Crystal Zevon is author of 'I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon,' an oral history of the life of her former husband and lifelong friend and co-conspirator
Since October 6th, I have been living in a tent on Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C. (with a couple absences for the death of my father, and Thanksgiving with my daughter and grandsons). There are two occupations in Washington D.C. and we're both still here. And yet, our presence seems largely ignored by the press, mainstream and alternative. Let me tell you about what we've been doing the last 4 or 5 days and then I want you to ask yourself why this stuff isn't being covered? I have a few ideas, but I'll get to that later.
Last Monday, the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), which had already breezed through Congress, went back to the House of Representatives for revisions and debate before it would be returned to the Senate for final passage at which time it would go to the president's desk for veto or approval. I am not going to go into detail about how this bill would authorize indefinite detention of U.S. citizens anywhere in the world, including in the U.S., without due process, or how the term "battlefield" could apply to your own backyard (or, more likely any and every Occupy encampment in the country), or how I (a 62 year old grandmother of two who not only has not shot a gun, but is terrified to have one in the same room with me) could be labeled a "terrorist" for living in a tent and non-violently speaking out about the shredding of the Bill of Rights... I'm going to assume if you're reading this blog, you already know that. The point is that both encampments in Washington D.C. have been working tirelessly to expose what is going on. Granted, I don't have a TV in my tent and I have limited time for newspapers (although I do try to skim through mostly alternative press each morning and the Washington Post each morning), so I could be missing something... but, I have definitely not seen any front page headlines exposing this atrocity.
Last Monday, a group of us visited Carl Levin's office (Levin and John McCain are responsible for putting the objectionable provisions in the bill) dressed in prison garb and we did a mic check. Another group, also dressed in prison suits and carrying banners reading "NDAAA Destroys our Bill of Rights" went to the White House. As it would happen, just as we arrived, the police blocked us from from moving in front of the White House TO MAKE WAY FOR THE PRESIDENT'S MOTORCADE TO PASS. There is NO WAY President Obama didn't see us standing there in black and white stripes, chanting, singing, pleading for sanity.
After that, I went with a smaller group to the gallery to see just what was being said in the hallowed Halls of Congress. There may have been 6 representatives present and a handful of staffers. I had successfully smuggled in a banner (highly illegal - a federal offense, in fact - you're not even allowed to read anything except the rules printed on the back of your pass - which tell you you're not allowed to read, or certainly not write) and was ready to drop it and shout out about how I didn't want to live in a country where the military could be ordered to act against U.S. Citizens. But, as I watched the pathetic showing on the floor, only one dissenting voice from a NY representative, and he just wanted to delay the vote to further study the language, and realied there wasn't a single press person, it suddenly seemed apparent that risking a 6 month prison sentence for a federal offense would simply go unnoticed. So, as they passed the bill without fanfare, I stayed silent, my fury palpable.
The next day, the NDAA bill with the offensive provisions passed through the Senate. Again, no headlines as it went to Obama's desk... where it now sits.
Two nights ago, the two Washington D.C. occupations at Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square, joined together in front of the White House chanting "No Veto, No Vote". I worked hard to get Obama elected. I traveled to New Hampshire and I knocked on doors and went to meetings and made phone calls and I sat and cried for joy when he was elected. Now, I stand outside the house I helped him move into and I cry for a very different reason. I cry because I mean it. "No Veto, No Vote". So, two nights ago, they arrested two people, one a young man who lives at McPherson, the other a 70 year old woman who has lived at Freedom Plaza since October 6th and who was also willing to be arrested with me in the gallery a few days earlier.
Last night, we were back at the White House. They arrested 11 people last night. For sitting, peacefully, in front of the White House, trying to preserve our Constitution. Trying to save Habeas Corpus and Posse Comitatus. And, we will be there again at 8 p.m. tonight, and every night. Willing to go to jail.
Surely, you saw it on CNN or MSNBC or even mocked by FOX??? No, you couldn't have because they weren't there. A couple of local TV cameras did show up last night. Will we build OR is our President so threatened by this movement that they are going to any lengths to see that we won't be heard? I assumed you knew all about NDAA... but, now I ask... how many people even know what it is? How far will they go to cover up what goes on in government? Remember that great movie and book, "Wag the Dog". You don't think they'd go to war with Iran at least partially to divert attention?
When I was sitting in the courtroom with Dan Choi and Ray McGovern watching one of the heroes of our times, the young private Bradley Manning, on his 24th birthday, being raked over burning coals, with his brilliant defense team being shot down time and time again by a clearly biased "Chief Investigating Officer" who presided over the arraignment, I had an idea.
What if we don't let them get away with it. What if EVERYBODY just shows up in Washington D.C. and we let them know we're not going to take it anymore. We need you. We need you all. We are trying to work with occupations all over the country to bring us all together for an occupation to begin on March 30th. Ani diFranco will be here. Jackson Browne has been here and will be back. Hey, I'm not proud. I'll use any means to get you here. WE NEED YOU. If "they" won't listen to us, we have to speak to each other, then shout out together. We're losing our country. We're losing our rights. And, it's gonna take every single one of us to stop it. I believe, I still believe, we can do. But, we have to get away from the TV and the comfort of our couches and DO SOMETHING. Make a commitment... there's time to plan. Come to D.C. on March 30th. Plan to be here for two weeks. Let's take back our government.
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