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Norman Solomon for Congress – Here’s Why

An opinion on the 2nd District Congressional race.

in the June 5 open primary to represent California’s redrawn 2nd Congressional district, there’s one who stands head and shoulders above the rest. That candidate is author, media critic and antiwar leader

Solomon would be a worthy successor to retiring Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey. She introduced Solomon to her colleagues in the Progressive Caucus when he showed his 2007 film War Made Easy on Capitol Hill.

Narrated by Sean Penn and based on Solomon’s acclaimed book of the same title, War Made Easy documented how every major U.S. military intervention since the Vietnam War has been prefaced and facilitated by massive U.S. government deception.

Wall Street has long been War Street, according to Solomon, who invokes Martin Luther King’s phrase “the madness of militarism” on the campaign trail when speaking about the devastating consequences of economic inequality and unchecked corporate power.

The runaway Pentagon budget is the bipartisan elephant in America’s living room that none of the other candidates are talking about. Massive military spending drains our resources and diverts funds from health care, education, infrastructure improvement, green energy projects and other pressing needs.

Last year global military spending hit a record $1,738 billion, an increase of $138 billion over 2010. And the United States accounted for almost half the world’s military expenditures – nearly as much as the military budgets of every other country combined. If that’s not the epitome of overkill, then what is?

Unchecked corporate power and the madness of militarism – unless these crucial, overarching issues are addressed, unless the “unwarranted influence [of] the military industrial complex,” as President Eisenhower warned a half century ago, is challenged and brought to heal, unless our dysfunctional national priorities are dramatically reordered, then little positive change will be possible in our society.

An Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention four years ago, Solomon is an independent, progressive Democrat who’s not afraid to take on the leadership of both parties when they kowtow to corporate interests and neglect the public interest.

On principle, Solomon refuses to accept money from corporate PACs and lobbyists, a decision that sets him apart from the two corporate-backed Congressional candidates (Huffman and Lawson) who say that campaign finance reform is important while pocketing contributions from the likes of Walmart, PG&E and Gallo.

Norman Solomon is a historical progressive, not just a rhetorical progressive.

When mass media were beating the drums of war in 2002 and drowning out critical voices, Solomon broke through the media barricade by leading three internationally publicized peace missions to Baghdad before the calamitous Iraq invasion. When the U.S. economy tanked a few years later, Solomon didn’t respond with nice-sounding platitudes about the need for a greener economy; he organized a citizens commission in the North Bay, drawing upon the expertise of local ecologists, educators, and labor unionists, and they held public hearings and drew up plans for how to actually implement a regional green jobs program based on New Deal principles.

But where will the money come from? America isn’t broke, Solomon reminds us. We’re a very wealthy country, but our wealth is unfairly distributed and much of it is squandered on maintaining a permanent warfare state with military bases in more than 100 countries.

Like his hero the late Senator Paul Wellstone from Minnesota, Solomon never previously held elected office before he decided to run for Congress

If elected, Solomon will be a galvanizing presence on the national stage at a time when both parties are largely beholden to big bucks and small ideas. That’s what we need – a galvanizing presence from Northern California, not someone who’ll nibble at the edges of reform

I’ve known Solomon for more than 25 years – we coauthored a book about corporate news media (Unreliable Sources, 1990).  He’s a person of great integrity, a passionate, eloquent advocate for social justice. I agree wholeheartedly with blogger Glen Greenwald: “When it comes to Congressional candidates, it just doesn’t get any better than Norman Solomon.”

For more information: http://www.solomonforcongress.com/

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

carmen h. May 20, 2012 at 04:25 AM
I like Solomon until he sent a "hate piece" against Stacey Lawson. I am no fan of Lawson, but I found the material worse than a junior high school vicious girl. Solomon also endorsed SUNN a militant low income housing advocacy group that just wants to build homes without putting the social services that are needed to make new developments successful.
John Ferguson May 28, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I might have voted for Solomon, but after receiving his hit pieces against Lawson I'm not convinced he's the right choice. Those pieces completely destroyed any credibility he might have had as a leader.

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