Why there are DINO's -- Exiting our comfort zone.
by Eternal Hope, Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 11:39:34 PM EST
In talking to people online, I have heard two conflicting message. The one, prevalent of most people here, is that the Democratic Party has not shown enough spine and that we need to return to the days of 1860 and draw a clear distinction between ourselves and the Republican Party. But the problem comes when I try to help lay out a Progressive agenda including my endorsement of Russ Feingold for President and Chuck Pennacchio for Senate. All of a sudden, when it comes time to actually do the hard work of challenging our favorite DINOs in the primary, people freak out and tell me why it is so impossible to elect Feingold because (insert difficulty here).
Today was a perfect example. I wrote that because of his peacemaking skills and because of his understanding of how democracy works, Russ Feingold is uniquely qualified to lead us out of the mess in Iraq because he would see the Iraqi political factions as equals and partners as opposed to terrorists. I get told that Russ Feingold is Jewish and that Muslims would never accept a Jewish President. Big deal. This is a potential problem, but one that can be worked around. It involves two things - communicating his long-time opposition to the war and the Patriot Act and appointing a Secretary of State. This step would be huge - it should be someone who is very familiar with Middle Eastern affairs. Someone of the caliber of Joe Wilson would be a good appointment.
If you are Jewish, but have demonstrated through your actions that you have come to make peace, Muslims will respect you. I had a friend who went to Iraq to deliver medical supplies in the mid 1990's in violation of the sanctions there. They were very kind to him; they treated him as being much more important than he really was. He was Catholic, and there is almost as deep of a rift between Catholics and Muslims because of the Crusades. In Palestine, there are Jewish peace groups who follow in the footsteps of Rachael Corrie and put their lives on the line on a regular basis and protest the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The Palestinians appreciate the help and support there.
The bottom line is that if you demonstrate through your actions that you are there to work for peace, it presents a unique opportunity to break down the barriers of discrimination and prejudice between Jews and Muslims. And Russ Feingold is in a great position to earn that respect as his opposition to the war, his calls for a quick withdrawal, and his opposition to the Patriot Act and the Bush administration's torture policies become known around the world.
So, I would like to thank the naysayers who tried to throw me off by throwing up barriers up that they saw as being impossible to cross. That only strengthened my contention that Russ Feingold is uniquely qualified to stop the violence and bloodshed in the Middle East, engage in the hard work of bringing peace in Iraq and an orderly breakup if that's what the Iraqi people want, get us out of Iraq, and get on with the business of the American people.
Maybe people who are in their comfort zone do not understand the fact that our country is in its most urgent crisis since the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Second World War. The Bush administration has launched an all-out war on our Constitutional values. First they came for the so-called terrorists, arresting them and detaining them without trial or access to families and lawyers. But we didn't care because they were terrorists. Then, they came for the peace activists, labeling them as terrorists. But not many of us are pacifists. Now, Bush is coming for us. If you think I am sensationalizing myself, think back to the news story of last night, where an average American family trying to pay off their debts was flagged because the Bush administration labeled them as terrorists.
Not only that, hundreds of thousands of families have broken homes and broken dreams as this administration sinks ever deeper into the abyss of Iraq. Our health care bills are spiraling out of control as our insurance companies decide that human lives are expendable and raise rates. Our gas prices continue to soar as gas companies gouge customers. Many soldiers live in a permanent vegetative state in a state of perpetual consciousness and awareness, but unable to do anything or even breathe - when they do simple twitches or move an arm, that is considered an accomplishment. People of New Orleans are still wandering around like exiles in the richest country in the world. And Bush refuses to do anything about the dangers of global warming, which could kill us all.
I am not going to kid around with you - things may very well get worse before they get better. But we have a unique opportunity not only to set things right, but to reverse the massive destruction of this country and all it stands for that Bush has engaged in. Electing people like Hillary or Mark Warner would staunch the destruction and stop the symptoms - but not address the underlying causes of what went wrong. John Kerry is better - if you can get him to explain in 10 words what he did in many more. Clark has many good ideas, but is reluctant to call for a withdrawal from Iraq - crucial to ending support for the insurgency and Zarqawi. Edwards admits his vote for Iraq was a mistake, but will not commit himself to a withdrawal date.
Russ Feingold is the one candidate who understands the cause of the insurgency - us. He understands that we are part of the problem, not the solution. He would set a firm end date so that the Iraqis could then decide for themselves what they wanted to do with their country, with us acting as a facilitator. Once we are out of Iraq, we can begin the hard work of fixing what is wrong with our country and setting things right so we can leave a legacy for our children and grandchildren.
A Russ Feingold presidency would change the way we do business in this country, For too long, our country has valued profits over human lives. Feingold would give badly-needed money to New Orleans and their people so that they can rebuild their shattered lives. He would repeal the Patriot Act and put an end to the illegal wiretapping programs because he trusts you to make decisions for yourself and because he believes that he should live by the same rules he expects the rest of us to live by. He would appoint judges who would respect the rule of law and the right of women to choose. In a Feingold administration, he would create an atmosphere which celebrates human life in all of its forms and in which no human life is expendable.
Furthermore, Feingold would restore the rule of law by aggressively prosecuting people who were part of the culture of corruption in Washington. He would appoint an attorney general of the caliber of Patrick Fitzgerald who would ruthlessly go after people who exploited taxpayer dollars to satisfy their own greed. Fitzgerald - or whoever Feingold picks - has gone after Democrats just as much as he has Republicans, so there would be an end to the massive abuses of power which have taken place in Washington for the last 20 years.
Finally, it is a fact of human nature that everybody has an innate psychological need for security. Everybody must find their own locus of safety. But a peaceful society is the least likely to be attacked - Switzerland has not been involved in a war for the last 500 years. Feingold would never commit our troops into harm's way unless we were actually attacked or if the international community came to a consensus that action was necessary. In so doing, he would totally undercut the basis Bin Laden has in recruiting legions of fanatics to his cause. He could no longer use American imperialism as an excuse to attack American targets. He would shrivel into the dustbin of history, remembered as the villain that he was.
So, tell me again: Why settle for someone who would merely treat the symptoms when you can eliminate the causes?