Wednesday, March 7, 2012

'Congratulations, Gene'

Kaptur (Congressional
Pictorial Directory)
Upon realizing Rep. Dennis Kucinich would be unseated yesterday in a Democratic primary against Rep. Marcia "Marcy" Kaptur, with whom he was gerrymandered into a district by the Legislature of Ohio and by a governor who thought Martin Luther King Day is March 17, I recalled a line Richard Dreyfuss delivered as he portrayed the title role in Mr. Holland's Opus.

"Well, congratulations, Gene.  For 30 years, you've been looking for a way to get rid of me and they finally gave you an excuse," replied inspirational music-teacher Glenn Holland when told by the unpopular principal of John F. Kennedy High School that a budgetary cut compelled him to end all programs in the arts there.

Actually, Kucinich began challenging the establishment forty-five years ago.  And that his principled work for the common good has driven special interests and their tools to target him (even physically) made each electoral setback he has endured unsurprising.  But next year will be the first since 1994 in which Kucinich is not in public office.  Many citizens would prefer for no individual to stay there for very long, but Kaptur has been an incumbent since 1983 and, if that were not the case, I might share said preference if Kucinich were not so sorely needed in government.

Every federal official has taken an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."  Given the retirement of Ronald Paul, however, the Democratic primary voters in the redesigned 9th district of the Buckeye State have ensured that neither of the two representatives in Congress who always uphold that oath will return to service in January.  One is a loose constructionist, the other strict, and they represent the left and right wings of the bald eagle, respectivelyAnyone who dishonors the supreme law of the land should be considered off the American spectrum.

On the other side of the Capitol, the only senator we can trust is the independent one: Bernard Sanders.  Moreover, the present administration and the most previous one have infringed upon many of our rights.  Ergo, the need for a third major political party is more obvious than ever before.

Because Kucinich might again achieve a comeback, I avoid writing a political obituary of him.  After all, if this nation had followed its conscience when selecting candidates for 2008, Kucinich and his lovely wife would now reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Kucinich (Collection
of the US House of
I appreciate the backing his re-election bid was lent by, most prominently, ex-rep. Alan Grayson, Daniel Ellsberg PhD, Robert Kennedy Jr., Gore Vidal, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, James Cromwell, Ed Begley Jr., Cheryl Hines, Deidre Hall, Willie Nelson, Ani DiFranco, the Humane Society, and Progressive Democrats of America.

Particularly shameful is that a Democratic primary electorate chose a candidate...
  • endorsed by former Senate Republican leader and former Republican presidential nominee Robert Dole as well as Republican former senator George Voinovich (Hello?)
  • whose campaign website states that she favors prolonging the occupation of Afghanistan, that her opponent does not, that she voted against the DREAM Act, and that her opponent voted for it
  • whose campaign website shows she has higher ratings than her opponent does from the National Rifle Association, the American Conservative Union, and the National Right to Life Committee; and has lower ratings than her opponent does from Americans for Democratic Action, Citizens Against Government Waste, and the League of Conservation Voters
  • who made accusations and insinuations against her opponent that were exposed as false and misleading.

While President Obama and many in Congress push us toward another war that would be launched under a false pretense about weapons of mass destruction, let us remember our vanquished champion's call to focus on the real problems in this country.
"We have found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  I was mayor of Cleveland and... have seen weapons of mass destruction in our cities.  Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction!  Joblessness is a weapon of mass destruction!  Homelessness: a weapon of mass destruction.  Racism: a weapon of mass destruction.  Fear: a weapon of mass destruction.  We must disarm these weapons."

This piece originally appeared on Facebook.

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