Evolving Peace

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Who Wants to be President ? Part II

Come on down, John Edwards is the next contestant on “Who wants to be President?” Thankfully the news is starting to turn away from presidential hopefuls, Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton towards a campaign with more substance. “Two Americas” a central theme to candidate Edwards message and an issue that is not far from reality for a lot of Americans.

Lost within the television culture of America there are deep pockets of poverty. Separated from the high profile tourist areas of the cities and bypasses of the interstate highway system are whole populations who have not and will never achieve the “American Dream.” Places like the Bronx, Detroit and rural communities of the South, Midwest and Vermont are merely forgotten. Life is not as it is seen on the happy sitcoms or the latest reality shows. America is broken and a major portion of our society is impoverished. While we have had many politicians speak in the past about fixing poverty, such as Johnson’s “War on Poverty” or George H. Bush’s and Reagan's “Trickle Down Economics” approaches, very few have actively pursued solving it. In the political spectrum there is plenty of talk but little action.

John Edwards began his candidacy in New Orleans yesterday with not just talk but action. Alongside him volunteers of all ages joined in helping to rebuild New Orleans 9th Ward. Despite the fact the government has failed them there are people still working hard to fix the city. Action speaks louder than words. For those in Vermont, it is reminiscent of Matt Dunne’s campaign for Lt. Governor. Sarah Adelman compares Edward’s to Dunne’s campaign in her blog, Finding Community in an Independent State. We as a society can complain as much as we want about the problems, but without our actions solutions never surface.

As the news broadcasted his candidacy, I listened to hear statements and visions, but lost within the coverage the talking head punditry was too busy analyzing Edwards’s decision to announce his candidacy during the week between Christmas and New Years. To the news the raging question was if the death of President Ford was going to detract his message from being broadcasted. Lost in that is the real serious problems facing the country. Over a year ago, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast had been devastated and still the harshness of the reality is affecting thousands of people.

As for the “Fair and Balanced” media of Fox, they cut of his speech and began analyzing his candidacy. Edwards through his votes on labor has gained admiration from the labor movement. Edwards a son of a mill worker gradyated from law school and became a successful lawyer representing clientele that had suffered from negligence. Contrary to right wing philosophy, people should be allowed to sue for damages when the are harmed by corporarate or medical neglect. Fox summed up their report by negatively stating that “Edwards has the support of Labor and the Trial Lawyers,” unlike other candidates who get their support from big business, particuarly that of the oil industry.

The pundits all discussed the latest polls and how it looks for his future. Discussions on issues were not their words of the day; it was rather the horse racing of the Presidency. No discussions on Edwards’s original sponsorship of the authorization to use force in the Senate, or his op-ed in The Washington Post from a year ago that stated his regrets on following the flayed doctrine. The issues for many Americans like me are strong and Iraq is one of them. I am reluctant to support any candidate that approved of the initial use of force, but at least Edwards has admitted to his mistake. Unlike the war hawks of McCain and Lieberman who are mere cheerleaders of the Presidents failures.

I look forward to seeing more of the issues affecting America surfacing through the news media. Unfortunately, the media’s stranglehold on debate nearly scratches the surface. As we must with the politicians the media must be held accountable. There are “Two Americas” and the corporate image of Hilary Clinton and the rock star image of Obama are not going to solve the issues. As the passing death of President Ford reminds us that America once needed a solid figure to restore confidence in our government after the zealousness of the Nixon era, it is needed once again after the disaster of the Bush Era. Whether it is Edwards or some one else, American needs a leader and Clinton and Obama are not my choice.

Robb Kidd

“The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” Malcolm X


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