My Keynote Remarks at the MIRCI Conference in Toronto
(CLICK HERE FOR PART I)
(CLICK HERE FOR PART I)
My life was shattered, changed, and yet transformed on April 04, 2004 when my son Casey was killed in Iraq. I am sure many of you tragically know the shock of burying a child that should still be alive, except for lies and institutional violence.
I worked really hard Casey’s entire life to make sure he was protected and safe—as with his three younger siblings. But that was part of the problem, while I was being a typical US Mini-Van Mom, ferrying my children from point A to points XY and Z every day, taking them to catechism, sports, and scouts, etc—I was neglecting my part in the sisterhood of all mothers.
I outlined my twin-history with my country and I pointed out how the wealthiest country in the world abysmally treats our poorest and most vulnerable, but even the worst off of most of us here in the US and Canada are better off than billions of people on this planet.
My tragedy forced me to be an advocate for mothers and children everywhere, recognizing that a healthy US free from war and other economic and environmental exploitation can also be healthy for everyone on this planet.
This speech is about how one person can make a difference, and I am standing here because after my son was killed, I rejected the myth that I could not—I made a conscious decision that I would not grieve or suffer in silence—that my voice would be heard. So I got up off my tear-soaked couch and took on the most powerful man in the entire world and I won, damnit! I WON!
George Bush and his band of neoconservative criminals lost all credibility and self-proclaimed mandate for disaster—But here’s the 64 thousand dollar question: if I won in 2005, then why are we still in these wars and why is the worldwide economy sinking like a ten-ton weight in our contaminated oceans?
Because, although one person can make a big splash and change minds and perspectives, it will take all of us together to actually change policy—and that’s what I call a revolution.
So, this speech is not only my story, but also a call to action.
Even though Bush is thankfully gone, and nobody misses him, Obama is continuing his 3rd term and the geopolitical paradigm is being reinforced everyday with propagandized and mythologized Americans falling for every obvious lie that spews forth from Obama and his co-conspirators in our Lamestream Media.
Men (and their lady’s auxiliary of War-Women) have been mucking up this planet for far too long.
I don’t think I have to inform anyone here that the global elite, male dominated culture of corruption and violence are afraid of women—I have been subjected to horrible demonization campaigns and misogynistic attitudes since I decided to wage a campaign against the US Empire—even from well-meaning male peace advocates.
First of all, since the summer of 2005 when I camped out in front of George Bush’s ranch demanding a meeting, never granted, with him—people on the so-called right, from pundits to what I call, Bubbas, speak about me or write to me saying that I am a tool of George Soros or Michael Moore—that one funds me (not true, I have never received a dime from Soros—been waiting for a check that never comes) and one puts words into my mouth. Of course! How can a mere woman come up with her own ideas and theories? Or even, with all the memorizing of recipes and grocery lists can we keep a fact in our pretty little perfectly permed heads? Men must be supporting me, right? Wow, do I remember the long nights on the phone with Michael Moore when he would drill me on the evils of Empire until it got through to my thick female-skull! (Just kidding).
The Bubbas are very good at trying to attack me at my strength—my very motherhood. I am forced to read everyday how my son is rolling in his grave because I am spitting on it by denouncing the very thing he died for—after I correct his spelling and grammar—what is Bubba’s preoccupation with using “your” and “you’re” improperly, anyway—if I do answer him, I tell him that he is DAMN RIGHT I denounce what my son died for: Corporate greed and evil empire expansion.
Also, there is a myth that is still running around the interwebs that I “abandoned” Casey when he was 2, 3, or 7—that another, more patriotic woman raised him to be a “good American.” Even if that myth were true, I always counter with—what does that have to do with the fact that Casey was killed in a war based on lies for profit?
Out on the protest trail, I am always exhorted to “go home and take care of your other kids.” If I have time and inclination, I ask them how many of them still kiss boo-boos and wipe the noses and butts of their aged twenty-something children?
Our version of motherhood in the US is skewed to being a good imperial mother who gladly, if not joyfully, sacrifices her dear flesh and blood for the Emperor, and if we don’t agree, we should either shut-up or kill ourselves—which I am often encouraged to do, also—it’s a tie between: “why don’t you do the world a favor and kill yourself” and “if you hate America so much, why don’t you just move.” I had one of the young patriots message me on Facebook the other day saying she would contribute financially to my eventual move from the States, and I sent her a link to my donation page, but so far she has not obliged with a donation.
Oftentimes women are the worst nationalistic chauvinists. Once, during my run for Congress against Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco, a woman emailed me to inform me that I was "not qualified to run for Congress." I rechecked my pocket copy of the Constitution to verify that I indeed met the age and residency requirements and read further to find out that I definitely failed her qualification test:
1) YOU DON'T HAVE A JOB!
2) YOU DON'T HAVE A CAR!
3) YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE A HUSBAND!
Elite-militarist, Nancy Pelosi, has all of the above, but she is a friggin' disaster for women and children around the world!
My ex-husband, Casey’s father, has also been outspoken against the war, not as publicized as myself of course, yet he has not had to face the same condemnation as I have—in fact, he was awarded all our friends and community status in our divorce proceedings—and that’s another thing, somehow because my marriage succumbed to the statistical averages of bereavement AND the fact that over 50% of US marriages end up in divorce anyway—that I am this wicked woman that threw everything away because I had some kind of "political agenda."
I said that even well-meaning peace-men get all patriarchal in my presence too, from wanting to “protect me” from physical harm to calling me, “Dear, Sweetie, Babe, Honey, “ etc. If one more man who is older than me calls me, “Mom,” I think I will forget I am a pacifist and punch him in the face! (just kidding about that, too--maybe).
I am pleased to be here at this Women’s Congress, if you will, but this gathering must spread to actually include a peaceful takeover of the places where policy is made: corporations and governments.
We must support the organizations and women that are already organizing these efforts, but we need a broad coalition of women’s groups from RAWA who are fighting two enemies in Afghanistan: the radical chauvinism of religious fundamentalism and a US occupation of their country--to the women of Chiapas who are bravely fighting other chauvinistic policies and actually putting their bodies on the line for us. They actually bang machetes together to show support, or disapproval, and I gather that even though most of them are barely 5-feet tall, it would behoove most to stay on their good side.
Women are bucking the corporate control of government and are refusing to use genetically modified seed in India, reclaiming their matriarchal right to use their own seeds that have worked for them for generations.
Women in South America are literally putting their bodies in front of bulldozers that are threatening OUR rain forests and are fighting for the right to collect rainwater and not pay the global piper for IMF-World Bank neoliberalism. Water, like the woman, is a life-giver, yet masculine-capitalism even wants to control the free-flow of Mother Nature’s free-juice.
Women are engaged in struggles for peace all over the world and we need to join our efforts in a global-Matriotism that puts love of all people over love of artificial boundary lines, mostly drawn on maps by dead-white dudes.
I hope this conference is the genesis for this Global Congress of Women/Mothers.
One woman/mother can make a difference, but billions together can change the world.
In "Rock Me on the Water," Jackson Browne also sings: "Oh people, look among you, it's there your hope must lie" My hope lies within myself and with you all, not with the sick-institutions that are existentially harmful to life on this planet.
We have the power! Shine on sisters!
Thank you so much!