On the streets surrounding the Federal building in downtown Bellingham, over 100 people gathered to protest a military strike against Syria. Organized by the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center, the rally drew a diverse crowd. Some opposed military action because it would destabilize the region, while others questioned our moral authority to criticize the Assad government for using chemical weapons when we have done so in Afghanistan and Iraq. I identified a handful of libertarians, plenty of Democrats and progressives, and even a few conservatives who showed up to wave signs.
Janet Marino, executive director of the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center, said that no matter what your reason for opposing the action, you need to contact Congress. “Call your legislators! With the president seeking congressional approval, it is now more important than ever for them to hear your voices!” She passed out petitions for the assembled to sign.
Three things struck me about this rally. First, I had such a strong feeling of deja vu. Everyone at that rally mentioned, in one way or another, the long shadow that Iraq has cast over our nation. To once again face the issue of chemical weapons as justification for bombing a secular Arab nation with large natural resources, caused many to wonder if we have learned anything from that bloody struggle.
Second, Terry Bornemann was the only elected official to attend. No other members of the city or county council decided to stop by and listen. I understand this is an international issue, but it always helps to have local politicians offer their support for community action.
Finally, with the exception of Cascadia Weekly columnist Alan Rhodes, I was the only member of the media there. You would think that over 100 people gathering would elicit some sort of attention, but it is a weekend, and we all know nothing newsworthy ever happens on a weekend.
Below are some more pictures from the event. There are more available at The Political Junkie facebook page here.