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Progressives Should Vote Kucinich | The Nation

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Progressives Should Vote Kucinich

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Dennis Kucinich is the one candidate for President whose vision, eloquence and commitments on the issues can lead us to rise to and surmount the worldwide crises precipitated by the Bush Administration.

Click here to read Joel Rogers's editorial in favor of John Edwards and here to read Antonio Villaraigosa's arguments for John Kerry.

About the Author

Ronnie Dugger
Ronnie Dugger is the author of The Politician, a biography of Lyndon Johnson, and other books and articles, the...

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First and foremost, Kucinich is inviting us to stop being aggressive nationalists and start being brothers and sisters with the entire human race. It's a euphemism to call Bush's war on Iraq "a war of choice"; it was a classic unprovoked war of aggression. Kucinich is the only member of Congress running for President who voted against the resolution authorizing Bush to attack Iraq. Kerry, Edwards, Gephardt and Lieberman all voted for it, while Kucinich led almost two-thirds of the Democrats in the House of Representatives to repudiate their own party leader on it. In the national disgrace of our war on Iraq, the public figure who did the most to uphold American honor is Dennis Kucinich.

Late last month the top general of the Army said we may have to keep troops in Iraq another three years. One hears no talk of withdrawal from Edwards, and in Des Moines on February 14, Kerry said that during his first 100 days as President he would send over 40,000 more US troops. Kucinich demands that we turn the situation in Iraq over to the UN and get our 130,000 soldiers back home in ninety days. Otherwise, he forecasts that the $155 billion war we didn't have to fight will cost us a trillion dollars, and the 550 dead Americans will become thousands--not to speak, as usual, of the tens of thousands of Iraqi casualties.

Under President Kucinich, the Bush Doctrine of first-strike wars would be junked--we would work with other nations and the UN "instead of acting like an empire," waging a permanent war and undermining the ABM, biological weapons, chemical weapons, small arms, International Criminal Court and Kyoto treaties. Kucinich would create a Cabinet-level Department of Peace to rank alongside the Departments of State and Defense and to "establish nonviolence as an organizing principle" in domestic and world affairs. His space preservation treaty would ban weapons in space.

Where else would Kucinich lead us as President?

More than 40 million of us have no health insurance, and another 30 million have only minimal coverage. Kucinich introduced legislation for nonprofit, single-payer national health insurance for everyone. The minimum wage would be replaced by a much higher living wage. "When I'm elected President," Kucinich says, "it will be a workers' White House." His nominees for the Supreme Court would have to agree to uphold Roe v. Wade. Affirmative action would be maintained. Not Iraq but the District of Columbia would become the fifty-first state. Gays and lesbians would have complete equality. Drug use would be decriminalized. Kucinich is for federal chartering and control of corporations, and a Kucinich administration would break up mass-media, energy and agricultural monopolies; monitor and reduce the contamination of our air, water and food from factory farms; toughen environmental enforcement; reduce dependence on oil; and spur investment in hydrogen, solar, wind and ocean energy.

Social Security must not be privatized, Kucinich vows. He would retain the estate tax. He would repeal Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy and put that money into universal public education, age 3 through college. "Investing $500 billion to rebuild schools, roads, bridges, ports and sewage, water and environmental systems," he says, "will do more to stimulate our economy than tax breaks for the wealthy." He would cut the military budget 15 percent, $60 billion a year, and invest that money in universal childcare. He has an ingenious plan to use one-sixth of Treasury securities, $50 billion, to make zero-interest loans to localities for infrastructure projects, cutting the cost of those projects in half for the taxpayers of the cities and towns of the country. Kucinich is the only candidate who sued Bush to stop him from attacking Iraq without a declaration of war. He is the only one who voted against the Patriot Act. The only one who will withdraw the United States from NAFTA and the WTO. The only one who has spoken out against the takeover of our water supply by multinational corporations. The only one pledged to lead the country to 20 percent renewable energy in six years. The only one with major New Deal-like investment programs for schools, roads, ports, sewage, water and environmental systems. The only one with a 98 percent lifetime pro-union voting record. The only one who has introduced legislation to repeal the federal death penalty. In short, Kucinich is the only one who is proposing a profound reconsideration of our governmental priorities and the rejection of our degeneration into imperial warmaking.

Kucinich as the President would mark the setting of a new course for the United States and the world. His nomination and election would be not only a major moral maturation for the United States, in itself it would be what Arundhati Roy calls "a major global victory for the human race." In this historic American primary I believe every citizen should be saying proudly, "By this, my vote, I register and declare who I am and what I believe." Only if enough of us fight for the best that we know can we have and live in the good country that we will then deserve. If we cannot this year set forth together with Kucinich to explore and realize some of these new vistas and possibilities, at the least those of us who see things as he does can record, among our peers and our children, our own decisions to so set forth as soon as the vagaries, mysteries and sicknesses of democracy permit. We go together into the remaining primaries on behalf of the nomination of Dennis Kucinich. We trust him, we believe him, we honor him and we want him. After we have thus fought for the best that we know, why, then, along with everyone else we will flow together back into history as it takes its own course in Boston, then New York and after in November.

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