The following is a speech given by actor Mark Ruffalo on Oct. 2 at the Great Hall of Cooper Union, New York City.
Ruffalo spoke at an emergency meeting of World Can’t Wait—Drive Out the Bush Regime held in response to passage of Bush’s torture bill, and in preparation for protests on Thursday, Oct. 5, in over 180 cities nationwide. (Truthdig is reprinting it exclusively with the permission of WorldCantWait.)
Others speaking that night included actress Olympia Dukakis, Guantanamo prisoner lawyer Bill Goodman, and Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan who blew the whistle on U.S.-sponsored torture. Also, Ruffalo read a statement from Sean Penn. Activist Daniel Ellsberg, author Alice Walker and hip-hop artist / activist Boots Riley spoke at a simultaneous meeting in Oakland, Calif.
I really don’t want to be up here today.
I want to believe that the people we chose to lead our country are doing it in a way that is responsible, fair, and in the interests of the people who put them in office.
I want to believe that the checks and balances that our fore fathers sacrificed their lives and well being for, that document that has held this country together for so long and has guarded us from tyranny, the Constitution, would be upheld by those leaders and they would treat it with the same devotion that those who wrote it did.
I want to live my life and spend my time with my children and family and friends and go to sleep at night sweetly knowing that I live in America and that this system with all its problems works.
I want to believe that our government cares for the whole, represents the whole and not just a few. I don’t want to be up here today, but I know that I have to be up here I am up here for my children and yours, I am here in service to my country, because this administration that has come into power by seemingly more and more questionable means does not represent the whole, is not devoted to the Constitution and ultimately does not represent the people.
I don’t want to be up here today but I feel I have exhausted the way we have been taught to affect change in the way our government conducts itself. I’m here because we, the people, are not being heard.
I have voted, I have called, I have written letters, I have given of myself with my time and my money and still we have a government that refuses to respect the Constitution, a government that engaged in a war with illegal justification, a government that abandoned it’s own during Hurricane Katrina, a government that now condones torture a government that favors big corporations before it favors my children or yours.
Step down, Mr. Bush, we are not torturers.
Step down Mr. Bush, we are not war profiteers.
Step Down Mr. Bush, we care for our children and our poor.
Step Down Mr. Bush, we uphold our Constitution.
Step Down, we are not Republicans or Democrats or Independents or Socialists or Communists we are not Black or White we are not Red or Blue.