Recently I wrote a comment here at Innermost Parts about Mike Gravel’s upcoming visit to Brandeis, saying that I am excited for him to come but that I’m disappointed he left the Democratic Party for the Libertarians.
A writer from the Brandeis Hoot contacted me about the comment and had two questions:
1. What do you think of Mike Gravel coming to Brandeis? Are you going
to hear him speak? If yes, why?
2. Also, you mentioned in your post that you were disappointed in
Gravel‘s switch to the Libertarian party, could you elaborate further
I thought I’d share my responses with you, and ask for your opinions on the former Senator. The following was my reply
On Mike Gravel, I’m very excited that he will be coming to campus. I enjoyed his different point of view during the Democratic Primary debates. I think that many of us have felt cynical about politics and where our country is headed, just like he has since he left the U.S. Senate in 1981. Considering that he played an instrumental role in ending the draft during the Vietnam War and releasing the Penon Papers, and that after all of his accomplishments he felt disillusioned by our government, I believe his experience says something about our political system. While he was still in the race for the Democratic nomination, I was particularly moved by his argument that the Democrats, who were essentially given a mandate in 2006 to end the war in Iraq, could put the war to an end by calling for a vote in Congress every single day in order to reveal who is obstructing the will of the majority of Americans who oppose this war and force those Congressmen into voting to end it. I also found it interesting that he was the only candidate willing to address the problem of America’s dependence on the military to keep our economy going–I find it disturbing that we spend as much on military expenditures as the rest of the world combined.
I’m disappointed in Mike Gravel‘s switch to the Libertarian Party. The Libertarian Party does not support universal healthcare, the social safety net, the rights of gays and lesbians, or reasonable gun laws; I support all of these and I thought that Mike Gravel did as well. I stand by the Democratic Party and stand behind Barack Obama for President because I believe he can unite our country. The Democratic Party has room for Mike Gravel‘s views–we’re a large party of diverse interests. I believe that Gravel was a valuable member to the party for many years advocating for peace, the environment, and government transparency.
How do you feel about Mike Gravel’s former candidacy for the Democratic Nominee for President? What do you think about his history in government, and also about his somewhat embellished tales of accomplishment (i.e. “I personally ended the draft”)? What does Mike Gravel’s departure say about the future of the Democratic party, if anything?