Waldo County Democratic Committee - Belfast Library
January 8, 2006
A lot has happened in my campaign since I was last here. Iíve gone to as many Democratic Committee meetings as I possibly could, in Aroostook, Androscoggin, Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Penobscot, and Washington counties. I participated in two anti-Judge Alito press conferences, one in Bangor and one in Portland.
The Iraq War has continued to be a major focus. As you know, I was part of the crowd that went to Olympia Snoweís office in Bangor last month to try to convince her to hold a public forum on the Iraq War. Nineteen people in that crowd got arrested on charges of "criminal trespass." A few days later, Congressman Mike Michaud held his own public forum on the Iraq War, at the Bangor Theological Seminary. I was the second of about 20 speakers. In his closing remarks, Mike told the crowd that he wouldnít have any of them arrested if they came to his office.
Speaking of getting arrested, I just learned this morning that the revised Patriot Act, postponed from before Christmas to a vote in early February, contains a couple of clauses that are truly frightening. The worst one would allow a person to be thrown into prison for a year for holding up an "unauthorized sign" at a Democratic or Republican national convention, at an appearance by the President or Vice President, or at any other event designated by the Secret Service as a "national security event."
How fast will our jails fill up with political prisoners whose only crime was holding up a sign that said something our President or Vice President did not like? Ask the 19 peaceful protesters who got arrested outside Olympia Snoweís Bangor office.
Of course, being thrown in prison for holding up a sign that is offensive to our government is a blatant violation of our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech. But if these clauses added to the Patriot Act revision are allowed to become law, will the Supreme Court, with Judge John Roberts and possibly Judge Samuel Alito on board, uphold that First Amendment right of ours? At this point in time, I wouldnít count on it.
One last thing. Just yesterday, I participated in the statewide meeting of the Maine Campaign for the Department of Peace, which was held in Brunswick. My part of the agenda was to explain how electoral politics fit into the peace movement. Essentially, I said that grassroots activism was all well and good, and public pressure like what was tried at Olympia Snoweís office sometimes works, even though it didnít in that case. But the best way for the peace activists, and other activists, to get where they want to go is for them to find and vote for candidates who share their views. Vote for the America you want to live in.
I have the courage of my convictions to run for office. I told them I need them to have the courage of their convictions to vote for me, and for candidates like me.
These are scary times in the United States of America. We must take back our democracy, get out of Iraq, and start putting America back together. I hope you will help me get to the point where I can start doing that. Signing my nomination papers is what you can do today. Voting for me in June and November is next. If we join forces, we can do this. Thanks.