Standing with the Veterans for Peace vigil on Tuesdays at Vance Monument has given me a view of public attitudes that I find troubling. The partisan divide and hostilities between people seem to be growing. I saw an example of this increasing anxiety after the recent climate change protest. An Asheville man publicly posted that he had a gun in his vehicle and implied next time a “green weeny” blocks his path, he would shoot them.
All this fuss about firearms and the Second Amendment, while we ignore the core intent of the Constitution: balance of power! Article 1 of the Constitution describes a system of shared power among the three branches of our government. Each of these branches has certain powers, and each of these powers is limited, or checked, by another branch. Or so the Constitution declares.
Section 8 of Article 1 places the power to declare war in our Congress and “to raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years.” However, American troops have been at war since 2001 under an emergency bill that has been used by the last three presidents and has taken the lives of over 7,000 of our military personal and countless thousands of innocent civilians at a cost to the American taxpayer of over $7 trillion. A never-ending war was never the intent of the Constitution.
While we wage wars under the guise of democracy, freedom is quickly fading from the American landscape. Article 1 is not an amendment. It is central to our democracy. To protect democracy in America, we must make our government accountable to the people, not the corporations and those beholden to them.
What can any of us do about it? Since withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the killing of a nonterrorist, senior official of a sovereign state without congressional approval, the United States is quickly heading toward another catastrophic war.
Would you benefit from a war with Iran? Is sending our children to kill other people’s children for the sake of the oil and weapons industries a kind or Christian thing to do? Would another war help build our roads, feed our hungry, provide health and child care, improve education, bring more jobs or a living wage, end homelessness, crime or drug abuse? This is not a partisan issue. It is an issue of life, death and democracy.
In response to this pending disaster, the Asheville Friends Committee on National Legislation team is urging everyone to ask our senators to support and vote for the following bills currently in Congress: The No War Against Iran Act (S. 3159 and H.R. 5543) would ensure that no federal funds (our taxes) could be used for military action against Iran without congressional authorization.
Contact Sen. Richard Burr: 202-224-3154 and Sen. Thom Tillis: 202-224–6342. Thank you.
— E.L. Halsey
Veterans for Peace member and Asheville Team FCNL
Editor’s note: This letter was submitted before COVID-19 concerns began affecting daily life in Asheville and WNC.