A Memorial Day message given to the Occupy Peace and Freedom rally in Kingston

A Memorial Day message given to the Occupy Peace and Freedom rally in Kingston

“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue”

These words were spoken by Union Army Major General then-Congressman James A. Garfield, on May 30, 1868, at the first Memorial Day. Twenty three years later, President Garfield would make the same sacrifice, shot as he boarded a train in Washington, DC.

My question today, this Memorial day weekend, when we are on the brink of nuclear war with Russia, or perhaps China, or both, is how might we best honor those who gave their lives for noble purpose, and what was the purpose of that gift, that we might fulfill it?

Here is a question. Is it noble to love one’s county when it is doing evil?

“Well,” you might argue, “when those Union Army soldiers died, the Union was good, and they were fighting for a noble cause.” Do you think President Lincoln would have wanted to memorialize only the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac, but not the soldiers of the Confederacy? Why did he say, “with malice toward none, and charity for all?”

So why should we remember all of these soldiers from all wars, who gave their lives, including those who gave their lives for unjust causes? Should we honor the memory of those who died in Vietnam and Iraq, and Afghanistan or all the places where no one knows Americans have been fighting? Or should we only memorialize those who died fighting Hitler? – Well, Biden’s taken care of that one – we no longer celebrate the defeat of Hitler, but I think we should.

So why do we honor those soldiers? And why should we? Because I know in your gut, you feel as I do, that we must remember all of them, and we remember them particularly on this weekend.

We remember them because they died when they could have lived. And because we know that our mission, whatever they might have believed they were fighting for, is to ensure that their lives were not in vain; that not only will they not be forgotten, but that something good will come of mankind in which they will have contributed a part. As Abraham Lincoln said in his Gettysburg Address, “They gave their lives that that nation might live.”

And we should ask “might live” to what end? What can we do here, now, to ensure the immortality of those souls, whatever they thought they were fighting for, we say that mankind will become better as a result, and thereby give meaning to their sacrifice.

For those Americans who died in wars, we resolve to “form a more perfect union, to establish justice” and there’s more as you know, but it is incumbent upon us to make our nation good, and I think the founders of our Republic, some of whom walked these very streets where we are today, would appreciate it, if we dedicated ourselves to upholding, not merely the words, but the intent of our Constitution.

In the case of our Republic, we owe it to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, to make our nation good.

It has become apparent to me that God is a poet-or at the very least, he has appointed William Shakespeare as his Secretary of State.

Just look at the world! Xi Jinping and Putin, along with other large nations, which in our arrogance we tend to ignore – maybe your neighbors can’t find them on a map – but China and Russia are presiding over an entirely new paradigm which is based on mutual respect, and economic growth (and this new order was proposed decades ago by Lyndon LaRouche, who was targeted because of it, which Sergei Glazyev will tell you).

Saudi Arabia and Iran have restored diplomatic ties and the murderous war in Yemen can be brought to a close, Syria has been welcomed back into the Arab league. Railroads and ports are being built, opening up entirely new corridors of trade. New currencies are being used for this trade to avoid the use of the now weaponized dollar.

Nations in Africa are refusing to bow to their former colonial masters, and taking initiatives on the world stage to bring peace. There are initiatives for peace being aggressively pursued by the Pope and President Lula of Brazil.

Imagine what Shakespeare would have done with Zelensky’s visit to the Arab League, where he lectured people from Syria, Iraq, Libya and Gaza about turning a blind eye to the occupation of Ukraine by Russia.

But above all, where is our Francisco Goya who would paint the portrait of the latest G-7 meeting, which occurred as Bakhmut, now known as Artymovsk finally was taken by Russia, putting the lie to the fable of the impending Ukrainian Victory, which Victoria (how aptly named) Nuland said just said in Kiev may take from 1-16 years to achieve?

Let me ask you, where did this meeting of the Gods of Olympus, the Masters of the Universe take place? Hiroshima.
And please remember what happens to the Gods of Olympus. And who was there in the place which should have been held by Russia, but an arrogant fool in his sweatshirt thanking them for their support and groveling for more?

President Biden chose the G-7 meeting in Hiroshima, the place where we dropped one of two nuclear bombs ever dropped, killing hundreds of thousands of people, to announce his intent to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. Never mind that they have no pilots who can fly them, or runways which can support them.

It hasn’t always been this way, and I will tell you that I’m very pleased that Robert Kennedy, Jr has entered the presidential race because he is reviving another spirit – the spirit of his father and of his uncle and their quest for peace and economic justice.

Sixty years ago, on June 10, President John F. Kennedy chose the commencement ceremony of American University, class of 1963, to deliver a remarkable address. And on Memorial Day, let us remember that like President Garfield, President Kennedy was a veteran and he too was assassinated.

Kennedy said, in part, and I urge you to read the whole speech over his holiday and on June 10:

I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn…

I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war--and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.

As I consider the impasse before us, with the knowledge that for historical and lawful reasons Russian cannot and will not lose this war, but at the same time Boris Johnson is running around Texas to shore up Congressional support for more weapons for Ukraine, calling to mind Maggie Thatcher’s visit to “put iron in Bush’s spine” for the Iraq war, it seems to me that there is only one way out.

That way is that our Republic, the United States of America must return to the anti-imperial principles upon which it was founded. We are citizens of a Republic, not subjects of King Charles, thank God, and we should act like it!

Thank you.