In the 2003 and 2004, as the US invasion of Iraq was raging, I campaigned for peace activist, US Representative, and former Cleveland mayor Dennis Kucinich‘s presidential primary run on the Big Island of Hawaii, where I was living then. That’s me in this photo, with one foot in the street, at a demonstration in Hilo.
With my tribe of fierce peace and environmental activists, we offered voter information from booths we set up at farmers’ markets (“Dennis is the only necktie in Washington that represents YOU. He’s anti-war! And he’s a vegan!”), got trained to offer voter registration and then offered it everywhere, including in the theatre lobby during a three-week screening of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 at the Palace Theatre in Hilo, and, later, got trained to be a poll watcher at our local primaries. While engaging in these actions, I wrote my rant/waltz, America the Blues.
Our campaigning worked! People that had never voted before turned out in droves and swamped the normally tiny Democratic Party caucuses, giving Kucinich 60% of the vote in the Puna District, 50% of the vote for the Big Island (Hawaii County), and 33% of the vote for the state of Hawaii, which, along with the state of Washington, were the two states that sent Kucinich delegates to the 2004 Democratic Party National Convention in Boston.
Those of us that had organized this victory suddenly found ourselves officers of our precincts, writing resolutions and platform planks to present at the Hawaii State Democratic Party Convention in Honolulu, which I attended.
I wrote nine resolutions – one to outlaw GMO crops in Hawaii, and eight for election reform. One of these resolutions not only passed the vote on the convention floor, but also passed the vote in both houses of the Hawaii state legislature and was signed into law by the Republican governor, Linda Lingle. That is why all forms of voting in the state of Hawaii must produce a hand-countable paper trail. You’re welcome.
I had the pleasure of meeting Congressman Kucinich a couple of times during and shortly after the campaign. Here’s a photo from 2006 in which he graciously posed with me after a giving speech in Kahului, Maui, on behalf of Senator Daniel Akaka’s re-election campaign, in which he ennumerated Senator Akaka’s achievements in limiting the use of nuclear weapons.
I then presented this brave peace activist politician with a poster print of my painting, Peace Girl, which he liked very much.
Dennis ran again in 2007 and 2008. I would have liked to campaign for him again, but, during those years, I was responsible for my mother’s end-of-life care, and, afterwards, with addressing the various types of chaos she left behind. Even so, I posted about Dennis’ campaign, his platform and his speeches on this blog during those years.
I was pleased to reconnect with Dennis Kucinich again in 2020, on Facebook. I had replied to one of his posts on his wall that I had been a volunteer on the Big Island of Hawaii during his presidential primary campaign in 2003 and 2004. I did not expect a reply, since I was one of thousands of volunteers and voters that he met during those busy years, but, to my astonishment, he sent me the following message:
I treasure your brilliant, memorable art, and your support.
I still have it. It is extraordinary, incandescent, as are you. Yes, I remember.
Best wishes, Dennis