Friday, October 19, 2007

Chris Dodd - a leader 
Christopher Dodd, Senator from Connecticut and second-tier candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, did something yesterday that none of the other candidates have been doing - he showed some backbone and that he can muster up the courage of his convictions. Senator Dodd put a hold on the new FISA bill (which would give the telecom companies a free pass to break the law by spying on you and me). This was not only the right thing to do (where the bloody hell were you when we needed you, Harry Reid and Jay Rockefeller? In the wrong place, apparently.), it showed that Dodd can take some risks and lead on an issue where other Dems, most especially the other presidential candidates, are afraid to go.

Dodd has also been a leader in the fight to restore that most ancient of rights in a free society, habeas corpus. On that front, too, we've heard little to nothing from Senators Clinton or Obama or from John Edwards - the presumptive front-runners. What Dodd seems to get, and the others don't (or at least are afraid to mention) is that even guns-n-butter issues like Iraq, health care, education, and taxes won't count for squat if this country continues down the path of trading illusory security for the rights and liberties we Americans (even the most secular of us) have held sacred for over 200 years.

I'm not sanguine about the future of this country as a pluralistic, open, truly democratic society. We have often fallen short of those ideals, but at least we always kept them in mind, measured ourselves against them, and were duly embarrassed by our failure to meet the expectations they engendered. But now, most of our so-called leaders show no shame in ignoring these ideals and, in fact, trumpet their commitment to trample them (couched, of course, in language that assures us it's all for our own good).

I need to learn more about Chris Dodd. I'm not quite ready to say "He's my guy," but his name is moving up the list fast, because he gets it - this is The United States of America, goddamn it, and, of all the candidates running, it seems like he's the only one who understands that we are the USA and not some third-rate, third-tier, proto-dictatorship perpetually locked in a very convenient, very contrived, "state of siege."

For this alone, we should show Chris Dodd a little love. Send him a thank you. Send him a mash note. Send him some money - he's got a hard row to hoe.

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