California: Protesters Speak Out Against McCain’s 100 Years of War
Lake Forest, CA – Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain stood together in Orange County at the SaddleBack mega-church, Aug. 16, home of evangelical pastor Rick Warren, to engage in a ‘civil forum.’
Outside of the church gates, hundreds of demonstrators awaited the candidates. Groups of protesters faced off across the intersection. On one side there were Minutemen, anti-choice, anti-gay marriage fundamentalists and pro-war reactionaries that came to promote McCain’s agenda of racism, sexism and endless war. Opposing this right-wing agenda was a group that came to speak out against McCain’s plans for “100 years” of illegal occupation and war in Iraq.
Tommy, a tenth-grader who attends El Toro high school nearby, said he came to the anti-war demonstration because he wasn’t going to stand for one more year of this war and he wanted to speak out. “I don’t really remember a time without the war, I mean I was in fifth grade when it started.” His friend Samantha echoed his sentiments saying that she was there because she supported, “the guy [a protester in the crowd] holding the ‘Go to hell McCain’ sign.” Another activist, Mike, who stood with the anti-war delegation said that he also had plans to go march at the Republican National Convention Sept. 1 to protest against the nomination of the war criminal John McCain.
During the civil forum McCain reiterated his plans for becoming a war president. When Warren asked McCain if he believed in evil the presidential candidate answered with a resounding, “Of course,” and that, “it must be defeated.” He went on to state that the battlefield in which evil was being fought was in Iraq. Eric Gardner, a member of UCLA’s chapter of Students for a Democratic Society responded to that with, “It appears he plans to defeat this evil with the bloodshed of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. And it is for this reason that I am going join the protesters in Saint Paul, Minnesota to let the Republicans know that we will not stand for this platform of war.”
Charla Schlueter is a member of UNCA-SDS