Chabot Won’t Sign Peace Pledge

John Cranley and Victoria Wulsin

Peace activists say they will disrupt work at U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot’s district offices Sept. 27 unless he agrees by then to sign the Congressional Declaration of Peace.

At a Sept. 18 town hall meeting in Clifton Heights, Chabot’s aide reiterated support for President Bush and said of the Iraq war, “We intend to stay the course.”

The audience booed loudly. The aide repeated several times, “I listened to you, I listened to you,” as organizers from the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC) quieted the crowd. The aide invoked Bush and Chabot’s noble goal of establishing freedom and democracy in Iraq, then refused to answer questions from the crowd when he finished.

The town hall meeting was the local kickoff of the Declaration of Peace (, described by organizers as “a nationwide campaign to establish a rapid plan for peace in Iraq.” A week of local anti-war actions begins Sept. 20, culminating with a sit-in at Chabot’s office. Chabot indicated Monday through a spokesperson that he will not endorse the peace initiative.

Chabot’s “stay the course” message came after Democratic congressional candidates John Cranley and Victoria Wulsin had already spoken in person. Cranley had ridiculed Chabot’s position, calling it Bush’s “Stay the course and pass the buck strategy.”

Bush has admitted his plan will require an active U.S. military presence in Iraq until at least two years after the current administration ends.

“We need new representatives in Washington, representatives who aren’t afraid to challenge the administration,” Cranley said. “We must restore accountability and responsibility. Elect me and I will demand a responsible exit strategy.”

Wulsin was even more direct.

“Stop the war,” she said. “End the corruption that’s going into Halliburton’s pockets.”

The town hall featured citizen testimonials from parents of a Marine in the Lima Division who served in Iraq. Peggy Logue cried as she talked of the families she’s met at military funerals across Ohio and of the losses her own son has endured.

Evanston community health worker Esther Eubanks addressed the audience, pointedly ignoring the politicians.

“I’ve noticed that politicians tend to ignore the poor folk all year long, so I tend to ignore them when election time comes around,” she said. “People, please, let’s wake ourselves up. If we can afford war, we can certainly afford health care for the poor.”

Like the other politicians, Wulsin had been listening attentively for over an hour. She seemed energized and eager to respond by the time she spoke. In contrast to pro-war Republicans like Chabot, Wulsin echoed Cranley’s fearlessness.

“We Democrats are the party of strength,” she said. “Refusing to change is not strength. Strength is to be honest, strength is to be accountable, strength is to be generous. You sacrifice, you get results and you get outta there!”

Cassandra Barham-Denton said Iraq is the wrong target.

“We need to stop the wars,” she said. “We need to fight here at home.”
Political science professor and CityBeat columnist Dan La Botz decried violent crime in Cincinnati as a local impact of the war in Iraq. Like other speakers, he blamed the cost of war for the increase in violent crime. He said unemployment is the cause of Cincinnati’s epidemic of violent crime.

“A new jail will not make us safer,” La Botz said. “Imagine if leaders, faced with the polio epidemic, had answered, ‘More hospitals! We must build more hospitals to cure this epidemic’ ”

Instead of treating the sick only after they had become infected, as jails only address crimes after the damage is done, La Botz said society needs to get at the problems that cause crime.

“We have to have full employment, a society that educates everyone. And how do we do that? Tax the rich!” La Botz said to loud applause. “Instead of a regressive sales tax on the poor to build more jails to put them in, we must tax the rich enough to pay for everyone’s health care and education. That will end this epidemic of crime. Democratize society! We can end poverty, and that will end crime.”

Cincinnati area antiwar campaign activities sponsored by the IJPC are scheduled daily between September 20 and 27. The schedule is available from IJPC.

— Sam Robinson

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3 Comments on “Chabot Won’t Sign Peace Pledge”

  1. Howard Roark Says:

    Members of Congress take dumps bigger than John Cranley and he expects that he will be able to influence national politics?

    All of societal ills, according to Cranley, can be squarely blamed on one individual regardless if there are 535 others making these decisions. Conversely, all of the gains in the City (insert rising crime rate statistics here) can be attributed to one boy, JC.

    Funny how that works.

  2. Rambutan Says:

    All of societal ills, according to Cranley, can be squarely blamed on one individual

    I presume you’re referring to Dick Cheney?

    (Okay, so Cheney may not be responsible for toenail fungus, however I’m wiliing to give him the benefit of the doubt.)

  3. Howard Roark and Rambutan,
    Thank you.
    ’nuff said on this thread.

    Cranley sort of reminds one of Digger the Dermatophyte, eh?

    This is coming from a guy (moi) who understands the wars on drugs and terror are insanity. War is insanity.

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