Friday, March 9, 2012

Appreciating Dennis Kucinich

By Matthew Rothschild, cross-posted from

Dennis Kucinich deserves a lot of credit for holding high the progressive banner in Congress over the past 16 years.

Kucinich lost his primary race against another progressive, Marcy Kaptur, the longest serving woman in Congress on Tuesday, by a 55-41 margin.

A man of courage and principle, he fought for all progressives—even when he was the only one doing it.
Kucinich was fearless in standing up to corporate power, in denouncing NAFTA and GATT and the WTO and the fallacy of free trade, in criticizing the Federal Reserve Board for not doing more about unemployment and for bailing out the banks.

He campaigned mightily for universal single-payer health care.

He bravely opposed the Iraq War.

Kucinich stood up for our civil liberties, voting against the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act.

He championed peace everywhere he went, and clamored for a new cabinet agency, the Department of Peace.

He was bipartisan in his criticism of illegal war-makers. He made the lonely but principled call for the impeachment of Barack Obama for the bombing of Libya. Kucinich noted that not only did Obama violate Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution, which says that Congress has the power to declare war; Obama also violated the War Powers Act more flagrantly than any previous President.

Wisconsinites are in Kucinich’s debt because last spring, he made a monkey out of Scott Walker when the Wisconsin governor testified before the House. Kucinich forced Walker to admit that his attacks on labor rights had nothing to do with saving revenue for the state of Wisconsin. This helped unmask Walker as someone who simply wanted to crush unions.

Kucinich also played a positive role by running for president in 2004 and 2008. Though the corporate media neglected him, Kucinich introduced millions of people to progressive ideas. He also won several debates, but you wouldn’t have known that by reading the biased media coverage.

Above all, Dennis Kucinich urged us to embrace our best selves. He constantly called on us as individuals, as a people, as a nation, and as inhabitants of the Earth to respect others, to act nonviolently, to preserve the environment, to love one another.

And whatever he does next, Dennis Kucinich will surely be carrying that powerful message forward. That’s what he does. That’s who he is.

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine, which is one of the leading voices for peace and social justice in this country.  He is the host of "Progressive Radio," a syndicated half-hour weekly interview program, and does a two-minute daily radio commentary, entitled "Progressive Point of View," which is also syndicated around the country.  Rothschild is the author of You Have No Rights: Stories of America in an Age of Repression (New Press, 2007)


lonbud said...

The "Boy Wonder" of Cleveland is among the most inspirational people to have served in Washington, DC in recent memory. Despite his quixotic initiatives and his unwillingness to "play the game," he-like very few others-leaves a record of having tried to do the right thing when almost every one of his colleagues feigned to bow at the altar of compromise. Freed now from the shackles of the legislative branch, he will hopefully inspire more people to emulate his courage in a role as a progressive activist.

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