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The Nose

Protest Vote

Kwame Abayomi

Posted 11/6/2002

International affairs are not usually part of the Baltimore City Council's normal business, but occasionally the council feels compelled to weigh in on grave global matters. Thus, on Oct. 28, most of its members sponsored a resolution opposing current U.S. policy toward Iraq. The spirit of dissent embodied by the resolution itself was outdone by the profound protest voiced by its chief sponsor, Councilman Kwame Abayomi (D-6th District), when he rose to introduce it. Suggesting that "the secret government of this country" was behind the fatal plane crashes of U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) last month and Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan (D) in 2000, Abayomi questioned the legitimacy of George W. Bush's presidency due to the dubious means of his electoral victory over Al Gore in 2000. The idea behind the resolution, he explained, was to have "the other side be heard" and "make an attempt to connect the dots" in light of the United States' pattern of fighting against people and countries that once were funded by the U.S. military-industrial complex. He said that the U.S. government tends to ignore the peaceful intentions inherent in United Nations membership, and instead tries to "arbitrarily and capriciously decide who is or isn't allowed to rule" in other countries. In the name of peace, he complained, we perpetuate carnage around the globe.

Abayomi's views are shared by many in the peace movement, local luminaries of which requested that he introduce the resolution. A hearing to debate the resolution will be held Nov. 20 in the council chambers. The hearing will also be broadcast on the city's cable-access TV station, channel 21.

While the resolution itself points out that "there is a wide range of opinions in Baltimore about the advisability and likely consequences of war with Iraq," the Nose doubts that the full breadth of local thought on the issue will be aired at the hearing. Given Abayomi's strident views, and the phalanx of peaceniks that back the resolution--among them, American Friends Service Committee, the Baltimore Coalition Against War and Terrorism, Johns Hopkins University chaplain Chester Wickwire, and A. Robert Kaufman, an activist who Abayomi described in his speech as "a perennial candidate and general do-gooder"--we wonder how many hawks will feel welcome.

Nonetheless, the hawks hold the day, so if the doves want to preach amongst themselves, more power to them. With Peter Jennings broadcasting step-by-step plans for military victory over Iraq on the evening news, and with a pliant Congress abdicating more war-making powers to the president, the Nose thinks this is a fine and proper time for an anti-establishment orgy--if only to counter the unblinking belligerence of those in power.

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