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Corporate Congress: Our One-Party System

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Message Missy Beattie
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I despair. The politicos I voted for sound exactly like those I voted against. The November public outcry against the war is being ignored. Our failed lawmakers might as well stick their fingers in their ears while uttering, "Na, na, na, na." Cowards and political beasts, the men and women we've elected to represent us, simply, unequivocally, are not.

Jubilant in victory, they shouted that we would see change. They heard America speak. However, they are doing nothing substantive to end the epochal carnage in Iraq. Some continue to talk nonbinding resolutions in opposition to troop escalation but this is just for show, baby steps. And as the troop death count surges above 3,100 with the downing of another helicopter, partisan politics has blocked debate of the war, talk that apparently was for the benefit of the record. Simply put, this is a puny effort to persuade constituents that some of their senators who were for the war are now against it. In reality, these corporate Democrats and Republicans are smearing lubricant all over the moving parts of the inexorable Bush/Cheney war machine.

What are we to do?

We could attempt to penetrate their consciences. We could challenge them to imagine they are Iraqis, trying to protect their families during campaigns like "Shock and Awe," "Strike," and the latest, "Forever Forward." We could suggest that they think about enduring the 24-hour-a-day violence and, finally, choosing displacement, leaving the land they know for refuge in the safer unfamiliar.

I could say, "What if you, like my brother, heard the words, 'We regret to inform you,' that sentence that changes everything about your life from that moment on?"

My brother might plead, "Go with me to the cemetery to visit the grave of my youngest child who believed that he was fighting for our freedoms and was killed by a suicide bomber whose own conviction compelled him to defend his country from American occupation."

Anyone who is antiwar could suggest: "Suppose it is your loved one about to be deployed or is redeploying, perhaps, for a second, third, or fourth tour of duty."

But to do this would be to assume that the perfume of power is less influential than a conscience.

How do we convey the horror of war to the elite in whose hands we have placed the lives of our children? With each additional chance given to George Bush to quell the sectarian slaughter, Congress condemns more of our troops and the Iraqi population to death, maiming, or a lifetime of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Their complicity has resulted in the abdication of responsibility to a commander-in-chief who has betrayed our military and who knows nothing about war but loves to call the shots that imperil us more each day.

Seven GOP senators have just sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, saying they want to resuscitate war debate. Clearly, they are trying to save their places inside the Beltway.

Take all the Republicans who stymied debate of the war to provide emergency first aid to the failed policies of Bush and Cheney. They make pronouncements like, "If you support a resolution against troop surge, then you are emboldening the enemy." This is declared despite evidence from the National Intelligence Estimate that the occupation of Iraq has given rise to more terrorists. Or this one: "Iraq is the central front in the war on terror" when Iraq had no connection to the events of 9/11. And another: "Saddam Hussein killed his own people" when we, by now, have killed more Iraqis than Hussein did. Most who have survived say they were better off under Saddam's rule.

Add to this obfuscating miasma the Democrats who promoted the resolution but who refuse to vote against continued funding of the war.

Acquiescing to Bush and Cheney's ever morphing goals for Iraq is irrefutable proof that the House and Senate need to be gutted and rebuilt. We no longer have a two-party system. Instead, we have corporate Demopubs or Republicrats, one and the same. We not only need a new party, we must demand public funding of election campaigns and prohibit donations and gifts. No longer will candidates for public office be indebted to special interests.

I repeat: When the people you voted for sound exactly like those you voted against, you realize that your vote counts for absolutely nothing.

As I've said before on this site, when your vote doesn't count, neither do you.
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Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)
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