-- The directionless, bankrupting War in Iraq is immoral and unacceptable, and that an exit timetable must be established now.
-- Lying to the American people and the world in order to make war, or for any reason, is immoral and unacceptable.
-- The President's privatization plan to kill Social Security is immoral and unacceptable.
-- Torture is immoral and unacceptable under all circumstances.
-- That portions of the Patriot Act are unacceptably intrusive into the private and personal lives of millions of innocent Americans.
-- Oil drilling in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is immoral and unacceptable.
-- Depriving US citizens of the right and ability to vote, and suppressing their votes, are immoral and unacceptable.
-- That cutting education, health care, support for local fire fighters and police, foster care, child support enforcement, subsidies for starving farmers and the like to make room for rich tax cuts for people making over $200,000 a year is immoral and unacceptable.
Many liberals leaders...many politicians and even more grassroots leaders....made a difference in 2005. They fought the good fight for the historic American values of fairness and equality for all. They strove to keep alive our forefathers' vision that "all men are created equal," and that all are "endowed by the their Creator" with the rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
The five leaders included in this article all stood courageously and consistently throughout 2005, against unprecedented criticism and unimaginable pressures, to speak out passionately and uniquely for what is right.
In alphabetical order....
US Senator Barbara Boxer of California
Senator Boxer was the lone US Senator to sign Congressional Black Caucus objections to certifying Ohio's Electoral College Presidential vote count, due to massive voting irregularities in Ohio. Because of her boldness, Congress heard testimony about illegal suppression of perhaps millions of votes, mainly from poor and ethnic minority Ohio neighborhoods.
Also in 2005 when others were intimidated from confronting misleading statements by the Bush Administration, Senator Boxer closely questioned Condoleezza Rice in Senate confirmation hearings for Rice's nomination as Secretary of State and in various other Congressional hearings.
Senator Boxer continually spoke out against the War in Iraq, all while fighting for better benefits, more funding and better protection for our soldiers. In late December 2005, she introduced legislation to posthumously award purple hearts to US soldiers killed while POWs. Also in December, the Boxer Provision to establish a Mental Health Task Force for US troops was included in the hotly contested final 2005 Defense Authorization Bill.
Senator Boxer also fought valiantly to prohibit drilling in ANWR, and to protect Social Security from being irrevocably harmed by the Bush Administration
On December 19, 2005, Mrs. Boxer became the first US senator to investigate impeachment proceedings against the President when she asked four presidential scholars for their opinion on former White House Counsel John Dean's statement that President Bush admitted to an "impeachable offense" when he said he authorized the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without getting a warrant from a judge.
Senator Boxer said, "I take very seriously Mr. Dean's comments, as I view him to be an expert on Presidential abuse of power. I am expecting a full airing of this matter by the Senate in the very near future."
US Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin
On August 21, 2005, Senator Feingold became the first member of Congress to publicly demand a specific date, December 31, 2006, for complete withdrawal of American troops from the War in Iraq. In doing so, he changed the national conversation on US occupation of Iraq.
As a direct result, on November 15, 2005, the Senate voted 79 - 19 to require from the Bush Administration in-depth quarterly reports on the progress of the war, as well as progress of Iraqi ability to police their own nation. On the same day, 40 senators voted to require from the Bush Administration a specific timetable for US withdrawal from Iraq.
Feingold, often the lone visionary in Senate matters, was the sole US Senator to vote against the USA Patriot Act in 2001...this despite intense pressure to make the vote unanimous. At the time, many thought it spelled the end of his political career. He's now heralded by millions for his prophetic conscience-call vote against violations of civil rights of American citizens.