We who want peace number in the millions- we are a majority, if the last election is any clue. We march, lobby Congress, get ourselves arrested, sign petitions, blog, blog, blog, and it seems fruitless. We elect a Democratic Congress, and they seem powerless to stop the war machine, or unwilling, or downright complicit. The House of Representatives has the power to impeach the president and vice president. The House holds the purse strings and could simply refuse to fund illegal military operations. Yet it refuses to do either.
The conventional wisdom of American politics nowadays is that it takes lots of money to buy the media coverage to get known enough to win elections. The money comes from the corporations that profit from war, directly or indirectly. And so candidates sell out to the war machine, in order to get elected. When they get elected, they vote for war funding, in order to fulfill agreements made with their campaign funders, and in order to ensure re-election.
Many in the peace movement understand this, and so have given up on electoral politics. What with gerrymandering, corrupt voting machines, and numerous dirty tricks to exclude progressive voters, going the political route seems like an exercise in futility. Add in the fact that the Democratic party has a tight grip on its members in Congress, and refuses to allow the impeachment of Bush and Cheney despite their many obvious crimes, and it seems even more hopeless. Ballot access, debates, money are all stacked against third party and independent candidates.
On the other hand, all members of the House are up for re-election in 2008. Their voting records are public. All we have to do is target the ones who have consistently voted for war funding and refused to vote for impeachment. Targeting them means running good candidates against them, building a solid organization, and doing the hard work of collecting signatures, raising money, generating publicity, etc. Cindy Sheehan's challenge to Nancy Pelosi is a good example.
People around the country are gearing up to run for Congress. Some of us have already come together in the New Broom Coalition http://newbroomcoalition.org, which crosses party lines. We include Democrats, Greens, independents, and Republicans. We're hoping to have candidates in every Congressional district whose incumbent is not actively working for impeachment of the war criminals in the White House.
We know the next president will also be a warmonger. Both parties are tied into the war machine, and they will not allow "outsiders", like Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, to get a fair hearing. So our only way to get out of Iraq is by getting enough peace candidates elected to the House to block funding.
We need to continue with lobbying, demonstrations, sit-ins, everything we can do. But now, much of our effort should go into the Congressional races. If we focus and coordinate our efforts, we can succeed.