Howard Zinn Lecture Series: Howard Zinn, Bringing Democracy Alive

good evening everyone and good evening those of you who are attending at the law auditorium I’m Jeffrey Henderson Dean of Arts and Sciences at Boston University and it is my great privilege and pleasure to welcome our community of faculty students alumni and Friends to celebrate and inaugurate the first lecture in our new annual lecture series honoring Howard Zinn professor emeritus of political science who was a member of our faculty from 1964 to 1988 the Zinn lectures will feature speakers who like professors in himself offer provocative commentary on the issues and politics of the day and our day is a day that needs them no less than any other day I can remember Howard Zinn’s contribution to the Department of Political Science the University and the National and political discourse are too many and too well-known for me to have to rehearse them here my own kids discovered Howard Zinn’s writings in high school and were very impressed that he taught at the same University I did so I finally got some respect from them professors in has been an inspiration and mentor to many and we hope that the Zinn lectures will highlight his rich legacy for future generations of Boston University students and the wider community we owe the inauguration of this in lectures to the vision and financial support of an alumnus Alex McDonald CGS class of 70 and Arts and Sciences class of 72 and his Motta’s wife dr. marine Strafford medical school 1976 they created this endowment as their tribute to Howard Sen and to ensure that his work will be remembered by future generations of students and scholars at Boston University we hope that the generosity of Alex and marine will encourage others to reflect on the influence that Howard has had in their lives Alex McDonald is a founding partner of the law firm McDonald Rottweiler Eisenberg a Boston and Philadelphia based consultancy representing plaintiffs in complex personal injury medical malpractice pharmaceutical and product liability litigation that to make sure those stairs are secure over there his cases include most notably the largest wrongful death recovery in the history of Massachusetts in the first fen-phen diet pill death case filed in the United States Marine Strafford is a pediatric anesthesiologist that New England Medical Center they are the proud parents of two daughters and of course we hope that at least one of them will follow in their parents footsteps by attending Boston University on behalf of Boston University the College of Arts and Sciences and David mayor’s chair of the department of political science our thanks to Alex McDonald and dr. Stafford so I give you Alex McDonald Thank You Dean Henderson and thank you for all being here the people in this auditorium with us physically those who are sitting in the Law School Auditorium joining us to the virtual reality of television it is a great pleasure to call myself a proud son of the class of 72 here at the College of Arts and Sciences that lucky and charmed generation of students who got to spend 1968 to 1972 certainly among if not the most politically charged historically significant socially oriented four years that a young man a woman could imagine spending on campus but because of the man that we’re here to honor tonight the campus life was not merely the life of the classroom and it was not merely the life of the library it was for so many of us a life that took the lessons of the classroom and applied them in literal senses in the in the common

square of the community on the streets of the community in the gathering spots of Boston Common and the ellipse in front of the White House where we gave our points of view dat President Nixon and around the Washington Monument and so many other places and that geography had something in common because wherever people of passion gathered there was a common thread in the form of a common speaker common only in the sense that he was there whenever he was called upon but uncommon in his zeal and his passion and that’s the man that we’re gathering to honor tonight my hope is there a real sense what we will experience over the next couple of hours is Boston University’s non-musical version of the climactic scene in mr Holland’s Opus and Howard and his beloved Ross are great movie fans and he understands the illusion the illusion that a great teacher whose life is chronicled over the decades a man who as opposed to political science and the world of history thought that his passions in his contribution as a teacher would lay in the realm of music only discovers in the later years of his life at the conclusion of his teaching career that his masterpiece that his opus was not the notes in the musical literature but rather the countless notes in the form of the students that he touched over his decades in the classroom and what was true for mr Holland is particularly true for the man we gathered honored tonight now there are many thanks to be given and I must say that the Dean was generous beyond a propriety in the singling Maureen and myself out we are simply the lucky folks who were in a position to start the fund that gives rise to tonight’s celebration but it’s a fun that we hope will be supplemented by other people who’ve been touched by our guest of honor by his writings by his words by his example and so that 10 years in 20 years in 50 years from now people will gather in this place on an evening like tonight and be inspired by the example of our honoree in pulling this together it would be immodest to suggest that we played any role more than the initial domino and an easy line of dominoes that fell because once the idea entered our consciousness to honor our guest of honor the word went out and countless other people here at BU and in the Greater Boston community joined as well with their time and their passion three people need to be singled out and those are friends of Howard’s and Roz who immediately agreed to supplement David Myers and other members of the political science faculty in comprising the Board of Advisors the people who will select each year’s speaker they are in two instances with us tonight in the flesh and the other by proxy and I’d like them to stand in a moment when the last name is uttered to receive your welcome first these are writers all men and women of immense talent who know Howard not just professionally but socially and personally and love him we begin with that gifted writer whenever the Pulitzer Prize a treasure for all of us in Boston but a treasure in no small part because her writings have now for decades appeared in over 400 newspapers every week as a gold model of what feminism and rational thought and the good life measured by values that matter is all about Ellen Goodman at the Boston Globe in each instance these are people that I am very proud to be able to call friends but our next member of the committee who’s traveled up from New York is a

person bonded not only to me but much more intimately and much longer period of time with my wife Maureen her high school friend of over 40 years her Barnard classmate going back 30 odd years the head of the English department at Barnard at present but much more importantly one of the most elegant gifted beautiful writers that our generation has produced to go through her final payments the company of women last year’s pearl a masterpiece and the just issued the collected stories of Mary Gordon and in the interest of chromosomal diversity we realized we better have a man join the group as well but it was not gender bias it was talent once again that caused this election the request was made and instantaneously as with Ellen as we asked with Mary our final member of the Board of Trustees member of the selection committee said he would happily be part of this for all the time that may be gifted to him over the decades ahead and this man has particular ties to Boston University he was during my time the Catholic chaplain over at Newman house he has gone on from a life of literal spirituality to a much greater broader more important more public spirituality as a writer of incredible insight and moral sensitivity James Carroll is not with us tonight but his wife the equally talented novelist Alexandre Marshall is a task all three to stand now some of you may have eclectic tastes in music as I certainly do and notwithstanding at Dorchester upbringing I have a great passion for all kinds of melodies and all kinds of music save opera just I’m ignorant but I do love country-western music and some of you who shared that interest in passion may be familiar with a early seventies ballad a lovely tone poem about heroes fun by the great recently deceased Waylon Jennings and his partner in the musical life Willie Nelson and the title of that song was my heroes have always been Cowboys well the problem with the dorcester upbringing in the late 50s and 1960s is there were so few Cowboys for young males or females to emulate and so what a teen traveling on the red line and the Green Line for the first couple of years of my formal education I would kind of like Dorothy torch hisses answer to Dorothy come out of the black-and-white world at one into the red line and each morning get deposited near Kenmore Square walk the yellow brick road to Commonwealth Avenue and encounter great Wizards Wizards who had a tremendous impact on one’s life teachers of all sorts of discipline but the greatest Wizard of all the greatest teacher is the man we’re going to honor in a few seconds and so the problem for me understanding that Cowboys were not literal role models was how would I refrain refrain that refrain and it’s really quite simple from the age of eighteen in 1968 up until this moment it is quite true and candid and easy for me to say my hero has always been Howard and for those who know the song the next lyric is equally appropriate and he still is today I’d ask you to join me in an event that is 84 years in the making a half a lifetime ago 42 years ago our guest of honor began his teaching life at this university but in looking through his collection of great works that sit in the library of my home the other night from LaGuardia in Congress through the politics of history up through the seminal work on civil disobedience a

book that could not be more timely to our lives today as a culture and as a country a book written in late 1966 early 1967 appropriately appropriately entitled Vietnam the logic of withdrawal as Howard has often said it was not a birth control manual but what it was for those of you lucky enough to secure a copy today is the past is prologue I invite anyone lucky enough to secure a copy to read those pages written 40 years ago to substitute the word Vietnam for Iraq and you will be bearing witness as I was reminded the other night to the gift of prophecy because everything said in that book about the logic of withdrawal from that war applies to the one tragically being waged today so looking through those books the obvious suddenly jumped up out at me something that should have been a apparent to me but wasn’t and that is it’s somewhat magical that we are gathered here tonight in late 1998 2006 because the guest of honor began his teaching career at Spelman College exactly 50 years ago so this is a golden anniversary and this is the night of celebration long overdue it was 18 years since my professor for some of you your professor graced these halls on a daily basis but his spirit is still felt he is a gifted teacher a prolific historian and a man who by his example in words both spoken and written have taught this community this country and this culture where true north lies in the political constellation it is my great honor to introduce to you professor Howard Zinn oh thank you Alex yeah well not just for that elegant introduction but for just being responsible for all of this all of you people are here because of him in fact I am here because of him and yeah he got this idea and and went with it I thought you have other things to do but apparently not so well it’s sort of a teacher’s dream right that 30 years later a student shows up to thank you but well this is going too far I’ll accept it anyway I want to thank here I want to thank the political science department to be you David mayors and especially Laura Laura of the political science department who worked so hard on all of this I want to thank Karen Fong of Boston University the Dean Henderson Boston had virtually responded with remarkable enthusiasm and yeah I’m I don’t know if I will ever get over it but it’s nice to be honored I admit it and I’d also like to take the opportunity to honor a man who taught in this building for a very long time is not here not with us anymore who probably taught more students at Boston University than anybody any professor in history Boston University who is my closest friend ed bu who walked the picket line with me who shared with me that little part of the political science department which

we called the incurable Ward professor Murray Levin yeah and and the other faculty the other faculty some of them were here tonight who were with us in those days who formed the Union who along with the secretaries and the technical workers and the custodians and the librarians or all of us went on strike together in 1979 it was a great moment in the history of Boston University so I want to thank all of them yes and and I want to thank also the students of that time some of them are here tonight too some of them have come from who knows where to be here but you know students who marched down Commonwealth Avenue in October 1969 Alex was one of them who marched down Commonwealth Avenue to join a hundred thousand people on Boston Common to protest the war in Vietnam and then those students and I met one of them just a few minutes ago those students who in the 1980s set up the tent colony on campus to sort of represent the shanty towns of South Africa the protest apartheid in South Africa so I thank all these people and and Alex and his wife Maureen both of whom are the key figures in organizing this whole event and making me feel good so my topic tonight I pretend that I care what my topic is but you know you have to do this my topic is bringing democracy alive it’s probably my cell phone somebody telling me please no more you’ve done enough trouble my cell phone has the most remarkable music yeah the bringing democracy alive so I thought well maybe as just as a first step we might join the campaign for the impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney the double impeachment and the Constitution says that you are impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors they meet the qualification high crimes two wars in a few years thousands of young Americans dead thousands more mutilated coming home tens of thousands make hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead constitutional rights attacked I mean just right the other day a bill passed eliminating habeas corpus and creating the possibility that anybody in the United States anybody citizen non citizen anybody can be picked up any and designated by somebody who has been designated by either bush or Rumsfeld designated as an unlawful enemy combatant and we no recourse and no questions to be asked no trials no evidence no due process picked up and put away and not heard from again that’s the legal situation right now as a result of the passage of the military commissions Act of 2006 that’s enough reason for impeachment I mean it could have been a you know who’ve had a more drastic basis wars of aggression the Nuremberg trials led to the the Nuremberg principles and which the United States was a signatory to and and for which the Nazi leaders were put on trial and hanged the wars of aggression

the United States government has engaged in a war of aggression against Iraq I’m not suggesting drastic penalties a mild humane nonviolent even constitutional penalty impeachment and no jail time maybe community service George Bush a year working at a homeless shelter to this show him that there are people in the United States who don’t live on ranches and we’d have maybe Cheney at the same Center to tell Bush what to do anyway I thought I just start off on a mild note and but I will talk about bringing democracy alive I guess in I guess will be a theme throughout whatever I say I want to read to you something that I came across we always claim we we came across we don’t say we looked hard for something wait I just happened to come across this statement by Herman Goering one of my favorite writers speakers it comes out of the actually a book called Nuremberg diary was written by a man who was psychologist who at the time of the Nuremberg trials was given the job of interviewing the top Nazi leaders who are in prison and he and he took note and he took notes from these interviews and the interviews Herman Goering and took notes and I don’t know I don’t know whether he although he the interpreter was it you know spoke German and English I don’t know if Goering spoke to him and ain’t Goering spoke good English he was a well educated man as many Nazi leaders were willing the kind of spirit of education let’s say of the leave no child behind act you see that is they were they passed the tests they get high test scores and but he asked Goering it’s very how how come how come you were able to to bring the German people into this obviously a horrible situation this war which led this millions of them dying and utter defeat and according to his notes this is what Goering said why of course the people don’t want war why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war but after all it’s the leaders of the country who determined the policy the people can always be brought to the witting of the leaders all you have to do is tell him they are being attacked and denounced the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger it works the same way in any country who’s that last sentence that interested me it works the same way in any country you mean it works the same way in a totalitarian state as in a our democratic liberal state and what does that then tell us about democracy and what does that then tell us about the state of democracy in our country if that’s the way it works well in fact when you really inspect the state of democracy in the United States it turns out there is no very simple spectrum of totalitarianism on the one end and democracy on the other and all sorts of gradations in between and and democracy in the United States is not at the far end of the Democratic spectrum we have a long way to go really to be a democracy we always have we don’t like to say it because it’s too easy to just say we’re democracy and they’re just two kinds of places countries in the world they’re totalitarian States and they’re

democracies but isn’t that way at all I mean we’ve got a junior high school you learn about what democracy is oh well is we it’s we live in a democracy how do we know well we have a constitution we have three branches of a government I remember them putting those figures those drawings on the board then we have checks and balances and they have the arrows going back and forth executive legislative judicial it was in transe and checks and balances who can forget that and if one branch of the government does something bad will be checked by another branch it means nothing can go wrong well of course then you grow up and you get out in the world and use and maybe you study a little and you look around and you find no checks and balances doesn’t really work and certainly not in foreign policy and certainly not in going to war there’s no checks and balances on the president and going to war the president decides on war and then Congress like a flock of sheep goes along I mean you can trace this back to the through every war the mechs go to the Mexican War of 1846 and see how much debate there was in Congress on going into the Mexican War one hour of debate on going into the Mexican War in follows all the way through and no the Congress has never been a check on the president’s willingness to go to war which is really a complete vile of the idea that James Madison had when it was originally written in the Constitution that Congress was given the power to declare war and Madison said the reason this is so because the president the kind is the kind of office which is disposed to war well no no no checks and balances there and no check no texts and balances from the Supreme Court you would think well and this is we learned this Supreme Court decides what is constitutional and what is not that’s comforting until you look at the record and then you see that the Supreme Court will never stand in a way of an unconstitutional war and every war we afford since World War two has been unconstitutional no Congress has declared war in the way that the Constitution requires ever since the end of World War two and as the Supreme Court ever made any judgment on this well it had an opportunity during the Vietnam War it had an opportunity because three GIS refused to get on a plane to go to Vietnam and they were arrested of course and they made their way to the Supreme Court and their argument was this war it’s unconstitutional there was no congressional declaration as required by the Constitution and and maybe these three guys had bonded you into high school and learned that the Supreme Court’s job is to determine what is constitutional and what is not and what did the Supreme Court decide the answer is it didn’t it didn’t take the case you need four Supreme Court justices to even decide to take the case they couldn’t get four Justice to even decide to take the case so much for checks and balances well in wartime forget about checks and balances and since we seem to be in perpetually at war and we certainly have been at war a lot since World War two and right now there’s a prospect of endless wars then the status of democracy seems to be rather dismal and what about free speech and what about the First Amendment now there are two again ah we we learn about the Bill of Rights we learn about the First Amendment Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech and other things and it doesn’t say Congress may make no law abridging for your speech except in time of war doesn’t say that it’s absolute Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech but what does the Supreme Court decide oh well when it’s war time oh you don’t have free speech like you have in peacetime I mean the man who said this was a man who is a great liberal jurist in the history of the Supreme Court Oliver Wendell Holmes I mean how can you get more distinguished than that man

with three names and so you know a man was sent to jail the unanimous decision of the court written by Holmes sent to jail for distributing leaflets on the streets of New York against the draft because it’s more time and we cannot have that kind of freedom in wartime let’s interesting if you can’t have freedom of speech in wartime when can you have it and and when is it most important to have it and when is it most important they have free discussion on foreign policy so exactly at those times exactly in those situations when you need discussion and foreign policy most exactly in those situations we need freedom of speech most at that’s moments at those moments you don’t have it that doesn’t speak well for how much democracy we have whatever is written in the Constitution and whatever is told to us in junior high school well one of the requirements I suppose of a democracy is a well informed public and and one of the media for a well informed public is the media the newspapers and television and radio and they’re supposed to help us they’re supposed to that’s their job they’re professionals they have the time they’re supposed to investigate what the government does they’re supposed to be like I have stone but they’re not you say they’re supposed to inform the public what’s going on and the critical of what is happening and be kind of intermediary between the government and the people but what do we find instead we find the media the mass media the big media the corporate owned media of this country of going along with war I mean yeah well you’re president that’s to declare a war and immediately the Media come on board and you saw this right at the beginning cricketing of the Iraq war and so the flags go up on the stands of the television commentators and you saw you heard dan Rather saying talking about the decisions made by the government well using the word we really associating himself I’m just a small example of the obsequious Nisour the press in situations of a war and and near war and impending war and you you remember that a month before we went to war in Iraq and February of 2003 : Powell made that famous speech before a UN which he laid out this long long list of weapons of mass destruction probably there’s no speech ever made at the UN that contained more falsehoods in one speech than that one did the press asked questions did they ask hey where’s your evidence did they remember the two years before Colin Powell being nominated for his post had said Iran Iraq is a Iraq is a beaten country Iran is a weak and helpless country that was two years before Henley remember that since there had been hundreds and hundreds of inspections of Iraq by an international team that had found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction Colin Colin collimator speech the big newspapers climbed on board immediately I mean the New York Times fell all over itself in admiration of the speech I mean and by now you know it is accustomed to that acrobatic feat and the Washington Post said it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction well can’t depend on the press and the public is on its own that’s an important thing to know that we are on our own that the checks and balances won’t help us and the press won’t help us we are on our own as citizens if democracy is to have any life it will have it because of us and not because of the organs of

government not even because of the Constitution because the Constitution can be set aside very easily and there’s being set aside so it’s up to us but we have problems in knowing what is going on for a number of reasons one of them is a loss of history if we are not given a really good historical education we’re not really in a position to understand what is going on if we don’t know history it’s as if we were born yesterday and if you’re born yesterday anybody in authority can get up before the microphone and say we must go to war for this region or that reason or another reason anyhow no basis for challenging that and if you know some history it’s a different matter and when I say no history I don’t mean the history we get yes again in junior high school and in high school and in college and so and in the university I’m afraid I mean I I went all through you know the history program right up to the PhD and I must say that there was a lot that was missing in that history so I don’t know I don’t mean the history that blows with admiration for our various presidents doom Andrew Jackson is a hero the Andrew Jackson the racist the Indian killer the slave owner to whom Theodore Roosevelt is a hero Theodore Roosevelt the lover of war the defender of massacres in the Philippines you know the those laudatory histories of military heroes I don’t mean that kind of astronomy history which is critical or which is which is independent of previous histories of the tradition of independent of of orthodox history no if you but if you knew some history which you learned by yourself or which you got from the library because a library it’s always a much much better source of information than what you can get in the press and very often what we can get in the institutions of learning and and if you get if you have that kind of history then when the president gets up to tell you that a war you would be skeptical because you would know how often presidents haven’t lied to the public in what to get them into war you would know about how President Polk lied to the American nation about the Mexican War in 1846 you know oh well you know there’s been a clash on the border an American blood has been shed on American soil Wow you know it’s like Pearl Harbor it’s like a gulf of tongue yeah I’m jumping a little ahead with my yeah but you know I don’t have that much time you see and lies told for every war lies told about the Spanish miracle you know oh we’re going into Cuba to liberate the Cubans from Spanish rule well it’s sort of a half-truth we did liberate the Cubans from Spanish rule but not from our rule Spain was out we were in Spain was out and United Fruit was in Spain was out than the American banks and the American corporations or in and out Cuba was ours until that terrible moment in 1959 you know you know when Castro ruined everything and and you know because we’re against dictators we’re against you know we want democracy and so we supported all of his dictatorial predecessor until until he came along but Huber was ours and lies told about the Philippine war and lies told about World War one and lies and go on and on and on and you know about the more recent lies the lies about the Gulf of Tonkin and and about Panama and Grenada was always there was a reason for going to war and turned out the question those were not the real reasons they were motives there were other motives to we’re not told to us we’re not told that that recently getting into the Mexican War is not because of this clash on the border but because President Polk who wanted California I mean who can blame him but he wanted California he wanted that whole great beautiful area of the southwest which is now ours which is now trying to keep the Mexicans out of trying to keep them out of the land we stole from them this is really you know it yes of course lies yeah yeah they were mothers

we’re told one thing and then to a real reasons for going into these places we called we’re going into the Philippines to you know bring civilization Christianity to the Filipinos yeah we brought death and destruction to them and why was it to bring democracy was it to bring civilization Christianity to the Filipinos no the Philippines were a wonderful entry to the mineral wealth of all of Asia I mean senator Albert Beveridge of Indiana so held up a nugget gold nugget and in the Senate and said this is what they have in Philippines they were little more honest than you don’t see it senators getting up now and say and here’s a gallon of oil so yes a little knowledge of history would make people more skeptical when the government urges us I took at a war and mines if I have a sweet it’s not water I think one of the reasons we’re we’re not ready to be skeptical is that we I think we grow up in this country with the idea that the government is looking out for our interests in other words if something goes wrong it’s because the government has made a mistake they really care about us they really wanted to do the right thing by you suggest that they make mistakes we cannot get it through our heads that the government may not be making mistake it may have different interests than us that is all that language that we get in the culture about the National Defense in the national interest and national security of all those abstractions which bind us all together those first words in the three members of the Constitution we the people of the United States and so if we all grow up with the idea yeah we’re all you know one big happy family and that all of our interests are the same but though some history would disabuse I said that I mean real a bit I mean George Bush’s interests are the same as the interests of the young person he sends to Iraq you mean Exxon’s interests are the same as the interests of working people in this country who may work for X I know some yes I’m history would show us that from the beginning this country was you not united by a common interest look long before the American Revolution no clashes all through the American colonies between landlords and tenants between slaves and slave owners there were riots of the poor in Boston and Philadelphia and New York and then when the revolution came although we we learned very often in you know in our history courses that well you know there were the United colonists against England and British oppression we’re not United at all the working guys went into the revolution very often because they were promised land not because they they had in the oceans notion that they had common interests with the well with the founding fathers and and in fact if there were mutinies in the and this I I never learned in school there were mutinies in the Revolutionary Army against Washington and the officers because of the way the privates were treated their lack of food their lack of clothes their lack of pay and the way the officers was treated with splendid clothes and plenty of money mutinies of thousands of soldiers in Washington’s army and then when the Revolutionary War ended that conflict continued rebellions of farmers in Massachusetts in other places probably you know about Shay’s rebellion many people know about it only because it appears on multiple-choice tests but Shay’s rebellion yeah was a huge uprising of thousands and thousands of farmers in western Massachusetts and

emulated in other states poor many of them veterans of the Revolutionary War facing the same problem that veterans of any war faced and that is when they they come home and they find that the promises made to them as veterans are not being kept and they find that the country which they thought they had fought for is not exactly the same there was a after Shay’s rebellion there was a letter written by to Washington by one of his men who was general with Washington Henry Knox and and after Shay’s rebellion which put a kind of fear into the founding fathers mother Shay’s rebellion with 1786 the Constitution was 1787 and after Shay’s rebellion Knox wrote to Washington and he said well I’m paraphrasing they wrote more elegantly in those days our founding fathers whatever you can say about them they could write they could speak you know so anything critical that I may say of them should be you know leavened by that thought and but Knox said to Washington after Shay’s rebellion so these people out in western Massachusetts they think that because they fought in the revolution they deserve an equal share of the wealth of this country the Constitution was not drawn up for the benefit of all and the common interest of all Constitution was drawn up by man of means by slaveholders and merchants and and it was drawing up basically to present a strong central government which be able to put down rebellions which would be able to put down slave rebellions would would be able to protect the settlers as they moved out west to get rid of the Indians who thought it was their land conflict from the beginning all of different interest from the beginning from the revolution on from before the Revolution and after the Revolution down to the present day evening traces in the legislation Congress passes all through the history class legislation legislation that serves the interests of the privileged all through the subsidies to the railroads the subsidies for the corporations there were moments when was a break in that there were moments when when Congress did pass legislation for the poor those are moments when people rebelled like the 30s on the great strikes of the 30s or the 60s when the great movements of the 60s and then we got some reforms but in general the history of legislation in this country his history his class legislation so I always get a kick out of it when election time one candidate says of the other accusingly he’s appealing to class antagonism well it’s the right thing to do so there’s another problem we have in being skeptical another sort of psychological ideological obstacle to being properly critical to seeing our nation and its policies very clearly and that is what well it’s what social scientists call American exceptionalism the myth of American exceptionalism the idea that we’re the best with the greatest we’re number one well there are ways in which we are number one and there are ways in which we are great in there then a lot of really good things you can say about this country but to blanketly declare us the best of the most virtuous and that’s going too far and that’s where history comes in handy history makes us honest it’s not a matter of putting ourselves down it’s a matter being honest about ourselves in our past and you can’t say is maybe well it’s true no I mean this is a great country sure we’ve had our little problems like slavery you know but basically no well no it’s not it’s not as simple as that and our history is is a history of a country of great wealth enough wealth to create a middle class but a country which has always had an underclass a large underclass where the wealth has always been unequally and

unfairly distributed a country of slavery and then of a hundred years of racial segregation after slavery mmm it’s very recent only very recent that racial segregation in this country was outlawed so and then of course our activities abroad they say well in the United States we’re the good guys of the world and well we’ve made a few mistakes here and there no we haven’t doing the good guys of the world no but that’s the will you grow up with we’re the Boy Scouts of the world we help nations across the street we haven’t and sometimes we’ve helped other countries most often we have not most often our aims have been Imperial and in the record of the United States is a record of expansion of continual expansion first across the continent destroying Native American tribes annihilating them pushing them father and father into smaller parts for the country and then moving into the Caribbean and then moving into the Pacific and of course into Latin America and and recently of course all over the world and it hasn’t hasn’t been a picture of benign imperialism as some people like to think of it well we’re Imperial but leave even use the term imperialism light which may be OK for a beer but not for imperialism and this idea you all have a right to take off your bottles of water I feel that I’m sort of taking advantage of the situation this idea of us being the greatest and so on very often it’s accompanied by the idea that God has given us a special dispensation and and this this goes way back goes back to you know the first governor of Massachusetts goes back to the middle of the 19th century in the idea of manifest destiny in the that Providence that’s the word they used Providence has ordained that we move across the continent and as if God believed in ethnic cleansing and and Wilson invoke God it’s interesting always talk about this sort of very pompous talk about if you know the separation of church and state has never been a separation of church and state every president has invoked God to support what he has done Wilson did it all the time and and Clinton did it and of course Bush has carried it too well the I mean I’m before Bush across McKinley had said God told him to take the Philippines and he did so Bush and Bush this is reported in high Rhett’s newspaper in Israel that that Palestinian leader reported this that he had spoken a bush and Bush told him quote God told me to strike al-qaeda and I struck them and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam which I did well it’s a little suspect actually that that’s you know it’s a sort of secondhand source and and it and the grammar isn’t quite right that there’s a more likely source and this is a an official of the Southern Baptist Convention who says it during during Bush’s first campaign Bush said to him I believe God wants me to be president but if that doesn’t happen that’s okay I

thought that was generous but so I think we we need to be honest about the historical record I the people are I think that portion of our population which is least susceptible to the claim that you know we are the greatest and so on and we have a Liberty and democracy and so on I think the people who are naturally most skeptical of this black people in this country I guess understandable reasons and in the 1930s Langston Hughes the African American poet of the Harlem Renaissance wrote a poem entitled Columbia Columbia representing the United States and now this is 1930s in the United States had not yet gone as far as it has since then but by the 1930s it had already gone into Cuban taken Puerto Rico and taken Hawaii and taken the Philippines and sent Marines 20 times into Central America and Woodrow Wilson the great idealist had bombarded the Mexican coast and incented occupying army into Haiti and the Dominican Republic so it was already a record for Langston Hughes when he wrote Columbia my dear girl you really haven’t been a virgin so long it’s ludicrous to keep up a pretext you’re terribly involved in world assignation and everybody knows it you’ve slept with all the big powers and military uniforms and you’ve taken a sweet life of all the little ground fellows in loincloths and cotton trousers being one of the world’s big van pyres why don’t you come on out and say so like Japan and England and France and all the other nymphomaniacs of power so yeah honesty that’s what we need we need a some forthright acknowledgment I mean people are apologizing all over the place for ridiculous things let’s apologize food really important important things and you know don’t it’s not what they do in alcoholics Anonymous don’t they get up and down and just tell the truth about themselves right so one chance why can’t we have imperialists Anonymous and and have you know have the people in the White House and so on you’ll get up before the world and yeah confess so when you looking at my watch to pretend that I care when you when you talk the way I’m talking which of course there’s nasty you know it’s really it’s it’s hard to take because we’re not we’re not accustomed to talking this way or to listening to stuff like this and and when you are so critical of the policies that our government is followed and what happens you you immediately called unpatriotic on American alright use you don’t like America wait a while you mean Bush’s America you mean those people in the White House are America they say well you’re putting down our country our country no not our country you see these young fellows and all young women going off the Iraq and then television cameras on them and asking them why are you going to be Rock and they say well I believe I owe lives to my country no they’re not going there for their country they’re not going there for the good of their families in that community and the people of this country they’re going there for a bush they’re going there for Halliburton they’re going there for Bechtel that’s what they’re going there for but there’s this confusion between the government in the country we shouldn’t be confused because we should be reading the Declaration of Independence and that’s our founding philosophical document the Declaration of Independence make the distinction

clear that governments are artificial creations they are set up by the people to ensure certain rights and equal right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and when governments become destructive of these ends those are these are the words of the Declaration it is the right of the people to alter or abolish the government that’s serious but that’s the Declaration of Independence that’s why it’s foot up on the classroom wall not to be read but to be looked at so when you criticize the government you’re not criticizing a country you’re not criticizing America and when the government is acting against the interests of the people and the government is not fulfilling its obligation to bring equality life liberty the positive happiness to its citizens then the government is being unpatriotic so it’s I think it’s very important to get that of course our capacity to think clearly about all this becomes distorted when a climate of fear is created when when some horrible Menace is declared to threaten us and different points in the in history you know the Manas changes but in the 1950s and during the Cold War it was communism now there are real threats there are realities and then there are exaggerations of those threats to the point of hysteria and sure there was a Soviet Union and the other Soviet Union had occupied countries in Eastern Europe but the communist threat was magnified to the point where any revolution and the uprising taking place anywhere in the world was part of a world communist conspiracy and so millions of people died in Vietnam because people were made hysterical about communism and this country had spent trillions of dollars on war for the purpose of defending ourselves against a menace that was enormous ly exaggerated and that fear communism now is fear of terrorism and terrorism is used as a way to make people stop thinking and and as a justification for everything that is done to us and as justification for stealing the wealth of this country and the justification for taking away our liberties and our justification are going to war again and again and not dealing people a chance to think about war and the war on terrorism and how can you make war on terrorism when terrorism itself is war and war is terrorism war is the greatest terrorism are the Terrorism of small bands of people who blow up and buildings and who suicide bombers I mean that’s terrible dad and that is terrorism but that’s very small compared to the terrorism of governance governments have enormous capacity to kill millions of people and they do but that is concealed from us by making us focus focus on these bands of people who are terrorists we need to think about the way terrorism is used we need and we need to think about war itself I don’t mean just this war I don’t mean just the war in Iraq because we will the war in Iraq will come to an end I don’t know when but it will come to an end at some point who knows at what cost but it will come to an end it it has to because we we don’t belong in Iraq this the our presence there is already crumbling and crumbling and we are not going to stay in Iraq and so the war in Iraq may be over at some point but then what about the next war and the next war and the next war are we gonna have anti-war movement after anti-war movement after anti-war a little bit it seems to me man we must and I know this is a big figure the job you must think about the abolition of war itself war war is the enemy

war and we have to come to a recognition that war solves no fundamental problems I say this as somebody who was in a war and no not the spanish-american war but I was in the good war the best of wars I mean the war which has probably the greatest claim to any kind of moral Center and yet that war was accompanied by atrocities of all kinds whether it’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Dresden or a bombing raid that I engaged in dropping napalm on a little French village or battles which killed huge numbers of people know that war the good war which you might say is them is the putting war to the extreme test and even that war was deeply deeply flawed in the moral sense and every war since has not even had that moral core yet World War two is used as a metaphor for all these other wars they draw upon the the language of World War two and Churchill and appeasement and Munich and all of that they draw upon the moral capital of world war two to put a glow on every ugly war we have fought since World War two I mean war has reached the point with the technology of war where it cannot be accepted as a way of solving any problem in the world whether there’s a dictator somewhere whether a border has been crossed it cannot be accepted as a war by definition is the massive and indiscriminate killing of innocent people war has become more and more the killing of civilians in World War one the ratio of military to civilians ten to one in World War two about 50/50 50% civilians 50% military in Vietnam 70 percent of those millions that died were civilians now it’s more like 80 and 90% civilians men women and children or is inevitably a war against children and therefore it cannot be accepted and therefore we must even if it’s a long term long long term goal we must think about its abolition just as people in the 1830s in this country although the end of slavery was far off they began to think about the abolition of slavery so what shall we do well I think we learning from history being honest about the past and about what’s going on today we have to come to the conclusion that we cannot depend on on the government for justice we cannot depend on the press for justice we cannot depend on the opposition parties because there is no not much of an opposition party and you know whatever some possibilities for opposition in that party if if the Democrats win the house John Conyers will be head of the Judiciary Committee and he has been a leading force for impeachment so that’s good but in general know we can’t depend have to depend on ourselves and historically this is what you see when any serious and justice had to be remedied it was not initiated by the government or the President or Congress or the Supreme Court it was done by other people themselves organizing a protesting a sacrificing risking the labor movement did not win the eight-hour day because Congress passed a law or the President and edict or the Supreme Court the labor working people won the eight-hour day because they did it themselves there was nothing in the Constitution there’s no economic Bill of Rights in the Constitution although Roosevelt in 1944 asked for an economic Bill of Rights no bill economic Bill of Rights and the concept working people had to do it themselves and he did they went out on strike and they face the police and the National Guard in the army and and they want and the same thing was true of people in the south black people in the south they knew they learn very soon they could not depend on on the Constitution no sure the 14th and 15th amendments no president enforced the 14th and 15th minutes every president for almost a hundred years violated his oath of office which is to see that the laws are faithfully executed and no president enforced and up to Johnson and Kennedy

no none of them enforced the 14th and 15th amendments until black people went out into the streets all over the south and created the kind of commotion and went to jail and some of them were killed and created a kind of commotion that aroused the nation and aroused the world and embarrassed the American government into finally passing some legislation so that the 14th and 15th amendments could have some meaning at those moments democracy came alive and that’s what we need today we need to Marcus Lee to come alive today and as possible how we generally people feel powerless but keep this in mind the people in power only hold their power because of our obedience really when the obedience of the population disappears the people in power no longer have their power corporations need workers to work if the workers stop working the corporation is helpless if they declare a boycott of grapes however powerful farm growers are that they will give in if people stop buying grapes when soldiers begin to rebel as they did in Vietnam in the last two years of the anti-war movement then the government has to take cognizance of that yeah they depend on our obedience and our job is to begin with holding our obedience and declaring that we ourselves are going to be the agents of democracy that we ourselves are going to bring democracy all alive in this country and and we’ll hear them say it people in parents say well no we will never submit we we were oh we will never get it we will never cut in the right well we will always do no no the the history is littered with a confident statements of people in power that they will never given and they did you know I mean dictators who seem to have absolute power wake up one morning and there’s a million people in the capital and they’re on a helicopter flying off somewhere in the South Africa is that we will never end apartheid but they ended up right height you know George Wallace said two meetings in the south segregation now segregation tomorrow segregation forever and a few years later segregation was ended in Alabama I remember a moment in 1965 and I joined the march from Selma to Montgomery in the spring of 1965 on the last night before the last leg of the March the 20 miles to when coming that last night we all we’re in our sleeping bags it had rained poured rain the night before and our sleeping bags were resting in the mud of this field and that’s how we spent the night and then the next day we we marched 20 miles from Montgomery an amazing scene we got to Montgomery I decided I was gonna hang around for the speeches I wanted to go home much of my revolutionary activity has been cut short I’m not wanting to go home so I made away my way to the airport in Montgomery and I was splattered with mud and there I met ran into man who just arrived in Montgomery to be at the proceedings this was Whitney Young who’s had been my colleague and friend in Atlanta tall black men distinguished-looking and so we decided we’d have a cup of coffee together well restaurants and selma who was still segregated but we went into the cafeteria as and we sat down young woman came over to us and stopped and i could see in her eyes this conflict what is she going to do and then she turned to whitney and she said may I serve you sir and then I looked at her apron and she had a big button on it which says the deep south

says never well keep this in mind all those statements will shatter immediately as soon as people get together as soon as people organize and people don’t have to do heroic things all of us very few of us can do heroic things but we can do little things and at certain points in history millions of those little things accumulate come together and you have a movement and you have power and something changes so I want to close by reading a poem written by Marge Piercy it’s from her book the moon is always female what can they do to you whatever they want they can set you up they can bust you they can break your fingers they can burn your brain with electricity lure you with drugs till you can’t walk can’t remember they can take your child wall up your lover they can do anything you can stop them from doing how can you stop them up alone you can fight you can refuse you can take what revenge you can but they they roll over you two people can keep each other saying can give support conviction love massage hope sex three people are a delegation a committee a wedge with four you can play bridge and start an organization with six you can rent the whole house eat pie for dinner with no seconds and hold a fundraising party it doesn’t make a demonstration a hundred fill a hall a thousand have solidarity in your own newsletter ten thousand power in your own paper a hundred thousand your own media ten million your own country he goes on one at a time it starts when you care to act it starts when you do it again after they said no it starts when they say when you say we and know who you mean and each day you mean one more I was told we have a question period I was told the question period will go to 8:30 that gives you five minutes it’s a typical freedom of speech situation but maybe we can maybe we can take more than that are there two microphones or one oh there – yeah I can’t see too well but the honor system will alternate okay that mic first and then you and and when somebody in authority gives me the signal we’ll clip okay good evening mr. Singh I don’t think I need to say how much I admire you but I just want to ask you a question and for Puerto Rico and as you probably know Nelson miles the same guy that exterminated a lot of Indians here in the United States came to Puerto Rico in 1898 to bestow upon us the blessings of American institutions and to free us from our own miserable condition and I guess that 108 years later Americans are still freeness but I don’t know from what because I don’t feel free at all we are a leading American nation subjected to the power of a president and a Congress that we do not elect I’m the president of the United States can send a pro Rican to die an unjust war in Iraq at Porto Rican by the way so I wanted to know what do you think are the prospects for Pro Rican decolonization and do you think and I guess you do that this is very relevant to the topic that we’ll discuss it today pretty democracy of life alienation to determine its own

future and mean the owner of its own land well you know what I think and you’ve said it so eloquently and you know the situation there you know better than I am better than most of us and you and the question you ask is do I think something will change in well we extrapolate from little victories to the future and the United States was using the island of Vieques right down with using Puerto Rican island of Vieques as a bombing target as a test site and and and the people of Vieques protested in protest year after year yeah they protested and and finally the protests grew so strenuous and so threatening that the United States had to withdraw from Vieques it’s possible to you know to win small victories and to understand that once you can win small victories you can win big ones and so on my hope is that the people of Puerto Rico will get what they want at some point if they had people like you working and they’ll make it I’m sure sorry Howard I had you in class in in 1972 and so I’m very appreciative to have a chance to actually be in class with you again tonight after so many years and I thank the committee whoever put this together it’s just a wonderful wonderful evening I had a question for you about the origins of the Iraq war you mentioned that you thought you know part of the motivation was for Halliburton and for Bechtel and other big companies I was curious whether you thought the bush family’s relationship with Saudi Arabia has a relationship to why we’re in Iraq we were after all attacked on September 11 by jets that worm and not by Iraqis but by 15 Saudis 15 out of the 19 hijackers and yet instead of attacking Saudi Arabia are doing anything against Saudi Arabia we attack Iraq so I’m I would like you to comment about that you know whether you feel that there’s there’s some connection with the Bush family for you know protecting Saudi Arabia involved and then secondly I have a second question I hate to ask – but the second question is if there is a connection and if the Bush family is protecting Saudi Arabia and favoring the interests of that country over the United States where we were attacked on September 11 it seems to me that one of the grounds for impeachment should be treason and I don’t think it should be community service the penalty paid for treason and I wanted your comment on that too I’ll answer the first question the easy one but you ask how come we fixed on well from in the first Afghanistan and then Iraq and why not Saudi Arabia well the answer is simple Saudi Arabia is our friend our ally they can do whatever they want our relationship with Saudi Arabia is sort of a deep friendship a heartwarming friendship I goes back to the end of World War two when Franklin Roosevelt met eben sod in 1945 and they made a deal and a deal was that from now on the United States we’re going to be the major player in the oil fields of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East the English in the French and the Dutch we’re going to be eased out and in return the United States would maintain the power of the Saudi monarchy no matter what they did to women no matter what they did to their own people know what they were like no matter how many hijackers would come out of their country in the future they are our friends it’s an old principle in American foreign policy if there’s a country which does what you want you let it do what it wants no matter what it does and that’s been our attitude towards Saudi Arabia hello thank you so much for this talk so interesting and thought-provoking I wanted to know if you think there are

any other countries that exercise their democracy better than the US and if so why if there is any other country that what that exercise their democracies better than the US democracy exercise democracy better than the US it’s interesting it’s always comes up and this is no no no slight on you to say that you are the first one to ask this question you know but it’s a question that comes up yours when you criticize the United States they’re very often questioned and this may not be the the intent of your question but very often there’s a kind of challenging question well where would you rather live why don’t you go back to or you know well actually I like living here say there’s the Red Sox and there’s Dunkin Donuts and a lot of good things and and it’s a beautiful country it’s a beautiful country it’s been taken over by a little gang you see but it’s but are there countries that are more democratic democracy and this is what I tried to say there’s a spectrum and it’s very complicated there are countries that have more economic democracy than we do there are there are countries that have their countries that have free medical care for everybody their countries that take better care of their children and their old people than we do economically economic aspect of democracy is is a very important one and there are countries which in their foreign policy are not as aggressive and bullying and violent as the United States lots of them I mean there are lots of countries in the world that don’t worry about terrorism the way we do these are countries that don’t bother anybody we bother other places in the world a very seriously and so so yes there are there’s no country which is ideal it’s nothing you know there’s one no one a perfect place that I can say as a democracy they all have the problems but no you know we’re more democratic than a lot of countries in the world although there’s no country in the world that is more aggressive in our foreign policy than us but it’s know that question aware country’s a place on this complicated spectrum of democratic and less democratic you know it’s very complicated you know we know we have there are 25 countries in the world that have better records in child and infant mortality than we do there are 30 countries in the world they have better literacy rates and we do you know the many many countries are not according to you know the international acute the international organizations that study this and so all I’m saying is everybody in every country has the problem of making their country more democratic and I think it’s a probably a good idea to take a clear-eyed look at where we are and and not just measure us by the worst places in the world to say well you’ll see we’re much better than they are but to measure ourselves against the kind of country we should be and should be a country where people have taken care of the country without racism in a country that is not militarized and I cut use it doesn’t spend its wealth on guns and bombs the country that yes it can be a superpower but it should be not a military superpower but a humanitarian superpower you know and that’s what we should be aiming for Howard thank you hi Jim you mentioned GIS refusing to go to Vietnam and I just want to emphasize that nobody can make you go to Iraq if if you’re it takes courage and it’s difficult but you can refuse to go to Iraq even if you’re in the military and I want to bring up the example of Lieutenant Ehren watada who is the first commissioned officer to

refuse deployment to Iraq and I bring it up in part to ask you to comment on his I believe very courageous act and very profoundly moral active resistance but also to invite everybody here to come on Sunday evening to hear his father Bob wa tada and other well some other well-known speakers and performers at an event to support him at a church in Harvard Square the first parish church Sunday evening at 7 o’clock and that event is organized by the Smedley Butler Brigade a chapter of Massachusetts veterans for peace Jim I have a feeling that’s that’s not question but an announcement about which is a good announcement and I’m I’m with it Thank You Howard would you like would you like to say anything at all by way of just slight elaboration from what you know about the case of lieutenant watada no actually there’s no point in my lab you know more about the case than I do you know I know no I’ve heard about it but I don’t know a lot about it and you’ve told us a little about it and you know it’s very clear what’s right and wrong in this case anybody who refuses duty in this ugly war should be supported and and applauded and we will need more acts of civil disobedience in this country if the war is going to come to an end yes professor I know you’ve talked a lot about rebellion but is it really possible to work for change within our own government is it possible what to work for change within our own government for change within our own government is it possible barely that is it’s possible but not easy as the tendency is and and and it’s it’s understandable do you think well you know I want to get in there where the power is and do what I can but what happens most often with people who go into government hoping to change government policies generally gets swallowed up in the bureaucracy and they find themselves surrounded and shouted down and even if they up high you know I mean even if they’re up there in that cabinet meetings and and well you know Arthur Schlesinger jr. was there at cabinet meetings only discussing the the invasion of the Bay of Pigs and he was opposed to it but what could he do at least he didn’t feel he could do anything he was there were all these brass around them and he felt intimidated there are occasional rebellions of people inside the government occasional heroic rebellions very occasional Daniel Ellsberg is you know who brought the Pentagon Papers to light there’s an example of somebody who was in in the government and then did something remarkable in exposing the secrets of the government but in general if I had to give advice and I very often was asked for this advice when I was teaching young people come to me say well I really want to change things should I go into the Foreign Service No and or I really want to do something great should I go to law school Alex Alex answer that question better than I can but I would say maybe and because we know we’ve had most most people most most people go into law yeah end up submerged under huge volumes of corporate law and insurance law and so on and so forth but there there are a minority of lawyers who do wonderful things and on behalf of the poor and on behalf of people have been charged with crimes and people who don’t have any help so anyway I’ll take how many more questions I think yeah one one more from each mic okay like so many of your students in the 60s and 70s and yourself as well you know I make the same commute you know in Commonwealth day in and day

out class you know work you know sleep all that but unlike unlike your students it just seems to me that that passion just isn’t there I just I see it I just see 44,000 people like so many shades just going in and out day in and day out you know self-absorbed and you know I completely you know put myself in this you know say malady of you know our generation right now and I don’t know I guess so I’m trying to say is there’s 44,000 of us that’s you know if we each put down a dollar we could come up with under the kids tuition you know but 44,000 of us and how do how the hell do we get it together you know how do we you know Jesus Christ it’s yeah I don’t know yeah I’m actually I I didn’t hear everything you said sorry but my general answer to most questions is I don’t know but yeah who these 44,000 people you’re talking about the 44,000 students that attend bu that you know I’d be you right oh I see that seems to me that was there in the 60s and 70s and just that that drive that put you know that just a unifying drive towards change its I just I just feel a lack in that and you know we all feel the same way as well you know we we all feel very small and powerless and we look at all the people around us who would not do anything just concentrating on their lives but that’s how things happen when you aren’t discouraged by that when you go on when you keep on and then you join whoever you can find two people five people ten people and you persist a social change doesn’t come quickly doesn’t come easily it requires a lot of patience not the patience of passivity but the patience of of persistence in whatever you do and a kind of faith that if you keep doing what you’re doing and keep working and keep defying the orthodoxy of the society around you that more and more people will gather around and that and there are people all over the country that you don’t know about who feel the same way and and who are organizing you know doing things on you know we’re this is a very big country and you very often have no idea what is happening in the rest of the country but the fact is and I travel a lot around the country and wherever you go in this country however small to town they’re always little clusters of people working for good things for equal rights for women for against racism for the environment and it’s I’m encouraged by the existence of these people by the knowledge that small movements become large movements with patience and persistence I was on campus here in the 80s and when I first got here people told me you have to get into his in class and at the time I had to be an upperclassman and they were ordered to get in because the draw was so high and then one by the time I got to be an upperclassman you had to be you had to be in the right major you had to be a grad student so I’ve been waiting 20 years to actually supposed to be here to be listening to you because I had to sneak into your lectures when I was actually an undergrad but I guess I have a question to ask and and then a favor and and the given the the political climate as you said that the different places that we’ve been and and how we’ve tried to impose our foreign policy and at the time that as you mentioned Castro you know making his own decision given how unstable small aircraft seemed to be with the leaders of countries that we don’t happen to like at the time my favor is that should the opportunity ever arise that you were offered the opportunity to be in a plane with Hugo Chavez please don’t I I think that I think the the temptation would be too much and the question I have is if we were to use the Constitution to perhaps

a couple months down the road ultimately make Nancy Pelosi the first female president of the United States do we have to input impeach Cheney and Bush at the same time or is there a particular order that we have to do that in well let’s wait and see and see what the who’s going to become Speaker of the House and what the order of succession will be and then we you and I can sit down and plan our strategy I’m Alex’s wife bu School of Medicine 76 but for Alex to let me get up here is a big challenge Howard you had my heart stir in the last few minutes of your speech it was really stirred I felt like a blessed American again when I heard the hope about bringing democracy alive and I could be accused of nostalgia because to hear those stories again about the civil rights movement for example made me go back to the individuals involved here because we’re honoring an individual and there’s so many young students here including my two daughters and their college friends that it is the power of our meeting one on one that I think inevitably will give us hope and it was because my husband met you that it sounds it’s not just a pat Hollywood movie ending mr. holland’s opus it is inspiring that you met Alex and you met so many untold students so if each one of those 44,000 students wants to give up a Starbucks we could pay for two students to be leaders and to perhaps meet someone else so the power of what you started my heart at the end is exactly what you did here every day and touch my husband and what a dream come true for him and for me and take those dreams and carry them out into the world there is still hope thank you you