of the Sep 24-26 Rally in D.C.
Guest blogged by Katrina Wilcox
I love the way Larisa always says what needs to be said. Her column You Are an American really lays out in very clear concise terms who the real Americans are and what their duty is to our Constitution.
1. What caused you to become an activist and when was this?
Well, I have always been an activist really. Running from Communism with my parents at an early age sort of instilled that in me. I try to keep my activism in the background and my writing as the focus. I don't want the two to be confused, although I do at times express my advocacy in my columns and creative work. That said, I am very much involved in women's issues, civil liberties, human rights, and civil rights issues. We may have reached a point in this society where being an advocate is the only alternative to being a drone. It used to be that advocacy was a niche, a function in our society that served the needs of the country as a whole. Now, there is no choice for people with a conscience.
2. What compelled you to write You Are an American?
What compelled me really was the absolute impasse at which we find ourselves as a country. We are a country in which a good number of people really believe the myth that they are being represented by government officials that they elected through an honest process and that their needs are at the center of all decisions made by their elected officials. We know that in the last few election cycles, the electoral process fell short of Constitutional. We know that some elected officials make money decisions rather than people decisions. Yet with the obvious corruption occurring right before their eyes, many citizens cannot or will not move beyond talking points and partisan values. I felt that perhaps if I reminded people of their unspoken oath and duty, perhaps it might make a difference. But mostly, it was also my own rage at watching my adoptive country set aflame by greed and ideology.
3. What message would you like every American to hear at this crucial time?
We no longer have the luxury of time to come to a middle ground on any one specific issue. At this point, either we defend the Constitution or we stand in opposition to it. There are so many boundaries that have been crossed with hardly a whimper from the public. There is but a thread of freedom left and I do not exaggerate this. Between the Real ID and Patriot Act, we have precious few rights as citizens. So all of the various issues, the hot button topics, and so forth are not relevant right now.
4. Given the chance to address Congress and the administration, what would you say to them?
I address Congress in my own way on a regular basis. But if I had the floor, where both the House and Senate, as well as the Executive Branch and cabinet were present, I would simply say the following: "What the hell have you done to us?"
5. What do you consider to be the most important problem facing America at this point? Do you have a solution?
The Bush administration and the House Republican leadership. Yes, fire them or impeach them. If this country is to survive they have to go. Moreover, if we are to ever have credibility in the world again, then they must be held accountable for violating Geneva conventions, for violating international law, for violating basic human rights.
6. Bringing about change in the government through letter writing, signing petitions, and making phone calls is not working. Do you have any thoughts or ideas on ways to accomplish real change?
Yes, stop buying. The only thing this administration and its supporters understand is money. So don't buy gas from the big gas companies. Car pool if you can, walk, ride a bike, organize group transportation. Don't buy anything other than necessities and buy those only from small business and local merchants. Above all, make sure that your reasons for not buying are well known to the sponsors of this administration and its allies. Remember what the grassroots did with Sinclair? We can do the same with every large, mega-greed-machine. Money is the only language these people speak.
7. One such idea is for everyone that attends this weekend's rally to stay in Washington until the government is forced to change and bring the troops home, etc. Do you think that idea would work?
No and it is not a good idea. Firstly we have launched an illegal war, committed crimes against humanity, and created a terror land. We cannot simply pluck our troops out without adequate planning. What we need to do is beg, and I do mean beg, other countries to help us secure the area as quickly as possible, so that we can pull our troops out as soon as possible. Our rotten allies, the Saudi royals, have more than enough money to purchase security for Iraq, for example. More importantly, after we pull the troops out, we need to drop Halliburton and the like and hire the locals to build their own country back up as we had promised.
We took away their jobs and replaced them with our corporations. We need to immediately provide the services promised, such as water, electricity, etc. We have to stop building our base-palace and put all of our effort in these areas I just mentioned. Above all, we have to show the Iraqi people that we, as American citizens, do not support this illegal war and the horrors committed. We have to do so by holding accountable this administration. We no longer have a reputation or the good will through which we could promise progress. No one will believe us. So as a show of good faith, we first begin by holding criminals on our side accountable. That might buy us some time while we plan to pull the troops. But really, this is the Pakistani and Saudi sponsored version of the American dream and those two governments can send their own military in to replace our military. If no one will help and help quickly, then we pluck our troops out. But it is imperative that we first try to get help from other countries of credibility and force the Pakistani and Saudi regimes to help.
8. Do you have any thoughts or ideas on ways to get the corporate media to get our message out?
Yes, bypass them as we have been doing. They are becoming obsolete fast and they know it. We need not worry about them because we no longer need them. They are gradually understanding this and as a result, they are forced to contend with us, discuss our stories and so forth.
9. Are there any further comments you would like to make?
Thank you so much for chatting with me. I apologize for the brevity of my answers, but work beckons. Thanks to the readers as well.