Saturday, December 8, 2007

Me and Dennis Kucinich, We're Cousins

Dennis Kucinich came to Charlottesville yesterday and I was one of 500+ people who got to hear him speak at the Albemarle County Office Building. I decided some time ago that I would be supporting Barack Obama in this race, but I wanted to hear what Kucinich had to say and wanted to cheer him on for saying it. Dennis Kucinich is not just running for President of the United States. He is, more importantly, running to perfect the human condition by transforming the very basis of interpersonal and international relations to a new paradigm of peace, cooperation and non-violence. We need more politicians who speak unashamedly of such things.

Unlike Obama's fired-up pep rally at the Pavilion last month, Kucinich's talk was much more subdued...philosophical...real. Plus, Kucinich (unlike Obama) was remarkably approachable. After his speech, which he concluded with my favorite RFK quote*, he hung out in the lobby and made time to chat with whoever wished to make his acquaintance. I went up and introduced myself to him as "a fellow vegan elected official" (I don't know how many of us there are in this country, my guess is we could hold that convention in the checkout aisle of the health food store), and he asked me my name, what position I hold, etc. When I told him my name, he was pleasantly surprised; turns out his mother is a Norris too, Ms. Virginia Norris ("from County Mayo") to be exact. We jokingly decided we must be cousins somewhere along the line. When I told him I serve on the Charlottesville City Council, he said that's where he got his start too, as a City Councilor; he then asked if I would consider introducing a Council resolution supporting the creation of a federal Department of Peace and Non-Violence, as many cities across the country (including, most recently, Los Angeles) have done. I told him I would be happy to look into that. It was a very brief conversation but I was very impressed with his sincerity and good nature.

I may just have to add a Dennis Kucinich bumper sticker to my car next to the one for Barack Obama. You know, now that we're family and all.


* "Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." -- Robert F. Kennedy, Day of Affirmation Address, Capetown, South Africa, June 6, 1966