Before offering my argument of disillusionment with the majority of the Democratic leadership, let me provide context for my opinion. I began supporting the Democrats during the run-up to the Iraq War, upon realization of the plethora of injustices committed by the Bush administration. Bush virtually wiping his buttocks with the U.S. Constitution when illegally wiretapping, imprisoning and torturing people troubled me. Prior to this, I was apathetic about politics and voting because I was poor and un-indoctrinated into political ideology.
I began my hyper-political rebirth by paying close attention to political events. However, I failed to realize many Democrats are as corrupt as Republicans.
A massive source of corruption in both parties is a dangerous coziness with the weapons, energy, banking, communications, pharmaceutical, insurance and chemical corporations, and the minority of wealthy stockholders. New York University economics professor Edward Wolff said wealth is directly related to political power. The top 10 percent of Americans own 85 percent of all stock, and the top 20 percent own 83 percent of all wealth.
The result is that politicians represent the interests of these wealthiest 10 percent first and the bottom 90 percent last because the former donate grossly more in campaign contributions. Interestingly, the lion’s share of Bush’s $1 trillion tax relief went to these poor, suffering 10 percent, and many massive corporations no longer pay any taxes. Additionally, many corporations and stockholders profited immensely from Bush’s $2 trillion war. These relationships are devastating to democracy and could lead to its downfall, but this isn’t the corruption I wish to dissect.
The problem I’d like to examine is the Democrats’ excessive lack of backbone. I’ll use Hillary Clinton as a representative invertebrate Democrat. When Bush asked to kill the constitutional law stating only Congress can declare wars, Clinton et al. joined the Republicans in voting to give all presidents authority to start wars anywhere in relation to the “Global War on Terror,” not only in Iraq. They voted for this and all subsequent gargantuan war budgets not because it was the morally correct decision, but out of fear of losing reelection by appearing “weak on terror.” Spineless!
In the Israeli-Lebanon conflict last summer, Amnesty International reported that Israel’s U.S.-made warplanes destroyed $3.5 billion of vital civilian infrastructure, which constituted many war crimes. Several hospitals, 350 schools, roads, bridges, airports, seaports, fuel stations, power plants, water and sewage systems, communications systems, 900 businesses and more than 30,000 residential properties were bombed, leading to 75 percent unemployment and humanitarian disaster.
The wealthy American Israeli Public Affairs Committee wrote a resolution stating full support for Israel’s war crimes and condemning only Hezbollah’s actions. Despite numerous humanitarian groups calling for a complete cease-fire, 100 percent of the U.S. Senate, including Clinton and Obama, voted for this criminal resolution to ensure AIPAC campaign contributions. Spineless!
According to the Downing Street Memos and other evidence, we know Bush lied to the American people about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and links to Sept. 11 to justify the war in Iraq. Bush was found guilty by a U.S. district court and the U.S. Supreme Court for illegally wiretapping and imprisoning people, respectively. More than 100 law professors have stated Bush’s “enhanced interrogation” is illegal torture.
Thus, it is the responsibility of Congress, according to its oath, to protect our Constitution through impeachment because the executive branch is committing high crimes. An American Research Group poll found 45 percent and 54 percent of Americans support impeachment of Bush and Cheney, respectively, yet the Democratic leadership is still unsupportive of impeachment for fear of political fallout. Spineless!
Fortunately, some Democrats still belong to phylum Chordata, old-fashioned liberals in the mold of Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson and John Stuart Mill. The most notable vertebrate is Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich. He voted against the war in Iraq and every funding bill since. He called for cease-fire on both sides of the Israeli-Lebanon conflict. He also authored House Resolution 333 to impeach Cheney.
Kucinich is the only presidential candidate with a spine. I believe he would consistently make moral decisions despite potential political fallout. It’s because of wealthy corporate media that big-money candidates like Clinton – the new darling of Rupert Murdoch – have already won the 2008 election. I urge everyone to support the highly evolved Kucinich financially and electorally. No more jellyfish!
Abel Tomlinson is a contributing writer for The Arkansas Traveler.