I was a bit surprised by my own reaction to the news that Senator Russ Feingold may be getting closer to officially entering the 2008 Presidential race. I was instantly excited, enough to pull my car over and call my husband with the good news, proclaiming my intentions to run out and slap a Feingold 2008 bumper sticker on my car. I’m not sure if it was the prospect of having an actual adult in the White House or the opportunity to get behind anyone other than Joe Biden or Hilary Clinton, but whatever it was, my chord was struck.
I don’t agree with every vote that Russ Feingold has cast as a Senator, most notably his vote to confirm John Roberts as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but that’s okay. He is his own man and he has integrity, which in my mind outweighs a few (and there are few) differences of opinion, and I am smart enough to know that anyone I agreed with all the time wouldn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of getting elected. He has been on the correct side of the major issues that are currently ripping our country apart. He voted against giving President Bush authority to wage his war of choice in Iraq, voted against the banking industry backed Bankruptcy Bill and even more importantly he voted against the Patriot Act. Biden supported all three and Clinton voted in support of the war, the Patriot Act and was the only Senator to abstain from voting on the Bankruptcy Bill, another example of her unwillingness to take a stand for what is right for the American people if it interferes with her ability to raise corporate funds to support her political ambitions.
I hope that Feingold does enter the race and when he does, every liberal and progressive should jump on the bandwagon giving money and time. No more fretting over whether he’s “electable” or not. No more worrying whether Middle America will vote for him, the real question is, will we vote for him? Regardless of the outcome, we should support him because he is the best of the lot by far. Being the only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act in the shadow of 9/11 tells you all you need to know about the kind of man Russ Feingold is. He has been a champion for campaign finance reform, eschewing corporate money in favor of individual contributions (with an average of $60) in his own Senatorial races, showing the American people that he knows his place, he is a public servant first and foremost and he understands what that means.
While we should all have serious doubts about the integrity of the vote in America, if the show must go on, we can at least do our part in supporting the side that should win. If the game is fixed, it’s much more fun to shout about it afterward when you have invested time in the match. With all of that indignant rage, we may be able to get the end result we want anyway, and if ever there was a person willing to fight an uphill battle on behalf of the American people, it is Russ Feingold. I don’t see him walking away from a fraud-riddled election without a fight (a la John Kerry); his sense of justice and his true belief in public service wouldn’t allow it.