In 2007, Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat, and Ron Paul, a Republican, were kindred spirits: Demure in size, but mighty in spirit, the congressmen were steadfast in their outsized battle to change American foreign policy as they sought the presidency.
Though successful in forging a friendly and admirable bipartisan bridge on issues of war and largely peace, neither was successful in their 2008 presidential bids. And now both men, who prided themselves on political integrity and purity, grass-roots base and a lack of corporate and lobbyist affiliations have been moved off the political stage, perhaps for good. Brimming with political will and spirit, but short on money, the two doves have flown into the proverbial political coop.
On Monday, Paul effectively ended his campaign, after he said he would stop spending money in the 11 states with upcoming party primaries. Previously, he had announced that he will be retiring from the House of Representatives. In March, Kucinich, of Toledo, lost his congressional seat to Rep. Marcy Kaptur, also a progressive Democrat from Toledo, and one of the longest-serving women in the House.
It just seemed just like yesterday Kucinich was not far from Paul’s mind, when Paul mirthfully stated during a ReLOVEution presidential campaign interview that if elected he’d consider putting the liberal Ohio congressman in his administration, creating a “Department of Peace,” where the peace-loving Kucinich could really shine.
“You’ve got to give credit to people who think,” Paul said of Kucinich at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, as reported by the Hill on Sept. 21, 2011.
Like the photographic inversion of monochromatic mirror images, Kucinich and Paul reflected each other in their general antiwar stance, foreign policy views and civil-liberty reservations about what they and their supporters perceive as our modern-day surveillance state. While political outliers in their respective parties, they both asked tough questions that challenged us morally and encouraged reflection.
Kucinich recently gave a commencement speech at the American University of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates emphasizing the significance of world peace and harmony given our global interdependence. Kucinich, who often questioned whether our policy of preemptive war had evolved into “permanent warfare,” suggested to the graduating class that each nation should create a cabinet of peace to help cultivate a sustainable ecosystem of global peace and accord.
Ron Paul, a non-interventionist by nature, opposed what he called the “terrible cost of war.” A staunch civil libertarian, Paul evoked the admonition of Benjamin Franklin, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety,” when arguing against expansion of war and domestic surveillance to enhance national security.
In attempts to atone for racist newsletter allegations, Paul would go on to state the obvious and attack the war on drugs as “racist” and “discriminatory.” He also highlighted the fact that he provided medical services to black and interracial couples as an ob/gyn doctor at a time when many other white members of his profession would not.
In the bellicose Shakespearean wilderness of “pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war,” this world has become, perhaps it’s time for that bipartisan cabinet of peace that Kucinich called for during his recent commencement address, “to develop social structures for peace and strategies to avert conflict between groups and between states.” What a fitting memorial to two departed advocates of global peace and understanding. They may be gone from politics, but they won’t soon be forgotten. Their political legacies no doubt will live on — how is yet to be seen.
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