"The 2008 race for the White House is about to get a lot more interesting. Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has announced she's running for the Oval Office on the Green Party ticket. After speculating for months that she may leave the Democratic party over its failure to impeach President Bush, cut off funding for the Iraq war and stand up for the poor, Cynthia has done just that, issuing a withering critique of her former party as she kicks off her campaign.
"The Democrats, no different than their Republican counterpart, eat out of the hands of corrupt lobbyists and feed at the same corporate trough," McKinney says in the video announcing her candidacy. "I am proud to say the Green Party is my new political home." McKinney implores voters to embrace a "new vision for this wonderfully beautiful and amazingly diverse country of ours" and calls out Republicans "who have deceived us" and Democrats "who have failed us" and stood by to watch the "illegal, immoral and undeclared war" in Iraq to journey on.
"It is time for peace," she says. "It is time to break the vicious cycle where the poor go to war and veterans come home wounded and ignored."
And whatever her chances of winning might be, true progressives should be grateful McKinney is in this race. She can change the course of political conversation in our country and call out those who who haven't been called out for too, too long.
It is unfortunate that, for many Americans, Congresswoman McKinney will always be remembered for her scuffle with a Capitol Hill police officer. Even today, and despite McKinney's stunning record of pushing progressive issues in Congress, there is much un-deserved animus towards her and not enough examination of just how extraordinary she was during her time in office.
In fact, there's been a well-orchestrated - and well-funded - campaign to derail McKinney's political career that, upon close examination, doesn't contain an ounce of truth. Journalist Greg Palast rightfully called that campaign "The Screwing of Cynthia McKinney," after he undertook an investigation to find out if any of the numerous allegations against the Congresswoman were true. They were not, and McKinney never even said some of the oft-attributed smears her opponents lodged at her.
Talk about a battle-tested candidate. Cynthia McKinney knows a thing or two about how to fight.
As the documentary film American Blackout noted recently, what Americans think they know about McKinney - and our system of 'democracy,' - is a far cry from the real candidate and the real issues she's fought for her entire life.
McKinney was deep in the trenches of the fight for an accurate vote count in Florida in 2000... far ahead of most progressives in her humane advocacy for a Palestinian state (while, despite reports to the contrary, being a friend in Congress to the Jewish people, too)... standing on the frontlines, without apology, of the battle for LGBT equality... and being a loud, unmistakable and desperately needed voice for America's poor.
Now, that voice... that fire... that clarion call for uncensored and un-apologetic honesty is coming back to the campaign trail.
Every progressive voter, indeed every American who looks for truth and believes in a government of the people, by the people and for the people should applaud Cynthia McKinney's entry into the 2008 race. This time around, we get a voice - one that refuses to be silenced even by corridors full of those who grasp onto self-perceived power - that seeks answers, embraces justice and refuses to put America's most vulnerable at the back of America's bus.
In her campaign announcement, McKinney urges Americans to "come home." All her adult life, Cynthia McKinney has fought tooth and nail to make sure that home has a seat for everyone at its table and a balcony high enough to see over the clatter of the power classes and into future.
At last, the muzzled masses may begin to speak freely. Cynthia McKinney - one of the last true freedom fighters of our age - is calling us back home.