The Day I Met Rep. Carolyn Maloney
The Day I Met Rep. Carolyn Maloney
by Sander Hicks, US Congressional Candidate
March 3, this past Saturday, was big for me. I finally met US Congressional Representative, Carolyn Maloney, my opponent in this maverick campaign to replace her, this June, in the Democratic Primary.
I first want to say how nice and pleasant she is in person. She taught me a thing or two, like the way she showed up early at the political club, and was at the door, greeting everyone as they came in.
I thought I was the early one. But she was the early bird, at age 71. She’s a hip dresser, in slacks, and a modern wool shawl. Dark, muted colors, very East Village, which is where we met, at a community center. I showed up, with my 12 year old son in a blue mohawk and red T-shirt. Coleman found her kind, and grand-motherly. He later said, “She comes off as a sweet old lady. How can my Dad be so mad at this person?”
Well, young Coleman, let’s look at that. It’s not the person I am mad at, it’s the Conservative votes, the policies, and the arrogant assumptions of a politician who has been in office way too long, and has done too little for the people.
We were all allowed ten minute speeches, to attempt to win the endorsement of CODA, the Coalition for a District Alternative, a left-leaning Democratic Party political club located on East 3rd Street, off Ave B.
Maloney’s speech was pretty vanilla. She talked about women’s rights, and her hopes to finally pass the Equal Rights Amendment someday, which I already knew was her big personal incomplete obsession. Equal pay for equal work is clearly something we all need to support. But I noticed Maloney’s body language. She wasn’t standing in front of the group - she was off to the side of the room as she spoke, leaning on a wall, clinging to a large door hinge, as if she was fading already at 3 PM. This was similar to how she had spoken earlier at the Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club, leaning on club officials’ shoulders as she spoke, unsteady.
I had just travelled 5,000 miles by car, speaking in 20 different cities, raising funds for my campaign, and recruiting volunteers. I hadn’t gotten nervous at any of those gigs, but with Rep. Maloney, in the front row, boy, the butterflies were flying.
This is the politician, after all, who voted for the invasion of Afghanistan, the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, all the Bailouts, never questioning the core premises of the “War on Terror,” the Bush agenda of endless wars, and infinite profiteering. And there she was, smiling at me, and enjoying my speech, as I opened up with spirited stories of my own earlier adventures on East Third Street, running an independent publishing company that grew to take on the Bush Campaign, by publishing a controversial biography during campaign 2000.
But then I let Maloney have it. Without mentioning her by name, but using my body language, I took a few of my lines directly at her. “Anyone who voted for the Iraq War is guilty of genocide.” Her smile began to fade. “Our country killed 750,000 people in Iraq. That blood is on our hands. Congress wasted $1.7 trillion of your money on this war.”
“Instead, imagine a radically different kind of country. The USA as a leader in non-violent conflict resolution, balance, and mutually-agreeable negotiations, in which all sides of a conflict are respected and taken care of. Instead, we are the country who is the leading exporter of arms, and dirty wars, and propaganda.”
I then pointed out that Maloney dressed up in a full-length burka, and from the floor of Congress, blamed the Taliban for 9/11. She used the War on Terror to try to advance her own agenda: she supported Bush’s war, and along the way, used it to take a stab at a harsh, Islamic State, which, it’s true, was terrible on women’s rights. But a deeper analysis would point out that the USA itself created the Taliban, in a partnership with radical Islam, against the Soviets, in the 80’s. That kind of global analysis is beyond Maloney’s public persona, in which she keeps things simple, and lucrative, and tends to support big money NeoConservative policies, and wars, and the right-wing in Israel, in her perfunctory, glib way.
"I salute the Bush Administration for balancing war with compassion," she said in her speech, that October after 9/11, when the US War on Afghanistan was newly launched, before it killed 175,000 people compassionately, and dragged us into 16 years of the US’s longest war ever.
She opened that speech with: "Mr. Speaker, the attacks of September 11 broke the hearts and boggled the minds of most every American. It left us all wondering just what kind of people would turn planes into bombs and slaughter thousands of people simply because they showed up for work. The answer is the Taliban, the terrorists among the Taliban, the terrorists they harbor, and the terrorists they refuse to surrender."
This is all dead wrong on so many levels. The Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11. But they got invaded and overthrown anyway. The US machine was just intent on killing any Muslims, it seemed.
That last line “the terrorists they refuse to surrencder” is a clear reference to Osama Bin Laden.
The Taliban did not “refuse to surrender” Bin Laden. The Taliban asked for proof that Bin Laden did 9/11, before they released him to US authorities. Indignant, the USA refused to show proof. Instead, we invaded. And we are still there.
In 2018, in hindsight, we can see the “evidence” that lethal military myth that Bin Laden “confessed” was clearly fabricated. The December 13, 2001 “Confession Video” of Bin Laden was clearly not the real Bin Laden. The “Bin Laden” in that video didn’t look anything like the real Osama Bin Laden. That video is now impossible to find online, perhaps because it clearly challenges one of the country’s sacred war-myths. But the real Bin Laden allegedly had a CIA code name, Tim Osman, when he worked as the point man funneling CIA and BCCI/Iran Contra/Deep State money into the Mujahedeen, which became the Taliban, in the 80’s. (For more on the link between Osama Bin Laden, the "MEK" Pakistani connection, Iran/Contra and BCCI, see the great book "Outlaw Bank" here.)
During my confrontation about her “Burka Speech” last Saturday, Maloney jerked her arm up in the front row, “Point of Information!” She appealed to the chair of the group, “That speech was not after 9/11, it was before 9/11.”
Once again, Maloney was dead wrong.
“No Ma’am,” I responded, “It was October of 2001.”
It’s too bad this Congresswoman has no sense of history, or her place in it.
She then claimed that that speech was mostly about women’s rights. And going back and reviewing it again, it does have a lot of important information about the extreme practices of the Taliban. I share Maloney’s concerns about how radical Islam treats women.
But maybe there’s a broader, bigger feminism out there that wants to stop all insane patriarchical war machines from slaughtering millions of people, women and children. That’s the kind of feminism I support. Not a small, petty feminism that piggy-backs and “salutes” the Bush-Cheney war machine.
Maloney then complained that she didn’t know that that speech would be recorded, and put on C-SPAN. But jeez Carolyn, you are a public figure, of course this speech is going to be on TV. And in April of 2017, someone elected to post this whopper of a speech on YouTube, too. Come clean, Maloney, what part of this speech do you regret? There’s a lot there.
Recently in Australia, a conservative female senator also wore a Burka in the Senate chamber, to call for banning all burkas. She was roundly criticized as offensive to Islam. In the USA we don’t seem to have that kind of sensitivity. But Islam is a religion of 1/4 of the planet, and we should respect it, not mock it.
But Maloney on Saturday couldn’t care less. She didn’t even respond to the fact that she had mistakenly blamed the Taliban for 9/11, in her speech. She participated in a propaganda charade that brought death down upon 175,000 people. She still doesn’t get that. She helped to unleash to firestorm of US Military power on this tiny helpless country.
But that’s not OK with me.
And I am not alone.
Meeting Maloney made me feel like I am on the right path - we need a creative soul representing NYC in the US Congress - someone with some a free mind, passionate for peace, keen on new solutions for the country and the city. Maloney seems to be sleep-walking through her re-election campaign, and her Congressional career.
My gut instincts were right. We can do better.