Troy: I would like to highlight US Congressman John Conyers for Black History Month because he has repeatedly and consistently been a strong voice. And while I think Senator Barbara Boxer and Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones are heroes for standing up for voting rights, I hope we all remember that Congressman Conyers was one of the driving forces digging into the problems in Ohio and serving as a beacon to draw the attention of others.
Conyers life begins in Detroit, MI on May 13, 1929. He is married to Monica Ann Easters Conyers and they have two children: John III and Carl Edward. The Honorable John Conyers has been a practicing attorney, a US Army Corps of Engineers officer in Korea, served in the Army Reserves, served in the Michigan National Guard, and served as a Congressional aide for Congressman John Dingell all before 1964, a year I pick for a very important reason. In 1964,
John Conyers was first elected to the US Congress which makes him "the second most senior member in the House of Representatives."
During his many years of distinguished service, Congressman Conyers has championed: the MLK Holiday Act, the Racial Justice Act, the Police Accountability Act, the Violence Against Women Act, the Motor Voter Bill of 1993 and many more.
He is a founding member (1969) of the Congressional Black Caucus which has been the heart, mind and soul of the House for too long and often without any assistance from the Senate (I repeat, I applaud Senator Barbara Boxer for the support she bravely gave last month). When created in 1969, there were thirteen members, in our current Congress, there are forty-three.
Here is John Conyers speaking about the Iraq war on the House floor, June 10, 2003:
I have seen the American people apparently deceived into supporting invasion of sovereign nation, in violation of UN charter and international law, on the basis of what now appear to be false assurances. The power of the Congress to declare war was usurped. The consent of the governed was obtained by manipulation rather than candid persuasion.
Instead of conducting a sustained all-out war against the genuine terrorists behind 9/11, President Bush chose to terrorize the American people. The President, Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld painted lurid nightmares of al Qaeda's attacking U.S. cities with insidious anthrax or clouds of deadly nerve gas. All of this was portrayed as coming courtesy of Saddam Hussein, unless we destroyed the Iraq regime. They also wielded the ultimate threat that Iraq would imminently endanger America and our closest allies with nuclear weapons. Members of Congress who voiced deep distrust of those claims were privately briefed with even more vivid descriptions of the deadly threats that Saddam posed to American security.
In public speech after speech, the President and his supporting players assured America's anxious citizens that attacking Iraq was absolutely necessary to prevent the imminent threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction from harming them and their loved ones.
In addition, President Bush was determined to convince the public that Saddam was personally behind, or at least intimately involved in 9/11. He and Vice President Cheney repeated that mantra incessantly. No wonder that about half of the country still believes that Saddam was involved, although our intelligence community has emphasized that there is no credible evidence that is true.
The manipulation was massive and malicious. The motive was simple. The Administration wanted to attack Iraq for a variety of ideological and geopolitical reasons. But the President knew that the American people would not willingly risk shedding the blood of thousands of Americans and Iraqis without the immediate threat of deadly attack on the United States. As Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz recently admitted to an interviewer in an unguarded moment, when the threat of weapons of mass destruction was chosen as the banner to lead a march to war, it was chosen for "bureaucratic reasons," not because the danger was imminent or paramount.
He has also been very vocal about corporate responsibility (example: Enron) and he was at the forefront of fighting to bring a light to shine on the voting problems in Ohio.
[Note: The only thing I'd add is this BuzzFlash interview where Representative John Conyers speaks of Enron.]