By: E&P Staff
Four leading Hollywood actors known for their political activism — and run-ins with the press — spoke one after the other near the close of the huge antiwar rally in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, held under bright blue skies. Media coverage has been sparse so far.
Jane Fonda made the most dramatic statement, after noting that the press backstage had been asking her about the differences between her Vietnam era protests and today. She then announced that this was the first peace rally she had spoken at “in 34 years” — due, she said, to “the lies that had been spread” about her anti-Vietnam activities for decades. She said, “I was afraid that the lies they spread about me…would be used to hurt this movement. But I have decided that silence is no longer an option.”
She also hailed the vets, active duty personnel and Gold Star mothers in the crowd.
Sean Penn called for lobbying activities in Congress and more rallies locally to demand passing a binding resolution against the war and for a cut off in funds — and vowed to target anyone in next year’s races who did not back this strong step. This presumably included Democrats.
Tim Robbins made a ringing call for impeachment of the president, reading off a list of Bush’s alleged misdeeds and then saying, “Is impeachment still ‘off the table’?” He added, “Let’s get him out of office before he starts ruling from a bunker.”
He also claimed that Bush had disobeyed the Biblical commandment, honor thy father, by not following George H.W. Bush’s advice on Iraq, as well as “thou shalt not kill” needlessly.
His wife, Susan Sarandon, focused on providing more benefits for Iraq war veterans, noting funds had been cut. “Bush says we are fighting the war over there so we don’t have to fight it here,” she said. “Well, it is being fought here — among the veterans who have returned.”
Danny Glover spoke earlier, as did Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rep. John Conyers — one of the few members of Congress in attendance — along with Iraq veterans and activists representing various groups. Crowd estimates ranged from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. A march followed the rally.