A Dissenter In Search of Clarity
Todd Benoit's commentary, "Get in line, Cindy. An election is at stake" (BDN, July 28), is an interesting assessment of current political chicanery.
In a country where Democrats and Republicans already treat citizens like mindless boobs, Mr. Benoit diverts the reader's attention from the widespread deception of both political parties by focusing on Cindy Sheehan, and he takes the bright light off the politicians who ravage our country and the world by pretending they are people they do not resemble. Judging from the abysmally low approval by citizens of Congress and the president, the people are not deceived.
Republicans and Democrats have been talking out of both sides of their mouths and creating deception for years, even with the acquiescence of the press. Seldom do the media challenge politicians with probing questions any more, which makes sneering at dissenters more than a benign action. The general condition of a civil society suffers when politicians get off easy.
It seems easier to demean dissent and those who disagree with the mainstream. Dissent occupies a noble position in political process and is worthy of more respect. The same can be said of the press. Indeed without pressure from both, history would favor only the powerful. Maine people have plenty of proof of that reality.
Republicans and Democrats both have joined the president in an unholy alliance (a criminal act, really) to prolong the war on Iraq for what they perceive as a political advantage over the other. By their actions they have signed death sentences and ensured crippling the souls and bodies of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers and Iraqis. They have deceived the people in cascading, untrue grounds for making war on Iraq without justification. We are not deceived.
The lack of questioning and demeaning of those who pose legitimate questions allows Tom Allen to be crowned the anti-war hero after voting every time to fund a war on Iraq except when a trick was used to put Republicans in an embarrassing position of seemingly going against their stated public policy.
Equally, Susan Collins is alternately vilified and praised for her work on "homeland security" that is in reality a huge patronage vehicle, not an effective method of security while our leaders work diligently to make enemies and to create the basis for our destruction.
The politicians take pains to obfuscate: Just try to understand congressional votes that are put forward in a tortured English of double, triple or quadruple negatives that are nearly impossible to understand. But we are not deceived.
Think of what is in front of us that will come back to haunt us: The president has announced that he will dump billions of dollars' worth of weapons into the Middle East ostensibly to fund security. Just what the Middle East needs - more weapons! He is not being challenged. Why? America is the largest exporter of weapons in the world - spelled profit.
Congress recently passed legislation permitting the sale of enriched uranium to India. Every attempt to amend the legislation to prohibit its use for weapons was defeated in Congress. India sits next to nuclear powers Pakistan and China. India has not signed anti-nuclear proliferation treaties. And America complains about North Korea and Iran? The president just issued another executive order (July 17) based upon the emergency powers he assumed based upon the permission Congress "gave" him to invade Iraq. It allows him to arrest and to seize the property of citizens who threaten the country's policies in the Middle East. There are no questions by the press and no reaction from Congress.
It is a pattern. Our presidents and Congress have done nothing for 40 years to deal with policies of universal health care, the environment, energy, public transportation, fair taxation, worldwide proliferation of weapons, and other critical issues.
In the face of the failure of the checks and balances envisioned by our forebears to secure good government, why are those of us who step into the breach held up to ridicule?
Todd Benoit is no fool. He does not suffer fools, either, but neither do those of us who dissent.
Is Benoit's commentary really a modest call for us all to become dissenters and truth seekers until we drag the truth from the shadows and rebuild integrity in this country? Is he asking us to confront the corruption being practiced by those who ask us for our votes because it won't come from the inside?
For those who want to participate in the worthy practice of dissent come to Kennebunkport on Aug. 25. They say that Cindy will be there and the Indigo Girls and maybe Michael Moore (www.kportprotest.org). I will be there.
Todd should come along, too. He might meet Cindy.
Dexter J. Kamilewicz of Orr's Island was a candidate for Congress in Maine's 1st Congressional District in 2006.
© 2007 The Bangor Daily News