Open Letter to Candidates for Elective Office -
Especially Candidates for President of the United States

From the members of the Michiana Peace and Justice Coalition

We are concerned for the future of our country, our state, and our communities. Jobs continue to leave and state budgets are cut, leaving rising poverty and unemployment. Home foreclosures in Indiana are among the highest in the country; with new rounds of lay-offs and plant closings this crisis will only increase. At the same time we are engaged in an ongoing war that shows no sign of ending. Our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers in the military continue to be killed, and the money that should be used to solve our crises here is being sent to Iraq to maintain the US occupation. While some of us may have disagreed about the initial justification for the war, it is clear now that it was entered into on the basis on questionable intelligence at best; at worst, we were lied to.

While at this point in the campaign, as individuals, we may have come to different conclusions regarding which candidate or candidates will best represent our views, we are united in our concern for the issues we believe ALL candidates should address. To turn this country from the disastrous course we are now on, we demand that the candidates looking for our votes address the following proposals:

  1. End the de facto US occupation of Iraq. Turn over governance of Iraq to the people of Iraq. Replace the US occupation force with an internationally sanctioned UN peacekeeping force.

  2. No more blood for oil! In light of the new energy industry compensation bill and the recent (and current) adventure in the Middle East to help maintain our level of energy consumption, it is time to demand a significantly progressive stance on energy conservation: real efficiency standards; real incentives to develop alternative energy sources; an end to subsidies to the oil industry; and effective protection of the environment.

  3. Repeal the Patriot Act! Stop Patriot Act II! The Patriot Act is one of the most dangerous legal efforts in our history to curtail traditional US freedoms of speech, association, religion, and the right to due process. It has already led to a climate of fear and increased racist victimization and will continue to do so. It has not and will not enhance our security.

  4. No more pre-emptive military interventions in other countries; no more deliberate destabilizations of foreign governments. End the travel restrictions and embargo on Cuba. Let the Venezuelan people decide their own future.

  5. Stop the Free Trade of the Americas Act (FTAA) and the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)! NAFTA has already left a trail of joblessness in Indiana, deepened the social and economic crisis in Mexico, and led to attacks on social welfare and public health in Canada. We want to stop the job loss here, and we stand in solidarity with the poor of Latin America and the Caribbean who will be devastated by CAFTA, FTAA, and other such 'free' trade policies.

  6. Health care for all! Millions of us are without health insurance, with many more of us just one lay-off, retirement, or concessionary labor negotiation away from losing what we have. This is not an abstract policy issue. People are dying and will continue to die in our private insurance dominated system. Poor communities and communities of color are the most likely to be affected. We want a democratic health care system, accessible to all: young and old, rich and poor.

Michiana Peace and Justice Coalition website: