Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Barbara Boxer/Kamala Harris

I am terribly, terribly sad that Barbara Boxer is retiring from the U.S. Senate. She is one of the few longtime Democratic politicians who has never done anything to cause me to stop voting for her. In particular, I've been holding a very major grudge for the past twelve years against all the Democratic politicians in the House and Senate who voted in favor of authorizing the 2003 invasion of Iraq. I resolved on the day of that vote that I would never vote for any of them ever again, and I haven't. California's other Democratic senator, Dianne Feinstein, voted in favor, and I've voted third party against her ever since. Former presidential candidate John Kerry voted in favor, and I voted third party against him for president. (I voted for the Peace and Freedom Party candidate, Leonard Peltier, in 2004 against Kerry and Bush. I'm also registered as a Peace & Freedom Party member rather than a Democratic Party member, because voter registrations are what helps keep the party on the ballot. It is a good party; unfortunately it doesn't extend beyond California, but I like its positions very much.) Likely future presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also voted in favor, and as a result, I will definitely vote third party against her too, if she runs for president. (In addition, I am holding other major grudges against her husband for the Defense of Marriage Act and welfare reform and really his entire presidency, and also I just do not think we ought to keep electing endless Clintons and Bushes.)

I know: the third-party candidates aren't going to win. But the only way to get the Democratic Party to do anything right is to be willing to draw the line somewhere - to say, if you do anything quite this bad, it really is possible to lose my vote. And I firmly believe that willingness to authorize mass murder and contaminate Iraq with massive radiation from depleted uranium munitions for the sake of oil money (papered over with incredibly flimsy evidence of supposed weapons of mass destruction that never existed) is worth drawing the line at.

Other Democratic Senators who voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq and are still active in politics include Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Evan Bayh, Maria Cantwell, Tom Carper, Bill Nelson, and Chuck Schumer. And for this they earned my everlasting distrust and aversion.

But Barbara Boxer did not betray me! Barbara Boxer voted against the invasion. So did, among others who are still active in politics, Dick Durbin, Patrick Leahy, Barbara Mikulski, Patty Murray, Jack Reed, Debbie Stabenow, and Ron Wyden. And for this they earned my everlasting appreciation. Granted, Barbara Boxer is the only one I'm actually allowed to vote for, but I feel that the others deserve recognition. These people had the courage to stand up for what is right at a time when it was unpopular. The others did not.

So I am very sorry to hear that Barbara Boxer is retiring. But I do feel somewhat better upon hearing that California Attorney General Kamala Harris plans to run for Boxer's seat. Harris hasn't been in politics long enough to earn quite as much of my trust yet as Barbara Boxer did - in fact, hardly any Democratic politician can compare to Barbara Boxer in my eyes - but among the politicians who could potentially run for that office, there is no one else I could summon equal optimism about. I hope that Harris lives up to my hopes and has a long Senate career ahead of her.
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