Saturday, August 16, 2003

Dennis Kucinich Hates Me, and Other Tales:

Jon, Teresa, Keith and I went to hear Dennis Kucinich speak this evening. Politically, he's my personal best option -- we probably agree on about ninety-nine percent of the issues he addresses, although the fact that he was anti-choice at one point in time disturbs me. Doesn't matter -- he won't get the nomination. He's simply too progressive, and too blunt about it, for our current political climate (please, America, prove me wrong).

One of the nomination losing statements that he made this evening was also something I took issue with. After devoting a lengthy portion of his speech to how he was going to "bring Democracy back to America," he went on in question-and-answer to state that he intends, when he is president, to sign an executive order outlawing the death penalty, and another outlawing the School of the Americas.

I know that executive orders have their place. However, I think it's a dangerous thing to claim to be bringing back democracy, only to exclude certain issues that you just "know" you're right about from a congressional vote. I am against the death penalty. I can argue the moral and ethical reasons for this backward and forward. However, I used to be pro-death penalty. I know that there are moral and ethical arguments on that side, too. No one person, whatever office they're elected to, ought to claim such a monopoly on truth that they impose their own reasoning on this country of vastly differing definitions of "morality" without putting it to a vote.

So, I quietly mention this to Keith, who has just said the same thing to Jon (quit using my brain!!!). He soon comments that I should go up and ask the question. I reply that I know what the answer will be. Keith, displaying an annoying habit of being right, tells me that the question still needs to be heard, as few people will have considered it. So up I go, one huge bundle of stage fright. It looks grim at one point, as a handler tells him to cut off questions after the person in front of me, but he decides to take two extras. So, stuttering and generally sounding like a mouse on crack, I explain my philosophical quandary, only to have him do exactly what I expected and start lecturing me on inequalities in the use of the death penalty. I stifled the urge to yell, "I know all this -- I have a degree in it" and returned to my seat the most hated person in the room.

While I was waiting to ask my question, I saw someone waving at me from one of the front rows -- My friend David, from HS. I caught up with him later, along with another friend whom he was with -- she thanked me for asking "the hard question," so I felt less vilified. But the next time, someone without massive stage fright can do it -- I prefer to get my adrenaline rush from trying not to kill myself in whitewater.


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