The Value Of Tulsi Gabbard’s Voice Should Not Be Underestimated. Let’s Get Her On The Debate Stage

Tulsi Gabbard needs 65,000 individual donations for the corporate controlled Democratic Party to allow her participation in the upcoming 2020 primary debates. As of March 25th, she was roughly 48,000 donations short. This writer is no Democrat nor a Tulsi Gabbard supporter. But this period of crisis calls for a more sophisticated politics than the one offered by either corporate party. Tulsi Gabbard offers a voice that is completely absent in the U.S. political mainstream. This makes her participation in the debates critical.

What makes her participation so critical? The short answer is that Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate in the race running on a platform of peace. Gabbard has called her stance on peace the “peace dividend.” She has been traveling the country talking about the costs of war not just for U.S. soldiers but also for the people of the world who bear much of the death and damage caused by U.S. wars. While Bernie Sanders condemns endless wars waged by the U.S., he has yet to demonstrate over the last four years that he is serious about peace. Sanders’ foreign policy record has innumerable contradictions. Even as he has opposed the U.S.-Saudi war on Yemen, Sanders has denounced Russia and China as leaders of an “axis of evil” that must be confronted.

Gabbard is not perfect on foreign policy either. She is a Democrat and has made Democrat-like mistakes such as speaking at an event held by the United Christians for Israel in 2015. However, for whatever flaws she possesses, Gabbard brings what no one else can to the debate stage. Gabbard has met personally with Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, a clear act of political courage in a period where bipartisan hostility toward Syria has threatened to destabilize the region and spur a nuclear confrontation between Russia and the U.S. She also introduced the “Stop Arming Terrorists” Act in 2016. The bill provided the legal basis for ending U.S. support for armed terrorist groups in Syria and the region at large. This bill not only possesses implications for Syria but also gives anti-war activists the opportunity to raise the U.S.’ long and sordid history of arming jihadists for purposes of war beginning in 1979 in Afghanistan. Again, not even Sanders has publicly criticized U.S. policy in Syria to this extent.

Gabbard has received harsh treatment from the U.S. ruling class for her stances on issues of war and peace. The ruling class is concerned by her candidacy because she speaks about war from the perspective of a veteran. Veterans in the U.S. are presumed to love war and appreciate their masters in Washington. However, Veterans for Peace has for years been organizing the anti-war sentiments of veterans of the U.S. military. The ruling class understands that much of the U.S. population is weary of war even if they are disempowered and then duped into silence about the atrocities the U.S. commits abroad. Research suggests that war fatigue played a hand in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss to Donald Trump. Tulsi Gabbard’s candidacy is a product of these developments and has challenged the Democratic Party base and independent activists to take a stance on war during an election season.

The value of Gabbard’s voice should not be underestimated.

The value of Gabbard’s voice should not be underestimated. Corey Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, and Kamala Harris are either staunch advocates of war or do not find the issue important enough to include in their platform. Warren has historically pledged her allegiance to Israel even as the Zionist state continues to slaughter Palestinians in Gaza and displace Palestinians in the West Bank. Booker received more donations from the Israel lobby than any other Senator during his last election campaign. Harris has spoken at AIPAC several times. O’Rourke is dutifully supported by hundreds of thousands of dollars from Israeli donors and, like the other candidates, is a Russiagate fanatic. None of them can be relied upon to do anything but spew the lies of the warmongering elite.

The Democratic Party is but a mouthpiece of the warmongering corporate elite that rules the U.S. and its destructive imperialist system. The same goes for the Republican Party. What makes the Democratic Party so dangerous, however, is that it has for the last several decades posed as the so-called “progressive” option within the two-party system. The Republican Party was relegated to the position of the “White Man’s” corporate party, a phenomenon that reached its logical conclusion in the election of Donald J. Trump. Bernie Sanders angered the Wall Street and metropolitan elite in the millionaire and billionaire class by simply uttering the idea of a 21st century New Deal. Tulsi Gabbard has angered the establishment by daring to utter that wars of regime change are damaging to the interests of the U.S. population and the people of the world whose nations are destroyed by endless U.S. military aggression.

Tulsi Gabbard needs sixty-five thousand individual donations before the first debate in June of 2019 in order to participate. Her voice receives little to no attention from the corporate media unless she is being smeared as an agent of Russia and an apologist for the Syrian government. Even so-called progressive outlets such as JacobinThe Intercept, and The Young Turks have joined in the anti-Tulsi chorus. What these outlets fail to realize is that this political moment demands much more than idealism or political purity from a system that is incapable of serving the needs of the poor and oppressed. True progressives and radicals should not impede processes that have the potential to destabilize the U.S. imperial order and provide opportunities for independent expressions of popular political power. Tulsi Gabbard’s commitment to speak out against war, while far from “radical” or even anti-imperialist as many leftists would define the term, certainly serves a progressive purpose in rupturing the stranglehold that the war machine possesses over the political narrative in the United States.

So, let’s get Gabbard to the debate stage. We can criticize her faults and debate her limitations. What we should not do is dismiss the importance of having her on the debate stage during the primary season. Elections in the United States are rigged affairs where the ruling elite determines who will rule over the poor and oppressed for another four years. While we should be organizing independent alternatives to the Democratic Party, we certainly shouldn’t be harming our own possibilities by condemning Tulsi Gabbard wholeheartedly. She understands that the forces of power are arrayed against her. Her campaign is not about winning the presidential seat. Ultimately, her decision to discuss war and peace openly on the presidential stage is a sign that more and more people are willing to hear anti-war ideas and place political action behind them. That is a development that we need to heed and one that we need to nurture.

Via American Herald Tribune

Commentary by The Iranian

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