The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Letter to the youth of America

Next year, some of you will die. Horribly. In the war.

Not all of you. But the draft will start again, and your generation will be drenched in blood.

You will become victims, and victimizers.

You will kill, rape, pillage.

You will laugh, cry, and die calling for your mother.

Your friends will be taken away, and never return. Or their body will come back, but they won’t. Someone else will be there in their place, looking through the prison of their eyes at a world which no longer makes sense.

I went to a pancake breakfast this morning honoring the senior member of the US House of Representatives, John Dingell. The event was a fundraiser for the University of Michigan College Democrats at a local brewpub in Ann Arbor, MI. There were easily more than a hundred people there, including the mayor, state legislators, council members and a former congressman.

John Dingell is a great politician. He looks right at you (unless he wants you to vanish) and he is a very good listener. He remembers names and faces and events with great precision. His father sat in Congress before him, and he’s been there more than 50 years now.

He gave a nice speech recognizing the usefulness of the flying squads of students who helped in swing districts when the Demos swept the governorship and legislative bodies. He spoke nicely about the local officials there. He said not word one about Iraq.

Then his wife Debbie spoke. More platitudes, less substance even than John.

When the mic went back to the student MC, I said loudly Tell us about your plan to stop the war, John!

People started shushing me and saying be quiet.

I said, While we have been happily stuffing our faces and congratulating ourselves, another 8 people have died in Iraq. Two were children. That’s right, your pancakes are drenched in the blood of the children of Iraq!

Some guy was grabbing me and pulling on me and I told him Let go of me or I will call the police and ask that you be charged with assault and battery. There was a minor-to-medium uproar (which is to say, no chairs or fists flying).

Dingell got kind of red in the face and looked pissed but he came back to the mic and said I’ll answer that.

Dingell said that he had met with Bush before the war and told him to his face that the war would be a disaster, that there was no planning for the post-war situation. He voted against the war authorization. He had done all he could within the Congress against the war. But there were divisions within the Democratic caucus. He said there was no simple solution to the war. He said if you have a better idea I’d like to hear it.

I said I do have a better idea. (people shouting)

He said if I had a better idea he wanted to hear it.

I said are you [the students] going to let me speak or will you carry on like a bunch of Young Republicans?

Yes, Congressman there is a simple answer, you just don’t want to acknowledge it. Don’t vote for any more war appropriations! You must not vote for a two-year appropriation for an illegal aggressive war which was authorized based on lies, lies, propaganda, and more lies. Tell us you won’t vote to pay for war any more!

He said that Bush was the worst President of his lifetime, perhaps of all time. He said I think something to the effect that his [Bush’s] people are amateurs. (very noisy at this point much chaos)

I didn’t persist and they ended the event. Several people including one councilperson and some party officials came to thank me for what I said and a few students also said they respected my right to speak out but most of them wouldn’t meet my eye. They were all mostly wearing identical blue tee shirts which said, “Democrats make better lovers” on the front and “who ever heard of a good piece of elephant” on the back. Way to go dudes and dudesses. When I was a teenager it was about peace and love. Now its about tits and ass, apparently.

You people are so square (the students I mean, not the old radicals turned politicians) if you rubbed your head you would cut yourself on the corners. We old radicals are still trying to deal with this mess of neocons left by Reagan and Nixon, why don’t you rebel and give us a hand a bit. Having everyone look and act the same, that is not democracy, that is fascism. It is also very boring.

People think Iraq is as bad as it can get, but it isn’t, not nearly. It is not even near as bad as Korea or the Second Indochina War (what people call in the US, the Viet Nam War). The US has lost 3,135 killed in Iraq so far. In Korea or Viet Nam, that figure was over 50 thousand. And most of those dead will be you, the students, who will be enslaved by the draft and forced to become war criminals and murderers.

You must demand today that John Dingell and the rest of the US Congress stop voting money for this illegal war, or else tomorrow it will be you and your friends who will be murdering and dying in a foreign land where everyone hates you, and you hate yourself as well.

Please wake up and demand an end to funding this war before it escalates still further.

If you want to support someone, don’t fund sending them somewhere to be killed!

Continued funding for this war is both stupid and evil. It must stop now.

More Action Necessary?
Kicking Ass Ann Arbor
University of Michigan College Democrats

Oh, BTW if someone has video of the event they could send me, I’d love to post it here as well as get a better transcript of what was said rather than my approximate paraphrases above.

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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17 February, 2007 - Posted by | America, Ann Arbor, appropriations, breakfast, Bush, college, Congress, Constitution, democrat, democratic, Dingell, dissent, draft, essay, events, funding, fundraiser, government, House of Representatives, Iraq, media, Michigan, military, news, pancakes, peace, politics, protest, scanlyze, students, university, University of Michigan, US Congress, US Constitution, USA, war, youth


  1. I was at the breakfast and have to say that you are the perfect example of exactly why democrats are their own worst enemy. Here we are at an event to support our local young democrats who worked harder then most on the 06 election and helped us win the state house and gain in the senate, not to mention the us congress, and you turn what should have been a celebration of this into a forum for your political agenda. Well, I am sure you feel it was “mission accomplished” Whats that you say, its too important an issue to keep quite about, that our Congressman should have said something about it? It seems to me that Congressman Dingell is on the right side of this issue (as he said he voted against the war, and voted for the resolution against it expansion yesterday.) and has never in my experience been unwilling to listen to one of his constituents. If you had gone up to him later you it would not have been as good a story or badge of honor i suspect.

    Clearly you know best for this country. Clearly you are a man who has received truth, a profit who speaks about what we don’t want to hear (reminds me of Bush). Never mind that Dingell just lambasted the President for his failure on Iraq, never mind the hundred democrats that came there to support the college dems. Next time skip the breakfast. And don’t worry Ill pay double at the door so that your “support” of the next generation of dems wont be missed.

    Comment by James from Ypsi | 17 February, 2007 | Reply

  2. Hi James!

    Glad you enjoyed the event as much as I did :)

    Just one question though:

    If you would pay double to stop one person from dissenting for 5 minutes, how much would you pay to stop all forms of public dissent, everywhere, all the time?

    Comment by scanlyze | 17 February, 2007 | Reply

  3. I see arblogger has an item giving a rather interesting version of what went on at the UM College Dems breakfast for Dingell.

    Arblogger doesn’t seem to have been able to figure out my name even after linking to a comment with my name on it. Setting aside that I have lived in Ann Arbor for almost 30 years and been rather outspoken in the community all that time, my name was prominently written in half inch high block letters on my nametag. Then they claim that Dingell answered my points, whereas in fact he dodged my main challenge to him which was about not funding the war.

    Saying what a bad president Bush is sounded sympathetic but in fact it was a non sequitur… Dingell didn’t speak about the funding issue at all. In fact, had I not spoken up, Iraq would not have been mentioned! That is indicative of a kind of moral blindness and spiritual sickness on the part of everyone there.

    Yes today I was Spartacus, that guy who speaks truth that nobody wants to hear. But tomorrow it will be your turn. And in a democratic society, these people are precious because they are the guardians of liberty when it is least popular and most endangered.

    Comment by scanlyze | 17 February, 2007 | Reply

  4. Scanlze, dissent is not the issue here. You and I both are free to voice our opinions, but there is something called commn courtesy and respect (both of which were not displayed here) The point of the matter is that this was a fundraiser to support the college dems. If you wanted to make your point to the Congressman and to voice your opinion about the war you could have talked to the him at any point during the 2 hour event as I believe he was there the whole time. If you wanted to publicly voice your opposition to the war you could also have gone around the corner to the protest happening just a block away (you may have after). I would not have taken issue with either. But I do take issue with a person being rude to others, whether it was a Congressman or the College Dems.

    This type of discourse and dessent is on the same level as Limbaugh and O’Reily, and you do have one other thing in common with them, you both target democrats.

    Comment by James from Ypsi | 17 February, 2007 | Reply

  5. Spartacus, come on. Step back for a second. Who else do claims they speak the truth that no one wants to hear? I believe that is Bush.

    Comment by James from Ypsi | 17 February, 2007 | Reply

  6. Bush tells people exactly what he thinks they want to hear, that’s what they have all the focus groups for. For you to try to compare me with Bush is really quite funny. Is that really the very best you can do in replying to the SUBSTANCE of my argument is “Ummmmm, Duh…. you…. uh you’re JUST LIKE Bush …. uh-huh.” What’s that the Beavis and Butthead school of political analysis?

    I worked at the Michigan Coordinated Campaign office in Ann Arbor as a volunteer for Dingell, Stabenow and company from the first days the office opened in June until after the polls closed in November. Where were you during the campaign, James?

    You think these blue-shirted right-wing mouseketeers are Democrats and I am not? You could not be more completely, precisely wrong. But then it seems you have a talent in that regard.

    Comment by scanlyze | 17 February, 2007 | Reply

  7. Last poll I saw had bush’s approval ratings in the low 30s with the majority of americans disapproving of his approach to the war (does this sound like what they want to hear?) But he keeps speaking his truth. . .

    You once again miss the point, it was you attitude and your approach that i take issue with. Great to hear you worked at the coordinated campaign office, too bad you attack the people you worked for and your fellow dems. If, as you seem to believe, the College Dems are not true Dems then why did you pay to come to their fundraiser. Could it be that you were looking to make a scene?
    Sorry you feel that these dems are, what did you call them, “blue shirted right-wing mouseketeers” They are good people who do make a difference in the community and the party.

    And this just reinforces my point, wrong target.

    Comment by James from Ypsi | 18 February, 2007 | Reply

  8. I understand your point. I was rude. I said people’s pancakes were drenched in the blood of Iraqi children. I feel reasonably certain that Emily Post would have advised to abstain from mentioning the blood of murdered children tainting the food at testimonial events for powerful Congressmen.

    However under the circumstances I felt it was a moral necessity and a civic duty to petition for the redress of grievances. Implicit in that ancient right is the right to confront the authority in front of others.

    And I think if you will weigh on the one hand, 100 people per day being killed in Iraq versus “you were rude” I hope you will take the opportunity to recalibrate your own moral scales a bit because from where I sit, they are seriously askew.

    So now, everyone, honestly what course of action do you favor when the 2 year supplemental military appropriations bill comes up in the next few weeks. Should Dingell vote for it, vote against it, or seek to amend it, and if so, how? If you have a better solution than compelling an immediate withdrawal by using the power of the purse then let’s have it on the table now.

    Comment by scanlyze | 18 February, 2007 | Reply

  9. At the risk of also being slightly rude…I think it is disgraceful that you would attend an event hosted by the College Democrats, intentionally disrespect them and the guest of honor, and then have the audacity to call them “blue-shirted right-wing mouseketeers”.

    After being actively involved with the College Democrats for 3 years, I am confident in saying that it is extremely likely that almost any one of the students hosting you today knocked on more doors, registered more Democrats, and turned out more voters than you did.

    The College Democrats are easily the most active and most committed Democratic organization in this city, and quite possibly this state.

    I was unable to attend the pancake breakfast this year, but from what I have heard your question was asked at an inappropriate time, with the intent of causing a scene. If you are unable to present yourself in a dignified and respectable manner…how can you possibly expect respect from those around you.

    …and stop criticizing the College Democrats for trying to treat an elected official, who has been a tremendous representative of this district, with a little respect.

    Comment by tradina | 18 February, 2007 | Reply

  10. If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

    –George Washington

    Well let’s see, I waited to say anything until after both Congressman Dingell and Mrs. Dingell were done speaking and handed the mic back to the MC… Then what I said was “Tell us about your plan to end the war” which part of that did you think was “inappropriate”?

    Only when people made it clear that they were going to shout me down and not let me speak, and as I was being physically assaulted by a blue-shirted thug, did I say anything which might be considered, “offensive” (the comment about the pancakes being drenched in the blood of Iraqi children). And I stand by those comments as being both literate and entirely appropriate at an event at which everyone else seemed to be frozen into some sick pattern of psychotic denial.

    So where does the fault lie, in those who defend liberty and democracy and use their freedoms of speech and expression appropriately as they were intended to be used, to speak truth to power, or is the fault with those like yourself who seek to stifle and destroy the freedom of speech and expression in order to allow only one point of view, the “party line”, to be expressed within our party?

    And considering I have been knocking on doors and “registering Democrats” since before these students (and some of their parents) were born, I find it extremely unlikely any one them have done more than have I for the anti-war cause, or for honest Democrats.

    It must be interesting being a mind reader, especially since you didn’t even bother to show up for the event. Tell me, pray, how did you determine my “intent”?

    I can tell you honestly had I intended to protest the event, I would have brought one of my (already prepared, of course) signs and would have written some notes on my comments in advance. However, intending to protest or not I had both the right and the obligation to speak out to oppose the baseless slaughter and massacre of innocents being paid for by John Dingell and his murderous, bloody-handed so-called “Democratic” colleagues.

    But where is the “democracy” in attacking the character and personal motivations of and trying to degrade and intimidate anyone within the party who expresses dissent on this most important of issues?

    And how about responding to the ISSUE at hand, what position to should Dingell take regarding the continuing appropriation to fund the illegal aggressive war in Iraq for another two years? What is your position?

    Or is your position simply to ignore the issue of the continued “Democratic” funding for the illegal aggressive war in Iraq, and to make baseless personal attacks against anyone who dares to ask even one question about the war at a party event to which they were invited and for which they paid in advance?

    And as Sam Adams said:

    If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.

    see also: America the Beautiful and Rabih Haddad
    Follow-up on Resolution calling for Ending the Iraq War by Ann Arbor Democratic Party

    Comment by scanlyze | 18 February, 2007 | Reply

  11. Scanlyze– Bravo for standing up and holding your Congressperson accountable! Bravo!

    And as for the people who called you rude, and the people who are agast at the fact that you disrespected the democrats at the event, I’m utterly confused by their embarrasement about your tactics.

    It seems to me that they are more concerned about their own party and political affiliation than the accountability of their representatives in the face of war.

    So what, you were rude. Isn’t it time that we interject a little emotion and passion into the political process? Rise of the Vulcans indeed, even on the Democratic side of the isle.

    You don’t need to answer to anyone about your choice of words or venue. You did what you beleived to be effective in an age where people would rather turn their backs and eat their pancakes and congratulate one another for for being proper politicos than face the issue of dead and dying soldiers and children.

    In my opinion, it shows their own glaring problems with self-accountability.

    Keep up the good work. It was “polite society” that got us into this mess in the first place.

    Comment by Literary Bohemian | 18 February, 2007 | Reply

  12. Good for you. People need to start realizing, that supporting the war, is killing the troops (not supporting them).

    My son just turned sixteen, and I am so afraid for him. When he was born I had many hopes and dreams for him… I am just afraid for him. It’s all so sad, I feel so badly for the mother’s that have lost their children, and for the ones that will.

    Comment by Catherine Morgan | 18 February, 2007 | Reply

  13. What you did was right. I’m not surprised that people tried to shout you down; what I am surprised at is that these so-called Democrats *didn’t respect your right to speak*. (For some reason, I have it in my mind that the right to political dissent is at the core of democracy itself.) What is sad is that Mr. Dingell didn’t say, “You are right. I will not be voting to fund this war.” That would have been easy enough to say — and, in that room, would have presumably brought cheers and applause. If the Democrats don’t have the guts to stand up and do their duty as citizens to *stop this war* in its tracks (now that they have the ability to do so), how exactly are they any *different* than the Republicans? The only people benefiting from this war are the corporations making money from it, their stockholders — and the legislators that they have bought.

    Comment by Randym | 22 February, 2007 | Reply

  14. […] also, Bush on Iraq: ‘We’re Kicking Ass’ Letter to the youth of America Scanlyze tag: […]

    Pingback by A response to Ron Suarez’ A New Ann Arbor City Council Resolution to End the War in Iraq? « Scanlyze | 24 October, 2007 | Reply

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