I'm against the war. I think it's uncalled for, too expensive, and physically, mentally and economically not worth it. The president hasn't proved to me, yet, that we're justified going in and killing innocent people—not only Iraqi women and children, but Americans. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and brothers and sisters will have to fight a war that has not been proven necessary. I've been a Republican since the Nixon administration, but I don't agree with everything Republicans do, or everything Democrats do. Americans have the right to differ with their own party; they don't always have to sing the same tune or dance the same dance.
Anytime the country feels that we can't differ with some things our leaders are doing, that's not the democracy I've been trained to expect. Somehow or other with this war, if you don't agree with the president, you're un-American. There's no one more American than Charles Evers; I've fought in two wars to defend this country, and I've sacrificed relatives including my brother, Medgar, and many friends to defend democracy. Therefore, I'm doing what I think is the American way: giving my opinion against the war.
I know my dissent probably won't have any effect one way or the other. But I want readers, the people, to know where I stand: I'm against killing. I'm opposed to disrupting all of the things we enjoy in this country to go and fight on foreign soil, in a country that has not done us harm as far as I'm concerned.
Our country itself is going to pot because of education; the president ran on some big education agenda that's not being attended to. Economic-development programs are not attended to, our health programs for senior citizens are not attended to. Most jobs are going to other countries, or being closed down. Crime in this country is still rampant, and no one is doing too much about it, particularly black crime. Blacks are killing blacks like they're killing chickens. No one cares unless one white person kills or even strikes a black; then the whole country rises up.
We need better roads. I'm concerned about the livelihood and the beautification of our own country, instead of going out somewhere else and destroying other countries. Therefore, I'm opposed to the war and anyone who advocates war; I am an 80-year-old man who has served this country well; I defy anyone to say I'm not patriotic.
I'm speaking as a black Republican who has been part of the GOP for over three decades. I was a supporter of Bush Sr., and I've known George W. since his younger days. George W. came to Jackson and spoke for the Medgar Evers Homecoming one year. He's the one who suggested we have a monument to Medgar in Jackson, Miss.
I've visited the Bushes in the White House when Dad was president. This is nothing personal against the president. I'm just differing from him on the war; I support him in most everything, but I cannot support this war. Friends tell you what you need to hear; I'm his friend, whether he accepts that or not. I've been a supporter, and I'm still a supporter.
There's still time to stand up for what we think is right. This time, Mr. President, my friend, I'm against your war against Iraq. It will create more animosity in the world against us. We need the support of other nations and races; if we're going to fight terrorism, we can't fight alone. No country in the world can go out and fight terrorists by themselves.
Mr. President, maybe you don't know, but there are people in this country who support terrorism. I believe if we strike Iraq, they're going to strike us in this country, even here in Jackson, Miss. I hope and pray and beg you: Let's find a peaceful way to settle this without killing innocent people.
May God bless you and America.
Charles Evers, 80, is a long-time fighter for fairness and justice in Mississippi and the U.S. He is currently a Jefferson County supervisor. He is the general manager of WMPR 90.1 FM in Jackson, general manager of E&E Restaurant and Lounge as well as chairman of the Medgar Evers Fund, which honors his brother, Medgar, who was killed in 1963 fighting for black freedom in Mississippi and America.