Presidential Candidate Dennis J. Kucinich, a Democratic representative from Ohio, gave a speech today at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church at 3300 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. The crowd of about 1,000 was spirited and very diverse in age range, although in ethnic make up was primarily white. According to Kucinich, he along with 44 of his colleagues will introduce legislation to create a Department of Peace next week. Another issue he touched on is the imperative necessity of defending our constitutional rights. This drew the loudest cheers and a standing ovation. Kucinich wants his campaign to be a campaign supported by common people, that does not need the support of corporations. He even said, “The revolution will not be televised.” Montagically, he encouraged people to keep raising the issues which the media monopolies ignore, because eventually they will have to face them. The theme of his speech was war is not inevitable, peace is inevitable. Some of his other positions are: He favors universal health care. Favors breaking up the media monopolies. Favors publicly financed elections.
After his speech, he took questions from the audience. When asked how he would handle a 9/11 type of event, he said that 9/11 could have been an opportunity for healing and that we had the sympathy of the whole world with us. He said that we did not need to attack Afghanistan, and we did not need to have gone to war with Iraq. “We have the right to protect our country, but we do not need to wage an aggressive war.”
One man asked, “How can we impeach Bush?” This drew applause and raised a few people out of their seats. An old black man from the first row of the balcony started chanting, “Impeach Bush!” “Impeach Bush!” and a small part of the crowd joined him. This lasted for a couple of minutes. Kucinich responded that he disagreed with pursuing impeachment because from a practical point of view, the votes just aren’t there, and that in 2004 we have the opportunity to change the leadership anyway. Focusing energy and resources there will draw the movement away from potentially much more productive opportunities. He wants the movement to not just oppose war with Iraq, but also to oppose future wars.
When the issue of the decriminalization of drugs was brought up, it drew cheers and applause. A few people stood up, and one young man even pulled out his pipe and held it up in the air. Kucinich did not take a stand on the issue, but said that he would work to transform the prison industrial complex and that he favored treatment and care for addicts and drug users over incarceration.
When asked about his stance on abortion he described his position as a journey. His voting record reflects an anti-choice inclination, but he claims to have always felt as if abortion should be decriminalized. He says he supports a woman’s right to choose and that he has embraced this position thanks to women who have opened his mind. Additionally, he will only appoint Supreme Court judges if they will uphold Roe V. Wade.
A considerable part of the crowd was of a considerably more radical inclination than Mr. Kucinich. People from a diverse range of political persuasions felt compelled to give a small speech before their question, to which members of the crowd would angrily shout, “Ask the question!” LaRouche’s name came up several times. It was a crowd that listened attentively, applauded, cheered, stood up on it’s feet, and one woman from the balcony even waved a flag. There was a feeling of electricity in the air.
His website is www.kucinich.us/.