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Matthew Cardinale | Barbara Boxer: Hero for a New Generation of Democrats

By: Matthew Cardinale
Published: Jan 10, 2005   YubaNet

 By objecting to the 2004 election, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is an absolute hero for democracy who will be remembered as a key progressive leader during a time that the Democratic Party, and indeed the country, seemed to have lost its way.

In the coming months and years, it is clear that progressives will be looking for strong leadership to restore a just and good society, out of the wreckage of the Bush presidency, so that the poor will be lifted up instead of pushed down, so that quality health care will be accessible to all, and so environment stewardship will become a highest priority.

Due to her courageous actions, at this time, Senator Barbara Boxer is probably one of the only Democratic leaders left with both a significant position of power in government, as well as the needed credibility on the ground with organizers and activists. (At least in the Senate; not to leave out our many distinguished House members like Rep. John Conyers.)

When not a single other senator would dare to object to an unfair Presidential Election in 2004, Barbara Boxer stood and objected, joining 31 Democratic members of the House of Representatives.

The Representatives who objected were, Stephanie Tubbs Jones (OH), Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI), Dennis Kucinich (OH), Barbara Lee (CA), John Lewis (GA), Ed Markey (MA), Cynthia McKinney (GA), John Olver (MA), Major Owens (NY), Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ), Donald Payne (NJ), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Bennie Thompson (MS), Maxine Waters (CA), Diane Watson (CA), Lynn Woolsey (CA), Corrine Brown (FL), Julia Carson (IN), William "Lacy" Clay Jr. (MO), James Clyburn (IN), John Conyers Jr. (MI), Danny Davis (IL), Lane Evans (IL), Sam Farr (CA), Bob Filner (CA), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Alcee Hastings (FL), Maurice Hinchey (NY), Jesse Jackson Jr. (IL), Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX), and E. B. Johnson (TX).

"Why is it, when 638 people voted at a precinct in Franklin County, a voting machine awarded 4,258 extra votes to George Bush?" asked Senator Boxer to her colleagues on the Senate floor.

"Thankfully, they fixed it," Boxer continued, "but how many other votes did the computers get wrong?" It was the right question, and one that was highly missing from the media.

Any semblance of a fair recount in Ohio has furthermore been ruined by the stonewalling of both testimony and election documents by the Republican Ohio Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, who is also a Republican state committee chairman who promised to deliver the state to Bush.

So how are voters ever going to know what happened? At least we'll know that there was at least one accountable leader left in Washington. One, up from zero; hey, you've got to start somewhere.

It was a righteous act to object on the part of Boxer, for the voters, despite an AWOL Kerry and an AWOL corporate media.

If in 2000, the Presidential Election was decided by the Supreme Court, then in 2004 it was decided by the Republican-led Congress. But that is not a substitute for fair elections being held.

Even though Boxer likely presumed that the Republican senate majority would vote to approve the Electoral College results for Ohio, she stood with the voters in her assessment of an unfair election.

"Every citizen of this country who is registered to vote should be guaranteed that their vote matters, that their vote is counted, and that in the voting booth of their community, their vote has as much weight as the vote of any Senator, any Congressperson, any President, any cabinet member, or any CEO of any Fortune 500 Corporation," Boxer added, in her statement to Congress.

In addition, Barbara Boxer has one of the strongest progressive voting records in the Senate. She voted "no" to the Iraqi use of force resolution, "no" on the Federal Marriage Amendment, "no" on banning partial birth abortions, "no" on 2003's $350 billion tax cuts, "no" on the energy deregulation bill, "no" on the nomination of Leavitt to the EPA, "no" on Medicare privatization, and "no" on enacting an additional $87 billion for Iraq at the same time as having tax cuts for the wealthy.

Sometimes, she voted yes. She voted "yes" on a resolution promising to reduce our dependence on foreign oil in the next decade, "yes" on a resolution promising to develop hydrogen-based fuel alternatives in the next decade, "yes" on a resolution disapproving of recent FCC rules that had weakened media diversity, "yes" on a child tax credit, and she co-sponsored a bill to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Meanwhile, Kerry couldn't even keep his promise to his own supporters to make sure every vote was counted. What do you think would happen if I wrote my bank disputing each of my Kerry Campaign contributions on the basis of, Goods not received as promised?

In the lead-up to Boxer's announcement, several alternative news sources began suggesting Boxer was the only likely Senator to be willing to speak up on this matter. Subsequently, thousands upon thousands of Californians mobilized with constituent phone calls to her Congressional offices, online petitions, and marches and rallies all across the state.

It's historical proof that a wave of new progressive leaders, activists, and journalists are on the horizon, empowered with new alternative media and communications sources on the internet. Today, these grassroots leaders can at least know that they have a friend in the U.S. Senate.

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