Monday, February 11, 2008

Tomorrow, the Buck Stops Here

[Note This is cross-posted at]

It's time we voters shoulder our moral responsibility. In 2001 many stood by as George W. Bush fear-mongered us into terror and war against a country having nothing to do with 9-11. Our country stood mostly silent as critics were silenced, called "unpatriotic" (when the opposite is true), and in some cases threatened.

Those who stood with courage included Barack Obama, but not Hillary Rodham Clinton. He risked his upcoming US Senate career. She risked nothing for herself, but everything for America. She risked our collective soul.

This was and is the issue of our time. There is no condoning it, no "do-overs," no pretending that Hillary "had to" (vote for the war) because she had to look tough on defense. One shouldn't use such an outrageous reason to vote for an immoral war authorization.

A smart woman such as Hillary Rodham Clinton knew the evidence. A woman who aspired to be president knew the evidence. Yet she pretends otherwise. She won't apologize or admit any wrong on her part, any bad judgment. But it was and is the worst of all failures, going to war not just by mistake, but by complicity.

A candidate who waits for Obama to vote on war funding or timetables and then votes herself, follows, but does not lead. A candidate who does not support a nuclear freeze, while Obama does, follows, not leads. This is the moral choice of our time.

It is also mirror reflection time. We as a people are defined by how we treat other people and nations. Do we treat them as if they are dispensable, the way some merely step over the bodies of the dead in Iraq? Do those voting for this war cry in the night for their sins? Do they not see what they did?

And what about the rest of us? Most folks posting here at RK opposed the war. That opposition prompted us to support 2004 primary candidates who opposed the war. At least we tried. We are not perfect, far from it. We have our own ghosts. (More on that in a moment.)

But what do the condoners and enablers see in the quiet recesses of their minds, hearts, and souls? Condoning Bush's actions is immoral. Condoning his enablers, including Hillary Clinton, is wrong.

We need someone who opposed this war, not one who supported it out of convenience or expediency. Not one who was too lazy to walk across the street to see the "evidence" that was so shaky a staffer could have debunked. Only six members of Congress did so. And that's appalling, and subject for another blog story.

It's too important to construe this election as Democrats needing a yes-woman to stand up to the warmonger McCain. That's not leadership. And it's a false choice for it's not a choice between warring against the wrong country or suffering from terrorism. And those who argue as much are not only soulless, but also responsible for making us less safe. Will the strongest country in the world stand strongly for what is right and against what is not? It's up to us now.

When the Clintonistas tell us women we should vote our gender, instead of our conscience, we have to look ourselves in the mirror and say to ourselves, "this must stop, and it stops with me and my vote." We cannot continue wars based on lies against countries which didn't or don't threaten us. We have no high ground if we condone Hillary's blank check to Bush over a second country, Iran. If we end the war in Iraq, much of the pressure over Iran will diminish. The refugee problem from the Iraq war currently threatens them. We have no high ground if we condone more refugees in Iraq. Already there are four million Iraqi refugees (two million internal and 2 million external). We cannot morally contribute to more deaths, already 4,000 of our own and nearly 1 million Iraqis, mostly civilians.

The time for real nuclear non-proliferation is now and it will only occur with Barack Obama as president. The beginning of the end of Bushisms' wost legacy--war without end-- comes now with my vote. The beginning of the end of permanent bases in Iraq comes now. Wondering each day whether our leaders will pick a fight with another country can end with my vote.

Hillary is not Bill, but what evidence do we have that she won't knee-jerk us into war. The previous Clinton administration actually bombed more countries than any president in US history did. "A president must have his war(s)," some Clinton supporters said back then. I am ashamed that I stood quietly then. By my passivity, I condoned. No more. I was wrong.

A new day can end the politics and leadership of destruction. A new day begins with our vote and the repudiation of candidates who let this happen, haven't made us more safe (as if such a venture ever could), and never will. It's my vote. I own it. What kind of a country we are begins with me and each one of us. What do we hold dear? What kind of a nation should we be? I don't really believe Americans want to be the kind of country that views the lives of innocent people so cavalierly. I think they are better than that.

And so we vote. It's more than a change we seek. With positive tranformational leadership, we'll become our best selves once again. The buck stops here. [Barack Obama for President: A Tranformational Leader for a Change.]-