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Jonathan Tasini: The Necessary Candidate

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Last week, I hit the streets of New York City to work with Jonathan Tasini and his team of volunteers to make sure this progressive Democrat, the antiwar candidate, makes it on the ballot to run in this year 's Democratic primary for senator. We need signatures. We need registered Democrats in the state of New York to sign the petition, allowing Jonathan Tasini his right to challenge Hillary Clinton. Because Mrs. Clinton is riding comfortably in the center lane, turning her right blinker on a little too often for those recognizing her as an opportunist who's sold her soul to the highest bidder, a soul handled so much it is now one-ply.

Like the majority of Democrats, caving to the popularity bestowed on George Bush after 9/11, Clinton has become a Demopub. That they continue to call themselves Democrats is incidental. And why they aren't swiftly departing from the president 's sinking raft of deceptions is just plain stupid. They criticize the handling of Iraq but continue funding it despite the ugly truth that they were dead wrong. The war was dead wrong, is dead wrong, and must end.

But lots of people here in the city speak highly of Hillary Clinton. They remember footage of her as she toured the rubble of the Twin Towers on that terrible day in September and she isn't about to let them forget it. Her promos emphasize her empathy. To see the slick, campaign video of her accomplishments is to invoke an image of Mother Teresa, "Angel of Mercy."

One woman who refused to sign the petition said, "I don't care if she is funding the war. I'm for anything she 's for." Okay.

Another person told me she 's opposed to the war and the occupation of Iraq. However, she went on to say that she 's a Hillary Clinton fan and hopes that Mrs. Clinton is elected president in 2008. Okay.

But for many, who eagerly signed the petition, the war alone defines the difference between Tasini and Clinton.


Others, though, who weren't hurrying to the subway, late for a meeting, or simply rushing because that 's what most New Yorkers do, wanted further information and asked: "What can you tell me about him?"

"Jonathan Tasini is so much more than the antiwar candidate."

They'd listen as I said: "He opposes NAFTA because it costs Americans their jobs by encouraging companies to take advantage of low wages in other countries." Then, I'd tell them that our current senator praises NAFTA with a strong voice, cheering on those corporations.

Handing over my pen and clipboard, I'd say:

You 're not endorsing Jonathan Tasini by signing and providing your address. You're simply allowing him the right to have his name on the ballot to oppose an incumbent who 's waffled on universal health insurance. Mr. Tasini believes all Americans deserve affordable health care, and one way to make this a reality is to eliminate the exorbitant profits.

Convinced, they would sign, while I continued, driving home other important differences between Jonathan Tasini and Hillary Clinton:

Jonathan Tasini doesn't accept contributions from corporations. Think about that for a moment, since Hillary Clinton 's campaign is backed by and packed with them, including Wal-Mart, which denies healthcare to a majority of its employees. Oh, yes, and Mr. Tasini fully supports the preservation of our civil liberties, while Mrs. Clinton champions the US Patriot Act.

Thanking them, I'd add as they tried to walk away:

Jonathan Tasini is a departure from politics as usual. For me though, the main issue is the war. The war, the war, the war. The first anniversary of my nephew's death in Iraq is approaching. United States troop death is nearing 2,500. And we've killed and injured possibly a half million Iraqis. In May alone 1,398 Iraqis died. Who wouldn't be for peace? I'll tell you. Anyone who continues to fund this war.

Later, as I walked home, I wondered about Hillary Clinton and all the members of Congress who, when the time is past ripe, still refuse to bring the troops home now, who continue to make the outrageous statement: "We must honor the sacrifice of those who've died by completing the mission."

I thought about the bravery of the US soldiers in Viet Nam who started a peace movement when they put down their weapons and said, "If the premise of war is wrong, then fighting the war is wrong." If only our leaders displayed this courage.

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Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)
 

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I heard of an anti war candidate who spent time in... by Hamish on Thursday, Jun 15, 2006 at 7:47:25 AM
for those recognizing her(HRC) as an opportunist w... by Robert Chapman on Friday, Jun 16, 2006 at 5:41:29 PM