Happy New Year, 2005?

It’s hard to even write the words, much less say them. The staggering toll of dead, injured and devastation wrought by the Christmas tsunami in south Asia is heart-breaking. And this is on top of the Bush electoral “victory,” the war in Iraq, recent U.S. obstruction of international efforts to rein in global warming, plans to privatize/decimate Social Security and more.

It reminds me of a line from a poem I once

“Where do we look
for strength
in times like these-
hard times,
struggling times,

I had some answers in the poem:

“To one another. . .
“Spiritual traditions. . .
“Children, grandchildren, neighbor children, friends’ children, students. . .
“And some of us
just muddle along,
doing the best we can,
learning from history,
the historical truth,
the law of physics
that for every action
there is a reaction-
that oppression
breeds resistance-
as Dr. King said,
‘The arc
of the universe
is long,
but it bends
toward justice.'”

As I write we are seeing concrete evidence of this “law of physics.”

For the last two months, since right after the seriously flawed Presidential election and John Kerry’s seriously problematic immediate concession speech, a grassroots, pro-democracy movement has been growing. There were two initiatives that gave leadership to this movement:
the citizen’s hearings on voter disenfranchisement in Columbus, Ohio on November 13th organized by the League of Pissed Off Voters, Common Cause and the Election Protection Coalition, and the Green Party’s Cobb-LaMarche campaign which initiated, raised money for and provided the organizational muscle for the (seriously flawed) Ohio recount. Without these two efforts, it is likely that the mushrooming pro-democracy movement would have stalled at the starting line.

Since that time a growing number of important developments have taken place:

-the active leadership and involvement in this movement by Representative John Conyers and Rev. Jesse Jackson;
-the very successful Progressive Dialogue III meeting in D.C. which founded United Progressives for Democracy and called for a Winter Democracy Campaign;
-the actions by Electors in at least five states, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, California and North Carolina, who, for the first time in history, turned the heavily scripted and ritualized electoral college proceedings December 13th into a forum calling for congressional investigation and legislative action;
-the national organizing by No Stolen Elections and other groups to put pressure on U.S. Senators to get them to join with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on January 6th, refusing to automatically pass through the Ohio Electoral College vote;
-the organization of demonstrations on January 6th in D.C., beginning with a rally at Lafayette Park in the morning, followed by a march to Capitol Hill to link up with another rally there; -the Save Our Votes March from Baltimore to D.C. January 4th to 6th organized by 51capitalmarch;
-and, last but by no means least, the announcement just yesterday by We Do Not Concede that disenfranchised voters from Ohio will board a bus and/or caravan, leaving from Columbus early on the morning of January 5th and going to Washington, D.C. to lobby Senators and join with the January 6th demonstrators.

Those who are feeling depressed and pessimistic about the political situation should join with this mushrooming, hopeful, grassroots-driven, pro-democracy movement.

We should all be doing everything we can on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week to put heavy pressure on U.S. Senators. By Thursday they should be feeling like they must have felt back in October of 2002 when a tidal wave of grassroots pressure led to 156 members of Congress voting against the legislation giving Bush the green light to invade Iraq.

The U.S. Senate needs to be hit this week with the equivalent of a political tsunami. If it is, come January 7th, Bush’s “political capital” may have taken a major hit, and the political terrain for advancing the pro-democracy agenda and all other progressive issues will have been improved, perhaps significantly.

This is no time for cynicism or despair. It’s time for action. This week, every day. And it’s time for people to make last-minute plans to get to Lafayette Park in D.C. on the morning of the 6th. History is calling. Let’s start the new year off right.

For contact information for U.S. Senators call the Capitol Hill information number, 202-224-3121.

For a calendar of all the events happening this week go to:

To learn more about what happened with the Ohio recount go to http://www.votecobb.org.