Some say the age of prophecy is over, but I say any time a human being speaks for universal principles she or he is being prophetic. After all, the prophetic isn’t a person, it is a message. And that message, though infinite in possible expressions, reduces to the message some faiths sing at Christmas and then forget for the rest of the year. That prophetic message, in essence, is: “Peace on earth good will to all.”
After President Obama finished his speech the other day, tamping down the global war on terror, Michal Tomasky had a flashback to Rep. Barbara Lee of California, the lone US Representative to vote against the insanity we have called “the War on Terror.” On that terrible day when any who spoke for peace had their patriotism questioned, Rep. Barbara Lee stood to speak prophetically. And who cannot see in retrospect that she alone of her colleagues was right?
Who’s Barbara Lee? She’s the Democratic congresswoman who represents Berkeley. On September 14, 2001, with the World Trade Center ruins still asmolder, the House of Representatives considered House Joint Resolution 64, the authorization of the use of military force against the terrorists involved in 9/11 plus their aiders and abettors. It passed 420 to one. Lee was that one.
Lee’s short floor speech explaining her vote is on YouTube; here it is, have a look. Citing “my conscience, my moral compass, and my God,” she asserted that “some of us must say let’s step back for a minute … and think through the implications of our actions today so that this does not spiral out of control.” Elsewhere in defense of her vote, she said things like the United States should be “careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target” and criticized the vote afterward by saying: “It was a blank check to the president to attack anyone involved in the September 11 events—anywhere, in any country, without regard to our nation’s long-term foreign policy, economic and national security interests, and without time limit. In granting these overly broad powers, the Congress failed its responsibility to understand the dimensions of its declaration.”