This week, Dennis Kucinich lost the Ohio primary to a more conservative democrat in part due to redistricting.
I don’t want to get into gerrymandering. What I want to do is thank Representative Kucinich.
Before 2004, I didn’t think much about politics. I voted because I’m patriotic, but I never considered the government’s role in our lives or voted for candidates beyond the superficial party affiliations.
Before I understood capitalism, I believed the market could take care of itself without government interference. Then I learned about the history of child labor, unsafe work conditions and profit-motive.
Before I understood that where we are born, the color of our skin, our genitals and our wealth determined so much of our worth in society, I thought everyone could just pull themselves up by their bootstraps without any assistance.
Before I understood what a culture of life meant, where the lives of people whether they murdered a man or spread their legs or went to church every Sunday deserve a certain level of respect, access to healthcare, and to shown what they could not show themselves, no matter how much I abhorred their decisions, I thought pro-life meant the unborn to the abolishment of the death penalty only.
As my convictions grew deeper so did my feelings of disenfranchisement. I felt like no politician spoke for me. I felt like money and catch phrases rules the day and the real problems would not be solved. I felt like I was told my idealism had no place in our country.
Until Dennis Kucinich ran for president in 2004. I read his website and my jaw dropped. He was the first politician I agreed with, without compromising something. Universal healthcare, abolishment of the death penalty, social justice, peace. So I decided to support his run even when I was told that he had no chance. I needed to canvas and inform my friends and family and neighbors because I needed to believe in a politician again or I would’ve stopped caring completely.
Since then, I have compromised, and I’m not as idealistic. But I wouldn’t pay attention to politics, write about my thoughts on government, and stand firm on the policies I believe in, if it wasn’t for a man in congress who never technically represented me.
Does his loss make me believe less? No. Nor did it when he dropped out of the presidential primary back in 2004. He gave me courage to speak out and no loss can take that away.
I found my voice and place in politics thanks to Representative Kucinich. He represented me in the most important way possible: the belief that government is for all people, even me.