Half of all marriages end in divorce. And -- this is even worse -- the other half end in death.
Most political careers are the same way. Half of them end in defeat, and the other half end in death (which is, of course, another form of defeat). The only things that ever save an elected official from one ignominious fate or the other are term limits (like President Clinton) or just a time when you say “I’m done” (like Florida’s own Bob Graham).
Well, Dennis Kucinich didn’t die yesterday, but he was defeated. He was defeated despite our extraordinary support -- over 5000 of us contributed $178,000 to his campaign. He was defeated because House Speaker John Boehner drew a redistricting map that threw Dennis together with Democrat Marcy Kaptur (the longest-serving woman in the U.S. House of Representatives) and most of Marcy Kaptur’s voters. Here is how Roll Call described the gerrymandered district that it dubbed “The Mistake By the Lake”:
[T]he two Democrats don’t exactly live next door to each other -- more like 120 miles apart. So Republicans drew a thin district connecting their homes, stretching from west Cleveland to Toledo along the Lake Erie coastline. The district is connected by a bridge that’s only 20 yards wide, as well as by a single beach at one point. When Crane Creek State Park beach is covered during high water, Democrats argue the district is not even contiguous.
So by creating what Roll Call called “one of the top five ugliest districts” in the United States, Speaker Boehner reduced the count of Democrats in the House by one. He also -- and this is what’s really important -- deprived us of Dennis Kucinich, our great Warrior for Peace.
The term “Warrior for Peace” is an auto-antonym or, if you prefer, an oxymoron. [Insert obvious joke here.] Regardless of that, it is a title of honor that Dennis Kucinich deserves. Because Dennis Kucinich, like Barbara Lee and Jim McGovern and (on a good day) I, have tried again and again to focus attention on the unbelievable destructiveness of our seemingly endless foreign occupations. Dennis was not afraid to say that the Military-Industrial Complex controls our foreign policy, like Wall Street controls our economic policy, and Big Oil controls our energy policy. And to create a counterweight to the military-industrial complex, Dennis introduced legislation to establish a Department of Peace.
Dennis stands at 5’7”. My guess is that he weighs no more than 140 pounds. But that modest frame notwithstanding, Dennis Kucinich has been a mighty warrior: a Warrior for Peace.
Governor Howard Dean lost the race for President in 2004. He then picked himself up, dusted himself off, and he (and President Obama) led the Democrats to victory in 2008. I respect and admire Howard Dean for that.
Maybe Dennis Kucinich, like Howard Dean, will now find something else worth doing. Because there sure is a lot that needs to get done.
A Warrior is always needed, and wanted. And, as the Oscar-winning movie “The Hurt Locker” illustrated, a Warrior has to fight.