As the echo of the war drums fades away and the angry masses calling for
blood slowly disperse, we, as a nation must now confront the truth. We face
the unpleasant reality of an uncertain future, compromised safety, a failing
economy, and the question of how a society of otherwise reasonable citizens
was systematically lied to and manipulated into backing the political
"hijacking" of Iraq.
Before a single bomb was ever dropped, some of us,
formerly called the "anti-American and unpatriotic," have questioned or
opposed this war. Now, each day, as the dust settles and the truth slowly
surfaces, more and more people come to the inevitable conclusion of what a
debacle this whole war was.
39,000 bombs later, no weapons of mass destruction
uncovered, no dangerous dictators captured, no connection to Sept 11. What have we gained but relentless media coverage of a fallen statue
and some stolen oil fields -- the spoils of this misadventure. Not to
mention lucrative corporate payoffs and an enormous price tag of over 80
Billion dollars . . . some tax cut.
But what have we lost? We have lost the lives of over
300 Americans. Approximately 2 U.S. troop deaths each day, 193 deaths since
the war was declared over. In total, an estimated 20,000 people have died,
thus far, in this conflict.
In addition to the lives given for this effort, our
nation has suffered the loss of respect within the world community,
particularly the United Nations. We have managed to squander any goodwill
we once had to now succeed in solidifying our image as the globe's leading
bully. Arrogant and thoughtless.
The word Democracy means literally "by the people."
This is the basis of our government and society. It is what this country
was founded upon and what makes us American. It is not just our "right" but
also our duty to speak out and voice our thoughts and opinions. How, then,
was it possible that, in the land of freedom, those who opposed the common
opinion were called."un-American?" Resentfully, we wonder.
The song "To Washington" was met with criticism and was
labeled an anti-war song. That was not at all the case or intention; it was
merely a report of the political climate, in the age-old tradition of the
troubadour spreading the news through song and story. Professionally, we,
the Mellencamps, have the opportunity to travel extensively, and we take
full advantage of that by talking to, listening to, and experiencing the
diversity our vast country has to offer. The lyrics of "To Washington" are
not just a personal opinion, but also the view from a very wide horizon.
Who is to say what is or isn't "patriotic?" Do the
flags that wave from every minivan really offer any support? Where is the
support for the thousands of service men and women who return to the states
to see their benefits cut, their health problems ignored, their jobs gone
and their families living in poverty? How are they repaid for their
efforts; for risking or losing their lives? So far, dismally.
This nation was founded to enable freedom and diversity
of opinion, and many lives have been lost to secure that liberty.
Paradoxically, some still resist the open mindedness that is the very
foundation of this country.
The Governor of California was removed from office
based on finance troubles. And yet George W Bush has lied to us, failed to
keep our own borders secure, entered a war under false pretense, endangered
lives, and created financial chaos. How is it that he hasn't been
recalled? Perhaps this time we could even have a real election . . . but
that wouldn't fit the Bush administration's "take what you want and fire
people later" policy. Take an election; take an oil field; take advantage
of your own people -- a game of political Three-Card Monte.
The fight for freedom in this country has been long,
painful, and ongoing. It is time to take back our country. Take it back
from political agendas, corporate greed and overall manipulation. It is
time to take action here in our land, in our own schools, neighborhoods,
farms, and businesses. We have been lied to and terrorized by our own
government, and it is time to take action. Now is the time to come
John and Elaine Mellencamp live in southern Indiana. John's
latest album, which includes the song "To Washington", is Trouble