Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on bill H.R. 6166, better known as "The Military Commissions Act" that essential legalizes torture, offers unparalleled and historic power to the President, and even a new definition of "enemy combatant" so wide-ranging it could include an anti-war protester! The bill passed by a vote of 253-168 in the House under Roll Call 491. Some may better know this bill as the "Terror Detainee Bill", but most of us know it as the bill that authorizes the United States to torture people under the euphemistic phrase of "alternative methods".
The bill passed largely along party lines, but not wholly. Thirty-four Congressional House Democrats sold their souls and their conscience to the radical-right and rabid Republicans. Among those Thirty-four Congressional Democrats was Ohio's own Sherrod Brown! This is the same Sherrod Brown who voted AGAINST the Authorization of Use of Force in 2002, lobbied hard for more equipment and body armor for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, co-sponsored a bill to bring the troops home this October and even admonished the President for not pressing harder for the hunt to find Osama Bin Laden.
Congressman Brown is also the newest recipient of the endorsement of Democratic Senator Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriot Fund. I am certain that Senator Feingold will not find Mr. Brown's vote for a bill that condones torture neither progressive nor patriotic. In a single word, what Sherrod Brown did was, unconscionable.
Some will suggest and might be inclined to offer conjecture that Brown, who is running in a dead-heat with Republican Mike DeWine, simply voted "yes" in a political move to appear tough on terrorism, thereby not giving DeWine a talking point against Brown. Being tough on terror, and therefore not weak, requires more than a dissembling nod to the forces that oppose you in a game of political shells. In order to show that you are not genuinely weak, you must do the heaviest lifting of all, the courage to go it alone and get the job done yourself. By voting with DeWine and the Republicans, Brown proved his undeniable weakness and inability to stand alone and to stand literally above, on principle.
True patriots that champion the unwavering founding American principles don't surrender to popularity or pressure; they remain firm, even in the face of tremendous adversity. True guardians of the America system of time-honored values don't sanction sedition and subversion. Sherrod Brown today provided clear evidence that he is a career politician and not a civil servant to the people that elected him to Congress or appreciates those that have advocated his race to win the Ohio Senate seat in hopes of a better future.
Congressman Brown eschewed all ethics, all morals, and all human decency to, dare I say, "Score a few Brownie points!" Brown's vote for this grisly bill not only betrayed his progressive base, his party, but his country. It doubly goes to show that all politicians are corruptible, and when their career is on the line, they will yield to pressure and abandon both principle and party, taking the path of least resistance.
Sherrod surrendered away his convictions with this vote and bowed-down to the Bush cartel. Brown more than became an enabler to the Bush radicalism that is so pervasive in Congress today, but he became a sell-out to his own judgment and those who stood beside him and trusted him. Trust, above all, is never negotiable. Once you negotiate away your trust and cross that line, you can never come back.
This is a major blow to Ohio and the country. Regardless of whether Ohio gets Brown or DeWine as their next Senator, Ohioans and now Americans, are fundamentally assured of being devoid of any honest leadership, real courage or a standing voice in the Senate, once again.
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Author's Note: If you live in Ohio's 13th District, use the Action Forum below to send a message to Congressman Sherrod Brown.
If you live outside his district, you can use this link to contact Congressman Sherrod Brown: http://sherrod.house.gov/contact.htm