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A POWERFUL VOICE
FOR THE SILENCED MAJORITY
Congressional candidate Hank Perritt
By David Podvin
In the tenth congressional district of Illinois, Democrat Hank Perritt is seeking a mandate to stop the Bush perpetual war machine. The Perritt campaign is based on his commitment to lead the charge against Bush’s use of the United States military as a tool of corporate greed for the purpose of plundering nations that have not attacked us. Perritt believes that it is time for Democrats to stop deferring to Bush and start aggressively attacking the extremist right wing agenda.
Never before has the Democratic Party so desperately needed another fighter in Congress like Hank Perritt. Over the past week, rank and file Democrats have watched in horror at the profiles in cowardice that have been on display. After Bush accused Democrats of being unpatriotic, Tom Daschle – virtually in tears – asked for an apology. When Bush disdainfully ignored the plea, Daschle retaliated by announcing that he would support the war with Iraq and faithfully stand by “my president”. His pathetic collapse was too late, however, to beat the already prostrate Dick Gephardt, who had previously betrayed the anti-war cause by unilaterally capitulating to Bush.
Most Republican voters support going to war against Iraq, and their representatives in Congress voted accordingly. Most Democratic voters oppose a war with Iraq, but - on this and so many other issues - we are largely unrepresented in Congress. Despite actively participating in the political process by deluging the Capitol with letters and phone calls, we again saw the Democratic Party meekly fell in line behind the imperial agenda of George W. Bush
The biggest problem is not that there are too few Democrats in Congress – it is that the Democrats who are there are unwilling to represent the people who voted for them. The focus of many activists has been on retaining control of the Senate while regaining control of the House, but in recent years the Democratic Party has consistently shown a willingness to capitulate from a position of strength. If the views of the Democratic rank and file are ever going to be represented, then the emphasis must be on electing strong willed people of principle who don’t start sobbing when conservatives slander them.
One determined member of Congress can make a huge difference. When a congressman has been sent to Washington by his or her constituents on a specific mission, then positive things can happen. For example, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy was an indispensable driving force in overcoming the invincible NRA to strengthen the Brady Bill and save the lives of countless Americans. A congressman who has specifically been elected on a peace platform will have a mandate to lead the charge against Bush’s colonial ambitions.
Mr. Perritt’s opponent, first term Republican Congressman Mark Kirk, is a classic example of a politician who ignores his constituents’ wishes in order to advance in Washington. Choosing personal ambition over the people of his district, Kirk has become a loyal member of the Tom DeLay war faction of Congress. Bush can depend on Kirk’s obedient support for every international misadventure that is manufactured by Karl Rove. The defeat of Mark Kirk would be a worthwhile achievement in and of itself; better yet, Democrats can replace him with someone special.
Perritt is running for Congress out of a deeply held sense of personal obligation to fill the vacuum of leadership in the struggle against Bush’s attempt to violently dominate the world. He seeks to repeal the 2001 tax heist for the rich that turned the huge Clinton surplus into another big Bush deficit. He is strongly pro-choice and pro-civil rights, and will actively defend the environment against the current Bush campaign to plunder the planet on behalf of the Kenneth Lays of the world. The foundation of his campaign is that Bush must be stopped from an attempt at empire building that can only end in tragedy for our nation.
It is rare for voters to have the opportunity to support a major party candidate with an agenda that transcends his own political ambition. Hank Perritt is a respected university professor who has never before sought public office. He is now running for Congress out of a deeply held sense of personal obligation to fill the vacuum of leadership in the struggle against Bush’s attempt to violently dominate the world. He seeks to repeal the 2001 tax heist for the rich that turned the huge Clinton surplus into another Republican tidal wave of red ink. He is strongly pro-choice and pro-civil rights, and will actively defend the environment against the current Bush campaign to plunder the planet on behalf of the Kenneth Lays of the world. The foundation of his campaign is that Bush must be stopped from an attempt at empire building that can only end in tragedy for our nation.
The antidote to the poisonous war agenda is to support champions who will fight for principle, especially when it is the difficult thing to do. Hank Perritt is taking a courageous stand on behalf of the majority of Americans – and against an unnecessary war – at a time when doing so entails the risk of being smeared as a traitor. As Bush seeks to coerce dissidents into silence while using war to distract attention from the mess he has created here at home, it is vital that we elect Democrats whose deep belief in our principles provides them with unshakeable resolve. Perritt is adamant that the American military exists to protect the people of the United States, not to create an empire for a former governor of Texas. He is insistent that war not be used as a cynical political tool. He is unyielding in his demand that the will of the American people be honored.
Following 9/11, Barbara Lee was a brave and lonely Congressional voice of reason who argued against the concept of granting Bush unlimited power to make war. It is time to let her know that reinforcements are on the way. We now have the chance to cast aside our feelings of frustration and helplessness by electing a true champion of democracy and peace. If he receives the funds that are necessary to communicate with the voters, Hank Perritt will defeat Republican chickenhawk Mark Kirk. Americans will then have another much needed stalwart in Congress to stand up against the unelected president who sends our children off to die for reasons that have nothing to do with defending our country.
By electing a peace candidate to Congress, we will be sending a clear message to Bush and the Republicans that the peace-loving majority in this country is more than willing to fight – at the ballot box – to stop the insanity of preemptive war. More importantly, we will be alerting Daschle, Gephardt, and the other Democratic wobblies that siding with Bush against us is not the way to become the presidential nominee of the party.
George W. Bush will never voluntarily stop his endless military crusade – he must be stopped. Hank Perritt is determined to take him on. Perritt has distinguished himself as one of the all-too-few Democratic candidates who is willing to defend the party’s rank and file against a bipartisan political establishment that is absolutely determined to go to war.
In order to take back our country from the right wing, Democrats must begin by taking back our party. We must have representatives in Congress who are Democrats in more than name only. We must elect people of integrity who will amplify the voices of the majority of Americans that are currently being muffled by the media and ignored by the political establishment. Only by sending to Congress people who passionately share our beliefs can we rescue the country we love from its current rendezvous with disaster:
22 Green Bay Road • Winnetka, IL 60093
Phone Number: (847) 784-8200 • Fax Number: (847) 784-8093
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