CCPJ Board Member David Swanson MC’d and made opening remarks. He then introduced Jay James, program director at WVAX who spoke briefly. Next Swanson introduced Tina Richards, CEO of Grass Roots America and the mother of a veteran of the occupation of Iraq. After brief remarks by Richards, Swanson introduced Norman Solomon and Laura Flanders, who both spoke at length. Following those two speeches, Flanders, Solomon, Richards, and Swanson took four County Administrator seats (the event was held in the Albemarle County Office Building), and members of the audience asked questions.
Solomon spoke along the theme of his recent books, War Made Easy (also a film narrated by Sean Penn and shown in Charlottesville) and Made Love, Got War. Flanders spoke about and read from her recent book Blue Grit: True democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians. Solomon described the habits of thought and language that the mass media has employed over the last half century when discussing war. After that depressing presentation, Flanders sought to provide grounds for optimism by describing ways in which people have been organizing for change at the local and state levels and beneath the radar. Those who asked questions had a variety of perspectives and priorities, but none were happy with the current state of US politics, none favored the continuation of the occupation of Iraq, and none came to the defense of the corporate media. Many puchased signed copies of the speakers’ books after the event.