On Friday, the House of Representatives voted on their own 97 word non-binding resolution in rebuke to President Bush's policies pertaining to this bloody war in Iraq. As they debated their own resolution, one could see the empty seats as this life and death issue was being debated. They should have been filled by every congressional member that we the people elected to serve as our voice in Washington, D.C. Instead, many were in front of the cameras.
Our service men and women are expected to show up for duty whether or not they believe in this war and so should our senate and congressional members. As congressional members pay lip service, our service men and women pay with their lives in service to our country. I find it disingenuous at best that the leadership in both parties does not demand that all members be present as this war was and will continue to be debated. It should also extend to the long laundry list of other issues that affect the American people.
In looking at those empty seats and if one does believe in ghosts, perhaps sitting in those seats are the ghosts of our soldiers who died not only in Iraq, but Afghanistan. They are the ghosts that fill those seats in continued service to our country.
In both the senate and house debates the one man absent who should be present is President Bush. Perhaps we need a change in the way things are done in Washington, D.C. Last week as President Bush addressed the media concerning the civil war that has broken out in Iraq. What stunned me were his remarks in which he stated, "It's hard for me, living in this beautiful White House, to figure out if.. I don't know" Perhaps with his presence at these debates each and every congressional member can let him know. No longer would he be shielded from the facts, but hear of the horrors that our soldiers face as well as innocent Iraqis. I would even challenge those in congress who have been against this war from the start to air their presentations with a slide show depicting the death and destruction visited upon the Iraqi people. Then and only then he just may get it why this country is outraged. No longer could he claim ignorance of the facts.
Maybe, just maybe, President Bush needs to be present as one reads that Iraqi refugees have turned to prostitution. This alleged born again Christian must hear how CBS reports "These refugees are selling the only thing they have left of any value: their bodies. In the clubs, the waiters act as dealmakers between clients and the Iraqi prostitutes." Maybe our congress should hear of this as well. We sure did liberate them and the only way that some of these women are able to make a living is to sell their bodies to the highest bidder.
CBS also goes onto report "This is the Arab world, where a woman's honor means everything. The fact that so many Iraqi women refugees are turning to prostitution is a mark of their desperation." How many more years will these women be forced to sell their bodies? Through the act of prostitution sexually transmitted diseases are the end result of this practice. These diseases are, AIDS, HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis and many others. How many of these women will die as a result of these diseases? I would call it genocide.
On February 12th, the Australian opposition leader, Kevin Rudd lambasted Prime Minister John Howard when Howard said this of Senator Barack Obama, "If I were running al Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory, not only for Obama but also for the Democrats." As one views what Kevin Rudd had to say, present within that Parliamentary body is John Howard. In viewing this feed, you will note that Howard could not look upon Kevin Rudd. But, he is present to hear his words rebuked by this parliamentary member.
From time-to-time I do watch parliamentary proceedings broadcasted by the BBC and present within those British debates is Prime Minister Tony Blair. It is a give and take series of debates in which he is present to hear what the opposition says and is not shielded like President Bush is from ours.
When our founders were forming this more perfect union, I do think they missed the boat by not including the president within these debates. It has not served us well to shield the leader of the free world from what we the people have to say. Yes, he has his advisors, counselors and cabinet members, but these advisors often reflect his beliefs and not ours. After all, it is we the people that elect these congressional members to their respective seats and we should demand that the president be included within these debates. By being present, he cannot claim that he is ignorant of the facts. At that point he is no longer shielded and isolated. With his very presence he is there to hear the expressed will of the people. One can dream, can't they?
In closing, I would challenge the leaders of both parties that each and every member of congress are to be present as life and death issues are debated within the senate and the house. I would submit that the debate is as empty as the seats of our elected officials.
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