Thursday, January 24, 2008

Are We Voting for Change?, by Debbie Lewis

It’s scary. People in our great nation say they are frustrated. They say they want change. Even in a recent poll, people said they would rather give someone new a chance at serving in Congress rather than an incumbent. The primaries and polls, however, are not reflecting any real change, except maybe a change in the President’s name. One has to ask, do they even check the voting records of the candidates for which they support?

I read an article that hammered Dr. Ron Paul because he cannot write legislation that he can get passed. Someone wrote me recently and asked why one would consider voting for Kucinich. He, after all, is as left as they come. Cynthia McKinney is running, but you hear almost nothing about her. These are just a few of the people that could change the status quo!

These candidates, one Republican, one Democrat, and one former Democrat now a Green, have voted more consistently FOR our Constitution, in turn for us and the values our Founding Fathers brought to the table, than any of the major candidate running in this election. If you want real change, you better look past the top candidates running and re-evaluate the bottom few. Case in point, here are the voting records of some of the current Presidential candidates with regards to two damning pieces of legislation:

In the interest of fairness, people make mistakes. So…as for supporting votes for the first USA PATRIOT Act in a seemingly desperate time, let us mull over giving a little leeway. BUT consider this, those who voted for the first “PATRIOT Act” voted for something that was a last-minute exchange, “hot-off-the-press,” something no one had a chance to review. Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio tried to make congress well aware of that fact:

“…it just came off the Xerox machine. This isn’t the bill that was adopted by

a unanimous 36-vote majority of the Democrats and Republicans of the Judiciary Committee…these are critical issues, this is what we are fighting for, these are

our civil liberties!”

Did anyone heed his “warning?” Only one Senator, and sixty-six Representatives voted against the original PATRIOT Act. This act, allowing, among other things, for invasion of our privacy via sneak and peek provisions and wiretapping in the name of fighting terrorism, encroaches on some of our very fundamental civil liberties. How could the people we send to represent us let us down so egregiously? Then, to rub salt into an already sore wound, notice those, in the above summary, who supported the USA PATRIOT Reauthorization bill.

It is clear that some of these people are not representing “change.” It is just more of the same rhetoric we have heard a thousand times before.

Obama has garnered the “Obama for Change” title, but does he really represent change? He wasn’t in office to vote for the 2001 PATRIOT Act, but he did vote in favor of its reauthorization. Clinton wants us to believe she stands for change, but she hasn’t changed much since she was our First Lady, reintroducing Universal Health Care. She, too, voted for both versions of the PATRIOT Act.

And what of McCain? He also voted for both PATRIOT Acts. Throw in Hunter and Edwards, since they voted for one, or both, versions of this bill and it looks like no real change is imminent from these few, especially in view of the fact that they all voted to trash our freedoms via their support for these two invasive acts.

Let us take a look at another damning piece of legislation, The Real ID Act. While the original version passed the House, but died out, the clever author, Representative James Sensenbrenner (author of the bill and sponsor of both USA PATRIOT Acts), attached it, as a rider, to H.R. 1268, a Military Spending bill. Let’s take a look at that vote, shall we?

Again we see that Clinton, Hunter, McCain, and Obama voted to throw our freedoms away by voting for a bill that included both the Real ID Act and military spending for this illegal war.

On top of this, since only the Senate can declare a war, the Senate, as a whole, should be voting against everything that pertains to any military spending to support a war they never authorized. Likewise, the House of Representatives should do the same, as there really isn’t a war to fight, since its counterpart in the Legislative Branch has not declared it.

At the writing of this article, there are approximately one hundred thirty-eight people running for President of these United States. Yes, one hundred thirty-eight different people. Have we seen any coverage of any of these people? In addition to the large number of Independent and Third Party candidates, there are thirty-two other Republicans and twenty-one other Democrats running.

Many of the not-so-well-known candidates are relying on the Internet to reach their supporters. Ron Paul’s campaign has done well raising awareness, and money, via the Internet. He had to resort to something, as the mainstream media ignores him almost completely. Dennis Kucinich has to rely on something else, as well, as the print and television media are consistently leaving him out of the news and debate circuit. How are US citizens going to make an informed decision if they can’t hear the other candidates?

And what about Cynthia McKinney? Did you know she was running? While some of the other possible candidates are relatively unknown, she is a former Representative. She has an excellent voting record, when it comes to Constitutional issues. Does she get to debate?

It seems a shame the Presidency of the United States is now, more than ever, a popularity contest. It seems to be more about name recognition than anything else.

Secondly, to be a candidate for the people, you must have millions in funds to run your campaign if you expect to get any exposure. On these two points, alone, our country leaves out many of “we-the-people.”

It is time we recognize, first and foremost, that by allowing the mainstream media to “pick” our candidates, we are not getting the choices we deserve. Secondly, by allowing the GOP and the Democratic parties to keep some of their candidates from debating, we are allowing them to guide the vote, again robbing us from choices we deserve. We-the-People need to speak out or We-the-People will not be heard.

The time has come for you to get involved. If you do not, you will only be getting the status quo. Write or call the networks and the GOP and Democratic offices. Let them know you are unhappy.

Let them know it’s time for real change. Let them know that YOU know there are other possibilities running and it’s about time we heard from some of them. Let’s see if we can’t get a real candidate for the people on the ballot this year!


2008 Presidential Candidates Full List

HR 3162 (107th) Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001

HR 3199 (109th) USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005

FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool

Can You Hear Me Now?

Sneak and Peek Search Warrants and the USA Patriot Act

Should Ron Paul be allowed at Sunday's debate?

Ron Paul Debate: New Hampshire Diss Fair?

NBC To Appeal Judge Over Kucinich Debate Participation

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