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2008-11-05

Melissa Harris-Lacewell on President-Elect Obama

Guests

Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University. She is a contributing writer at TheRoot.com. She is finishing her new book Sister Citizen: A Text for Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Politics When Being Strong Isn’t Enough.

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We speak with Melissa Harris-Lacewell about the election of Barack Obama as forty-fourth president of the United States. Lacewell is an associate professor of politics and African American atudies at Princeton University and a contributing writer at TheRoot.com. She is finishing her new book Sister Citizen: A Text for Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Politics When Being Strong Isn’t Enough. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN:

We’re joined here in New York by Melissa Harris-Lacewell, associate professor of politics and African American studies at Princeton University, contributing writer at TheRoot.com, finishing her new book Sister Citizen: A Text for Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Politics When Being Strong Isn’t Enough.

Barack Obama ended on a 106-year-old African American woman, his victory speech last night in Chicago. Professor Lacewell?

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL:

Yeah, that moment for me was incredibly exciting, in part because I had written the piece in The Nation encouraging now President-elect Obama to speak about African American women in the context of the DNC acceptance, something that he did not do when he accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party. It was something which he did in a very poignant way in this moment, that in his description of this new coalition, this new Democratic Party, and this new American coalition, this kind of sweeping piece, that it would be an elderly African American woman that would get to stand in as the representative citizen, I thought was very powerful.

AMY GOODMAN:

Were you surprised by this victory? Or, let’s talk about the trajectory of your surprise and then not-surprise over this, well, the longest election in US history.

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL:

Sure. I mean, if you’re asking me on September 1, 2005, when I’m watching New Orleans drown, as the hurricane,
as Hurricane Katrina, has come in and broken the levees, am I surprised that, at this moment, we have elected the first African American president of the United States? Absolutely. I’m floored. I can’t believe it.

But if you ask me relative to six months ago or even a few months ago standing in Denver, no, I’m not surprised. I feel like what I saw happen in Denver, Colorado, the set of interests that came together at that moment, this is not surprising in that context.

But certainly, even in the medium short run, back to Katrina, even in the 2006 moment when we all were imagining that Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic nomination, then, yes, I’m very surprised.

AMY GOODMAN:

Do you think this changes — or I should say, how do you think this changes America?

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL:

Well, I think it’s — what’s key here is that Barack Obama not only wins with a substantial majority of the African American vote, that it is that African American vote that breaks the solid South for the Democratic Party for the first time in Virginia, most likely in North Carolina as well, with a substantial portion of the Hispanic vote, with the vast majority of the youth vote, but he also takes the highest percentage of the white vote of any Democrat since Carter. That is astonishing. That is a consensus moment where the country found common ground. And for me, the really surprising thing here is that we’ve found common ground in the context of international warfare and domestic economic crisis. Those are normally the things that lead us to balkanization. So, for us to find common ground is stunning.

AMY GOODMAN:

I want to talk about this global election. I want to you stay on with us, Professor Lacewell, as we move south. We’re joined right now by Eduardo Galeano, one of the most celebrated writers of Latin America.

We’re talking about a global figure here. Barack Obama, born in Hawaii to a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya, raised in his childhood years in Indonesia, then sent back to Hawaii and raised by his white grandparents. His grandmother just died on the eve of this election. He then heads off to California for college and then to Columbia, then on to Chicago to community organize, then to Harvard Law School, then back to Chicago, runs for state senate, then becomes senator. He’s just a first-term senator when he announces his intention to run for president of the United States. Last night, elected, the first African American president of the United States of America.

Eduardo Galeano, you were born in Uruguay in 1940, imprisoned, forced to leave the country following the 1973 military coup. Among your many, many books, Memory of Fire and The Open Veins of Latin America. Have you been watching this election? And what is your response?

EDUARDO GALEANO:

Well, Amy — you are Amy, right?

AMY GOODMAN:

I am.

EDUARDO GALEANO:

Hello.

AMY GOODMAN:

Hi.

EDUARDO GALEANO:

Amy for president. Congratulations for your prize. I have just received the news, the good news. You have received a prize, Nobel alternative prize, it’s true?

AMY GOODMAN:

The Right Livelihood Award, yes.

EDUARDO GALEANO:

Well, it’s just something like proof that justice exists, so I’m happy about it. And about your question, how was it? How do I see this?

AMY GOODMAN:

Your response to the election of Barack Obama as president.

EDUARDO GALEANO:

Yes, yes. Well, as almost everybody else, I’m happy about it. I mean, I received it as a victory in the long, difficult struggle against racism. And it doesn’t imply that Obama may be better because he’s half-black. It’s like you, like women. I am always writing about the rights of women, black, Indians, too, equality of rights, but it doesn’t imply that I believe in your superiority. We are all half-gold and half-rubbish. It doesn’t depend on the gender or the color of the skin.

AMY GOODMAN:

What is the response in Uruguay to Barack Obama? I mean, it is a first, but also, his views of Latin America, when it comes, for example, to President Chavez of Venezuela, he has been as harsh as the Republicans, though he does say that leaders should talk to each other without precondition.

EDUARDO GALEANO:

Yes, yes. I’m worried about the repetition of this dangerous, toxic word, “leadership.” I have heard this word said by Obama and also by McCain, and I usually hear it with a dangerous frequency in all the — in almost all the politicians in the United States, and about Latin America, it’s usual to say, “We should recover our leadership in Latin America.” We don’t need any foreign leadership. Let it be. Let reality be as it wants to be, with no ruling state deciding the destiny of other countries. Please, no more. Stop with this tradition of the messianic mission of, you know, saving the world. No, it has been terrible during so many years, even centuries. No. Perhaps this crisis, this present crisis, so strong and terrible, may give something like a violent shower of realism and humility to this new government, who is beginning now — which is beginning now.

AMY GOODMAN:

What would you most like to see, from your perspective in Montevideo in Uruguay? What would you most like to see the United States of America represent, Eduardo Galeano?

EDUARDO GALEANO:

What I would most like to see? Well, I would like that Obama, who has now tremendous, historic opportunity, that he never forgets that he’s now going inside the White House. The White House will be his house in the time coming, but this White House was built by black slaves. And I’d like, I hope, that he never, never forgets this.

AMY GOODMAN:

Professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell, do you think he will?

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL:

No. And part of what I think is exciting about the Obama family moving into the White House is that there’s a family moving into the White House, that there are two African American girls, little girl children, who are going to grow up with 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as their home address. That’s an astonishing difference for our country. It does not mean the end of racial inequality. It does not mean that most little black girls growing up with their residence on the South Side of Chicago or in Harlem, or Latino boys and girls growing up at their addresses, that the world is all better for them. But it does mean that there is something possible here.

And, you know, we took a moment to dream about the possibility of an Obama presidency, and in the hard work that we did on the ground, we made it possible. So if we could take a moment to pause here about what an Obama administration would look like — I love this question — well, what do you want? What do you want it to look like? So that we can start thinking about crafting a vision for, in four years, in eight years, how do we want our country to be? Barack invited that last night. He said, if my children live to be a hundred years old, how should the world be different? And he asked us to project forward.

AMY GOODMAN:

How do you want it to be?

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL:

Well, I certainly would like it to be a world in which we, right away, move toward universal healthcare for all Americans. I think that it continues to be a massive injustice that, from the moment of birth until the moment of death, African Americans are much more likely, Latinos are much more likely, some South Asian communities much more likely, to live with poor health. And that poor health impacts everything: educational opportunities, income, wealth creation. So, I think the first step is healthcare.

I would like to see us move towards technology on our voting, so that we are making choices going into the future, even by the next midterm, in one federal system of voting. I’d like to see us move forward in infrastructure so that in four years, in eight years, we have safer bridges, better roads and higher quality connections between us. If we’re actually going to build bridges for each other, let’s, in fact, build bridges to one another.

AMY GOODMAN:

What about this as an answer to Governor Palin and John McCain mocking this, well, new president, though he wasn’t at the time, being a community organizer? This election, based on two, perhaps counter-movements: one is grassroots, real organizing around the country, but the other is the most massive influx of money in any US presidential campaign.

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL:

Sure. Well, I took some of those slights very personally, because I lived in Hyde Park for seven years. So when they would make fun of the neighborhood, that was my neighborhood. I went to Trinity United Church of Christ for seven years. So when they mocked that minister and that church, that was my minister and my church.

AMY GOODMAN:

Jeremiah Wright.

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL:

Jeremiah Wright. So, I took some of those things very personally and felt aggrieved about the ways in which, sort of, this American experience was considered an un-American experience, that to live in a community of progressive people in a diverse urban neighborhood was considered un-American. So the victory in this moment, for me, is that Americans, in very different kinds of places, in rural places, in Southern places, rejected that idea and rejected the notion that an Obama experience in Hyde Park, an Obama experience in Chicago, in Trinity, was unacceptably American.

So, that tells me that on the balance between that anxiety about income — and, of course, in certain ways, you could say it was the greatest sort of community organizing, because much of that money came from very local contributors, came from people who had never given money before, and they gave money, and they won. So all of a sudden you have people thinking of participation as not only marching and not only writing letters, but, in fact, affecting the outcome with our money.

AMY GOODMAN:

Well, it was both the largest amount of people giving small amounts of money, but also massive sums of money —

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL:

Sure.

AMY GOODMAN:

—- coming in from corporations and -—

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL:

Sure.

AMY GOODMAN:

— people who expect a return on that investment.

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL:

Yes. But let’s look at — I mean, we could look even at the campaign and how much of that money was spent. I was speaking with friends who were working the Obama for Illinois and saying that, you know, for the first time in a long time, they were actually folding up position papers and putting them in mailers and sending them to people. They said, you know, “When was the last time that I worked on a campaign where I had enough money to actually send position papers to voters?” that this was something — this use of funds struck them as an appropriate use of funds.

So, what I’m hoping is that if Barack Obama governs the way that he campaigned, he will certainly govern to the center, because he campaigned to the center, but he also did it with a kind of transparency about where the money was going, and he did it, I think, ultimately, with a sense of wanting to include ordinary people’s concerns and questions into these sort of big global processes.

AMY GOODMAN:

We are joined on the telephone right now by — to talk about another issue. While the media has focused mostly on the election of Barack Obama, voters also cast ballots on 153 ballot initiatives on matters as diverse as clean energy, predatory lending, abortion and gay marriage. In South Dakota, voters rejected a ban on abortions. Michigan voters approved the use of medical marijuana. Colorado voters defeated a measure that would have defined life as beginning at conception. In Massachusetts, a ballot initiative calling for the decriminalization of marijuana passed.

But the most closely watched initiatives dealt with gay marriage. In California, Prop 8 appears headed for approval. The proposition would amend the California constitution to specify that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Voters also passed gay marriage bans in Arizona and Florida.

We’re joined by Andrea Shorter now, the campaign director of And Marriage for All, a coalition of gay and civil rights groups in California. What is happening at this moment, Andrea Shorter? It looks like Proposition 8 is passing.

ANDREA SHORTER:

Yeah, the votes are coming in. It’s inching — it’s going to be close. It’s going to be very close. And so, I think that there’s something to be said in terms of the race to defeat Proposition 8. We came very — we’re coming very close. We haven’t called it yet, but we’re nearing 100 percent reporting throughout California.

AMY GOODMAN:

So what does this mean?

ANDREA SHORTER:

What this means is that it’s going to be a profoundly painful moment for families in California, for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people across the country. And we haven’t given in yet, but certainly we’re prepared to continue to fight.

AMY GOODMAN:

And what exactly does it say? And does it mean the marriages will be invalidated?

ANDREA SHORTER:

Right now, that will be left up to the courts. It would appear as though that would be part of the challenge legally, but certainly our intention is to make sure that those marriages do stay validated.

AMY GOODMAN:

Well, Andrea Shorter, thanks for being with us. Of course, we will continue to follow Prop 8 in California, as we will ballot initiatives around the country. I also want to thank Eduardo Galeano for joining us from Uruguay, from the capital, from Montevideo. We’re going to go to break, and when we come back, well, Melissa Harris-Lacewell is staying with us, and Ralph Nader will join us next, independent presidential candidate. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. We’ll be back in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined by Melissa Harris-Lacewell. She’s a professor at Princeton University, a professor of politics and African American studies. She is writing the book Sister Citizen: A Text for Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Politics When Being Strong Isn’t Enough. And Ralph Nader, independent presidential candidate, joining us on the phone from Washington, the long-time consumer advocate, appeared on the ballot in forty-five states, received about one percent of the vote, the highest of any third-party presidential candidate.

Ralph Nader, welcome. Your thoughts on this election?

RALPH NADER: Thank you, Amy. Well, obviously we all congratulate Barack Obama. We wish him well. But the precursor to his election has not been very encouraging, and he has repeatedly taken up the positions of the corporate supremacists, not just his latest vote for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, but a whole string of votes and policy positions. He opposes single-payer health insurance. Well, the HMOs and the insurance companies do, too. He wants a bigger military budget. So does the military-industrial complex. His idea of a living wage on his website is $9.50 an hour by 2011. That would make it less than it was in 1968, adjusted for inflation.

He matched McCain in the third debate, belligerent — belligerency for belligerency, toward Russia, toward Iran, more soldiers in Afghanistan, supporting the Israeli military repression and occupation and blockade of Gaza and the West Bank. And virtually nothing about 100 million poor people in this country. That’s why I really fault him, that he played the Clinton linguistic game by talking constantly about the middle class and not mentioning the word “poor.”

And we expect more of him. And I don’t think he has a public philosophy of where corporations must operate in this country. How? Under what rule of law? Under what regulation? Under what vulnerability to litigation in the courts? He’s proud of tort reform, supports the nuclear industry, supports the coal industry. So we’re really talking about just more of the same, in terms of the corporate domination of Washington.

I detected no concern, no quaking of concern, among the drug industry, oil, gas industry, nuclear, coal industry, Wall Street, over his probable election in the last few weeks. Usually, when they’re really worried about a politician, they will issue warnings. But Barack Obama has raised far more money than John McCain from Wall Street interests, corporate interests and, above all, corporate lawyers. And the question to be asked is, why are they investing so much in Barack Obama? Because they believe he’s their man. So, prepare to be disappointed, but keep your hope up.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Ralph Nader, you go now from being a presidential candidate to what you have always been, and that is a citizen activist. What are you going to do about it?

RALPH NADER: Well, first of all, we’ve got a website called november5.org, which is designed to test whether there’s support in this country to build strong Congress action groups in every congressional district. Certainly, we know the outlines of it. We take the many long overdue future directions in our country, that are on our website, votenader.org — just go to the “issues” page — and, of course, it’s many of the familiar ones: living wage, full Medicare for all, solar energy, energy efficiency, peace advocacy, reduce the bloated military budget, put in a whole public works program, transform the tax system to tax what we like the least or dislike the most, like securities speculation. All of these and others can be a package of reform and redirection, spearheaded by laser-like Congress action groups with full-time staffs in each congressional district. That’s a tall order, but we have to try to aspire to it, because Congress is the pivot institution now. If you can turn Congress around, which is the most powerful branch of the federal government under the Constitution, you can turn the federal government around. So if you’re interested in a preliminary examination of this effort, just log into november5.org.

I think the big story for us, Amy, in the progressive world is the hardcore progressive voter in the slam-dunk McCain and Obama states, like Massachusetts and New York, Obama, and Texas, for example, McCain, didn’t turn out for the progressive candidates, for Nader-Gonzalez, for Cynthia McKinney. They didn’t turn out. The real problem in this country is the voters are in a two-party prison. They don’t get access to other candidates on the presidential debates, which are controlled by the two parties. The candidates are blacked out by the national media. They’re drained for five months in the presidential year just trying to get on the ballots because of the hurdles that the two parties have placed in front of their potential competition. And the hardcore progressive voter is just not turning out for progressive candidates. And so, I don’t know what people in The Nation and Progressive and Washington Monthly and In These Times are doing with their computers writing all these great editorials and these great critiques of the Democratic Party, and when it comes to election time, they abandon, if not undermine, the very candidacies, like Nader-Gonzalez and the Green Party, who are taking their agenda into the arena.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Ralph Nader, let me bring — let me bring Professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell into this discussion. You’ve heard Ralph Nader’s critique of what an Obama White House represents. Your response?

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL: Sure. Well, I appreciate the idea that a two-party system limits our capacity to represent interest, and particularly a two-party system in the US, which is really — the center is really right-of-center from what — most of what we would imagine. So the problem is that to imagine that simply running third-party candidates in a structure that is set up to provide only really opportunities for two parties, it’s more than just getting on the ballot or being in the debate. In order for a third or multiple party system to work, you can’t have a first-past-the-post majoritarian system. Now, what we also know, however, from parliamentary and multiparty systems is that those coalitions still have to form after the vote in order to govern. So, you know, two-party systems, you know, maybe bring the coalition together before the vote. Parliamentary systems tend to bring those together after the vote.

I think one of the important things to remember, though, in this election is that it was important for some part of the left to get a win. My niece is eighteen years old. She has now voted in her first election, and she won. And something very powerful happens when citizens engage in their government, and they actually get a response. Part of what’s important about Barack Obama’s story is that he’s both an African American community activist with an ethic of service to the community, but he’s also the grandson of the greatest generation, of a World War II veteran and a Rosie the Riveter, because that generation believed that the government was in a social contract with its people, that you would sacrifice for your nation, but your nation would then provide for you the opportunity for education, for housing, for reasonable retirement and healthcare. And so, when Barack Obama brings together that ethic of community service from African American urban life and that grandson of the greatest generation, I think the potential here for progressive politics is not just about hope. I think there’s some very real potential here for progressive politics.

AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader, I’d like you to respond to that and also this latest news that ABC News is reporting, that Barack Obama has offered Rahm Emanuel the job of the White House chief of staff, the Illinois Congress member, the Congress member from, well, his area.

RALPH NADER: Well, there you are, a traditional politician, Rahm Emanuel, reactionary, right-wing Democrat, a former Clintonite, a guy who knows how to raise special interest money in the White House, is well-known for it, and a hard-line militaristic supporter of Israel’s repression of the Palestinian people. So, you will know in the next few days, by his choices, Barack Obama’s choices, that this is going to be a very traditional corporate-indentured Democratic Party. That’s a very sorry spectacle.

But it is true, what your — what you just heard is a parliamentary system allows more voices. It allows coalitions. Right after World War II, out of the rubble of World War II, Western Europeans, through a multiparty system, proportional representation, and through their stronger trade unions and cooperatives, demanded and received, for all their people, by law, full health insurance, decent wages, decent pensions, four weeks paid vacation, paid maternity leave, paid family sick leave, decent daycare, decent public transit and university-free tuition. Sixty-three years later, the Republican and Democratic parties haven’t delivered any of those by law for all our people. So I think the two-party duopoly is extremely ossifying, it’s extremely stagnant. It’s exactly what corporate power wants, because even when a more liberal party wins, they know how to block it, they know how to buy it, they know how to co-opt it. That’s what we’re looking at in this country. We are a country that lives under election laws that are the most obstructive against voters, most obstructive against candidates. Can’t even count the votes properly, can’t get candidates on the ballot. And what we have to do is go to the civic arena again and try to build up just old-fashioned-type power.

I just want to leave you with a comment, a very telling comment by Eugene Debs in the early 1920s at the end of the career of this great labor leader who fought desegregation and fought the giant industrialists. He was asked, “What’s your greatest regret?” by a reporter. And Debs said, “My greatest regret? My greatest regret is that, under our Constitution, the American people can have almost anything they want, but it just seems like they don’t want much of anything at all.” What he was talking about is the lowest expectation levels of any society in the Western world. And we have to face — we have to face ourselves. And the issue in America today is the voter, the voter’s mind, the voter’s expectation, the voter’s determination, the voter’s resignation. The voters are what we have to examine now, why they continue to vote for candidates and for parties that go to Washington and betray them again and again and again, on behalf of the corporate supremacists, who — to whom they have delivered every department and agency in the federal government, including the Department of Labor. So go to november5.org, and see if you’re interested in this proposal for Congress action groups back home.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to end by bringing in a veteran. In the early stages of the presidential race nearly two years ago, the war in Iraq was one of the leading issues of the campaign. Barack Obama, of course, billed himself as an antiwar candidate, but there were none perhaps more critical on the issue of war than Iraq Vets Against the War, and we’re joined by one of them now.

They marched on the Democratic National Convention in August. They marched on the last debate in Hofstra. And one of the leaders of those marches joins us right now. He is Sergeant Matthis Chiroux. He served in the Army, refused to deploy to Iraq. And now, after the Hofstra protest, where you were arrested — is that right?

SGT. MATTHIS CHIROUX:

Yes. Yes, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN:

Sergeant Matthis Chiroux, you face court-martial for not deploying.

SGT. MATTHIS CHIROUX:

I do. October 15th, at the final presidential debate, the vets turned out to really force the issue that our — you know, our leaders are not hearing from us, and we’ve been put on the back burner in this election. We were responded to by police on horseback who actually trampled an Iraq vet, a very close friend of mine, Nick Morgan, and Barack Obama has yet to condemn that. He has yet to condemn the trampling on the sidewalk of Nick Morgan.

AMY GOODMAN:

They broke his cheekbone. He was also arrested.

SGT. MATTHIS CHIROUX:

Right, he was. And so, I’m very excited about what an Obama candidacy —- or Obama presidency, the kind of racial unity it can bring, but I’m worried that people in this country believe he is truly going to be an antiwar president, and he’s not. He’s very far away from that. He’s got plans to leave troops in Iraq. He wants to expand the war in Afghanistan, go into Pakistan. It will be very interesting. I will be demanding court-martial. The Army is prosecuting me for misconduct, for refusing to deploy to Iraq last June; this was announced to me about a week ago. And I -—

AMY GOODMAN:

You did you that very publicly in Washington.

SGT. MATTHIS CHIROUX:

I did. I did that after Winter Solider on the Hill in Congress. And this January, I will probably be going to court-martial over my refusal to deploy to Iraq. The Army is trying to downgrade my service and take away my benefits for that choice. And it will be interesting to see how that goes down under an Obama presidency.

AMY GOODMAN:

You served in Afghanistan?

SGT. MATTHIS CHIROUX:

I did, Amy, for a short time in 2005, but, however, they ordered me to go to Iraq this year in 2008. And I said no. It’s not — it’s unconstitutional. The occupation of Iraq violates Article VI, Section II of the US Constitution. And Obama, it will be interesting to see if he’s ready to back service members. I mean, he’s spoken about the war and occupation of Iraq in the past as being at very least dumb, at worst illegal, and it will be interesting to see if he’s — you know, if he is ready to support folks who are refusing to go to Iraq, because they don’t think the Constitution permits it.

AMY GOODMAN:

Professor Lacewell, what do you think are the prospects?

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL: Well, I mean, I want to just suggest that the question here is whether or not Barack Obama will see a 53 percent popular vote, a substantial margin in the Electoral College, as a mandate that allows him some freedom to make choices without feeling that he’s got to sort of bring in the conservative wing, or whether or not he will see his mandate as fundamentally a mandate for running in the center, because he said we’re going to have a new kind of politics. So I think it has a great deal to do with how Obama sees what the nature of this particular mandate is, what the prospects are.

AMY GOODMAN:

Sergeant Matthis Chiroux, do you think there is more of an opening to make your point?

SGT. MATTHIS CHIROUX:

I’m not exactly sure. I do hope when the Obama supporters of this country who voted for him, specifically because they believed he was going to be an antiwar candidate, when they find out that that is not, in fact, the case, I hope they will be motivated to rejoin the antiwar movement in this country and support people like myself refusing to deploy to an occupation that clearly violates our Constitution and international laws.

And, you know, I have hope. I’m inspired by Barack Obama’s journey from senator to president. But it is our responsibility as the people not to assume that one man is going to do the job. If we want to see peace, the people need to get out and make that a reality. And they’re going to do that by supporting service members refusing to deploy to Iraq. They’re going to do that by opposing Barack Obama’s narrative of Afghanistan as somehow being good. And, you know, they’re going to do that by standing up and being heard, getting out there, participating.

We’ve seen the antiwar movement’s ranks shrink, because so many of these people have gone to campaign for Obama. And I’m looking forward to, now that the election is over, maybe some of those people are going to start moving back in. And when they realize that we have a candidate who wants to actually leave troops in Iraq, that will catalyze some activism.

AMY GOODMAN:

We’re going to have to leave it there. Tomorrow, an international roundtable in response to this global election. Sergeant Matthis Chiroux, thanks for joining us. We’ll link to your website at Iraq Veterans Against the War. Professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell of Princeton University and independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

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