A few weeks ago, best-selling author and Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore visited Vancouver, and was asked during a public appearance why he doesn’t run for president in 2004.
“Because I don’t want to get shot,” said Moore, who explained that he and his family received numerous death threats after Moore used his March, 2003 Oscar acceptance speech to harshly ridicule George W. Bush’s presidency and the war on Iraq in front of millions of television viewers. Moore hammers on progressive themes that resonate with most marijuana users. He opposes the drug war, but goes much further than that. He has the guts to question the official mythology about September 11, 2001, and to suggest that President Bush and other Bush associates may have had unlawful, if not downright sinister, involvement with Osama bin Laden, the Saudis, and others implicated in the 911 attacks.
Those who yearn for an articulate, marketable American presidential candidate who embodies similarly radical views views have found a soft-spoken Midwestern Congressman named Dennis Kucinich.
Kucinich, who began his political career as mayor of Cleveland, Ohio in 1977, is not afraid to put his life on the line by telling the truth, and he is creating a growing buzz among Americans who want to elect a truly courageous and honest president in 2004.
He is running as a Democrat because he believes in pro-labor, pro-working family values that used to be considered Democratic Party traditions. But Kucinich is far more intelligent, ethical and radical than his Democratic competitors in early qualifying primaries from now until March that will determine who the Party chooses as its nominee to challenge Bush. The Democratic Party bigwigs he is competing against- Howard Dean, John Kerry, Richard Gephardt, Joseph Lieberman- are all “Republicrats” who, save for some rhetorical differences that distinguish them from Emperor George W., are too mainstream, corporate, and timid for Americans who believe that the US needs a total rehabilitation of domestic and foreign policy.
While Gephardt, Kerry, Lieberman and the other well-known Democrats “criticize” the war in Iraq while backing the occupation of Iraq, Kucinich is the only candidate who says the US must immediately pull out of Iraq and let the Iraqi people and the UN take over.
While other Democratic front-runners support the drug war and are unwilling even to support the rights of medical marijuana users, Kucinich vows to end the war on marijuana and replace the drug war into a sane public policy that views drug use as a health and family problem rather than a problem dealt with by law enforcement.
“Most marijuana users do so responsibly, in a safe, recreational context,” Kucinich says. “They lead normal, productive lives-pursuing careers, raising families, and participating in civic life. In addition, marijuana has proven benefits in the treatment of numerous diseases, such as providing a valuable means of pain management for terminally ill patients. In either of these contexts, there is no rational justification for criminally enforced prohibitions. These unnecessary arrests and incarcerations serve only to crowd prisons, backlog the judicial system, and distract law enforcement officials from pursuing terrorists and other violent criminals.”
The Congressman has proposed lifting criminal penalties for most marijuana-related activities, and although he stops short of recommending full-on legalization of the herb, he is the only candidate for president who is generating enthusiasm among the marijuana community.
On other issues, Kucinich is equally as innovative. He favors dismantling NAFTA and other dangerous trade agreements. He challenges the rights and power of corporations. He accuses corporate media of being against democracy, and of deliberately scripting news content so that it favors corporate, fascist, and political elites. He endorses human rights of all kinds- including abortion, gay rights, and minority rights. He supports universal health care. He says global warming and human destruction of the earth must be viewed as a moral issue and as a serious threat to the long-term survival of our species. He advocates dismantling America’s emphasis on military solutions for world problems, as well as the draconian police state tactics of the Patriot Act and other post-911 policies that have robbed Americans of basic constitutional rights.
Kucinich calls himself “the peace candidate.” He brings a sincere, spiritual, and sensitive tone to politics. Voters easily sense he is not running a campaign based on ego, greed, lust for power, stupidity, or vanity. The man’s history provides clues to his unique stature and his commitment to public service. He comes from a poor family that was often homeless during his youth. He fought powerful special interests when he was mayor of Cleveland, was forced out of politics by corrupt businesses, embarked on a vision quest, and then returned to politics years later, determined to save America from people like George W. Bush.
Kucinich is running an insurgency campaign that has garnered the support of long-time marijuana activists like music legend Willie Nelson. He is a respected member of Congress and head of the Congressional Progressive caucus who is popular with liberal and conservative voters in his home state of Ohio, and his campaign is creating grassroots strength across the country even though major media outlets refuse to acknowledge his existence.
Political pundits and corporate media reps have written off the Kucinich campaign, citing his low standing in the polls and his lack of money. But progressive activists, marijuana advocates, the anti-war community, environmentalists, and working people believe that Kucinich has a chance of winning the Democratic presidential nomination if the candidate can continue to gain financial support and campaign volunteers.
The candidate is more credible, articulate, personable, and passionate than Ralph Nader; he is the only clear alternative to the pro-war, pro-corporate politics of Bush or any of the current Democratic front-runners.
Cannabis Culture publisher Marc Emery is urging all Americans who share a pro-marijuana, pro-freedom agenda to back Kucinich with their money and by volunteering to assist his campaign. Emery urges American voters to check out Kucinich’s website at www.kucinich.us, and to work hard for the candidate as soon as possible.
“The 2004 election year will be a critical one for the United States. Kucinich is the only candidate who could turn America around and make it less of a threat to the world,” Emery said. “I am sending Pot-TV reporter Loretta Nall to interview Kucinich, and am asking everybody in the US to do what they can right now to help him win the primaries and become the Democratic Party’s choice to oppose George W. Bush in November, 2004.”