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New Year's Eve Arrests at Huckabee Headquarters

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Message Jayne Stahl

With only days to go before the Iowa caucuses, one Republican candidate is showing his stripes, Mike Huckabee. Yes, this former Baptist minister, and Arkansas governor, boy next door, Huckleberry Finn, who looks like a cross between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Stewart, as innocuous as a barfly, waited in his campaign bus across the street while three demonstrators, all in their 50's, were arrested for "criminal trespass" at his Iowa headquarters.

 According to a press release from the Catholic Peace Ministry, the protesters bore signs reading "Who Would Jesus Bomb?" called for an end to the war in Iraq, any other planned military adventure, as well as read from the Bible to bolster their argument for peace while they were carted off. 

As they were transported to Polk County Jail, where they were charged, and later released, cheers rippled through the crowd of onlookers. Those apprehended by Des Moines finest were members of a group called SODaPOP (Seasons of Discontent: A Presidential Campaign) who, a few months ago, reportedly delivered a letter to Mr. Huckabee in which they requested his pledge to withdraw all troops from Iraq within three months of his presidency, as well as halt any plans for military action against Iran. Addditionally, they called for tax dollars currently being spent on combat to instead bolster the "infrastructure of the United States."

The three SODaPOP members gathered in the Huckabee campaign office, in Des Moines, merely to await a response to their letter to the presidential candidate, two months ago, which went unanswered.   If it all sounds surreal, or like something out of Saturday Night Live, guaranteed you won't feel that way in November, 2008, if Huckabee wins the election.  And, while that's not likely to happen, the fact that his campaign has made it as far as it has is something that would scare the hell out of anyone who considers themselves rational, let alone progressive.

 What a sad day it is, in America, when a presidential candidate has a tiny group of middle-aged protestors arrested, and charged, with criminally trespassing on his property. One wonders, too, if, upon election, Mr. Huckabee would also consider the White House his "property."  While the First Amendment guarantees "freedom of assembly," one hardly thinks that the framers conceived of things like You Tube, campaign headquarters, or the Grey Panthers, either, for that matter.

More than thirty members of the press witnessed the protest which was only the first stop scheduled as SODaPOP has reportedly made the same demands of eight other candidates. Curiously, the candidate who has surged to the head of the polls with his rugged Ronnie Reagan, boy next door, good looks increasingly proves himself to be a formidable shill for neo-Conservative revivalists.

One whose motto is "Faith, Family, and Freedom," and boasts that: "My faith is my life--it defines me. My faith doesn't influence my decisions, it drives them" sat patiently waiting, in his campaign bus, across the street, as the three SODaPOP boomers were handcuffed, and driven out of his Iowa headquarters. One can think of no better way to illustrate what a quintessential farce the former minister's call to protect the "sanctity of life" is.

The pundits, political commentators, and all those who like to lump things in a neat little box that answers only to gravity score a huge victory when referring to platforms like "conservative," or "neo-conservative," without deviating from jargon to take a candid look at what those terms mean. With Huckabee, specifically, conservative means a declared intention to overturn Roe v. Wade, a new constitutional amendment stating that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, blurring the lines between church and state, more jihads at the taxpayers expense, and jihads against the First and Fourth Amendments, too, building a fence with "interlocking surveillance cameras," as well as preventing immigrant amnesty.

With Huckabee, too, "illegal" immigrant families will be broken apart by agents of the Immigration and Custom Enforcement Agency, and mothers deported while children stand helplessly by. And, with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, dissenters will be rounded up, or tasered, even those who read from scriptures, for daring to demand accountability from a future president. This is what Mike Huckabee means when he talks about "Faith, Family, and Freedom;" make no mistake, it runs counter to everything this country represents, and has represented for more than two centuries.

John Edwards is right to suggest that if we go to the polls in November, 2008, and vote for a Republican, we will be voting for George W. Bush on steroids. According to the last exit poll, in Iowa, taken 5 hours ago, Mike Huckabee is ahead of the pack of other Republicans. While the war in Iraq, as well as the military industrial complex created by the current regime, loom as the signature issue of the 2008 presidential race, national security, in the long run, depends upon an informed, and mindful, electorate.

Conservatives are backing Huckabee who is, without question, the most conservative of the group. And, if we are ever to see regime change, in Washington, then there has to be an information blitz, and a campaign to make voters aware of every position Huckabee, and other gentleman snakes, take on important issues.

When the focus of the Democratic Party becomes more on raising cash than on raising consciousness, and picking each other apart like a pack of hungry tomcats on some fallen birds, we can only witness yet another conservative presidential victory.

Those who argue that the contender who is better prepared to tackle a future terror attack is the candidate to back are right, but the threat, this time, will not be about bin Laden, or Al Qaeda, any more than it was back in 2001, but will come instead from those we elect to lead us who sabotage the Bill of Rights, break the law, and pervert our trust for their own monetary gain.

Oscar Wilde once said "Only the superficial don't judge by appearances." If the actions of his Iowa staff, as well as what may, at best, be seen as his passive acquiescence to these unnecessary and absurd arrests are any indication of a Huckabee presidency, then his campaign must end in Iowa.

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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.
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