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Put These Antiwar People in Congress

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If you can do activism, do it around policies in a principled manner, and steer clear of elections.

If you can do funding, fund principled activist organizations, not political candidates.

If you must divert your energies and money into elections, I have a recommendation for how best to do it (not that you'll necessarily listen to me, having already ignored my first two paragraphs, but what the heck):

Part of getting better governance out of Washington, D.C., will have to come from shifting power back from the White House to the Congress and putting better people into the Congress.

The coming election for the White House has, as always, an even worse lesser-evilism problem than it had the time before. The lesser evil is a bit too evil for a bit too many people. Some want to pinch their nose and go for it anyway. Others want to try for something better next time by, for once, withholding votes that have certainly not been earned. Others would support lesser-evil voting if not for the fact that so many who engage in lesser-evil voting develop symptoms of lesser-evil thinking and behaving and cheerleading on a long-term basis.

But there's a way around the tired, rotten, festering debate over lesser evil emperors. This week, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced into Congress a resolution to move $350 billion out of militarism and into human needs, and Senator Bernie Sanders promised to introduce an amendment to the National "Defense" Authorization Act to move $74 billion out of militarism and into human needs. If you share my understanding that this is the key policy change needed, first and foremost, leading all other key policy changes, and if you share my belief that positions on this issue are the ideal way to gauge the seriousness of office holders and candidates (if they'll oppose war funding they'll back a Green New Deal, education, healthcare, etc.), then this is what we can do:

1) Demand to know right now where your current Rep. and Senators stand on this.

2) Put your electoral activism and funding into the new candidates (what ever part of the country they are in, how ever distant from your own) who are campaigning on this platform and who stand a chance of winning or at least of having a serious impact on the winners. Most, if not all, of the candidates who fit this description are in the Democratic Party. If you help turn out voters for them, you can then, in all good concscience, leave it up to those voters whether to also vote for Joe "More-Police-Funding, Shoot-Em-In-The-Legs" Biden or not.

As always, there are terrific Green Party candidates, such as Lisa Savage (Senate, Maine) and Chris Hedges (House, New Jersey), and Howie Hawkins (President), and countless others I've never heard of and most everyone else will probably never hear of. If you're enlightened enough to be backing those candidates, more power to you. I certainly can't predict their defeat any more than I predicted the past three weeks of accelerated activism, much less suggest that they won't educated some people even if defeated.

But there are other candidates more widely viewed as having a chance at winning who would have an impact if they won.

In September 2018, I wrote an article about four women who were running for Congress in four separate districts, each speaking against wars and militarism in highly unusual ways. They later all won their elections, joined together, and called themselves a squad. Since taking office, they've all been far superior to the average Congress member, and often been real standouts.

Who are likely to be the big-party, general-election, antiwar candidates in 2020? This time there are more than four. Their way of talking has become a bit less unusual. Here's the list:


Ilhan Omar, Minnesota's Fifth District
Ro Khanna, California's Seventeenth District
Rashida Tlaib, Michigan's Thirteenth District
Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts' Seventh District
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York's Fourteenth District
Barbara Lee, California's Thirteenth District
Pramila Jayapal, Washington's Seventh District


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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
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