official. Broward and Palm Beach counties are
100 percent in support of making war in Iraq.
seems we're all itching for a bloodbath -- or at
least for bloody Baaths -- in Baghdad. We're
good and snookered by the bait (Osama) and
switch (Saddam), and have abandoned any idea of
rigorously containing the Iraqi dictator. We're
champing at the bit to show the Arab world who's
boss, to kill more people in the name of
September 11's dead, to introduce more hate and
violence into this suddenly oh-so-messed-up
least, that's all our congressmen, the sum total
of our counties' voice, are saying on Capitol
Hill. All five of them support the war. That the
two Republicans in office, Fort Lauderdale's
Clay Shaw Jr. and West Palm Beach's Mark
support the Bush administration isn't
surprising. Those two receive barrels of cash
from oil and energy interests, and neither would
have the guts to stand up to Bush if he wanted
to. Foley has even been aping the president's
favorite phrase, "We won't get fooled
to country: It might be a clue that America is
royally screwed up when right-wing demagogues
start stealing lines from circa-1970s Who songs.
Let's hope not too many American soldiers and
Iraqi civilians die before they get old because
Democrats' support of the president, though,
really bothers me. As I wrote last week, two of
our liberal stalwarts, Robert Wexler and
Peter Deutsch, support a military strike (see
"Hawking for Israel," September 26).
The other donkey, Alcee Hastings of Miramar,
talks an opposition game but ultimately stands
in the war camp. He introduced a joint
resolution last week to authorize Bush to go to
war. Under the Hastings plan, which hasn't been
reported in the local media, the president would
have to jump through a few hoops at the United
Nations, but he'd get what he wants: The OK to
we're 0-for-5. But you might at least expect
Shaw's Democratic challenger, Carol Roberts, to
give peace a chance, right? Uh-uh. The Palm
Beach County commissioner has been as silent
about Iraq as a stealth bomber over the no-fly
of taking a stand on the most important issue of
our time, Roberts has been prattling on about
prescription drugs (which, incidentally, can
come in handy if you have to listen to her
talk). Last week, her campaign sent me a
tortured little written statement on the war:
"I want to see evidence that containment of
Saddam is not working," she wrote.
"And I want to see evidence that there is
an immediate threat to the United States."
start. But read on: "Colin Powell is a man
of war, and he understands you don't go to war
lightly. If men of war like Powell said it was
the thing to do, I'd be there.... Make no
mistake about it: I would vote to take the
country into war in order to protect the U.S.,
our people, and our interests."
Roberts is basically a hawk, and, much worse,
she's a hawk who goes around using the phrase
"make no mistake about it." These Bush
mimics are making me queasy. I know the
president is dashing and eloquent and all, but
can't they come up with their own lines? Is
there no one out there with an original thought?
Will someone try to quell this grave and
gathering danger (oops, now I'm doing it), this
illegitimate despot, this interloping cur called
George W. Bush?
to the rescue.
Xuna (pronounced "Zoona") is running
against Shaw and Roberts as an independent.
Xuna, who is 53 years old,
speaks with a heavy
accent from his native Spain, has no political
experience, and campaigns out of his family's
two-bedroom condo in Hillsboro Beach. He's
well-educated and has well-reasoned stances on
the issues. Xuna calls himself a Social Democrat
and basically wants to bring the best qualities
of Europe -- including a national health care
system and more vacation time -- to the United
He panders to no one and serves as a
tool for no special interests, which is one
reason he stands a snowball's chance in Boynton
Beach of winning.
the peace vote has already lost, making it the
ideal time for a protest ballot. So enter with
me, if you dare, the Xuna Xone, where political
decency lives and common sense and logic doom
campaigns to obscurity.
who has lived in the United States and Puerto
Rico for the past 31 years, was driven to enter
politics by two calamitous falls -- of the stock
market and of the World Trade Center. He quit
his job as a software executive in January to
run for office and spent 75 days in parking lots
and beaches gathering the 2165 signatures he
needed to qualify as a candidate. You might have
seen him out there this past spring; he was the
guy holding a clipboard who looked a little like
basketball analyst Dick Vitale, with a shiny
bald head ringed by a dark halo of hair.
knew he had little chance to win, but he also
believed he had important ideas (which are
detailed on his Website, http://www.gr8st8.com/).
September 11, as he sees it, made it clear that
we need to foster better relations in the Middle
East, primarily by ending what he calls
"total support" of Israel. He believes
that, if there is ever to be peace in the
region, Israel must become a true democracy --
rather than a theocratic state.
that alone will cause him big problems. You lose
the Jewish vote, you suffer.
not coming from any religious slant, mind you.
In fact, he's brave enough to openly run as an
atheist (bye bye, Christians). He is calling to
tighten immigration standards (liberals,
farewell). And he's stumping to end the embargo
on Castro (hasta la vista, Cubanos).
believes strongly in the development of
alternative and renewable energy sources. He
supports steep oil and gas taxes to discourage
consumption and believes in extensive national
conservation and energy policies to free us from
our dependence on the Arabs, help the world
toward a path of peace, and clean up the
environment (so much for an endorsement from big
Xuna hasn't raised much money. In fact, he's
received only three contributions, none from his
district: A retired teacher from Miami gave him
$200, a California "humanist" donated
$100, and a Missouri atheist coughed up a $20
he has funded his campaign with about $25,000 of
his own money. Although successful in business,
Xuna, the father of three grown sons and a
three-year-old daughter, is far from rich. So he
and his second wife, Mona, are trying to sell
her oil paintings on the Internet to raise more
campaign funds. He recently held two auctions on
E-bay but failed to unload a single piece. The
money is running out, and he says he'll soon
need to seek employment.
this struggle to Shaw's efforts, which have
raised $1.4 million, and he has spent nearly
$25,000 of it on travel expenses and various
reimbursements -- for his wife, Emilie. Shaw's
campaign shelled out $58,617 for a Cheney
fundraiser in April -- including $825 for
flowers. It paid off, though, as Shaw pimped
Cheney out for some $500,000 in one day. Welcome
to big-time Republican politics. The only thing
missing from his expenditure list is a $6000
things frustrate Xuna. Democracy isn't working.
The newspapers virtually ignore him, and the
routine political venues -- speeches to various
groups and clubs -- are a waste of time. "I
was hoping to do 20 or 30 debates, but there are
no debates," he complains. "I receive
invitations, and you have 30 people there, and
you get two or three minutes to talk. What can
you do in two minutes? Nothing. You are the
first journalist to call me and ask about my
positions.... It's money, only money. No issues.
It is unbelievable."
is a thinker and a dreamer -- not a natural
politician. He's keenly self-conscious about his
accent and, though he is fluent in English (and
three other languages), he thinks in Spanish,
and his tongue can't always find the right
translation. He's not what you'd call
charismatic, and he wouldn't know a good sound
bite if one bit him on the ass. He leaves the
tricky rhetoric to the president, who constantly
refers to his coming act of aggression as a way
to "secure the peace" and plays on our
fears to support his war.
we are unable to get peace in the Middle East,
[Bush] is trying to distract Americans to show
that we are doing something," Xuna says.
"Saddam Hussein is a danger to society, but
going into a war with Iraq is extremely
dangerous -- not only to our soldiers but to a
lot of people in the Middle East. We have to
clean up our act in the Middle East and not jump
into a war."
the only local politician out there making that
stand. And that's why he has my vote in
November. If you oppose this war, he should get