by Linda Milazzo
After nearly seven long years of Americans being derided by a smug dictatorial President, there is a near compulsion amongst the electorate to choose a leader in 2008 who understands participatory democracy. A leader who sees the President as the RESPRESENTATIVE and SERVANT of The People. A leader who accepts dissent and dissenters - not simply as Constitutionally ordained - but as sincere patriotic investors in their nation.
Under the regime of George W. Bush, those who oppose him have been ridiculed and persecuted. Patriots are arrested and jailed when disputing his policies. The FBI has compiled a list of citizens charged with misdemeanors for non-violently opposing the war on Iraq, rendition, torture, and other unConstitutional and impeachable crimes of his administration.
For his part, Mr. Bush doesn't personally arrest or convict those who oppose him, although he does sanction their arrests and convictions. Instead, Mr. Bush disparages detractors by humiliating them verbally in public and smirking and mugging in a self-righteous juvenile way. Needless to say, after almost two full terms of Presidential mocking, Americans have reached the point of no return. They are tired of a President who disrespects them. They want a President who shows sensitivity to their concerns.
Unfortunately, much of George W. Bush's disdain for dissension can also be seen in Hillary Clinton. It's becoming increasingly ominous to witness Clinton's Bush-like intolerance toward citizens who voice their displeasure - which might explain the recent revelations of how her handlers manipulate her audience.
In particular, Clinton's "smug mugging" toward questioner Tighe Barry at Saturday's Los Angeles Presidential Forum on Global Warming, helps to forewarn potential voters of her Bush-style contempt for dissent.
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Deviating from previous sound-byte debates, the Global Warming Forum offered Presidential hopefuls the chance to deliver uninterrupted dissertations on the issues. Mrs. Clinton, and participants Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards, gave lengthy overviews on their environmental policies, which included transitioning to renewable energy, transportation options, America's leadership role in fostering global cooperation to deter climate change, sustaining and promoting green-related employment, and more.
Unlike Kucinich and Edwards who want an end to the war on Iraq, Clinton has voted consistently for military funding for the war, and recently voted to support a controversial resolution that could lead to a military strike on Iran. Considering war's harmful effects on the environment, and its diversion of funds from environmentally friendly projects into military coffers, Clinton has significantly less bona fides on the environment than either of her Forum counterparts.
Thus, Mrs. Clinton made herself a legitimate target for concerned environmentalists - particularly following this inviting exchange with panelist Mary Nichols of the California Air Resources Board, when Ms. Nichols asked:
"Let's talk about how the campaign can help to make this [reduce emissions] happen. I think we all remember what happened to health care and we want to make sure that President Hillary Clinton is able to carry out the mandate that you hope to get. So what can you do through the campaign and through your speeches and other actions in places where climate isn't yet on the agenda to give yourself what you need to combat what we know will be the multimillion dollar ad campaigns that will be coming at you and the rest of us from the coal industry and other like opponents?"Mrs. Clinton responded:
"Well I'm trying to do that in the campaign now in that I rolled out this energy climate change agenda over a week ago in Iowa and New Hampshire. I speak about it everywhere that I go to try and get it into the bloodstream of the Presidential campaign. That's the first issue. We've gotta make it something that people actually turn into a voting issue. And here's where all of you come in because you have to help this become a voting issue - not just in California but in other states as well. That's why this forum is so significant because we need lots and lots of people who come to presidential events - and not just the Democrats, but the Republicans as well - asking questions and standing up and saying this is an important issue to me personally. This will influence my vote..."Hearing this invitation from Clinton to participate in the dialogue, CODEPINK peace and environmental activist, Tighe Barry STOOD UP exactly as Mrs. Clinton asked and posed the following question:
For environmentalists, this is a legitimate question. After all, it is an oxymoron to support the environment while supporting the wars that destroy it."How can you say you're for the environment when you are always voting for war?"
Totally forgetting she'd invited the audience to STAND UP and chime in on the conversation, Mrs. Clinton became indignant when Mr. Barry took her on. Rather than engaging him in a repartee that could have answered his question, Mrs. Clinton smugly replied:
Then, in an act that wreaked of ultimate Bush smuggery, candidate Clinton grew even smugger and smirkier. At the pinnacle of smuggus maximus, Clinton stared at patriot Barry, lifted a white mug to her lips, took a smug swig, then smirked with her smug mug in a manner that would put George Bush's real mug to shame."Were you invited to speak here this afternoon?"
Oh please, voters!!! Please!!! Not another four years of this!!!
Sadly, as the video (darkly) shows, citizen Barry was hauled off by the Los Angeles Police. He was released with a 50 dollar fine for standing up for his country!
As for the Presidential Forum on Global Warming, only three of the candidates for President showed up. Since the event was non-partisan, candidates from both parties were invited. Of the three candidates who did appear - Clinton, Kucinich and Edwards - Edwards got the standing ovation, and appeared to win the crowd. He was also the only candidate who took questions from the press at the end. Kucinich was earnest and heartfelt. Hillary was a bit baffling since she mentioned on several occasions that she'd just "rolled out" her environmental plan a week ago. One would think she would have "rolled it out" long before considering the gravity of the issue.
According respected environmentalist, Sarah Nichols, John Edwards was the more impressive of the three.
To view Edwards' highly-praised presentation at the Global Warming Forum, visit here.
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