The Audacity of a Vote

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It's about getting someone elected who can truly relate to her constituents, but I can't elude questions from the media about making history. My campaign is riding the coattails of what's happening in our presidential race. As a journalist, I reported history. I didn't make history. Eventually, I decided to embrace what will be a breakthrough in the Native American experience. Women of all other ethnic backgrounds have broken through to join their male counterparts in the halls of Congress, including Shirley Chisholm of New York, who in became the first black woman elected to Congress.

Making history is not why I'm running for Congress. When I was asked to consider running, I asked myself two questions. First, ''Are you content with the way things are in America? Second, ''Can you make a difference? I know what it's like to be on the outside looking in. There's the curiosity factor, wondering what it's like to be part of a club you've never been invited to join. And then it happens.

The invitation arrives. When I attended the University of Oklahoma, I wondered what it was like to be part of a sorority.

The college Greek system mostly consists of the well-to-do and most are, well, not Native. Sound familiar? One day, a Native American friend of mine invited me to join her sorority, Kappa Delta. This means adding at least , troops and making a long-overdue investment in equipment, armament, weapons systems, and strategic defense. The need to support our troops is repeated like a mantra in Washington.

Yet little has been said about the commitment of resources needed to make this more than an empty phrase. And who at this point ought to be enabling existing commitments, let alone expanded ones? We remain by far the nation with the biggest and costliest military in the world. The Pentagon's budget is well in excess of all other nations' military budgets combined.

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There's not a force on earth that can challenge the military conventionally. It doesn't need expansion. It may need some redirection. And there's no need for an American presence in Europe anymore. Those forces should redeploy. The Pentagon is sucking the marrow out of the federal budget and making a Sparta of this alleged "city upon a hill.

Yet what does Obama do?

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He does Romney one better. He breaks down the numbers: "We should expand our ground forces by adding 65, soldiers to the army and 27, marines. Or in the hands of the only nation that has used them? Henry Kissinger must be on Obama's speed-dial.

The Advocate: The Audacity to Vote – Green

Just in case the jingoes haven't got the point that Obama is all for the bang-bang, he notes again, using that metaphor so beloved by every Fox News talking head plus terminology of Rumsfeld vintage, how "we must also become better prepared to put boots on the ground in order to take on foes that fight asymmetrical and highly adaptive campaigns on a global scale. That last, incidentally, is another considerable contradiction.

Intelligence, in every sense, is absent. Obama does emphasize diplomacy. He's been reading Dennis Ross' " Statecraft. Iran and Syria are OK to talk to. But there's no mention of opening a dialogue with Hamas, let alone Hezbollah, the Taliban or al-Qaeda. So his international diplomatic initiatives are stuck in the very same "conventional thinking of the past, largely viewing problems as state-based," that he so eagerly and justly criticizes Bush for.

On Israel, the best he can say is the same old rehash about Israel being "our strongest ally in the region" a doubtful assertion anymore and this incredibly obtuse prescription from a few decades back: "we must help the Israelis identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace, while isolating those who seek conflict and instability.

How different is that from the Bush approach?

The Advocate: The Audacity to Vote – Green – Green Party Watch

Not very. Obama's thinking is muddy, haphazard, half-baked. And every few paragraphs - like money shots in porno movies - he throws in his bit of brawn to remind us again and again what a tough man he is: "To defeat al Qaeda, I will build a twenty-first-century military and twenty-first-century partnerships as strong as the anticommunist alliance that won the Cold War to stay on the offense everywhere from Djibouti to Kandahar.

His understanding of this modern-day terrorism seems simplistic to infantile, too. He quotes an unnamed, "senior U. As Lawrence Wright reminds us in "The Looming Tower," terrorism's founders, leaders and ideological gurus-Qutb, bin Laden, Zawahiri-are all the product of middle class wealth.

The rank-and-file follows the same pattern. According to the research of Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a sociologist at the American University in Cairo who studied Egypt's political prisoners, "most of the Islamist recruits were young men from villages who had come to the city for schooling.


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The majority were the sons of mid-level bureaucrats. They were ambitious and tended to be drawn to the fields of science and engineering, which accept only the most qualified students. They were not the alienated, marginalized youth that a sociologist might have expected. The same is being said of Britain's current boil of would-be terrorists-doctors and such, for Khadija's sake.

Obama's thinking about terrorism is stuck in a romanticism as pre-conceived and inaccurate as notions of the noble savage. It sounds good to the masses. It's simple.

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But it's false. I could go on. But to say what? That Obama decries Darfur but doesn't say what he'd do about it? Nowhere does it connect LGBT concerns with immigration reform or health care. How do you like the following? The Green Party affirms the rights of all individuals to freely choose intimate partners, regardless of their sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The Green Party recognizes the equal rights of persons who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex, transsexual, queer, or transgender to housing, jobs, civil marriage, medical benefits, child custody, and in all areas of life including equal tax treatment.

The Green Party will be inclusive of language in local, state, and federal antidiscrimination law that ensures the rights of intersex individuals and prohibits discrimination based on gender identity, characteristics, and expression as well as on sex, gender, or sexual orientation. We are opposed to intersex genital mutilation. The Green Party affirms the right of all persons to self-determination with regard to gender identity and sex. We therefore support the right of intersex and transgender individuals to be free from coercion and involuntary assignment of gender or sex.

We affirm the right of access to medical and surgical treatment for assignment or reassignment of gender or sex, based on informed consent. We will pursue legislation against all forms of hate crimes, including those directed against people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, and intersex. The Green Party will end all federal military and civilian aid to national governments whose laws result in the imprisonment or otherwise bring harm to citizens and residents based on sexual orientation or gender identity, characteristics, and expression.