Dreaming of Kucinich: Why not?
Robert F. Kennedy's famous exhortation to fight for what is not yet popular compelled me to at least hear out a man with whom I largely agree, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who is running for president.
Kucinich did very well at the first Democratic Party debate--just after Bill Maher had Kucinich on his show the previous Friday night. And really, as someone who has lived in New Jersey and California, two states with late primaries (at least until next year), I never get to meet candidates for president. People like Obama and Hillary, and even Edwards, don't venture to California to see real people. They come to meet rich donors who pay $20,000 a plate for a luncheon or dinner--and then leave.
Not Kucinich. Today, he came to Ventura County to the home of one of my dearest friends, and I traveled up there today with my Dad to see a real live presidential candidate, and someone with whom I largely agree.
In hearing Kucinich speak, I was knocked out by his wide range of knowledge, both historical/political and literary, and his ability to connect the dots to various issues. During the question and answer period, a young woman asked him about the terribly high cost of college tuition. Kucinich responded by noting, as the leading member of subcommittees on national security and government reform, that if we just trimmed Pentagon military spending by 15% (which shouldn't be too hard, considering the last big audit showed the military had not been able to account for over $1 trillion dollars; talk about waste and fraud!), we can afford to do what we used to do: Fund college education at public institutions for everyone who wants a college education. That is both practical and visionary, and it is time we stopped letting political cynicism sap our political will to achieve what is achievable.
Another great line he delivered: Everyone says war is inevitable. So is peace, and it's about time we worked hard for peace.
At the end of the event, his wife, Elizabeth, briefly spoke. I did not know she was British, but I will say she looked like Nicole Kidman and spoke with the knowledge and eloquence of Eleanor Roosevelt. She was regal in her demeanor, but without any pretense. My Dad and I were favorably shocked at the vision of this extraordinary couple.
Kucinich says he wants no financial elite money (as Obama and Hillary have already received) and he has been going from house party to house party, spreading his message about the need for balance and believing in our nation's best angels again.
As a politician, Kucinich has been fearless throughout his career. Read here for his biography. Kucinich consistently opposed Iraq War II from the day Bush started making noises about Saddam--and Kucinich wants us out now. More long term, Kucinich has consistently supported Medicare for all Americans. He has consistently supported reforming and even repealing trade treaties that have undermined the economic security of working class Americans (and the workers and peasants in other nations). He has consistently suppported public financing of elections. He is strong on environmental protections. And he is one of the only people in Congress with guts enough to say that Bush or Cheney or both should be impeached.
Yes, I have said I have been defaulting to Edwards as a candidate, and those who have followed this blog know I have little positive to say about Obama or Hillary other than the fact that they are miles ahead of every Republican Presidential candidate. I have no use whatsoever for Joe Biden (D-MBNA) and Bill Richardson makes me yawn as much as any other Beltway insider.
So, tonight, I donated $50 to the Kucinich campaign as part of its request for at least $50 from a million Americans. No special interests, just regular folks giving money in relatively equal amounts. It's been tried before, but you know, we really didn't have the Internet before, either.
Yes, yes, I know, I know.
But listen: It's May 2007. The elections are in 2008. Lots can happen. And really, why let Obama and Hillary suck the air out of our own rooms simply because the corporate media is letting them suck the air out of their rooms?
Let's give Dennis and peace a chance in 2007 and see what happens for 2008.