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Day 17

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Why I'm Challenging Pelosi

We Must Move Beyond Politics as Usual

by CINDY SHEEHAN

The feedback I have been receiving since I announced that I would challenge U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, for her House seat — unless she gives impeachment the go-ahead — has been running about 3-to-1 positive.

Some people have offered to quit their jobs to move to California’s Eighth Congressional District to help my possible campaign. People are lining up to donate and help, and I am again very grateful and touched beyond belief by the generosity and energy of my fellow Americans.

I truly understand the not-so-supportive people, though, because I have been in their shoes. Here in the United States, most of us put our faith in a two-party system that has failed peace and justice repeatedly. The Republicans do not have a monopoly on the culture of corruption (although BushCo has elevated it to policy status), and the way we do politics in this country needs a serious shakeup, when all we the people are getting is a shakedown.

I was frightened out of ever voting for a third party, or an independent candidate, but voting out of fear is one of the things that bestowed us with the Bush crime mob and may give us the Republican, if not in party affiliation, Hillary Clinton.

I was a lifelong Democrat only because the choices were limited. The Democrats are the party of slavery and were the party that started every war in the 20th century, except the other Bush debacle. The Federal Reserve, permanent federal income taxes, not one but two World Wars, Japanese concentration camps, and not one but two atom bombs dropped on the innocent citizens of Japan — all brought to us via the Democrats.

Don’t tell me the Democrats are our "saviors" because I am not buying it — especially after they bought more caskets and more devastating pain when they financed and co-facilitated more of President Bush’s abysmal occupation. The Democrats also are allowing a meltdown of our republic by allowing the evils of the executive branch to continue unrestrained by their silent complicity.

Good change has happened during Democratic regimes, but as in the civil rights and union movements, the positive changes occurred because of the people, not the politicians. I will run as an independent because I find the corruption in both parties unhealthy, and I believe we need to have more allegiance to humans than to a political party.

I have nothing personally against Pelosi and have found our previous interactions very pleasant. However, being "against" the occupation of Iraq means ending it by ending the funding, preventing future illegal wars of aggression and holding BushCo accountable. Words have to be backed up by action, and if they aren’t, they are as empty as Vice President Dick Cheney’s conscience.

If Pelosi does her constitutional and moral duty by Monday, then I believe some balance will be restored to the universe, and my organization, People for Humanity, can carry on with its humanitarian projects. If she doesn’t, we will carry on anyway, with a political campaign to boot.

I hope this challenges other people who desire healthy political change and not temporary Band-Aids to replace other Democrats and Republicans who do not conform to the beatitudes of peace, sustainability and the rule of law for everybody, not just poor or marginalized people.

Being a born and raised Californian and being a Bay Area resident for the past 14 years have given me great insight into the people and concerns of San Francisco.

I am concerned with many of the same things: same-sex partnership laws, the environment, health care, affordable post-secondary education, better schools, counter-military recruitment, poverty, AIDS research and cures, decriminalization of marijuana, and especially stopping war and ensuring real peace.

I think I agree with Pelosi on many of these issues, but the difference is, I don’t live in a mansion on the hill. Many of these issues have affected me and my family personally, and I am committed to fighting for the people, not the corporate interests.

I wouldn’t put myself through this if I weren’t dead serious and committed to making America a better country than we have now, and holding people to a much higher standard than politics as usual. I am rested, restored to health and ready to rumble. I realize that if ever there was a time for politics as unusual, it is now.

CINDY SHEEHAN is a peace activist whose son, Casey, was killed in Iraq.