Regime change begins at home

Lisa Stiller is a teacher and a member of the Reno Anti-War Coalition.

Three members of the Reno Anti-War Coalition—Stewart Stout, Marie Bravo and I—raised funds to go to New York City to participate in some of the protests being staged at the Republican National Convention.

We went to New York to join the hundreds of thousands of voices from around the country demanding an end to the Bush regime in the White House. We thought it was extremely important to have Reno peace activists in New York to help send the message to Republican National Convention delegates, the media and this administration that people throughout the entire country want a new agenda for the next four years.

We marched through the streets of New York with 250,000 people demanding an end to war, an end to cuts in social programs and an end to an administration that has only served the needs of the wealthy, the military and corporate America. Throughout the week, Bush and his delegates will hear the message over and over again.

A recent report from the 2003 census that showed more Americans are living in poverty is simply more proof that those currently in office don’t have the welfare of the entire country in mind as they continue on their current path. The ongoing chaos in Iraq, with still no clear exit plan in sight, is proof that Bush does not plan to disengage from the conflict anytime soon. That means more Iraqis and more Americans will die.

Our message was not just for Republicans. It was for whoever occupies the White House and Congress in November.

On Saturday, thousands of people went to the World Trade Center site to participate in a bell-ringing ceremony to remember those who died. An eerie, almost otherworldly atmosphere still persists at Ground Zero, which will make it impossible ever to forget the extraordinary events that occurred there almost three years ago. Our message was that the war on terror has not made our country safer, and the violence we have unleashed on another country is not an acceptable way to respond to the acts of violence perpetrated on our soil.

We went to New York City not only out of our frustration and anger but with determination to be part of a voice that hopefully will not die until a change in our government policies and priorities has taken place. That change must incorporate peace, compassion and humanitarianism.