Shorly after Congressman Tim Bishop was elected to represent the first Congressional District a group of the East Enders arranged a public meeting with the Congressman in Bridgehampton.
Mr Bishop was questioned about the effect of war expenditures on domestic spending. He responded that it is the tax cuts for the wealthy rather than the expenditures for the war that are the problem.
Now the expenditure for the war has climbed to hundreds of billions and the Congressman recently voted with the majority to spend another 80 billion dollars for the war effort.
As reported below by Susan McKeon who visited the Congressman in his Coram office two weeks ago with fellow peace activists Tim Bishop still thinks the war expenditures are not the problem, does not know whether the expenditures are doing any good or when the war might end.
We in peace movement are not getting to him. As Susan suggests, when the public understands what is happening then the Congressman will follow.
A question: Would a "peace candidate" running in the next congressional election serve to bring this issue and the facts to the electorate? And who are the likely candidates for the nomination?
Do you readers have any suggestions ?
Here is a report of the recent meeting:
A group of peace activists comprised of members of at least five churches paid a visit to first Congressional District Representative Tim Bishop earlier this month. Susan McKeon of Patchogue reports that they told the Congressman that "we are after all a peace and justice
group and talking about the military budget and its role in hurting the poor is our job." It was [Bishop's] contention that we should be talking more about the unequal taxation and said the problem was not expenditures but revenue" which Susan calls 'economicspeak'. "He was very good really on the class attack of the Bush Administration, but wanted to deal with bread and butter issues only and not foreign policy.
The Congressman said that "cutting the military budget would not fly with the public". He said that he would not vote for the draft. He talked about the problem of bundling good funding with bad so that if you vote against the appropriation you vote against help for military families, and things like tsunami aid.
The activists brought up issues of such as "the terrible cuts to the elderly in section 8 housing, the 'No Child Left Behind' act is grossly underfunded, "we want the military out of the schools" and the high interest on the military debt raising the deficit. Susan spoke about "how the war is destroying the morality and infrastructure of our country".
They concluded that "it is our job to go to the grassroots to change his actions."
Susan says "I do not feel he is ideologically wedded to this war except that he feels we are morally bound to fix what we have broken. I told him that we are continuing to break things and that it is getting worse.He did not know when we might be getting out of Iraq. I believe a petition campaign reaching out to the public with the idea that we cannot afford this war is a good idea."