Texas Dems Unite Against Occupation of Iraq

June 21, 2004

Delegates to the Texas Democratic Convention on Saturday found a unifying passion that the Democratic Party nationally has lacked. If the national convention in Boston ends up looking anything like this state convention in Houston, the Dems will have developed a powerful answer to the common question “Well, yeah, Bush is lousy but what does Kerry stand for?”

The only catch is that the position that Texas Democrats have united behind is not shared by Senator John Kerry, who failed to attend the convention. Here’s how the Associated Press described the scene:

“The Texas Democratic Party state convention seemed more like a peace rally on Saturday, with the party faithful calling for peace in Iraq and carrying banners demanding that the administration ‘Bring our troops back.’

“On the final day of the convention in Houston, presidential candidate and former Cleveland mayor Dennis Kucinich addressed convention-goers, criticizing President Bush for his handling of the military strife in Iraq.

“‘It’s time that we challenge the failed logic that says war is inevitable,’ Kucinich said to a cheering audience. Kucinich led the convention in chants of ‘End this War,’ while activists paraded around the convention hall with a large banner urging peace.”

The A.P. failed to report Kucinich’s best line: “We must be careful that our Democratic Party not buy this war. I wouldn’t buy a used car from this administration. I sure wouldn’t buy a used war.”

More importantly, the media are not reporting the accomplishment that has Texas activists most excited. The convention passed a resolution supporting the establishment of a Department of Peace.

After the Department of Peace resolution had emerged from a convention committee devoid of the Department of Peace, supporters gathered 2,000 signatures (more than the 1,600 required) to call a vote on the original resolution, and it easily passed. Who says nothing good comes out of Texas politics?

You can just hear the DLC (Democratic Losing through Corporatism) gears turning in the heads of Kerry advisors when they read about a Department of Peace. “Why, that would be attacked as Big Government bureaucracy! And it’s just not macho!”

FLASH News Alert to Senator Kerry: Bush will attack you as a liberal and you can attack him as a conservative. There are more than enough liberals in the country to elect you if you tell them who you are.

Wilson, Roosevelt, and Johnson were elected promising peace. By the time McGovern lost, Nixon was ready to end the war. An opponent of that same war, Bill Clinton, later defeated Bush the First as he basked unsuccessfully in the glory of the first Gulf War.

Militarism is not a prerequisite for election. But it is the single most wasteful Big Government program! More than half of every tax dollar goes toward war. You can’t support that hog fest and run from a piddly little Department of Peace because it would cost money. Nor can you claim that the American people can’t understand this. They’re out ahead of you, Senator. Look at what they’ve done in Texas!

Many of those Texas delegates are new to politics. They’re newly engaged by their disgust for the current administration. They need you to oppose that administration. They need you to say three little words, following which waves of their brothers and sisters will wash you into the White House. You’ve got to catch up to these people if you’re going to lead them, Senator. You’ve got to say: End the Occupation.

Say End the Occupation and you will not hear polite applause. Say End the Occupation and you will not hear the name Nader. Say End the Occupation, and your courageous opposition to the war on Vietnam will become your winning image. Say End the Occupation, and you will be a hero and be cheered like a hero. People will tell their friends about you. I will personally knock on a thousand doors for you, and countless others will be similarly inspired. You will be able to laugh at predictions of a close election. You will revive a party, a political system, and the hopes of most of the planet. Say End the Occupation, Senator. Don’t support your opponent’s least popular position. Don’t buy a used war from George W. Bush.

David Swanson’s website is www.davidswanson.org. He is Media Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association www.ILCAonline.org. The opinions expressed are his own.

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