You cannot give an "unhinged" president a blank check for war in December and then criticize the man for cashing that same check a month later. This is not a proud moment for our Congress and it is not a proud moment for our county.
Thank you for coming out this evening. You could have chosen to stay inside where it was warm, but you made the choice, to raise your voice for peace. My name is Rachel Ventura and I’m a progressive democrat running for Congress.
I want you to close your eyes for a moment and imagine two little blonde hair girls giving their father hugs and kisses as he prepares for deployment. The tears in everyone’s eyes and the hopeful promises to safe return. I want you to imagine what it is like for a military spouse to get a call from the captain of a boat notifying you something has happened. I want you to consider the agony and uncertainty as the days tick by before that service member is back home. For those who come back from deployment injured, the next months and years can be excruciating. Some never come home.
How many troops, are going to be called, to serve in the coming days and months?
How many lives is America willing to sacrifice to achieve her goal? How many lives are you willing to sacrifice and what exactly is that goal?
As a mother of two daughters, who have a father in the military, I take the issue of protecting our future very seriously, and that definitely includes doing our best to stay out of war.
Since the Bush era, the power to declare war has slowly transferred to one man, as Congress has looked the other way. Now that one man, is Donald Trump.
This December, many members of Congress disregarded their jobs of protecting the checks and balances of power when they passed the National Defense Authorization Act known as the NDAA, which included a blank check that allowed the president to use government funding to conduct the very strike that landed us in our current situation.
What you may not know is in June of 2019 Representative Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California and the vice chair of the progressive caucus, inserted an amendment that strengthened congressional oversight of President Trump's military spending and ability to launch a war, specifically, war in Iran.
The amendment passed in June, but was stripped out of the final 738 billion dollars military spending bill that passed in December. Another amendment introduced by Representative Barbara Lee from California would have limited the executive branch’s war powers given by the AUMF. This amendment was also removed from NDAA before the final vote.
Congress should have voted no on the final bill, demanding that the amendments to limit Trump's ability to continue destabilizing the world be included.
40 progressives did vote no, but the rest of the members of Congress instead voted to pass this funding bill, including my opponent Bill Foster.
You cannot give an "unhinged" president a blank check for war in December and then criticize the man for cashing that same check a month later. This is not a proud moment for Congress and it is not a proud moment for our county.
If elected to represent the people of the 11th district, I will be joining the courageous members of Congress in the progressive caucus who had the foresight to predict this nightmare.
I will not be a part of the problem. Instead, I will stand up for the American people and what is right. I will not be another silent voice in the Democratic party. I will not be the status quo.
Rather, by showing up at this rally today, each and every one of us has declared that we will instead be a part of the solution.
A solution that brings us one step closer to a peaceful future.
We must ask ourselves; do we want our tax dollars going to educate our children or to sending the children of working-class families who will have to fight and die in a new Middle East conflict.
Do we want leaders who consider the consequence before acting, and think about the long-term damage being enacted against our future?
We’ve been at war for so long that when someone speaks out against war, they are labeled anti-American.
Being pro-peace is NOT anti-American.
Demanding Congress do their job is not anti-American.
Expecting a better system of government, because the status quo doesn’t cut it anymore, is not anti-American.
And Speaking out against this act of war in Iran is not anti-American
It is patriotic.
My vision includes a world in which we hold elected officials accountable for their actions. A world where everyone is treated with dignity even if we disagree with one another’s personal choices.
I imagine a world with leaders that inspire and transform; better jobs, a stronger economy, more time with family, and better pay. I imagine equal and affordable access to healthcare. It is a world in which you can marry the person you love. A world where people have access to clean water, fresh air, and healthy food.
I envision building a world that protects human rights with new and strengthened alliances to ensure global safety, fair diplomatic negotiations, and peace around the world.
I imagine a nation of united Americans coming together—people from every background, class, skin color, religion, and gender to create a government that works for everyone.
I imagine a world where two little girls hug their father when he returns home from deployment, unharmed.
It starts with saying No to a war in Iran and then voting for a stronger voice in Congress on March 17th. I’m asking you for your vote. My name is Rachel Ventura, and I am running for Congress because I believe that this world is possible.