The following is a statement by actor Sean Penn given on October 2, 2006, at the Great Hall of Cooper Union, New York City. It was read by Mark Ruffalo (Penn's co-star in "All the King's Men") at an emergency meeting of "World Can't Wait - Drive Out the Bush Regime" held in response to passage of the Torture Bill and in preparation for protests happening on Thursday, October 5, in over 190 cities nationwide.The arrogant, the misguided, the cowards would argue that an immediate pull-out of our troops from Iraq would inspire lack of confidence and the lost credibility of the United States. President Bush and his functionaries indeed have caused an enormous loss of credibility in the perception of our country internationally. Perhaps more damaging than that, they have created the greatest cultural, religious, and political divide domestically since our own Civil War.
We the people of the United States have a unique opportunity. We can show each other and the world that what the Bush administration claims is their mission is not ours. And, by leading our country as a citizenry and demanding of our government an immediate end to our own military and profit investments in Iraq, display for the entire world that democracy is a government of the people. What more powerful message to send the world than that we ourselves can choose - in policy, in peace, and in humanitarian support.
In fascism, one serves the State. Let's show the world that with democracy, we can make the State do our bidding, and that such bids would not be the blind ones, given exclusively to the friends of power. But rather, the domain of the people of freedom everywhere. This is an administration that advocates torture, deceives the public, spends billions of dollars on a failed war. This is an administration where in the year of Katrina, Exxon Mobil claimed the highest profit margin in the history of world business. It is an administration that belittles, demeans, deceives, and indeed kills our brothers, our sisters, our sons, and our daughters.
At the US/Mexico border, we panic at the notion of illegal entry, without blinking an eye as our elderly line up every Saturday morning with wheelchairs, walkers, canes and joint pain, queued up in the desert heat to enter Mexico where they can purchase affordable medication. In the human family, this president is indeed pushing his wheelchair-bound grandmother down the stairs with a smile on his face. Everyone knows that these are true statements. Everyone. Some are ashamed of where they've put their support in the past, their passivity in the present, with the courage of their minds and hearts at bay. What an exciting thing to reverse this as one America and show the world who wears the pants in this house.
Stand up as an American and join World Can't Wait and those demonstrating this Thursday, October 5th.
Out of Iraq. And out with Bush.