Commentary

Independent Peace Voice Muffled At Cotton Town Hall

By Abel Tomlinson |
Staff Photo Nick Brothers Tom Cotton takes questions from his constituents during his town hall meeting Feb. 22.

Staff Photo Nick Brothers
Tom Cotton takes questions from his constituents during his town hall meeting Feb. 22.

After seeing rambunctious town halls nationwide, U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton’s event promised a great opportunity to speak up. Problematically, most media frames the conflicts as partisan Democrats against Trump. This narrative conceals the pathological institutions that are bigger than Trump, pre-existing conditions. I wanted to inject independent thought on these diseases.

A 2016 Gallup poll found 42 percent of voters identify as independents, and only 29 percent as Democrats and 26 percent Republicans. Moreover, 57 percent say a third party is needed, meaning most Americans see neither party represents them well. Also, examine the Big Ideas poll, showing Americans are much more progressive than misrepresentatives indicate.

At Cotton’s event, I arrived an hour early to ensure a chance to question. I was at the front of the line, and obtained a front row seat. However, it quickly became clear my chances were slim. Cotton answered with long, empty, oral bowel movements. The crowd also constantly interrupted for good reason, meaning fewer questions. Thankfully, people finally lined up behind microphones, so I jumped in line, about four people back. Finally, I was next up as Cotton called the last question, so I grabbed the mic.

I asked about both parties selling bombs to brutal dictators, and if he would stop it. I also mentioned half of all income tax going to war and military, and these expenses being a principle cause of the $20 trillion national debt. Hilariously, Cotton and other “conservatives” pretend to care about the debt. They work to cut tiny budgetary programs for the poor, while complaining Obama’s massive military spending was insufficient. On war-complex spending, they are all flaming liberals.

I told Cotton that profit-over-people is not Christian — and then they cut my mic. This is an extended version of what I was prevented from saying.

To honestly defeat terrorism, everyone must realize bombings that kill innocent people, and regime change wars that create civil war instability, cause radicalization and power vacuums. They also create refugees. Terror attacks increased 6,500 percent since the failed “War on Terror” began, according to State Department statistics. Additionally, both parties selling war machines, and giving other support to extremist fundamentalist dictatorships, causes terrorism. Saudi state religion is Wahabbism, which schooled most ISIS leaders. Leaked memos found the Saudis are the largest source of Sunni terror funding. The previously redacted “28 pages” found some Saudi leaders were linked to 9/11, and most hijackers were Saudis. Strangely, only other Muslim countries face bombings.

Saudis regularly execute gays, atheists, dissenters, etc., and are among the most repressive nations to women in the world. They give all Muslims a bad name just like our warmongering profit-over-people rulers give all Christianity a bad name.

Ultimately, the trillions spent for oil wars could revolutionize our energy system, making these wars obsolete. Simultaneously, this addresses climate change, water protection and moral job creation. Chinese billionaire Jack Ma recently criticized the U.S. for wasting $14 trillion over the last 30 years on war instead of infrastructure.

After they cut my mic, I shouted “Stop the Wars!” as I departed. Subsequently, I checked dozens of media reports, and other than local news livestreams, none covered my statements. More suspiciously, CNN and others cut their videos right before I spoke. Perhaps these words failed to fit the partisan conflict narrative, or upset interlocking special interests.

Trump is terrible. However, we must confront the entire beast with both eyes open. We must beware of Trump, and right-wing establishment Democrats. From Wall Street deregulation to corporatist trade agreements, from mass incarceration to deportations, and war on whistle blowers to unconstitutional mass surveillance, neoliberal Democrats have goose stepped with Republicans. Obama and Hillary led a vast expansion of pipelines and fracking. Read his Cushing speech. The dab of social justice lipstick fools not everyone.

Some of us are also critical of drone assassinations and the illegal Libyan regime change, like Iraq in terms of war crimes. Most alarmingly, they reignited the Cold War with the $1 trillion nuclear arsenal upgrade, and numerous under-reported, aggressive escalations with Russia. Despite all Trump horrors, an upside was potential de-escalation with Russia, and dropping TPP.

Regarding anti-Russia propaganda, read “The Deep State’s Hatred of Trump is Not the Same as Yours” by Paul Street: “Do serious progressives committed to democracy, peace and social justice really want to lie down in the same warmongering and pro-surveillance bed as the CIA and the Pentagon?… Take to the streets (against Trump, but also against) neoliberal Democrats who opened the barn door for his dangerous presidency and against the unelected ‘deep state’ (working for) concentration of global capitalist wealth and power (and) advancing American empire, inequality and ecocide.”

The entire system of endless war against people and nature must be confronted if we wish to avert collapse of Earth’s life support systems. Read Ishmael. Solutions begin when we unite beyond dead-end partisanship. Powerful movements are nonpartisan.

Trump is the cherry on top of the sh*t sundae. Removing the cherry alone will not halt what Elizabeth Kolbert calls The Sixth Extinction. He is merely a symptom of a wicked system.

Last, read Tolstoy’s “The Law of Love and The Law of Violence.” War and profit-over-people money worship are illiterate or dishonest “Christianity.” We face barbaric collective suicide without a moral compass. Love is true north.

“‘Come, my friends, ’tis not too late to seek a newer world.”

— Tennyson

• • •

Abel Tomlinson is Fayetteville Regional Director for Arkansans for Compassionate Care.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.