A couple of weeks ago, I was surprised to see Dennis Kucinich
and his lovely wife at the Cleveland Auto License Bureau when
I went to renew my driver's license. It brought back a flood
of memories for me re this astounding Buckeye who I am proud
to call our own.
I "knew" Dennis for a long time, and of course, from afar- even
though I worked in Cleveland City Hall during his administration.
I think it was then I learned that from my standpoint, voters
generally aren't too savvy, and certainly in this case- Dennis
was villified for standing on principle.
What would YOU do if Brock Weir of the now defunct Ameritrust
bank told you to sell Cleveland Muny Light (today Cleveland
Power) to its competitor -the Cleveland Illuminating Company
or face default? For me, it was like Weir putting a gun to Dennis'
head saying - do it, or else.
How many politicians would ignore the "or else?" I am proud
that Dennis was one who was courageous enough to let the city go
into default rather than be coerced into selling one of its
assets -Muny light.
Sadly, precious few of us were. I cannot vouch for a wise city's
reaction. So many Clevelanders were outraged - not at Brock
Weir's unfair and unjust demands -but at Kucinich's courage to
not buckle under them. And we know the rest. He was voted out of
office because of this. But our asset was in tact - thanx to
I have this wonderful article re Dennis in an old Mother Jones
magazine which I should really refer to for its excellent and
comprehensive coverage of Dennis, but I decided to rely only on
my memory a nd personal reflections. I think they will be sufficient
to paint a picture of this man -who though small in stature is,
in my opinion, a political giant and a fundamentally good man.
How many "fundamentally" good politicians do you know? Sadly,
I don't know too many. And for me, what is worse, is that he and
another good congresswoman - Betty Sutton lost their bid for
re-election last year in Ohio. I have grown to be weary of how
people vote. So much so, that I have lost my zest for voting this
year. That is sad.
While in Congress, I could always rely on both of them voting
for compassionate laws for animals. Sadly, the animals have
lost two good champions of concern for them. It frightens me
that we may have more congresspeople like Steve King of Iowa who
wants to rescind past compassionate laws for animals. He also
sees nothing wrong with dog fighting and thinks that it should
be a nice family affair to bring the children to. And I was
personally aghast to learn that he is Catholic- but I really
shouldn't have been because there are no real compassionate
teachings re animals from the church. With members like King,
then they are certainly needed.
THE ANIMAL ENTERPRISE TERRORISM ACT.
It should be obvious by now that Dennis doesn't follow the crowd.
When Congress sought to pass the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act,
Dennis was the ONLY dissenting vote. I think you will agree that
this took courage. Okay - what is the Animal Enterprise Terrorism
"It is a United States federal law that prohibits any person
from engaging in certain conduct 'for the purpose of damaging or
interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise.'"
I have to admit that there are some good points to this "law"
like allowing peaceful picketing or other peaceful demonstrations,
but in my view, it really sought to put a damper on exposing animal
Introduced in the 109th Congress by Petri (R-WI), Feinstein (D-CA),
and Inhofe (R-OK), it passed in the Senate by unanimous consent.
In the House the bill passed undersuspension of the rules used to
quickly pass "non-controversial bills" without voting.
The LONE dissention vote was made by Representative Dennis Kucinich,
who said that the bill was "written in such a way as to have a
chilling effect on the exercise of the constitutional rights of
Great remark Dennis, and I agree. You were the only one who saw
that it was really meant to dissuade compassionate protestors from
following their consciences in trying to alleviate animal suffering.
It seems to me too that it opened WIDE the door for the terribly
wrong AgGag laws which followed later. In the states where they
have been passed- IT IS A CRIME TO VIDEOTAPE ANIMAL ABUSE. Please
note- that this "law" protects the people who would abuse innocent
farm animals and punishes those who would make the abuse known.
How different would history have been written if Dennis had become
president. THERE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A WAR IN IRAQ. Again, you
seemed to be the only politician that didn't walk lock step with
President George Bush and the rest of us who followed his lead
into an unjust and wrong war.
Why weren't you elected president? Well, I am not a brilliant
political pundit. In reality - I'm not even a political pundit-
period. But here again, I see the lack of real political savvy
by all too mnay voters. In my opinion, this is what we "wrongly"
look for in a president:
l. He has to be "presidential" in STATURE. Well, I know at least
two very good men who were small in stature as is Kucinich - Gandhi,
and the Dalai Lama. We all recognize that Gandhi was a giant in
what he accomplished for India. Thank goodness, they recognized
the gifts of this small man in stature.
2. He has to be powerful and MONIED- as though these things should
ever be considered as requirements, but I think the American people
think they are. Dennis never had power or money. He was beholden
to no man for favors. He still keeps a modest home in Cleveland. No,
American voters don't appreciate people like Dennis- even though he
is representative of the common man like they are.
3. He has to say whatever is POPULAR to the vast majority. No,
Dennis would never sell his "soul" for a mess of pottage to please
the electorate. He is a man of principle and compassion. That's
the kind of person I would want to be president. I don't think
most people even give this a thought at all when voting.
4. He has to be representative of the people, and I believe that
Dennis would never surrender his compassionate lifestyle as a VEGAN.
Did this turn some people off? I hope not. And to your credit,
Dennis - you became one long before two prominent people of today
are extolling its benefits. Imagine -Bill Gates and James Cameron
have joined us in promoting this healthy and compassionate lifestyle.
They have come to realize that our planet cannot feed us all unless
we change to a plant-based diet.
Well Dennis, perhaps I should have checked the Mother Jones' article
because I certainly have not covered all the salient points in it
re you. But, I think I have touched on those which I have come to
appreciate re you over the years. Please keep on being "Dennis"
because you are one of a kind. I know that whatever you do in the
future, it will benefit us and the animals.