Rep. Kucinich: A Second Renaissance

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Posted by andreas from ( on Thursday, October 03, 2002 at 2:09PM :


US Representative Dennis J. C. Kucinich
The Redwood Sequoia Congress
University of California, Berkeley, California

A Second Renaissance

Saturday, 14 September, 2002

Last week I joined hundreds of members of Congress in solemn commemoration of 911 and in solidarity with New Yorkers at Federal Hall in the City. You can sense a special energy at this sacred shrine to democracy where George Washington was sworn in, where a Congress of two centuries ago received the Bill of Rights. As I stood there in a moment of reflection I could envision that Congress of long ago gathering as a Galaxy of Stars cascaded from the sky through the circular opening above the rotunda.

In my mind's eye, I could see a Galaxy of Stars representing universal principles pouring into the venerable site, informing the pledge Washington made to a new nation, Freedom's Holy Light illuminating the Bill of Rights. In that moment I had a new understanding that this flag, as spangled with Stars as a bolt of Heaven itself, connects the United States with eternal principles of unity, of brotherhood, of sisterhood.

The energy of the Stars presented at the birth of this nation is with us still. It is upon that dark blue cloth of our flag. One bright Star shines for hope. Another Star for optimism. Another for well-being. One for freedom. One for abundance. One for creativity. One for togetherness. One for peace. One Star to wish upon to create your highest aspirations, to make your dreams come true.

This, our country and our very selves are all made of Stars as a popular song goes. This is who we are. This is what gives higher meaning to being an American. This is what gives higher meaning to patriotism. I love our flag. Though some would make it stand for chaos and war, I see the field of Stars as standing for the highest expression of human unity.

A higher meaning of the United States is that we express wholeness through the unity of 50 states. "Out of many we are One." We present ourselves to the world as an exemplification of the principle of Oneness, of the universality of all, of the confirmation of One in the many. The World: "Out of many nations we are One." Universality! This is where we come from.

The idea of America emerged from the intellectual energy, the heart energy and the spirit energy of the Renaissance. The genesis in a journey of "lovers marrying their fortunes together" bound for America, looking for that lamp lifted beside the Golden Door of Liberty.

The quest for universal principles of justice, of human rights, of civil rights, of opportunity, of a meaningful future is what caused millions to see America as the Light of nations. These universal principles are stars by which those who came to our shores sailed. These are stars which can guide us past the shoals of arms dealers and oil interests who today would crash our ship of state upon the rocks of war.

America has a Higher Destiny. As with generations past, our destiny can take us to places we have never been, or can only imagine. Places of peace. Places of plenty. Places of hope. Places of love. We have a right to live our ideals. That is our birthright. We should not trade it for the pretensions of empire. Nor for delusions of grandeur, nor for all the gold in Fort Knox, all the tea in China or all the oil in Iraq. America has a Higher Destiny.

Today I want to speak to you about the America that can be. About reestablishing the context of our nation. About remythologizing America. About a Second Renaissance which can begin in this nation, with this generation.

First let us travel to the place where civilization was born thousands of years ago, upon the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates. Let us see if there, instead of dancing with death, and killing untold thousands of innocent people, we can change directions, pull back from war with Iraq, change the outcome, connect with our aspirations for peace and reclaim our ingenuity and creativity in human relations.

Why is war with Iraq presented as inevitable? Isn't it time to insist that our leaders suspend their incessant talk of preventive war, of assumed right to unilateral action? Isn't it time for insistence upon preventive diplomacy and our obligations to work with the world community on matters of global security?

Why is this war presented as inevitable? The headlines from The New York Times of September 12, 2002, read:

Bush to Warn UN: Act on Iraq or US Will; He Leads Nation in Mourning at Terror Sites.

There is no credible evidence linking Iraq with 911, with Al Qaeda or with the anthrax attacks. There is no credible evidence that Iraq has usable weapons of mass destruction, the ability to deliver those weapons or the intention to do so. That Iraq possessed and used such weapons, they did so, quite sad to say, with the knowledge of, and sometimes with materials from, the United States.

During the Administration of Ronald Reagan, 60 helicopters were sold to Iraq. Later reports said Iraq used US helicopters to spray Kurds with chemical weapons. According to the Washington Post, Iraq used mustard gas against Iran with the help of intelligence from the CIA. Intelligence reports cited the use of nerve gas by Iraq against Iran.

Iraq's punishment? The US reestablished full diplomatic ties around Thanksgiving of 1984.

Throughout 1989 and 1990, US companies, with the permission of the first Bush government, sent to the government of Saddam Hussein tons of mustard gas precursors, live cultures for bacteriological research, helped to build a chemical weapons factory, supplied West Nile virus, supplied fuel air explosive technology, computers for weapons technology, hydrogen cyanide precursors, computers for weapons research and development and vacuum pumps and bellows for nuclear weapons plants. "We have met the enemy," said Walt Kelly's 'Pogo,' "And he is us." US.

By the way, it's called the Department of Defense, not The Department of Offense. Unilateral action on the part of the United States, or in partnership with Great Britain, would for the first time set our nation on the bloodstained path of aggressive war, a sacrilege upon the memory of those who fought to defend this country. America's moral authority would be undermined throughout the world. It would signal for Russia to invade Georgia; China, Taiwan; North Korea, the South; India, Pakistan; and destabilize the entire gulf and Middle East region.

There is a way out.

We need a comprehensive solution to the crisis in Iraq.

It must involve the United Nations and can be facilitated by Russia which just signed a $40 billion trade agreement with Iraq.

Inspections for weapons of mass destruction should begin immediately.

Inspectors must have free and unfettered access to all sites.

New negotiations must begin concerning the counterproductive policies of regime change and sanctions.

Emergency relief should be expedited.

Free trade, except in arms, must be permitted.

Foreign investments must be allowed.

The assets of Iraq abroad must be restored.

A regional zone free of weapons of mass destruction should be established.

If we can take a new direction in Iraq and the region we can begin a New Era of Peace. We can refocus our efforts on the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis. We can bring new initiatives to help Pakistan and India resolve Kashmir.

The United States can repair its position in the world community, through cooperation, not confrontation. We can change the world for the better.

WE CAN LOOK TO HEAVEN ITSELF FOR GUIDANCE. We can begin by banning any research, planning, or deployment of weapons in outer space. Human destiny has always been linked with the Stars. How grim that America is planning to put weapons in outer space, to seize the ultimate high ground, to attempt to gain strategic advantage over every nation on Earth. We must turn back from such arrogance. We must let the name of peace be hallowed on Earth as it is in the Heavens with a Space Preservation Treaty. We must direct our efforts toward solving conflicts on this planet rather than spread war in perpetuity, throughout the Universe in a plan paradoxically called "Vision 2020."

I have a vision of nations working together, cooperatively, using what President Roosevelt called the "science of human relationships." That is the basis for the creation of a Department of Peace, which seeks to make nonviolence an organizing principle in our society for domestic as well as international policy. War is not inevitable unless we refuse to work for peace, patiently and tirelessly.

I envision a new US leadership to end the threat of nuclear destruction by realizing the promise of the Nonproliferation Treaty. Seventeen nations possess, are pursuing or are capable of acquiring nuclear weapons. Now is the time to provide incentives to stop the nuclear arms race, to stop building nuclear weapons, and to stop testing. America should restore the ABM treaty and begin again with Russia true arms reductions, toward the day when all nuclear weapons are abolished.

America can lead those 26 nations which possess, pursue or are trying to acquire chemical weapons of mass destruction to move toward participation in the Chemical Weapons convention and agree to have such weapons eliminated world wide.

America can lead the way toward the destruction of all biological weapons of mass destruction by signing on to the Biological Weapons Convention. Twenty nations have designs on such weapons. Let America lead the way toward abolishing biological weapons.

We have much work to do to regain world leadership in ending the proliferation of Small Arms by signing the Small Arms Treaty and to eliminate the scourge of Landmines.

America can help to strengthen the cause of international justice by agreeing to the International Criminal Court. Certainly a nation which has an interest in bringing to justice those in violation of international law should support an international court which would accomplish just that.

Two weeks ago I represented the United States at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. There, Congressman George Miller of California, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and I called for our nation to join with the world community in solving the challenge of global climate change, and work to reduce carbon emissions, greenhouse gases. America must lead the way toward sustainability and renewable energies. As the first step, I joined with Mayor Jerry Brown proposing an $50 billion solar initiative in cooperation with Mikhail Gorbachev's Global Green.

It is the United States which can lead the way toward a global community which is inclusive and sustainable, which promotes democratic values and which enables the growth of the potential and the health of each person by putting human rights, workers rights and environmental quality principles into each and every trade agreement.

There is much to do on the world stage. But we cannot do it by creating war when we ought to be working for peace. Iraq is not an imminent threat. But an unemployment rate which approaches 6% is an imminent threat. Forty-one million Americans without health insurance is an imminent threat. The high cost of prescription drugs, an imminent threat. Unregulated energy companies which charge confiscatory rates for electricity and gas are an imminent threat. Large corporations which lie about their value and deprive stockholders of their life savings constitute an imminent threat. Seniors losing their pensions. That's an imminent threat.

So too is the climate of fear which is being cycled in this country. Each time a civil liberty is rolled back or undermined in America, a little bit of our free nation dies.

Each government report which drums terror and fear weakens our nation. When Francis Scott Key wrote "oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave," he made the essential connection between democracy and courage.

Courage will guide our nation through this crisis. Courage will enable us to set our government right. Courage will enable us to go to the campuses, to labor halls, to church halls and to the streets to organize against a war which will undermine our nation, ruin our reputation, kill innocent people and damage the economy of our nation and the world.

We are at a critical and creative moment in human history where we have it within our power to change the world. It is about evolutionary politics which follows an evolutionary consciousness. We can do it by changing the way we look at the world. By contemplating and realizing the universal brotherhood and sisterhood of all persons. We can do it by tapping our own unlimited potential to think anew. Imagine if we could look our nation with the same daring with which our founders gazed.

Imagine if we could regain the capacity of spirit which animated freedom of speech, the right to assemble, the right to vote, freedom from fear, freedom from want.

I tell you there is another America out there. It is ready to be called forward. It is the America of our dreams. It is the America of the flag full of Stars. It is the America which is in our hearts and we can make it the heart of the world. Thank you.

-- andreas
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