Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thank You, Loretta Sanchez, to Wanting to End This War

My member of Congress, Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove), did something pretty amazing yesterday. She voted against four additional months of funding for Bush's failed war in Iraq. She actually stood up and voted against keeping our brave troops in the middle of someone else's civil war for any longer. Loretta did the right thing, and as a constituent I am proud.

Now unfortunately, she was not in the majority. The Republicans were nearly unanimous in voting to continue George W. Bush's failed war. In the House, they were able to pull away enough Democrats to succeed in passing a bill that gives Bush four more months of carte blanche. That was enough to send the bill to the Senate, where it passed with bipartisan support.

This is a bittersweet moment for me. I am proud that my Congresswoman did the right thing yesterday. I am proud that the vast majority of California Democrats did the right thing in the House yesterday. I am proud that Senator Barbara Boxer was one of fourteen in the Senate to do thr right thing. However, I am NOT proud that Congressional Republicans would not budge in allowing Democrats to override Bush's veto of legislation that would have actually put an end to this ridiculous war. They enabled Bush to succeed yesterday in temporarily thwarting the will of the American people.

Even though I am proud of what my Congresswoman did yesterday in listening to what the wishes of Orange County voters and the will of American voters, I am ashamed that most of Congress would not listen.

Now this is not the first time when Loretta Sanchez has demonstrated real courage on the House floor. She voted against the "PATRIOT" Act that has done nothing to secure this country, and everything to destroy our Constitutional rights. She voted against authorizing that invasion of Iraq that Bush so wanted. She voted against the "Partial Birth Abortion" Ban Act that did nothing to save lives, and only succeeded in destroying women's reproductive rights. She voted against the "PATRIOT" Act again when it came up for reauthorization in 2005. She voted against a "Secure Fence" Act that did nothing to solve our immigration problem. And last fall, she voted against the Military Commissions Act that allowed Bush to completely disregard the Constitution. When others took the easy way out, Loretta Sanchez stood up and made the tough choices. She voted her conscience, and voted for what's best for this district and this nation.

And of course, Loretta's courage doesn't fade away when she leaves the House floor. She has stood strong against human rights abuses in Vietnam. She even traveled to Vietnam to meet with the wives of jailed political dissidents, only to have the Vietnamese government block them from even seeing her. She stood strong for preserving our precious natural resources when she helped pass the Davis Amendment in the Armed Services Committee, ensuring that Trestles beach is protected and that TCA obeys state law in extending the 241 Toll Road. Even when the Orange County business lobby was putting pressure on her to vote against this amendment, Loretta fought for the rule of law and for the protection of our coast and our environment... AND SHE WON (and so did we)!

Sometimes Loretta wins the fights, and so do we. Sometimes, we don't. Unfortunately yesterday, we didn't win. However, Loretta stood strong. And I am still proud.

This failed war and bungled occupation of Iraq has been a complete disaster for this nation, and for Iraq. George Bush has now created a humanitarian crisis in Iraq. He has caused so much pain and suffering for all the families who have lost loved ones in this war. Iraq has descended into complete civil war, and this occupation is doing nothing to help the situation. This war needs to end. We cannot allow Bush to simply "shift tone" on Iraq while he only continues his same old failed strategy.

So I hope Loretta Sanchez continues to work to end this war. I hope that all her Democratic colleagues do the same. When the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Authorization bill comes up in Septmeber, I hope that they turn up the pressure on the Congressional Republicans to not enable George Bush to continue thwarting the will of the American people. The people want this war to end. Loretta Sanchez knows this, and so do most Congressional Democrats. I guess I also hope that more Republicans start to realize that, too.

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