This Oped first appeared in the Marin Independent Journal on Nov. 28, 2005. Lynn Woolsey represents the California 6th Congressional District, and I'm proud to have her as my representative in Congress.
Dotty E. LeMieux
ONCE AGAIN, I must take exception to something my good friend Dick Spotswood says in his column.
In his Nov. 19 piece, he states that "Lynn Woolsey symbolizes why the Democratic party is in deep trouble." I have to disagree.
The reality might be precisely the opposite. The Democratic Party has been in deep trouble for so long because it has not had more Congresswoman Lynn Woolseys in positions of power.
What Lynn and the handful of progressive Democrats in Congress symbolize is the growing realization that the administration is using every trick in the book to support an illegal, immoral war in Iraq and an increasingly hostile war on dissent at home.
Spotswood criticizes Woolsey for voting against House Resolution 427, which sympathized with the victims of
the 9/11 attacks. If that was all the resolution did, it would indeed be strange for her not to approve it. But this resolution went much further. Specifically it called for Congress to renew a "commitment to the Global War on Terrorism and to providing the United States Armed Forces with the resources and support to wage it effectively and safely" and to "continue to take whatever actions necessary to identify, intercept, and disrupt terrorists and their activities."
Lynn Woolsey said she could not vote for this language because it left the door open for an expansion of preemptive wars and the erosion of civil rights through the Patriot Act.
She was right. And she was not the only one to voice those concerns.
In the words of another dissenter (there were six altogether), East Bay Congressman Pete Stark:
"I cannot vote for a resolution supporting a "global war on terrorism" because there is no such thing. The only war the United States is engaged in is the misguided Iraq War. To support a resolution simply so President Bush can continue to carry out actions in the name of this false global war of terrorism only encourages this administration to lead this country into additional unnecessary military actions."
The Republicans have hijacked and continue to misuse and misrepresent the terrible events of 9/11 and its aftermath. They have squandered the world's goodwill and created chaos, destruction and instability in Iraq.
Stark is absolutely correct in saying there is no such thing as a global war on terrorism. If there were, they'd still be looking for Osama bin Laden.
They'd be busy attacking the root causes of terrorism, not glibly tossing off platitudes and using fear tactics to push their agenda. And that agenda is not spreading democracy around the world.
Rather than continuing to run to the middle, as Sen. John Kerry so ingloriously did in 2004, the Democrats need to listen to the words of progressives like Pete Stark and Lynn Woolsey.
Progressive isn't just another word for liberal. It's a philosophy based on going forward and making progress, not going backward or running on fear and hatred.
The Democratic Party is the party of hope. At least it used to be. And it can be again, by standing firm on issues that truly do advance democratic ideals, which means not imposing puppet governments and justice at the end of a gun barrel or bomb. Not lying to the American people and the world.
The words "any actions necessary" used by George Bush and company along with other such catch phrases as "fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here" and "if you're not with us, you're with the terrorists," are not about fighting terror; they are about giving this administration a blank check to do whatever it pleases. They are all about the Patriot Act and the war in Iraq and cowing the American public into going along with their actions.
These are the actions this administration has deemed necessary to carry out its policies, including torture, denial of due process for prisoners and no-bid contracts to crony capitalists.