August 27, 2006
Juxtaposition this: I spent most of Saturday, Aug. 26, in Kennebunkport protesting the Iraq War with about 1,000 other concerned citizens, who used the occasion of George W. Bush's visit to the Bush compound on Walker's Point to stage the very powerful rally and march.
It was an amazing sight to behold, the solidarity of peace activists, Veterans for Peace members, and people of all ages, rallying in opposition to the Bush administration destructive foreign policies, urging an end to the war, and a return home for all of our troops. The banners, hand-made signs, and walkers strung out three and four across, stretched for half a mile along the two-mile route through the beautiful coastal community with its gorgeous coast-side mansions.
It was as if the wave of anger and rage that had propelled anti-war Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont to his primary victory over war hawk Joe Liebermann in Connecticut two weeks earlier had worked its way up New England to the coast of Maine in time for this event.
The Connecticut vote was a validation for so many people that they were not alone in their concern over the war and the fate of this country, that in fact that their (our) numbers were large enough to elect an anti-war candidate, and to start to turn things around. That same validation hit Maine like a ton of bricks, and bodes well in my race against Republican War Hawk Olympia Snowe, who has voted with the Bush agenda in his first term in office 82 percent of the time, according to Congressional Quarterly magazine.
The demonstration Saturday was the largest in Kennebunkport in the history of either Bush administration, and all the media - radio, TV and print, national, regional, Maine-based, and local weekly - were on hand to record the event.
I was interviewed by Julie Mason of the Houston Chronicle, and was asked to respond to the report that the residents of Kennebunkport thought we were all being very rude.
Rude, I thought. We shouldn't be protesting our President's launching of an illegal and immoral war that has killed 2,600 of our good military men and women, a President who promises to "stay the course" for the rest of his term in office, and we should be concerned about whether the neighbors think we're rude?
This is what appeared in the Aug. 26 Houston Chronicle news report:
Jean Hay Bright, a Democratic candidate challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, said she can't be bothered if Kennebunkport finds the protest rude. "I understand that Kennebunkport is very conservative, and that's their prerogative," said Hay Bright. "This is ours."
Meanwhile, Snowe -- who voted for the Iraq War resolution in 2002, who voted for every war funding bill since, who twice voted for the Patriot Act, who twice voted to deny habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo Bay detainees, and who supports the President's illegal warrant-less wiretapping of American citizens -- used the occasion of the President's visit to arrange for some family members of Maine troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan to meet privately with the President.
At least one of those visits did not go as planned. According to this Boston Globe Aug. 26 article:
The closed-door meeting Thursday at the Sea Road School in Kennebunk was arranged by US Senator Olympia Snowe at the request of Hildi Halley, whose husband, Army National Guard Captain Patrick Damon, died June 15 in Afghanistan. Halley said she used the opportunity to express her antiwar beliefs. She said the president responded by saying, "There was no point in us having a philosophical discussion about the pros and cons of the war."
I suspect George W. Bush thought Hildi Halley was being very rude.
Portland Press Herald story Saturday, the day of the rally
Portland Press Herald coverage on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006
Washington Post story on Kennebunkport rally
Baltimore Sun story on Kennebunkport rally