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Democrats at a Clinton-Sanders Crossroad

By       Message Lisa Pease     Permalink
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Reprinted from Consortium News


Dear Democrats,

Please don't commit suicide by nominating Hillary Clinton. Allow me to explain. I have been a Democrat since birth. My first political memory was Robert Kennedy's assassination. I remember thinking that perhaps the best politician that ever was had died and being terribly sad from that thought.

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I will never forget the election of 1972, watching as state after state chose Nixon instead of McGovern. "How can they all be so wrong?" I remember thinking as a young girl. Ignorance and selfishness seemed the only answers.

I suffered through Nixon and Ford before enjoying, briefly, the interruption of Jimmy Carter for a term. Then it was another 12 years of Republican rule under Reagan and George H. W. Bush. From my childhood to adulthood I had seen 24 years of Republicans and only four years of Democratic rule. The country felt profoundly unfair.

It's the money in politics, I realized somewhere along the way to the 1992 election. So when Jerry Brown, the past and future governor of California, said he would only take $100 campaign contributions because money in politics was corrupting America, for the first time I walked into a campaign office and volunteered. Getting money out of politics profoundly inspired me. I wanted to join the cause. I fell into my first political love affair.

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The antagonist in that election, as you well know, were the Clintons. They came as a package. But there was something about them, their love for pomp and circumstance and money, that set me on edge from the beginning. That said, when I heard fellow "Brownies" might be voting for Perot if Brown lost, I argued vigorously the Democrats are not the problem. The Clintons may be, but don't blame the party.

No matter how much we hate the Clintons, we have to suck it up and vote for the Democrats. Yes, I really had those conversations. And I lived to regret them. But that's getting ahead of the story.

During my time on the Brown campaign, I saw how completely biased and inaccurate the media was. I would go to an event with 3,000 people in attendance and see it dismissed as "a small handful" of supporters. I thought, if the media is this wrong about something I have firsthand knowledge of, what else are they wrong about?

I started reading many more sources than the typical mainstream ones. I didn't rely on television news for information. So as the debate for North American Free Trade Agreement was going on, I found myself drawn to C-SPAN, where I could hear the Senators argue for and against the trade agreement without a filter.

It was clear to me, listening to both sides, that those who opposed NAFTA were correct and those who supported it were incorrect. I was so incensed I promised myself that I would volunteer in 1996 for anyone who had opposed NAFTA. I reached out to Rep. Dick Gephardt's office, as he had led the opposition to NAFTA, but sadly, he declined to run that year. The Democratic Party had failed me yet again by offering no principled opposition to a president who could best be described as "Republican Lite."

Rationalizing War

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And it wasn't just NAFTA. I was not impressed by our "humanitarian" efforts in Kosovo once I learned how a photograph that appeared to show people inside a fence in a modern-day concentration camp really showed people outside a fence looking in, among many other lies. Having learned from Mark Fineman's Los Angeles Times story "The Oil Factor in Somalia," which was one of Project Censored's top stories from 1993, that George H.W. Bush's "humanitarian" efforts in Somalia were run out of the oil companies there in the hopes of securing the oil that studies had indicated were underground there, I learned to be suspicious of "humanitarian" excuses for attacks on other countries.

Rumors abounded that our efforts in Kosovo were also more oil than a humanitarian effort, and specifically, an oil pipeline. The mainstream media chimed in many times to tell us these were simply "conspiracy theories," that no pipeline was planned, that our efforts were simply to help the poor people of Kosovo. But that wasn't true. This pipeline is now in existence. As George Monbiot spelled out in The Guardian of Feb. 15, 2001:

"During the Balkans war, some of the critics of NATO's intervention alleged that the western powers were seeking to secure a passage for oil from the Caspian Sea. This claim was widely mocked. Robin Cook observed that 'there is no oil in Kosovo.' This was, of course, true but irrelevant. His discovery was repeated by an eminent commentator for this paper, who clinched his argument by recording that the Caspian Sea is 'half a continent away, lodged between Iran and Turkmenistan.'

"For the past few weeks, a freelance researcher called Keith Fisher has been doggedly documenting a project which has, as far as I can discover, yet to be reported in any British, European or US newspaper. It's called the Trans-Balkan Pipeline, and it's due for approval at the end of next month. Its purpose is to secure a passage for oil from the Caspian Sea."

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Lisa Pease has been a lifelong activist for progressive issues. She is a published author on the assassinations of the sixties, and has appeared on television and a number of radio shows.

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