David Swanson: Low standards, slim pickings, and election seasons
There are a number of Democrats running for Congress in the United States who might qualify as pro-peace in the very most minimal sense. And when I say there are a number of them, I mean a particular number. It’s about 12. But that’s not so bad out of 435 House elections and dozens of Senate races, right?
And when I say the most minimal standards, I mean that these are candidates who, first, do something rare for Democrats running for Congress: they acknowledge that foreign policy exists at all, and, second, they take some sort of position against war and/or military spending.
Here in Virginia’s Fifth District, we’re not so lucky. There are four Democrats running. One, Cameron Webb, has a website with no positions on anything at all. Another, RD Huffstetler, has the typical website with lots of policy positions, but zero acknowledgment that foreign policy even exists, that 96% of humanity exists, that 60% of the funding Congress votes on goes to militarism, that wars can be ended or extended or begun, that treaties can be joined or abandoned, that weapons can be sold or not, bases closed or opened. Nothing.
A third candidate, Claire Russo, has a website with a section on foreign policy. It contains five sentences that say approximately what might have been accomplished with zero sentences.
The fourth candidate, John Lesinski, has got eight sentences. Seven of them say nothing or worse, but one of them says: “In addition, I will ensure we renegotiate the Iran nuclear agreement, end support for the Saudi war in Yemen, restore travel to Cuba, and bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan.”
So, we’re still virtually in the dark. Is 60% of discretionary spending for militarism too little, too much, or just right? Should any treaties be ratified? Should any bases be closed? Are there any dictators who shouldn’t be sold weapons? What will Lesinski do to end the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq? Will he use a war powers resolution? Will he force a vote immediately? Should wars continue and troops remain everywhere else? Should nuclear weapons be built and deployed? Should drone murders continue? Who knows!
Lesinski’s platform is pathetic. Yet, after reviewing those of many other Congressional candidates, his soars over the standard they’ve set.
None of these candidates in Virginia’s Fifth is serious about avoiding climate collapse or nuclear apocalypse; none of them backs a civilized health coverage system or free college or a Green New Deal or anything much at all. But one of them is at least somewhat against war on five key countries, and that’s a start.