Phil Donahue on Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley had Phil Donahue on his show tonight.

Phil Donahue has made a new documentary about the real people being hurt surrounding the war in Iraq. It’s called Body of War. It is centralized around a paralyzed soldier named Thomas, who wasn’t even out of the truck while in Iraq before he was shot in the shoulder, and spine (T-4).

Donahue has been outspoken about the war in Iraq, calling it a blunder that will be felt for the rest of this century.

One of his points was indelible. I was very pleased to hear it. He pointed out that according to right-wing media pundits, anyone opposed to the war, in the beginning or even recently, was un-American. If you were against the war, you were “with them”. The blind nationalism spouting from the mouths of people who speak of democracy and condemn others for thinking about the reality of the “campaign” in Iraq are laughably hypocrites.

Why are they hypocrites?

Because 50% of them don’t VOTE! If they are so pro-democracy, why don’t they vote? Do they think that having a yellow ribbon-magnet on their bumper is a substitute for voting!? They must! And I’m not foolish enough to be told that anyone outspoken about the war is a definite voter. Half is half. It means that half of the people denouncing the war are also not voting the way they should be. And I love Donahue for pointing this hypocrisy out for us. For people who care about their country, and their soldiers, and democracy, and their freedom of speech (and other Amendments), but not about the grand money-grab happening in Iraq, be equally vocal about your feelings about this war, but for goodness sake, vote. Show your utmost respect for the brave soldiers past, present, and future, by voting and taking advantage of your right to do so.

This also reminded me about the civil rights struggle. If I were someone involved in the civil rights movement, especially in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, I would make it a pointed issue that the people I fought for did everything humanly possible to stay informed about the political process and to cast their vote.

It can become a sticky subject, because I am a white guy talking about what black people “should do” when it comes to voting…or prodding people to vote. The truth is, anyone who’s anyone should be voting, especially those who feel that their interests have been marginalized by the people currently in government.
Really, I’m just echoing the voices of many black pundits who know what was fought for in the civil rights struggle, and who realize the importance of the turnout of citizens who have been and continue to be misunderstood.

I have way too many thoughts on this subject, ranging from voting rights to running for office yourself. Perhaps some other time.


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