Power to the People: Kucinich For President
The Editor of ObjectionableContent.com endorses Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s campaign for President of the United States in 2008.
While I don’t usually endorse Democratic Party candidates, especially for the office of President, I am supporting the Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic Party primary campaign. Dennis is an unusual public servant who has shown exceptional support for labor, peace, clean government, the environment, civil liberties (including gay rights), ending poverty, and consumer interests. As a young activist and full-time student at Cleveland State University, Dennis Kucinich won an astonishing victory in the city council race. Remarkably, at age 23 Dennis defeated the nine-term incumbent by 16 votes!
I first became aware of Dennis while attending a political conference in Ohio in 1977. On that trip, I spent some time in Cleveland with a friend who lived in the city that had recently elected the “Boy Mayor”. I came across a huge banner hung across the front of the city’s electric utility facility reading “Power to the People”. I was curious about this corny, somewhat trite, slogan while appreciative of the sentiment.
As it turned out, there was a fight going on at the time over Cleveland’s 70 year old municipal electrical power system. Private interests were trying to get the public utility, which offered much lower rates for customers, out of the hands of the municipality. Dennis Kucinich was leading a grass-roots effort to keep the utility under public ownership. It became a central part of Dennis’ campaign and at age 31, he was elected as the youngest mayor of a major city. The utility remained public property and the city’s electric rates stayed lower as a result.
Dennis was eventually elected to the Ohio State Senate and became a member of the US House of Representatives in 1996. The people of his district have continued to re-elect him by wide margins ever since. Congressman Kucinich has an excellent voting record on domestic and international issues in support of freedom, democracy, the interests of working people, and peace.
He is the only Democratic Party candidate who opposed the Iraq war from the start, and one of very few people in the house and senate that voted against the so-called Patriot Act. While most Democrats have failed to take significant action since the US government was hijacked by religious fanatics, Dennis introduced an impeachment resolution against our criminal Vice President for his lies to congress and the nation in the run up to the illegal war in Iraq. He has actively fought the return of the Imperial Presidency (see the candidate’s views on he “Unitary Executive” at dennis4president.com/go/issues/securing-constitutional-democracy/).
Can Kucinch be elected President? This is the question asked over and over again. Honestly, I seriously wonder if either of the two leading Democrats has a better chance. Is this country really ready to elect a black man or a woman to the highest office? I’m not suggesting that people support a white guy because Hillary and Barack may be un-electable. My primary disagreement with them is that they are just too much a part of the establishment. Hillary has been way too quiet on any issue that she fears could damage her candidacy. Her lack of protest on the expansion of Presidential power leads me to think that she fails to oppose these moves by King George out of a desire to have that same unbalanced control herself someday. While Barack might be the next best thing to Dennis, there is a hell of a gap on many important issues, so why compromise just because he’s ahead in the polls. I believe in voting one’s conscience above all. As Eugene V. Debs put it, “I’d rather vote for what I want and not get it, than for what I don’t want and get it.”
In a recent conversation with Dennis, I offered the opinion that perhaps a few scrupulous individuals like him may slip into government, but the odds are against real change without a constitutional amendment regarding campaign financing. Given that the Supreme Court has ruled that individual contributions are expressions of free speech, meaningful reform (publicly funded campaign financing) and the true abolition of corporate influence, are not likely without constitutional change.
I asked Dennis if he really believed the system can be reformed through the electoral process, given that elections are so horribly tainted by this institutionalized corruption. His response was more hopeful and optimistic than I’m capable of feeling. He said that “they” might be able to buy some of “them”, but they’ll never buy off “you”, and “there’s a lot of people just like you who can’t be bought”. He went on to explain how everyone said he couldn’t possibly win that city council seat in 1969, or the mayoral race in the seventies. He said that in each and every step in his political career, he was told it couldn’t be done, yet now he has a seat in Congress.
Dennis’ ability to inspire people to keep fighting is stupendous. He left me imagining how wonderful it would be to have a President with such high integrity and one who really believes in the power of people, peace, and love.