By Matthew Rothschild on March 07, 2012

Dennis Kucinich deserves a lot of credit for holding high the progressive banner in Congress over the past 16 years.

Kucinich lost his primary race against another progressive, Marcy Kaptur, the longest serving woman in Congress on Tuesday, by a 55-41 margin.

A man of courage and principle, he fought for all progressives—even when he was the only one doing it.

Kucinich was fearless in standing up to corporate power, in denouncing NAFTA and GATT and the WTO and the fallacy of free trade, in criticizing the Federal Reserve Board for not doing more about unemployment and for bailing out the banks.

He campaigned mightily for universal single-payer health care.

He bravely opposed the Iraq War.

Kucinich stood up for our civil liberties, voting against the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act.

He championed peace everywhere he went, and clamored for a new cabinet agency, the Department of Peace.

He was bipartisan in his criticism of illegal war-makers. He made the lonely but principled call for the impeachment of Barack Obama for the bombing of Libya. Kucinich noted that not only did Obama violate Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution, which says that Congress has the power to declare war; Obama also violated the War Powers Act more flagrantly than any previous President.

Wisconsinites are in Kucinich’s debt because last spring, he made a monkey out of Scott Walker when the Wisconsin governor testified before the House. Kucinich forced Walker to admit that his attacks on labor rights had nothing to do with saving revenue for the state of Wisconsin. This helped unmask Walker as someone who simply wanted to crush unions.

Kucinich also played a positive role by running for president in 2004 and 2008. Though the corporate media neglected him, Kucinich introduced millions of people to progressive ideas. He also won several debates, but you wouldn’t have known that by reading the biased media coverage.

Above all, Dennis Kucinich urged us to embrace our best selves. He constantly called on us as individuals, as a people, as a nation, and as inhabitants of the Earth to respect others, to act nonviolently, to preserve the environment, to love one another.

And whatever he does next, Dennis Kucinich will surely be carrying that powerful message forward. That’s what he does. That’s who he is.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Don’t Lower the Corporate Tax Rate."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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