Inspiration for Your Friday

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

By Janet Weil

In a world filled with sinister news about wars and surveillance, who doesn’t need a good belly laugh?

Retired US Army Colonel and diplomat Ann Wright, a longtime CODEPINK advisor, ripped into the Senate’s deal with the Director of National Intelligence (now there’s a title just screaming for satire!) to keep secret the information on victims of US drone strikes around the world.

“In a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on April 28, Clapper urged the committee to drop language about those killed in drone strikes -- and the committee obediently did so.”

Colonel Wright correctly identified this craven complicity of the committee chaired by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein as “Infectious CLAP” and calls on citizens to provide a “cure” with “a mega-injection of truth and transparency.” I laughed out loud at her “diagnosis.”

And it’s pretty funny that while Obama is lamenting how Snowden’s revelations have hurt his personal relationship with his good friend German PM Angela Merkel, Ed Snowden spoke via videoconference at the SXSW Festival in early April and has just received the distinguished Ridenhour Truth-Teller Prize, along with journalist Laura Poitras. The former Booz Allen contractor, who looks like a hipster from Central Casting and speaks in the voice of cool reason, has become, from his exile in Russia, a world-renowned expert on state surveillance –and what individuals, organizations and national governments can do about it. Snowden may have (temporarily?) had his US passport taken away with no due process, but he has gained something else that Clapper long ago lost: trust.

Then there’s the vigorous pushback by students at the University of Minnesota and at Rutgers University against Condoleeza Rice getting paid as a commencement speaker. #norice became a hot hashtag on twitter, and Rutgers students, not just protesting her speech but trying to prevent it conducted a campus sit-in with no food, water or bathroom breaks for 6 hours to demand that Rice’s invitation to speak and honorary degree – in Laws, no less! -- be revoked.

Civilians killed in US drone strikes, mass surveillance and data collection with our tax dollars and without our constitutional protections, and war criminals getting big bucks as college graduation speakers: it’s all grim and disgusting, but people can – and do! – say something when they see something, to flip the tired old Dept of Homeland Security slogan.

You can, too. Here are some tips to get you started:

Activism is the response of a vigorous political “immune system,” and laughter is part of its medicine.

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