Vote For Change, Vote Coleen Rowley

Local activists blog for congressional candidate Coleen Rowley (D)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Murtha campaigns for Rowley

Constitution Day Rally
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9433
Rosemount, MN 55068

With Congressman John Murtha, Congressman Jim Oberstar, and Candidate Coleen Rowley

I was late getting there. I'd stayed after church to attend an adult class, and cut my travel time a bit close.

It wasn't hard to find the right place. The protesters were all over the place, as were the Rowley campaign signs. At least one protester waved a sign that said "Support the troops". I grinned, and called out to her, "Support the troops---and bring them home!" She tossed me a sour look.

As I walked in the door of the VFW, a lady in flag-decorated shirt, jacket, and hat(!) took one look at my Rowley T-shirt, scowled, and sent me upstairs.

Jim Oberstar had been talking; but the room was pretty full, and I couldn't see who was at the podium. It was pretty clear that John Murtha would be up next, so I sat down to wait and got out my knitting.

In retrospect, I probably should have gotten out a notebook. Because I wish I could remember more details for this story.

John Murtha shouldn't need much introduction. He served in the US Marines for 37 years, and has a reputation for fighting in congress to get our troops the best support and supplies possible.

So the VFW was a poetically appropriate location.

Murtha began by describing his introduction to Coleen. She had asked him not to call her a hero, he said, but she is one. Then he moved on to discuss his real passion--our troops. His frustration with the level of REAL support for the troops by the Bush administration and its Republican congress hovered in the air with the pungency of gunsmoke.

The troops needed body armor. They needed helmets. They needed armor for their Humvees. Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld sat around on their "backsides" while the troops hauled 90 pound packs around the desert in hundred-degree heat.

These days, Murtha spends much of his spare time at VA hospitals, talking with the recovering soldiers. At first, he told us, most of the vets would tell him how they wanted to go back to Iraq and help their friends. Now they tell him, "Bring my buddies home!"

The speech was short--definitely shorter than the morning's sermon. But it was heartfelt and clear. America needs new leadership in Congress--and Coleen Rowley should be part of it.