Adam Kokesh, an activist and 2020 Libertarian Party Candidate for President, will be leading a “The March of the Dead Veterans,” to protest veteran suicide in New Orleans.
“More than 20 veterans commit suicide every day. Our government and much of the media have been silent about this tragedy,” Marcus Pulis, Kokesh’s Press Secretary, in a press release. “It is the Kokesh Campaign’s goal to give voice to the voiceless, who are gone but not forgotten. It is time to end the drug war and give the VA to the veterans.”
The march plans to begin at 7:00am at a VA hospital parking lot in New Orleans and end at the Libertarian Party National Convention with a flag folding ceremony. Veteran activists plan to march wearing skull masks to symbolize the dead.
News2Share has covered Kokesh’s activism in the past. His work has been controversial and in many cases led to his arrest. Editor-in-chief Ford Fischer plans to travel to New Orleans to livestream and film the march. You can support News2Share’s raw, independent journalism here: Patreon.com/fordfischer
Fischer caught up with Kokesh to talk about the upcoming event:
News2Share: Can you tell me what inspired you personally to put on this event? Have you struggled with the sorts of issues it confronts, and/or had friends who did?
Kokesh: I’ve had a few friends and a number of vets I’ve known commit suicide. I’ve dealt with PTSD myself and turned down a big bag of pharmaceuticals from the VA. But for me, the motivation is all the guys I see struggling who I know would be better off with freedom to seek treatment without the drug war in the way. Twenty veterans will commit suicide today. How many wouldn’t with proper treatment?
News2Share: When you served in Iraq, we had Bush. Two presidents later, you’re still protesting. Have things gotten better? Worse?
Kokesh: Humanity progresses. At the height of the war, there were more people dying from that. Now, we’re cleaning up the messes left after the war. After taking care of the issue of veteran suicides, there will still be far more work left in Iraq and Afghanistan.
News2Share: What inspired the choice to have participants wear skull masks?
Kokesh: We decided to wear skull masks for the march because we want to bring the dead to life in a way that humanizes them to the American people. While the suicides themselves are all tragedies, there’s a greater tragedy in the fact that a veteran will commit suicide tomorrow because the American people seem to have given up on this issue, and we don’t have to. Hopefully, seeing this powerful visual will shock the conscience of the American people to think about this issue just long enough to realize that the Republicans and Democrats who have been in power have been all too happy to let veterans die for the profit of the pharmaceutical industry. That’s just one of the big reasons why military personnel and veterans disproportionately support the Libertarian Party, the party of principle, the party of peace, and the party of freedom.
News2Share: How do you propose solving the issues the march is meant to confront?
Kokesh: Just ending the drug war and letting veterans enjoy some of the freedom they thought they were fighting for would be the easiest and simplest way to address the issue. Three drugs specifically can save countless lives of PTSD sufferers: cannabis, MDMA, and psilocybin mushrooms. The science is clear, yet government stands in the way because there’s too much money in treating disorders with pharmaceuticals and not enough in cures. Getting government out of healthcare entirely would fix most of that, but specifically with the VA, the long-term fix is to give control directly to veterans. I think if enough veterans demand this, the bureaucrats and politicians will have to give up control. I’d like to see every veteran in America given an ownership share of the VA and get to vote on leadership and key issues on a blockchain. The Marine Corps gave me a can-do attitude – and I know that when the veterans community comes together to save each other from suicide, we can do this!