December 01, 2007
h/t: Dennis 4 President
Kucinich ‘connects’ with everyday citizens at massive Iowa Presidential forum
DES MOINES, IA
Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic Party’s long-shot, grassroots Presidential candidate, today connected very emotionally and personally with a crowd of more than 5,000 everyday citizens whose struggles against poverty, discrimination, oppression, and disenfranchisement mirror his own life’s experience.
Interrupted by repeated, prolonged, and enthusiastic applause and cheers, Kucinich had an easy time distinguishing himself from the other candidates on the bread-and-butter issues that the huge gathering of community and political leaders and Democratic Party activists announced as their priorities for today’s Heartland Presidential Forum. Those included: “health care for everybody,” the “right to a living wage,” workers’ rights, an end to corporate control of government, and the adoption of progressive immigration reforms that “don’t use immigrants as scapegoats” for failed federal policies.
The “connection” between Kucinich and the audience, a large percentage of whom will be participating in the January 3rd Iowa Presidential caucuses, stemmed in large part from his own political struggles over the years against the entrenched political and corporate interests that forum leaders accused of undermining citizen-led democracy.
One especially poignant moment dramatically reflected the affinity between the coalition’s populist agenda and Kucinich’s deep involvement in those same issues. A community leader from Iowa recounted the events of Dec. 12, 2006, when federal immigration authorities raided a plant in search of undocumented immigrants. Among those detained and exiled to Mexico was the mother of five small children who lived in a modest home with her husband. It happened, the speaker said, her voice choked with emotion, on the hallowed feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Kucinich walked across the stage and asked her to look at his watch. “What does it say?” he asked her. “It’s Our Lady of Guadalupe,” she responded. Kucinich said the watch was a gift from friends in El Paso, Texas four years ago “when I was standing up for the rights of immigrants.” The crowd’s reaction swelled from sighs and gasps to sustained applause and cheering.
Kucinich, whose impoverished childhood motivated him into a 40-year career in public service, used his early political clashes with corporate interests attempting to subvert the public interest, as proof of his commitment to representing everyday citizens.
“As Mayor of Cleveland, I put my career on the line to save a municipal electric system” from a corporate take-over, Kucinich said.
That same public-interest philosophy, he elaborated, has given him the strength to challenge the for-profit health insurance and pharmaceutical companies and call for a national, not-for-profit program that covers all Americans. His opposition to corporate-backed trade agreements that have off-shored millions of U.S. jobs is part of that same philosophy, he said. And, the war in Iraq was motivated by a political and corporate thirst for oil, the same motivations that allow oil and gas companies to exploit federally owned lands in the U.S., he said.
The surest route to ending the monied-control of politics and government is public financing of elections; and, he said, he would push for a Constitutional amendment to ensure that federal campaigns were publicly, rather than privately financed.
He also drew strong applause when he referenced his proposed Articles of Impeachment against Vice President Richard B. Cheney for his role in deceiving the Congress and the American people into going to war against Iraq.
He re-issued his pledges for: a full-employment economy, bolstered largely by federal investment in new energy technologies and infrastructure rebuilding; fully funded education from pre-kindergarten through college; strengthening of workers’ rights and retirement security; re-negotiated trade agreements that protect against “slave labor, child labor and prison labor” in other countries; and a living wage for all American workers.
The final “connection” with the loudly kindred audience came with the final question from the event leaders. Would the Congressman agree to meet with representatives of today’s sponsoring community action organizations within the first 100 days of taking office, if elected President?
“I’ll do better than that,” he said. “You can sleep in the Lincoln bedroom. “It’s your government,” he said, “Take it back,” he concluded to thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
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