On Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 3:15 PM, Tara O'Brien <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Hello All -
I've been moved to write my testimony about why I cannot support John McCain. Feel free to share this with any of your friends and family, especially those on the fence about who to vote for.
I've just finished watching the documentary "Broken Rainbow" (available on Netflix - and other places surely), 1985. The blurb on the sleeve reads:
"This Oscar-winning documentary tells the story of the forced relocation of 12,000 Navajo Indians in Arizona that took place after Interior Secretary James Watts sold inexpensive leases to developers in 1983. Claiming the land rightfully belonged to the Hopi, the US government move the Navajo residents to tract homes in other areas. Both Navajo and Hopi Indians describe how a century of bureaucratic racism has affected their lives. "
The documentary is heartbreaking - footage of people who have lived peaceful lives, doing nothing to damage the environment are forced off of their land to create room for Black Mesa strip mining - complete destruction of the landscape. How was this done? Barbed wire fences were put up over night. Systematic bulldozing of the plants and trees the Navajo and Hopi depended on for their livelihood and forced destruction of herds of sheep. Once relocated (without compensation) these people are forced to pay land taxes, water bills, electric bills etc. The narrator speaks about the religion of the Navajo and Hopi - it almost sounds too new-age to be real. It is a beautiful, respectful, symbiotic relationship between people and the earth. And the people are being destroyed. For the greed of coal mining and uranium mining.
What does John McCain have to do with this? One of the extras on the dvd is "2006: The Struggle Continues." The opening credits read:
Senate Bill 1003
Legislation in the US Senate sets a new timetable for the forced relocation of a number of Navajo families on Black Mesa. Sponsored by Arizona Senator John McCain,
The purpose of this legislation is to amend the Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-531,) and "to bring the relocation process to an orderly and certain conclusion."
Senate Bill 1003, which is on the Senate calendar for 2006, calls for the mandatory eviction of those families on Black Mesa who have thus far resisted efforts to relocate them. It also closes the Relocation Office and terminates the federal government's responsibilities toward those who have "lived through the nightmare of relocation." There will be no acknowledgement of the long lasting damage to the community and the current need for rehabilitation and support. The bill comes at a time when Peabody Coal Company prepares to expand its strip mining operation on Black Mesa. The company plans on drawing down yet another high quality aquifer, using the water that the native people of the region depend upon. Standing in the Peabody's way are the native people who remain on the land, depending upon it for their cultural traditions, their spirituality and their livelihood.
In this portion of the documentary the links to the big picture emerge; The mining on Black Mesa was linked with Enron and Senator Tom DeLay. I don't know what has happened to this bill, whether it was passed or not. I just finished watching the dvd and wanted to write immediately
I cannot believe I live in a country that supports this kind of war against people it calls it's own. They call them their own when we need them to fight in far off places like Vietnam and Iraq. In WWII they saved our butts in Asia because they used their own language as communication code and the Japanese couldn't break it. This is how we repay them? Destruction of their own homes? Enough!! I cannot support a man who is waging war against people he represents!!
Rent the dvd today and watch it for yourself.
Wishing you peace,
My good friend Mike replied:
Nice. Did you blog this? If not, you need to. When I was in Utah, I gained respect for Native Americans. Living in Oklahoma, I think about the fact that our country did what it did to so many of these tribes. At the same time, I think it is amazing how we let them suffer huge amounts of alcoholism, crime and poverty. I am thinking of sending this t-shirt to Evan. I thought I would send you a picture of it. It brings a smile to my face every time.
There is another site that has another shirt that says- don't feed the pilgrims.
Anyway. I think many congressman makes bad choices in bills. It is honestly one of the things that scares me the most about Obama, I can't see his mistakes. I am curious though, if this was really that bad, why haven't the Democrats made a bigger story of issue?
Well at least you are taking a stand. I can't back either yet.
So… yes - we "watched" the debates. The "watched" is in quotes because it was amazing (by the way - for those of you who don't know, I don't have a TV. - long story - at any rate), I was trying to watch online, the only place I could find was on CSPAN - and every time Obama spoke, it would break up. Amazing! Totally believable, and yet - completely unbelievable. I finally turned on NPR and listened to the total debate. I know what they both look like anyway and besides, their words are more important.
I don't know who won. It seems as if it was a draw. Obama needs to be stronger, but unfortunately, the Democrats don't use enough inflammatory language - I felt this with Kerry as well. McCain must have repeated 10 times that "Obama doesn't understand" - And what really irritates me is that Obama doesn't just say - "I understand just fine - I just have a different opinion!" McCain and the republicans have SUCH faith in the stupidity of the American People - that this sort of personal slight will actually work. Ugh. Unfortunately - they are right. I had so much to say -
I guess the question that irritated me the most was, "Are we more secure now, than we were at 9/11" stupid, inflammatory question. The realistic, unemotional answer is: of course we were safer on 9/12 than now. On 9/12 the terrorists (Osama Bin Ladin- who is NOT in Iraq by the way) were sitting back and watching the madness that over took us, and laughing! That would have been the safest time to fly. As we move further away from 9/11 the risk that Bin Laden will strike again increases, and that is scary. But no one wants to admit this.
The whole war situation also really irritates me as well. Those of us who were pacifists to begin with, who didn't want to go to Iraq in the first place because we all knew that the Bush Administration was smearing the truth. That weapons of mass-destruction a) didn't exist or b) existed only because the US sold them to Saddam Hussein, know now; because we can see the whole situation objectively, that we cannot leave Iraq. Can you believe I'm saying that? You know, this is the history of the US -we go barging in, yelling "we're here to help you!" to people who don't want to be helped. And then when we've had enough abuse from the people we are supposedly there to help (with no ulterior motive whatsoever - she said sarcastically) we bail. It would be nice if for once we would clean up our mess.
I guess I could go on all night - I think I don't have a party that represents me. I am so worried about our economic mess - and I really hope that somehow we instate a flat tax. It is really not fair that I make $33,000/year and I pay my $11,000 in taxes/year to help that $700billion madness, and I KNOW that the upper end of the middle class (she again said sarcastically), with their $5million/year is not paying their $1.5million in taxes. THIS IS SO UNFAIR!!! We are all Americans - why is the burden falling to me? Let me tell you rich people, it's a little bit harder to live on $22,000/year than $3.5million/year! Pay your share - congrats on making so much, PAY YOUR SHARE! I have an education - in fact I have an advanced degree, I was a straight A student in honors classes, I have many talents, I just decided my life is more fulfilled by being the Shepard of our American History. Here it is: I am the Director of Conservation at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Under my care are 20 million manuscripts, and 140,000 books. We are the repository for the second largest deposit of documents relevant to the history of the United States (Library of Congress is first). Makes sense since the United States started in Philadelphia. No, I'm not a doctor, no, I'm not an investor, I used to teach high school, which was also severely undervalued, since I held the future of our country in my hands. I just really care about preserving the documents of our history - which is not monetarily compensated by anybody. Least of all the state or the country.
I could continue for the rest of the night on this subject - but I think I should stop. I ask you to think about morals. If you are religious, think about the lessons your were taught - because I have news for you - all of the mainstream religions have the same morals, the same lessons. Doesn't matter if you are Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, whether you practice Hinduism, Jainism, or whether you believe in the Great Spirit - all of their prophets said the same thing, (I paraphrase), "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you."
May we all live to find peace in our time - Love, Tara