Debbie Atwood and I have letters to the editor in the Portland Press Herald
today challenging the "anti-war" credentials of our "liberal" Democrat Congressman Tom Allen. He's been enabling Bush's war by voting for all but one of the funding bills since the occupation began. He's now running for the Senate seat in Maine against Republican Susan Collins who also supports Bush.
Many Democrats in Maine will be angry with the two letters in the paper today. They will say, "Hey, you need to support Tom Allen so that the Democrats can take stronger control of the Senate. Then things will change. You should not criticize a Democrat."
I've heard that tune many times before. Sadly the changes never come. Just remember when Bill Clinton was president and for a time had a Democrat controlled Congress. The cutbacks in social spending did not stop. The bombing of Iraq did not end. The support for NAFTA did not end. The on-going military build-up did not appreciably slow down.
Tom Allen recently told some Maine leaders of the impeachment movement in our state that George W. Bush had committed impeachable offenses. But Allen now refuses to sign onto the impeachment bill in the House because it would be "divisive". He is taking his marching orders from the corporate Democrats who now control that party. Nancy Pelosi, once known as a strong progressive, has been brought into line and today helps put the muzzle on other progressives in Congress.
The Dems have sent into Maine this summer a group of college kids to beat up on Sen. Susan Collins and claim that Tom Allen is an "anti-war hero." These well-meaning students, working for a Democratic Party front group called Americans Against Escalation in Iraq
, have been going around the state trying to bring Maine's long time peace groups into their one-sided Allen campaign effort. Few have joined them. Some, who don't know any better, have fallen into the trap.
Peace groups in Maine for the last several years have been critical of both Republican and Democrat politicians on the Iraq issue. And now the same is happening on the impeachment issue. We are holding both parties feet to the fire.
The public has long assumed that the peace movement works for the Democrats. That is why many people, particularly independents, don't pay much attention to the peace movement because they think we are partisan hacks.
By standing up and showing how both parties are complicit in funding the Iraq occupation, allow torture to continue, and allow our rights to free speech and assembly to be weakened, the peace movement can gain support from the larger community. Then it might be possible to see our numbers grow in our local groups and at our protest events.
But as long as the peace movement allows itself to be marginalized as a one-party front group then we will never grow. And if the peace movement does not grow the occupation of Iraq will continue and the impeachment of Bush will never happen.