. You’re a half a man, Pete Stark, at a moment when we’re in desperate need of whole men.

You had me fooled, Pete. It gave me great encouragement when you found the nerve to become the first congress member ever to admit to not believing in God. I thought you would stand by your principles, free from superstition and fear. I assumed you had principles. But, no, instead you’ve chosen to give atheism a bad name, Pete. I’m ashamed of you.

What you don’t understand is what the world looks like from outside the beltway, Pete. Out here we have people doing everything they possibly can, going to prison, fasting, working without sleep. Thousands of people are giving everything they have to end the crimes of their government. But everything we see you and your buddies in DC do is measured and tentative.

Your state is on fire, Pete. It’s on fire. Global warming has dried it out and heated it up, and you are taking your orders from a woman who has decided to do NOTHING about it for two years. Two years is a large portion of the time remaining to us to reverse course. You are part of the team wasting that time.

People are dying in Iraq today faster than last month, and faster last month than the previous, and faster this year than last year. Bush and Cheney are threatening to attack Iran. They’ve put in place everything needed for martial law. They’re talking about World War III. They openly spy in violation of the law. They detain people without charge. They torture and kill. They rewrite and disregard the laws you pass. And you are a collaborator, Pete. Fox News blames the fires in your state on “al Qaeda,” the National Guard is occupied committing war crimes, and it’s YOU who apologizes.

I know, I know, most of your colleagues are worse than you. But you’re all shades of gray, Pete, when only solid black or white will do right now. If you refuse to join the 22 congress members who support impeachment, and if you apologize for letting a few words of truth escape your lips, then you are part of the movement toward fascism. You are one of only 435 people who could DO something, and you have apologized for merely SAYING something. That puts you a number of steps away from where you need to be.

This is not just about words, Pete. Your words have consequences. They can embolden and disempower. You have chosen in the end to embolden those launching illegal wars for profit and power while stripping away our rights, our safety, and our environment. You have chosen in the end to disempower those who long so desperately for the birth of a second political party to fill the aching gap in our two-party system.

Thanks for nothing, Pete.

And stay the hell away from Chris Dodd before he lets us down too.

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