Apologizing for Keith Ellison's vote
From: Charles Underwood (peacecalendarvisi.com)
Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2007 20:53:33 -0700 (PDT)
Most of you know that I was a strong supporter of Keith Ellison in his CD5
campaign for the U.S. House.  Like many in the Minnesota peace community, I
spent countless hours doing phone calls and door-knocking to elect Keith,
believing that he would do what Martin Sabo would not: use his office to
vote against future funding of the tragic war in Iraq.
Keith was a reliable peace candidate, it seemed.  He had been there for
years?at the marches and rallies and meetings.  He had formally taken the
Peace First pledge to vote for no further occupation funding.  Even last
Sunday as he appeared as the principal speaker in the march of thousands on
the 4th anniversary of the war, we knew that he was one of us.  During the
last year, we responded to his consistently anti-war message by providing
the very backbone of his campaign; it is unlikely that he would have been
elected without the deep and generous support of the peace community.
So we trusted Keith to keep the most central promise of his campaign: to
vote to de-fund this evil war.  We trusted him, but we were mistaken. On
Friday, he voted for $124 billion of additional Iraq war funding plus minor
restrictions on troop treatment and a timetable that takes the war right up
until September 2008.
To those who responded to my own appeals for your time and energies, I offer
my sincere apology.  It was never my intention to mislead you.  My own
loyalty is to peace, so it dismays me to think that some of you may have
been duped by my recommendations.
I maintain a large reservoir of love and respect for Keith Ellison. I do not
believe that he was corrupted or that he somehow sold out.  My guess is that
he has been duped into thinking that the Pelosi bill was actually the most
direct possible path to peace in Iraq, whereas I personally believe that it
is a shameful tactic of the beltway Democratic leadership to continue the
war until the 2008 elections, in order for Bush to drag his party down in
electoral defeat.  Sadly, many more will suffer and die due to these craven
manipulations, and the world next year will certainly become a more
dangerous place.
Eventually, I believe, Keith himself will understand this. Eventually, I
think he will come to realize that he has made a huge mistake.
So how should we understand all those hours we spent on a campaign that
resulted in the same vote that Sabo would have made? At one level, the time
was wasted.  On another level, the cause of peace has actually been weakened
by yet another failure to influence our national leadership.  It¹s
Sadly, there are no guarantees in life.  Some of us march in the streets.
Some write poetry.  Some write anti-war plays or paint art cars or commit
civil disobedience or teach students.  Some of us try to get peace
candidates elected.  Some of us pray.  We cannot know which effort will
bring us peace.  We are doomed to failure?until we finally succeed.
Let us not judge others nor ourselves too harshly.  Our effort was worthy.
Let us learn from our mistakes and let us be faithful to our vision for a
better world.
We were not wrong to support Keith Ellison for Congress.  Like each of us,
he is only a human being, flawed and sometimes weak and certainly quite
capable of error.  We must each continue to seek the tasks that seem right
and honorable.  And if we supported a candidate who disappoints us, let us
simply admit the failure and seek another way.

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