Some perspective about Harry Mitchell and the war. And a few ideas.

09 Oct 2007 12:19 pm
Posted by: Donna

Yes, Harry Mitchell keeps voting along with the Republicans on the war.   Yes, the ongoing illegal occupation of a country who was no threat to us is an atrocity beyond comprehension and it boggles the mind why any Democrat in Congress would cast votes for its continuation in any way shape or form.  Yes, this boondoggle is wasting the lives of thousands of our young people along with hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.  Yes, it is depleting our treasury and placing the debt on our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Yes, it is ruining our image on the world stage, squandering any goodwill we had cultivated for generations to come, possibly forever.

But here’s the thing.  Contrary to what many progressive Dems believe, Harry was NOT elected to “end the war”.  I’m sorry, but it needs to be said.  I can tell you from a lot of time spent campaigning with him that the war is NOT why all those independents and moderate Rs crossed over to vote for him.  They did so because they were irritated with JD Hayworth over immigration and some other issues that impact our local area. 

To put it in perspective:  Stem cell research was a bigger issue in CD5 than the war.    

Trust me, I saw the polls.   It’s not that the war wasn’t an important issue for voters, but it was the biggest issue ONLY for the progressive Dems.  Democratic voters in general didn’t even rate it that high.  Trust me, I saw the polls.  It’s time to stop engaging in selective memory that is only helping to feed the meme that “both sides suck so it doesn’t matter”.  When Harry comes into town, there are often protesters following him around to hassle him.  As if that’s going to work.   Sorry, but as long as the war ranks 3rd, or 4th, or 10th in importance as an issue to the majority of his constituents, Harry ain’t gonna do anything different no matter how much he gets yelled at.   And no anti-war primary challenger, even if successful against Harry, has a prayer against whoever the GOP runs. 

So here’s my proposal:   Why don’t those of us who oppose the war, particularly those of us in redder districts, use that time and energy to go into our communities to appeal to the hearts and minds that really need to be changed?  Those would be the ones of the voters, so that the illegal and expensive occupation becomes the most important issue in their minds.  As it should.   Talk to your neighbors and co-workers about the war, at least a few times a week.   Talk about how spending billions on the war means less money for healthcare, schools, infrastructure, and whatever else they care about.  Write letters to the editor in those little newsletters that everyone gets on their driveway.  Everybody reads them.  Encourage people outside of the usual activist Dem circles to call and write to Harry and Gabi, even Kyl and McCain.   Ask the local news stations (forget the cable networks – no one but us watches them) to do coverage on how the war is diverting resources from local issues like immigration.  Make the point that there will be no substantive improvements in this country until we get OUT of the civil war of another country.

Those are just a few ideas I had, and I know many of us are already doing this kind of work.  But more is needed.  The politicians won’t change on this until the people tell them to.  We’ve made our case to the people; we just need to make it stronger. 


*edit to add:  The Obama campaign must be clairvoyant.  I just got an email from them entitled “Talk to your neighbors about ending the war.”   Spooky.

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