I have been volunteering for a Maine congressional candidate on my free time lately. His name is Dexter Kamilewicz. His son was in Iraq for 11 months and was nearly killed 4 times from IED explosions. He is home now with a messed up back and yet to be determined mental state after suffering several concussions.
Dexter is calling for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq, a cut in funding for the war and impeachment of Bush-Cheney.
On Wednesday night Dexter had a scheduling conflict and I was asked to go speak for him at a candidates forum out in western Maine in a tiny rural town called Harrison. The local VFW hall sponsored the event. It was to be an event mostly attended by local candidates with substitutes for the heavy hitters.
Once there in walked our incumbent congressman Tom Allen, the Democrat. Allen went first and did a mind numbing 4-minutes on the intricacies of Medicaid and then his small business health plan. He made no mention of the war.
When it was my turn I talked about Dexter's bio, about his son Ben's experience in Iraq, mentioned how a group of veterans had asked Dexter to run, and then talked about Allen's record on voting for war funding. (He has voted yes to fund the war 7 times to the tune of $354 billion.) Then I talked about how under corporate globalization the Pentagon says America's role will be "security export" which means endless war. I said Dexter wanted to cut the military budget to fund education, health care, and jobs by building rail and solar.
During the Q & A period Allen got asked by a woman in the audience to respond to what I said on the war. He went into his morality rant about having an obligation to take care of the troops and ended with a fierce cry that "we aren't going to let happen again what they did during the Vietnam war by blaming the troops" giving the impression that those wanting to cut funding were somehow blaming the troops. A new version of redbaiting if you will.
I asked to answer his nonsense and said that Allen was being disingenuous that in fact no one was blaming the troops. I said that Bush has promised to stay in Iraq during the rest of his tenure in office and that in spite of Allen saying he and the Dems have a plan to bring the troops home in 2007, how is he going to get Bush to do that unless you cut the funds? He gave no response to this question.
I've been around a while and know when a politician is trying to "redirect" as they say in the legal profession. His rant was intended to move the eyes and mind of the voters away from his votes on the war to the peace movement’s call to cut funding. He was trying to play the blame game as George W. Bush would say. For him to call himself against the war, and then try this ridiculously absurd tactic, just reveals to me what kind of a character Allen is. He is a career politician who will do virtually anything to stay in power.
My job is to be a peace activist and to tell the truth as I best see it from my own experience. I am noticing that many liberals who support Allen are having a hard time facing the truth these days about how their candidate says he is against the war but keeps voting to fund it.
Party loyalty trumps truth for many people. It is amazing to see smart “liberals” just click off their brains when confronted with the facts.
Some people take the peace movement for granted. They figure we are so desperate to “win” that we will spend our lives working for peace but then in an election like this we will put our conscience aside and vote against our best interests. I’ve got some news for you. Forget it, won’t happen with me. I am holding onto the truth and voting only for people who are real. People like Dexter.