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Dancing With Ghosts

One hundred and fifteen years ago, on December 29, 1890, the US Seventh Calvary, under the control of Colonel James Forsyth, directed artillery fire against Lakota men, women and children. One hundred and fifty Native Americans were killed in what became known as the Massacre at Wounded Knee in South Dakota.
"Dancing with Ghosts"
By Dennis Kucinich
United States Congressman
Sunday, December 19, 2005

Late in the evening of this day, Sunday, December 18, 2005, the United States House of Representatives will vote on the Defense Authorization bill which will contain a provision to permit the drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). I have taken three opportunities on the floor of the House early today to alert the American people of this backdoor approach to passing a very controversial bill which is desecration of the basic human rights of the Gwich'in people.

When will America get off the treadmill of sacrificing native rights to greed, territorial ambitions and fear? We will soon observe a grim anniversary which testifies to our persistent moral dilemma when it comes to those who were here first.

One hundred and fifteen years ago, on December 29, 1890, the US Seventh Calvary, under the control of Colonel James Forsyth, directed artillery fire against Lakota men, women and children. One hundred and fifty Native Americans were killed in what became known as the Massacre at Wounded Knee in South Dakota.

U.S. Government troops were drawn to the land of the Lakotas to enforce a ban on Ghost Dance Religion, a native mysticism which taught non-violence and included chanting prayers and dancing one could achieve the ecstasy of harmony with the paradise of the natural world. The dance was forbidden out of fear that excitation of religious passions would turn to Indian violence against the US Government.

The history of the United States' relationship with our native peoples has been one shame-ridden chapter after another of expropriation, humiliation, and deception, theft of lands, theft of natural resources, destruction of sacred sites and massacres. The US' relationship with our native peoples has been an endless cycle of exploitation and contrition. Massacres and apologies.



Who in the future United States will apologize to the descendants of today's Gwitch'in tribe, whose humble, natural way of life, religion, and culture are threatened with extinction by the plan to drill oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? The Gwich'in tribe has lived on their ancestral lands for 20,000 years in harmony with the natural world.

The drilling for oil in the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge, called by the Gwich'in "the Sacred Place Where All Life Begins" will disrupt caribou calving grounds, leading to the long-term decline not only of the herd, but of the tribe which depends upon it for survival. This will not only violate Gwich'in internationally recognized human rights and make a mockery of our founding principles of belief in the inalienable right of each person to "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness."

Members of Congress will come to the floor today and say we need to drill to protect our economy, to defend our country, to keep our way of life. I intend to point the reciprocal nature of our moral decisions.

Christian teaching tells us to do unto others as we would have them do unto ourselves. We learn from other spiritual insights that what we do unto others we actually do to ourselves. We cannot in the consciousness of true American spirit return to a history of slavery, a history where women had no rights, or a history where native peoples are objectified and deprived of their humanity, their culture, their religion, their health, their lives.

We must make our stand now not only as to who the Gwich'in are, but, in a world where all are interdependent and interconnected ,who we are, and what we will become based on our decisions today.

When we perpetrate acts of violence, such as drilling in ANWR, we are
damaging ourselves as humans. It will destroys the land, it destroys the herd, it destroys the Gwich'in. It destroys us all. Another part of the true America will die. We must not only search for alternative energy. We must search for an alternative way to live. We must escape this cycle of destruction. We must reconcile with nature. We must find a path to peace, with our native brothers and sisters and with ourselves.

One hundred and fifteen years ago, the Ghost Dancers were killed. Yet we still meet their ghosts. They are dancing upon the coastal plains of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
mmmmm 19.Dec.2005 12:14

ghost dancer

i like this dennis fellow.

Me too 19.Dec.2005 12:54

jac

He will be remembered, I think, as a guy who had all the right ideas but who was not corrupt enough to get them heard...

no wonder i switched to a dem long enough to vote in the primary 19.Dec.2005 13:33

Democracy Catalyst democracy.catalyst@ecotv.org

I would love to see Dennis Kucinich make another run for the presidency. He is fairly astute, and has the balls to not only take stances, but offer solutions to many of our trickier dilemmas.

To those who made it out last week (Even if you didn't stay) Thank you for participating. You can watch EcoTV's video from the ANWR demonstration last week right here:


http://www.ecotv.org
206-20-ECOTV

Wow 19.Dec.2005 19:28

Ellen K. ellen@kucinich.us

Wow to all of you.

What a difference we all are making and will make in the future!

I sent this Dennis Kucinich presentation out about an hour ago and it was forwarded to this site. How wonderful to read your responses. I will forward this site to Dennis so he can read your kind and encouraging words.

His campaign is still active and you can check out his web site at www.kucinich.us for other topics.

Also FYI: Dennis has produced a program on the issue of Social Security. The danger of privitization is not gone. One never knows. Perhaps it will be hacked away bit by bit.

The production is informative, educational and well documented with government facts and figures. (Over 1,000 hours of research went into this production.)

Information about this production is available on his web site. Also, I have copies of the production and would be willing to show it to houseparties and groups.

If you can help support this effort to inform and educate please feel free to contact me at  ellen@kucinich.us. In the subject line PLEASE PUT: Re: social security production.

Sincerely,
Ellen


Ellen, let's dicker 20.Dec.2005 00:54

Dorothy

First, an aside : I checked the site you link. I found the above article through the link "Environment / Energy". It certainly belongs there. However, the home page contains only apparently outdated leads. Almost, I looked no further. I doubt that a random citizen stumbling through would bother. Perhaps, you should find somebody, not only willing but eager, to regularly cycle items through the home page.


Now, the hard part : During the most recent presidential primaries, I observed a most interesting phenomenon. Everytime those among my acquaintance showing centrist, populist, or leftish attitude cast their hopefilled attention toward Nader or Greens, the Democratic Party would push forward a ghost-candidate, a decoy, maybe a stalking-horse. My friends would invest hopes, sometimes time and money, in the ghost. Until it became obvious that he was going electorally nowhere, then some would stick, some would drop out, some would turn back to Nader etc. Until a new ghost was raised.

I'm not saying Dennis was so cynical. But he was one of the ghosts. I think he is sincere in what he claims to stand for. I think he is misguided to hope to turn the Democratic Party; however, he may be right and he is old enough to make his own decisions regarding where to spend his life.

I wish to issue a challenge : When it becomes apparent that Dennis has no real chance to gain the nomination, will you, Ellen, resign from his campaign and go to work for whichever 'third party' seems most reasonable to you? (Of course, "reasonable" does not include the possibility of being elected.) Will you make a good-faith effort to persuade others to follow you?

Obviously, it is unlikely Dennis would be able to participate in such a turning. Perhaps, the "K" in your name makes this impossible for you as well. Also, we would not wish to strip Dennis naked of his election staff. However, are you willing to consider such a proposal, and to promote it (barring obvious constraints) among Dennis's team?

I propose that you stay within the Party with Dennis, while he still has a chance; but move out to help some 'third party' expand the political landscape, when his campaign becomes pointless.

Remember to think about the design of your website.

NOT a zero-sum game 20.Dec.2005 05:08

g.d. dem

A better suggestion for Dennis is to continue his positive efforts to present Democratic
voters nationally with a candidate who has a sane and sensible program to offer.

Dennis isn't on an ego trip, and he isn't acting on behalf of nefarious pols lurking in shadowy back-offices of the Democratic Party. The idea that somehow the Kucinich campaign cannot co-exist with campaigns outside the Democratic Party is ridiculous, at least here in Oregon, because we vote in the primary ONLY with either the Republican or Democratic ballots. So, you could have been registered Democrat to vote for Dennis AND attended the Nader convention or signed the Nader petition. Or been an active and activist member of the OGP the whole time!

The idea that the Kucinich campaign somehow steals votes from Nader is more odious than the idea that Nader can never be anything but a spoiler! In fact, the two negativities are the exact same thing - an attempt to limit voters' choices. And those two negativities do NOT cancel out to make a positive!

DOROTHY PLEASE NOTE: although frequently asked to criticize Nader in the 2004 primary campaign, Dennis NEVER had anything but praise for him! Nader, similarly, has never attacked Kucinich -- this idea of yours isn't coming from them, it's coming out of a negative thought pattern from somewhere else (corporate media?). It isn't Kucinich or Nader who divides progressives. Sadly, it is Dorothy's kind of thinking that is the problem, because it serves only to divide the progressive movement. The problem isn't limited to Dorothy, however, it is dominant among many Democrats too. But it isn't the kind of thinking that Dennis, or any other committed progressive, gives in to.

THE BEST SUGGESTION OF ALL, for Dennis, is to present Democrats with a proposal for opening the ballot in every state through IRV. That way, the Democratic Party could open itself to the Libertarians on the right and to the Greens and/or Socialists on the left. That is definitely in the self-interest of the Democratic Party - to see itself as a winner in a post-two-party-system U.S.A. - as the "center-left" party in a multi-party system.

With at least half of the potential voters not even voting, how can it be a zero-sum game?

Dennis is already on it! 20.Dec.2005 07:45

g.d. dem

Dennis isn't wrapped up in the 2008 presidential thing, but he is already working to reform our electoral system to allow alternative candidates and minor parties more access to ballots, to the media and to campaign funding. (Kucinich is also heavy into correcting election fraud, corporate vote-counting, and such.)

Dennis is already on it: from the Kucinich web site --

"Campaign Reform and IRV"

Our election system is in need of serious reform to expand and enrich democracy. I support measures such as:

* Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)
* Comprehensive campaign finance reform and Clean Money public financing of the public's elections
* Ample free television time for candidates, coupled with the break-up of the media monopolies that restrict political debate
* Election Day as a holiday
* Election Day voter registration
* Enhanced voting rights enforcement
* An end to the racially-biased disenfranchisement of felons who have served their time
* Full Congressional representation for residents of the District of Columbia
* Cross-party endorsement or "fusion"
* An inclusive debate process that does not exclude credible third-party candidates
* Expansion of elections, using full (proportional) representation, which assures more accurate and broader representation than winner-take-all elections

Please go to the Kucinich website and read the entire statement on IRV --

 http://www.kucinich.us/issues/campaignreform-irv.php

Also, go to the website and read the statement on the threats to election integrity, the problems with electronic voting, etc. --

 http://www.kucinich.us/issues/e_voting.php

oops, a typo 20.Dec.2005 07:50

g.d. dem

In my "NOT a zero-sum game" comment, I wrote "OGP" instead of "PGP" - the Pacific Green Party. That's Oregon's own Green Party, allied with the national Green Party USA, but also a very independent entity of its own.

Give me a break 20.Dec.2005 14:05

Dr Strange

While Dennis may have wonderful ideas and aspirations of a better world; so do alot of people. However, with the corruption and uselessness of the Democratic party Dennis has only undermined his talk by aligning with these "wolves in sheep clothing". There are much better affiliations out there that Dennis could align himself with, that truly represent what Dennis is preaching. I supported Dennis during this last election, but after the way he stood by Kerry after his apparent loss,,,when Kerry is corrupt as the come...as well as him not seeing how corrupt the Democratic party is...I say Dennis is just another person with good intentions but very misguided. Once he breaks with the Demokratic party and starts on a legitamite path, then maybe I can recognize Dennis as being worthy of some recognition. Until then he is just another Democrat keeping this fucked up empire in play. Wake up Dennis!

Dr. Strange's defeatism 20.Dec.2005 15:14

g.d. dem

It isn't Dennis Kucinich who lives in a fantasy world and whose fantasies stand in the way of progress.

It's Dr. Strange who cannot bring himself to recognize that we live in a country that is locked in a two-party system, resulting from winner-take-all voting as much as from anything else.

The Republicans have hired the best social scientists money can buy, as well as the best corporate vote-counters, and they have got the system figured out -- including how to play the Democrats. But the Republicans can only be stopped by the people finding an effective voice of opposition, and there is no opposition mechanism available other than the Democrats -- because of the system we have inherited.

The objective reality (as opposed to Dr. Strange's fantasy world) tells us that we can't get anywhere unless we start out where we are now, in the present, whether we like the cards that we have been dealt or not.

The unpleasant truth is that progress in America is hostage to the survival and good operating condition of the Democratic Party as a populist party. Right now, if you want change to actually happen, you need the Democratic Party.

We CAN change the Democratic Party, working both inside it and outside it. So we fight within the Democratic Party to oppose the Republican/corporatist operatives there. And we fight outside the Democratic Party on behalf of a future vision that leaves the two-party system behind.

Or you can follow Dr. Strange -- who has presented almost NO PLAN (zero, zilch, nada) for how to oppose the fascist theocratic take-over. Dr. Strange has just one suggestion: to surrender one huge piece of territory in the political battlefield, the Democratic Party. That's a lousy strategy: better strategy is to oppose the corporatists everywhere and concede nothing to them!

I never said there was anything wrong with Dennis 21.Dec.2005 04:13

Dorothy

Except that he has chosen to work within the Democratic Party and he accepts being cynically used to mislead those with "leftish" aspirations. He is himself on the extreme left-wing among party members, in same ways left of Nader.

However, he is highly unlikely to be any more successful next time than his turn last time as a ghost candidate. Obviously, he sees value in doing that.

Equally obviously, at some point, most people will realize that his campaign is over. Most of his people will be at loose ends, maybe embittered, maybe ready to work for somebody else.

Ellen K. is excited by Dennis' ideas being brought here, and by the prospects of enlisting some of us to help support his effort. She wants us.

I want her and her collegues _when_Dennis_no_longer_needs_them_. They can help us make "leftish" aspirations, some other candidate or party of their choice, more visible in the perceptions of the American people. Obviously, this would also help Dennis in the further future, making him seem to be less a left-wing loony.. or allowing him to move a little further left without falling off the edge of the world.

Leftists within the Party have asked leftists without the Party to invest in their agenda. What's wrong with them returning the favour?

Dorothy asks . . . 21.Dec.2005 16:51

g.d. dem

Dorothy: "Leftists within the Party have asked leftists without the Party to invest in their agenda. What's wrong with them returning the favour?"

Dennis and other progressive Democrats HAVE returned, and will continue to return, the favor! I repeat --

Please go to the Kucinich website and read the entire statement on IRV --

 http://www.kucinich.us/issues/campaignreform-irv.php

Also, go to the website and read the statement on the threats to election integrity, the problems with electronic voting, etc. --

 http://www.kucinich.us/issues/e_voting.php
________________

BTW: 2008 is a long way off. Dennis isn't EVEN campaigning for the 2008 presidential nomination or decided about that. So what's Dennis doing and why is Ellen posting a comment at PIMC?

Apparently you do not know that Dennis is co-chair (along with Barbara Lee) of the Congressional Progressive Caucus -- as such, the Kucinich website represents the center of the progressive wing in the Congress. It doesn't require a presidential election year or a presidential campaign for Dennis to be a NATIONAL leader!

It really isn't some big ego trip, at least not for Kucinich. Please, get off of your idea that progressive politics can happen only once every four years. You are unwittingly buying into the mainstream coverage of politics that sees all of it as a horse-race -- where we are the spectators. If you are a progressive, and I believe you are, then you are a participant!

Apparently you do not know how politics works in America 22.Dec.2005 02:45

Dorothy

I did expect Ellen K. to know.

What is it that I don't know? Exactly . . . 22.Dec.2005 09:41

g.d. dem

I said to Dorothy: "It really isn't some big ego trip, at least not for Kucinich. Please, get off of your idea that progressive politics can happen only once every four years. You are unwittingly buying into the mainstream coverage of politics that sees all of it as a horse-race -- where we are the spectators. If you are a progressive, and I believe you are, then you are a participant!"

Dorothy responds: "Apparently you do not know how politics works in America."

But where am I wrong?

Am I wrong to say that politics for Dennis Kucinich isn't a big ego trip?

Am I wrong to say that progressive politics isn't a once-every-four-years event?

Am I wrong to say that mainstream coverage of politics treats it all as a spectator sport, a media event for "celebrities" only, a horse race?

Am I wrong to instinctively distrust the mainstream media point of view?

Am I wrong to say that any true progressive looks at politics as participatory?

Or am I wrong to think that Dorothy is a true progressive?

Dorothy: if I am wrong, please point out my mistakes!

Why I stayed with the Demorcrats after the Kucinich campaign ended 23.Dec.2005 22:07

eridani fomalhaut2003@yahoo.com

I was loosely affiliated with the Greens (a Nader voter in 1996 and 2000) when Kucinich announced his candidacy. Having read his stunning speech "Prayer for America" online  link to www.kucinich.us, I immediately signed on as a volunteer. Though his platform was just about identical to that of the Greens, there was a very striking difference between what Nader asked of me in 2000 and what Kucinich asked of me in 2004. Nader asked me to lobby for his inclusion in the presidential debates. Kucinich asked me to join my local party organization, become a Precinct Committee Officer, and talk to my neighbors. I did that, and the experience convinced me that no third party really takes electoral politics seriously enough to organize for it (with some honorable exceptions at the local level.) The bottom line is that Democrats have PCOs, and the Greens and other third parties don't. Electoral politics has to start at that neighborhood level and be focused on the actual process of running for, winning and holding public office. Some other things I found out--

1. My neighbors aren't particularly progressive. Not necessarily anti-progressive, but mostly not seeing a reason to be involved in the public sphere. I decided that it was more important to work on changing that than to spend a lot of time running off to Capitol Hill and the U. District to hang out with people who already agree with me.

2. The rank and file Dems--the ones who do the actual work of doorbelling, phonebanking and tablesitting--are far more progressive than the party leadership. I got a whole raft of resolutions passed at the precinct caucuses, every one of which was straight out of the Kucinich platform. Unluckily, most of the people who cheerfully endorsed those resolutions though that Kucinich was not "electable."

3. The Green commitment to the politics of everyday life (reducing your energy footprint, becoming more spiritually evolved) is very important, but it should not be used as an excuse to avoid taking electoral politics seriously.

4. It takes more than a progressive platform to win elections. Any candidate who is committed to fighting for the little people is going to be dismissed as non-serious by the corporate-controlled media. Actually winning requires doing an end run around that, and the only way to do it is to have really large and well organized circles of human connection. Paul Wellstone won as a underdog because he had 20 years of experience as a community organizer and 17.000 volunteers. Bernie Sanders (an independent socialist) is poised to become the next junior senator from Vermont because he has been running for and holding local offices there since 1975. (That he is not affiliated with any socialist party organization says all you need to know about left third parties in this country.)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT 24.Dec.2005 01:43

SILVER DOVE

I agree with mch of what eridani said.

While we each have a reason to support various political lines, be it Greens, Environmentalists, Progressives....The bottom line is this. We all have much in common.

We have three choices:

Each group have a candidate run for office. With all the various groups it would be difficult for any one of them to win.

or

Each group just keep talking but a lot of energy saying something we already agree on but not much accomplished in the big picture because of the two party system.

or

All the groups can stand up for their particular stands, unite as a group
and get busy attending the local Democratic Party meetings where the combined groups end up being the majority. Take your stands on the local level before the "election games get down to the wire". Like NOW.

Be sincere. Tell them your concerns and what you expect. There certainly are enough issues to address. Bring it home. Environment, off shore accounts, trade, livable wages.....You all know what they are. End with the question is it in the best interest of the people for big cuts in taxes for the rich? Is the medicare and prescription bill in the best interest of the people? Just keep bring up the vision. I like the phrase If it is good for the people it is good for the nation. If it is good for the nation then it is good for the world.

Right now both the Republicans and the Democrats enjoy our not banning together for "A Common Cause. That leaves them to them self to play their money and strategy games. Let us surprise them.

What would happen if all the local Democratic Party Organizations were given a resolution to support a Department of Peace? Would they present
Democratic Congressmen and Senators then support the Bill? Seems to me each Democratic candidate wants the support of their local Democratic Party
for votes and for money to run again.

How would the Republicans react if every elected democrat in Congress supported the Bill? Perhaps they would work harder to slip in their own version of a Dept of Peace rep. They already are. I believe they want such a position seat on the Dept of Defense. That would not be good.

It doesn't cost anything to register as a Democrat to do this then latter if you so desire change again.

We have to measure what is it we support. A party, an issue and then take the road that can lead to the goal. The goal, bringing our country to what it is ment to be and To be all it can be. To be a leader of world peace and respect all life. We are all related by the very fact that
we all world wide live on this planet called earth.

The strategy: Transformation Let's get together and transform. At least give it a good try. But we need to do it now. Not a few months before the election.

Let us all work together. We all have a lot in common.
Peace,
Silver Dove