Sept 30, 2008
Politicians, whether Democrats or Republicans, place their own self-interest as their highest priority. Because our society is sharply divided between the “haves,” who enjoy a monopoly on power and influence, and the “have-nots,” who are alienated from the political process, politicians — for the sake of their own survival — have cynically sided with the corporations in the belief that their own political prospects will be enhanced. Rather than promoting the interests of everyone, politicians are content to promote corporate interests, while throwing a few crumbs to the rest of us to create the illusion we, too, are being served. They accept money and gifts from corporations in order to finance their reelection campaigns and enjoy special luxuries, even though this acceptance places them under an unspoken obligation to help the corporations in return. When running for office, politicians tell the voters what they think voters want to hear. They make promises they have no intention of keeping. Winning at any cost is their guiding principle.
Nancy Pelosi is a politician. She declared opposition to the war in Iraq but consistently votes to fund it. She has offered no analysis of the real reasons motivating the war in Iraq. She voted in favor of invasive wiretapping and immunity for corporations that engage in illegal wiretapping. She has initiated no legislation to fix our ailing schools, health care facilities, the housing crisis, etc. She has accepted money from the following corporations, to name a few of the many: Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Comcast Corp, and Wells Fargo Bank.
Because of the loss of her son in the war on Iraq, Cindy Sheehan is pursuing an entirely different set of priorities than the politicians. Her first goal is to end the war so that other families, both here in the U.S., in Iraq, and in Afghanistan, do not suffer the same loss. Unlike Pelosi, she is actively building the antiwar movement, demanding that all U.S. troops be brought home now. She also supports labor union rights; protection of the environment; single-payer health care; free, quality education; gay and lesbian rights; and rent control. She opposes gentrification of neighborhoods that displaces current residents.
This means that the Cindy Sheehan for Congress campaign is first about the pursuit and defense of truth, particularly about why the U.S. government initiated an unprovoked war on Iraq. Any honest analysis is compelled to begin with the statement of a senior C.I.A. analyst: “He describes the invasion of Iraq as an ‘avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat but whose defeat did offer economic advantages’… Oil, the author contends, is at the core of U.S. interests in Muslim countries….” (San Francisco Chronicle, June 27, 2004)
The Cindy Sheehan for Congress campaign is also committed to exposing the truth behind the politicians’ disingenuous declarations that they equally represent all the people. In American politics money is in fact power. A recent New York Times article (June 7, 2008) reported that in preparation for its August convention in Denver, “Elected Democratic officials have been calling corporations — meeting with Wall Street executives and flying to San Diego, Philadelphia and Las Vegas — to raise $40 million the party has budgeted for the convention…. Brochures being sent to potential corporate donors … say that ‘as a sponsor’ of the convention, corporate executives will have access to as many as 232 members of Congress, 51 Senators and 28 governors in what is being marketed as a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity.”
The article goes on to report: “Whereas $1 million will buy the top sponsorship at the Democratic convention, the top sponsorship at the Republican convention … has a $5 million price tag.”
In stark contrast, the Cindy Sheehan for Congress campaign, instead of selling favors to the rich and powerful, is dedicated to defending and serving the interests of ordinary working people who, after all, constitute the vast majority of our population. Because we lack a million dollars to wave in the faces of politicians to catch their attention, our needs are systematically ignored and unacknowledged.
While the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cause the U.S. budget to hemorrhage, our schools are overcrowded and under equipped while teachers are overworked. Health care facilities are understaffed and underfunded. Global warming is unleashing catastrophic effects on our environment as one part of the country is submerged by flooding while another part is parched dry from drought. Unemployment is surging; inflation is eroding our wages; and millions of us are haunted by the prospect of losing our houses to foreclosures. While rescuing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, politicians have done nothing to significantly alleviate our nightmares.
Therefore the Cindy Sheehan for Congress campaign will not rest content with electing Cindy Sheehan to Congress while leaving the entire corrupt political system intact. On the contrary, this campaign is resolved to use a Cindy Sheehan victory to turn the entire political system upside-down. Rather than serving a fabulously rich minority, it seeks to champion the rights and needs of the vast majority of working people who are disenfranchised by a political system based on corporate money.
But such a goal can only be achieved by launching a movement and bringing together the millions of ordinary people who have no voice in the current political system. As isolated individuals, we are powerless, but together we can wield history-making power. However, such a movement can only rise to its historic potential if it proceeds according to democratic principles where proposals are discussed, debated, and determined by a vote. In this way policies can be chosen on the basis of the best argument, not on the basis of who has the most money. With everyone having a voice, we could begin to build a society that is guided by what is in everyone’s interests because the majority in fact would rule. Leaving power politics and dollar democracy behind, we could create a society that is rational, moral, and truly humane.
The Cindy Sheehan for Congress campaign is dedicated to this goal.