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Afghanistan, the Environment and Corporate Control of the Political ProcessDennis Kucinich Special to Salem-News.com
Now, more than ever, your participation in the political process, no matter how humble, needs to be felt.
(WASHINGTON D.C.) - As you know, I've been leading the effort to try to stop our country from continuing its tragic mistake in Afghanistan. We need to rally, America, to say it's time to end the war once and for all: To set a date and to stick by it to end the war and it can't be in 2011, 2012. We can slow-walk the end of this war for another decade.
That's not acceptable. It's not acceptable because of the loss of lives of our troops, because of the loss of lives of innocent civilians, because of the corrupt government of Afghanistan, because there is no way to win and establish a democracy in Afghanistan, because we can't afford the war, because we have things at home that need to be taken care of: to create jobs, to save homes, to help rebuild our cities. We cannot continue to afford this war in any way, shape or form.
And so, I'm going to continue my efforts to not only create a debate, but also to build the votes so that when the war appropriation comes up again, we will have garnered an even stronger vote to get out of Afghanistan.
I'm asking for your continued support in this effort, not just your financial support - but your moral support. I'm asking you to talk to your friends and neighbors, to spread the word that we need to get out of Afghanistan. We must take a new direction in our international position.
We have to end the War in Iraq. We know that the war was based on lies. Americans now need to continue to focus on what's occurring in Afghanistan - the level of corruption that keeps rising is damaging not only our nation's credibility, but also damaging any hopes that we might have to achieve peace in the world. Clearly, a new approach is called for.
As the oil continues to rise up from the seabed in the Gulf of Mexico, I brought to the floor of the House an amendment that would limit the ability of oil companies, who drill in the outer continental shelf, to be able to try to influence federal elections.
We are aware that the U.S. Supreme Court case (Citizens United) has been devastating to our ability to have real control over our political process. We know that the Buckley v. Valeo case - give speech to those that have money, but if you don't have money you don't have free speech - will have a severe impact on the election process.
This means now, more than ever, your participation in the political process, no matter how humble, needs to be felt. The voices of millions of individual Americans, acting out of concern for their government, can through a collective voice outweigh the tremendous influence of corporations. We must take a new direction with respect to campaign financing.
Finally, we need to let the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe be an opportunity to create a new direction with our energy policies. An opportunity to unite America in a grand cause to clean up, not just the Gulf, but to clean up our nation. To clean up not only its politics but to clean up America's environment. You'll be hearing more from me very soon about this endeavor.
But, for now, I want to say thank you for your help.
The oldest of seven children, Dennis Kucinich was born in 1946 in Cleveland, Ohio to Frank and Virginia Kucinich. The family lived in 21 places. At 17 he left home, took jobs as an orderly and also as a copy editor while enrolling full-time at Case Western University. After graduation he began his political career serving as a councilman and later as Clerk of Courts. At 31, he ran for mayor of Cleveland attempting to become the youngest mayor of a major American city in history. By 1996, Dennis unseated a two-term Republican incumbent. He has followed that narrow victory by winning 60 to 70% of the votes in the following elections.
In 2002 the second great challenge of his elected career occurred. After analyzing the “evidence” presented by the Administration in its rush to folly in Iraq and actually reading the National Intelligence Estimate, he stepped forward to help lead 125 Democrats in voting against the blank check for the President to wage an illegal, immoral and ineffective war. Dennis spoke from the floor of the House some 140 times against the war and appearing on over 100 radio and talk shows was a risky political move.
In 2006 when Israel and Hezbollah were facing off, Dennis again stepped forward for peace. As the Administration gave a green light to Israel and the Republican Congress sat silent – again – Dennis warned that the conflict and the ensuing deaths would make peace even more intractable. And now as the Israeli and Lebanese governments teeter from public criticism, his words ring true. It was not the first nor, hopefully, will it be the last time Dennis Kucinich ignored political dangers to do the right thing. After all, it is his life story.
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