Friday, September 7, 2012

Oct 13: National "Debate the Drones" Day?

In a flurry of debates in October, the U.S. presidential candidates will talk about every topic under the sun -- both domestic and foreign -- in locations across the country -- from Denver to New York City to Boca Raton -- in formats both formal and informal -- with an assortment of moderators from all the major networks.

Be assured, however, that there is one topic that will be off-limits.


So here's a modest proposal: let's debate the issue ourselves.

Let the debate begin!

Saturday, October 13, falls smack dab in the middle of the election 2012 debate schedule. (October 3: Denver (domestic policy); October 11: Danville, KY (vice presidential debate); October 16: New York City (foreign, domestic); October 22: Boca Raton (foreign policy).)

Saturday, October 13, also happens to come at the culmination of the "Drones Week of Action" (October 6-13): "The Drones Campaign Network in the UK is organizing a week of action to protest the growing use of armed drones from 6th – 13th October. The week coincides with the International Keep Space for Peace Week which focuses on the militarization of space."

Who should participate in such debates? And who should organize them? Well, at this point, there are local groups all over the United States -- and all over the world -- that are deeply concerned and extremely active in trying to address the drones problem. The Occupy movement has taken up the issue. Activity is picking up on college campuses. The churches are getting involved. A few brave journalists are leading the way in asking questions. There may even be one or two independent politicians who want to step up to the plate on the issue.

In school: debate drones
And, after all, do we need the permission of the Democratic or Republican party to take up an issue? For that matter, if we're talking about an issue that truly matters, do we imagine that the Democratic or Republican party would want to risk being part of the conversation?


Do you think it's time to get the drones issue out in the open? There are groups in nearly every state involved in combating the menace of drones. Get involved with one today and help figure out how to make October 13 the day to break the silence about drones.

Colorado - Not 1 More Acre!
Florida - No Drones Florida
Illinois - No Drones Illinois
Indiana - Indiana Drones Project
Iowa - No Drones Iowa
Kentucky - No Drones Kentucky
Maryland - No Drones Maryland
Michigan - No Drones Michigan
Missouri - No Drones Missouri
Nevada - Nevada Desert Experience
New Hampshire - NH Peace Action
New Jersey - No Drones New Jersey
New Mexico - Not 1 More Acre!
New York - Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones
North Carolina - No Drones North Carolina
Ohio - No Drones Ohio
Pennsylvania - No Drones Pennsylvania
Texas - No Drones Texas
Virginia - No Drones Virginia
Washington State - No Drones Washington State
Wisconsin - No Drones Wisconsin

NATIONWIDE - No Drones Network

Related posts

We can now entrust all the dirty work -- including war -- to robots. (Or can we?)

See A Modest Proposal: Debate the Drones 

In my opinion, the reason to focus on drones is this: when we focus on drones, the general public is able to "get," to an unusual extent, the degree to which popular consent has been banished from the process of carrying out state violence. (Sure, it was banished long ago, but the absence of a human in the cockpit of a drone suddenly makes a light bulb go off in people's heads.) It takes some prodding, but people can sense that drone use somehow crosses a line. And that opens up the discussion about how our consent has been eliminated from the vast range of US militarism.

(See "Why focus on drone attacks?")

Now comes the messy part. We need many more people to engage with with the emotions aroused by drones. This is going to involve many different groups of people, engaging with this topic in many different ways: churches and faith groups . . . young people . . . . The point is: the discourse on drones is going to get out of our hands. It isn't always going to go the way we want. But the important thing is that many, many people are going to be talking about it in the ways that feel appropriate to them.

 (See Democracy vs. Drones)