“This date [June 16, 2005] is a turning point in history.”
—Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder, Code Pink
Today we reached the tipping point.
Today, when we rallied for peace and justice and accountability in the shadow of the White House, when the fearless Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) knocked on its door to deliver his petition–a petition demanding an explanation of the facts surrounding the Downing Street Memo (and one that has been signed by over 560,000 people), when he held a forum on that same memo in a shabby little room because the majority party childishly denied him use of House hearing rooms (property that we the taxpayers pay for and which belongs to us), when representatives of a growing movement stood across from the White House in the brilliant sunshine of Lafayette Park and demanded accountability from the Bush administration–today we have tipped the balance.
There on the lawn, as a stiff breeze rustled through the trees and buffeted the flags atop the White House, we celebrated the beginning of the end of the Bush era. It was hard not to get goosebumps; sometimes you just know when something big is afoot, when the tide has turned. Today, you could feel it in your bones.
There is blood in the water now. When high ranking State Department officials resign their positions in protest, when both Democrats and Republicans sign a resolution demanding a time frame for troop withdrawal from Iraq, when 42 angry congresspeople led by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) form a “Get Out of Iraq” Caucus, when the parents of servicepeople killed in Iraq form an antiwar organization, when the president receives a letter signed by 89 members of congress asking whether the allegations of the infamous British memo are true–when Tom Hayden shows up–well, it is safe to say something deep and profound and powerful has changed.
An overjoyed Cindy Sheehan, co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, told us this afternoon that justice for the dead and maimed (and for us all) was finally coming. As she stood there relating to us how this was the happiest day of her life since her son Casey had been killed in Iraq over a year ago, a knot of press buzzed around the White House gate, jockeying for position so they could witness Rep. Conyers and his delegation as they strode proudly toward them to deliver his historic petition to the Executive Mansion. It was a goosebump moment, and it was unforgettable.
You don’t always get to be there when history happens, and even when you do, you don’t always recognize it when you see it. But today, as representatives of a diverse coalition of both activists and ordinary people gathered to hold the Bush White House accountable for its criminal lies and subterfuge, and for trampling our very Constitution, the feeling was unmistakable. It was the Beginning of the End of the Bush Era, and we were there. We the people had spoken truth to power, and we weren’t just witnessing history, we were making it.