HAVING IT BOTH WAYS
I just got home after spending the day at the peace march. People traveled from all over the country to march up to Capitol Hill and express their grievances. The route was a bit unusual. Typically at these D.C. marches, we all head northwest from the Mall to the White House. Today, the route was east, directly toward the Capitol.
I applaud the planners for their itinerary. We all know who works in the White House. We all know what he thinks about war and peace. You could call him The Decider. Or, if you prefer, the Piñata. On Capitol Hill, they treat him as both.
What we don’t know is exactly who – or what – works on Capitol Hill. I’ve been trying to figure that out for the past few weeks. Soon, we’ll all be getting a pretty good whiff of the answer. Today, unfortunately, I think I got a preview.
This much we can say: most of the folks who represent us in
So it’s fine by me that some of the Dems are fiscally conservative but socially liberal, or vice versa. That isn’t the issue. The issue is whether it is fine for Democrats to campaign as one thing, and then govern as something completely different. There, I’m not so tolerant.Consider, folks, that the march today wasn’t exactly about a trivial issue. This wasn’t a rally against the Designated Hitter, or even the scourge of steroids. This was about the fundamental issue of our day: the Iraq War. It’s only right to expect that politicians who ran fervently against that war will, if elected, use their power to fight it. It’s very much wrong for them to bash the Bush Administration ceaselessly for its so-called folly, and then, when they have the power of the purse, to continue to fund that folly.
One of the speakers today was Congressman John Conyers. This afternoon, I saw a plastic-woman newscaster on the TV refer to Conyers as the Chairman of the
I mention his title because his is the committee that is in charge of initiating the impeachment process. Lots of people at the march held signs calling for the impeachment of Cheney … and some wanted Bush impeached as well. When Conyers finished speaking, a chant calling for impeachment immediately erupted. But to Conyers’ credit, he didn’t once mention impeachment. He knows that (a) he can’t prove that Bush committed a “high crime” or “misdemeanor,” and (b) he couldn’t get the Congress to impeach/convict Bush whether he wanted him impeached or not. Still, there’s a lot Conyers can do short of impeachment. He can show up at a rally like the one today, for example. More importantly, he can call for his colleagues to use the power of the purse to STOP FUNDING THE WAR, or at least the so-called surge. That’s exactly what Conyers did. He told us in no uncertain terms that Congress has the power and the obligation to stop the flow of money that fuels the war that so many of us hate.
Conyers wasn’t the only member of Congress in attendance. So was Wynn from
Here’s what I don’t get: if all of the Democrats hate the war as much as they’ve told us, where in blazes were the other nearly-300 Democrats on the Hill? Couldn’t they, like Feingold, at least have provided a written statement? Moreover, leaving aside the issue of their stance on this march, how do they get off being so critical of this war if they keep putting our nation’s money where Bush’s mouth is? Non-binding resolutions are well and good, but what in blazes do they prove? Now that the Dems are in the majority, and now that the American public has resoundingly announced their views in one poll after enough, why are the Dems so afraid to put an end to this madness? Why are they so afraid of announcing that they are no longer going to give the President the money he wants to fight this war?
Yes, I know. They’re playing politics. They don’t want to be blamed for the inevitable “defeat” in
I admit to understanding a wee bit of justice in that idea. I certainly understand the expediency. What I can’t understand is the morality. If it truly is in the national and international interest to end this war, and if the war’s alleged opponents have the power to stop or curtail the war, why would they not be morally obliged to do so? After all, this isn’t politics we’re talking about. This is life and death – and on a big scale at that.Here’s a rhetorical question for any limousine liberal out there who elected these Democrats on largely anti-war grounds but haven’t taken any of your precious time to fight it. Who is worse:
(a) Stupid, misguided, jingoist fools (your words, right?) who truly believe that throwing more troops into helpless military situations will actually bring about victory; or
(b) Politicians who recognize that escalating a war will simply delay the inevitable and increase death and destruction over the long haul, but who nevertheless fund the escalation, merely for “political purposes.”
If the answer is (b) – and I think it may well be – what does it say about a society that lets these politicians get away with their conduct and doesn’t even rise up in protest.? Yes, we had tens of thousands of people at the National Mall today. But that turnout was but 1% of what we should have.
At the risk of sounding like I work for Bush and Cheney – which, of course, I do – it’s time for the people of
Frankly, I have little doubt that those counter-protesters sincerely believe that a surge represents our best chance to make peace, over the long haul, in a post 9/11 world. I might disagree with them about the means to that end, but at least we both care a ton about its importance. At present, it’s the limousine liberals and other apathetic souls who are driving me crazy. Anyone who cares deeply enough about peace to show up at a march – regardless of how they manifest that concern -- is, in an important respect, my ally. . . . Besides, whoever held up the sign that said “Hippies Smell” made me laugh! (And as an argument for the surge, it makes as much sense as any other.)