Home > TALE OF A CONNECTICUT DONKEY
By Sheila Samples
"Every senator in this chamber is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave. This chamber reeks of blood...It does not take any courage at all for a congressman, or a senator, or a president to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being shed. But we are responsible for those young men and their lives and their hopes." Senator George McGovern, Sept 1, 1970
Jim Bob came out of the feed store, threw his purchases into the back of the wagon and climbed up beside his wife. He picked up the reins, shook them and called out to the donkey — "Giddy-up Joe! Come on, Joe, let’s go!"
But Joe just stood there, oblivious to Jim Bob’s pleading, his tongue-clickings, even to the lash of the reins on his rump. Jim Bob sighed, picked up the baseball bat, climbed down, walked around in front of Joe and, with a mighty swing, smashed him right between his long ears with the bat. Jim Bob hopped back into the wagon, grabbed the reins and, with a single, "Go, Joe!" the donkey headed off at a brisk trot.
Jim Bob’s wife was horrified. "Why did you hit Joe in the head with that bat?" she asked.
Jim Bob grinned, "Sometimes ol’ Joe forgets who’s the boss here," he said. "When that happens, you just gotta get his attention..."
That was back in the day — but little has changed since then. Donkeys are still stubborn. Especially on the political scene, where most are completely oblivious to what’s going on around them. It’s easy for some to forget who’s the boss when they’re free to gallop through the halls of power — trot around with the big boys...
Unless you happen to be a Connecticut donkey.
Democrats in that very blue, anti-war state are unhappy with their three-term senator, Joe Lieberman, for his stubborn, rabid support of President Bush and his bloody, illegal war. They pleaded with Joe to recognize that the war on Iraq was planned long before 9-11, that there were no weapons of mass destruction in that pitiful, unarmed country, and that thousands of US citizens and tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women and children are being blown to pieces, maimed, and poisoned with depleted uranium — all because of a lie.
But Joe refused to move. He responded by penning an op-ed in the Nov. 29, 2005 Wall Street Journal entitled "Our Troops Must Stay." In that piece, Lieberman "catapaulted the propaganda" that Iraq was experiencing a great deal of progress, underscored by "continuing security and growing prosperity." The Shiite south, he said, "remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity." And Lieberman said even the Sunni triangle — Baghdad on the East, Tikrit to the North, and Ramadi to the West, where most American troops are slaughtered, is showing progress...
Warming to his subject, Lieberman wrote, "None of these remarkable changes in Iraq would have happened if Coalition Forces, lead (sic) by the U.S., had not overthrown Saddam Hussein ...The question is whether the American people and enough of their representatives in Congress from both parties understand this."
Lieberman then chided war naysayers on both sides of the aisle with, "I am disappointed by Democrats who are more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq almost three years ago, and Republicans who are more worried about whether the war will bring them down in next November’s elections, than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq in the months and years ahead."
Lieberman underscored his stance in December by hitting the talk-show circuit to wrap himself in the flag and scold his anti-war constituents — "It is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril."
But Connecticut yankees are hard to fool. They know civil war is raging throughout Iraq. They know we are there under false pretenses. They know in November, while Lieberman was polishing his commentary, 88 American servicemen were killed. In December - 67, January - 65, and 15 in the first seven days of February - for a total of 235. They know there was never any reason for even one of the nearly 2,300 U.S. servicemen and women to die. They know a lie is not good enough reason to destroy an entire generation of Americans — nor to remain silent to keep from embarrassing the man who sent them to their deaths.
In January, Democrats in Manchester attempted to get Lieberman’s attention by overwhelmingly passing a resolution opposing his "unconditional support of President Bush." The measure stated that Lieberman was not acting in the best interest of the American public or the Democratic Party by supporting Bush in the handling of the Iraqi conflict. Dorothy Brindamour, one of the many Democrats to speak out, said, "I think it is one thing to be an independent thinker. It’s another thing to be a Democratic senator who is acting as a lobbyist for King George and his chancellor, Cheney."
Lieberman responded by trotting to the annual State of the Union speech on Jan. 31 and, when Bush defiantly claimed that the only exit plan from Iraq was "victory" in his noble war on terror, Lieberman was the lone Democrat to rise with the Republicans and give Bush a cheering, standing ovation.
Four days later, Windsor Democrats joined their Manchester counterparts and, with a mighty swing, bashed Lieberman right between the ears with a Vote of No Confidence "for embracing Bush’s position on the war, including denying that the United States wrongly entered the war and that it was not accomplishing the objectives set out by the president."
Windsor Democratic town Chairman Tim Fitzgerald admitted the resolution was a "practical way" to get Lieberman’s attention, but added he was "not delusional that this is going to change his fundamental way of thinking."
According to the Los Angeles Times, Lieberman’s approval ratings in Connecticut are at a weak 52%, which puts him in a shaky political position, and sharks are beginning to circle for the upcoming August primary — something the Democrats don’t need right now. To make matters worse, Keith Crane, from Branford, not only created a "Dump Joe" Internet site, but shows up at meetings with fists full of anti-Lieberman buttons and bumper stickers.
What Lieberman’s constituents don’t understand is that his stubborn defense of the Iraq war in all probability goes much deeper than mere support of Bush’s war on terror. Rising numbers of innocents sent to early graves in an unending war is the price that Lieberman and others within the U.S government — willingly or unwillingly — are committed to pay in order to keep Israel safe from madmen such as Iranian President Mahmooud Ahmadinejad who has openly called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."
Lieberman, like so many of his congressional peers, has sworn to do whatever it takes to protect Israel, and all appear to be blinded by ideology. Therefore, they are condemned to show up for work morning after morning in a chamber that reeks of blood.
U.S. politicians have removed their fingers from the pulse of the nation. They have forgotten who’s the boss. Face it — if you’re an elected political animal who refuses to move, refuses to pay attention; refuses to pull the state wagon — you could likely find yourself "put out to pasture" in the next election.
Especially if you’re a Connecticut donkey.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites. Contact her at: email@example.com