We all know the major vitamins: A, B, C, D and E. As with presidential contenders who are well covered by the mainstream media, we get plenty of them. A few can even be toxic in large doses.
But without the lesser known, yet essential, Vitamin K, we'd be woefully deficient in a key nutrient. Vitamin K, found in leafy greens such as chard and kale, keeps our connective tissue healthy, and builds strong bones.
How fitting that vegan presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is running on a "connective tissue" platform. Kucinich (http://www.kucinich.us) intends to restore America's robust health-economically, environmentally, socially, culturally, and most of all, ethically-by championing a return to balance, to the true vision and values our collective body craves.
Like visionary Vitamin Ks, Kennedy and King, before him, Kucinich advocates an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, strategy.
A heartland politician with heart, Kucinich received the Gandhi Peace Award for 2003, placing him in the distinguished company of world citizens Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, Dr. Helen Caldicott and Cesar Chavez, among many others.
Now Kucinich is running for the highest office in the land with a daring proposition: "People are waiting for someone who connects with their heart, for someone who doesn't judge them but who is ready to show the practical application of peace and love in everyday America. Not peace as an abstraction, but as something that can structure society," he told Rolling Stone magazine soon after formally announcing his candidacy.
Kucinich calls poverty, limited health care, a toxic environment, poor education and racism the real "weapons of mass destruction," and has outlined a ten-point plan for revivifying America from the ground up. The man who proposed a U.S. Department of Peace is practical, and progressive to the core.
His supporters transcend cultural, ethnic, age and income strata. Some of the more familiar enthusiasts range from Patch Adams to Shirley MacLaine, Danny Glover to Marianne Williamson, Studs Terkel to Ani DiFranco, Willie Nelson to Matthew Fox. While other candidates strive to woo and win the "minority vote," or the labor vote, Kucinich doesn't need to woo them-he IS them.
The eldest of seven children whose Teamster Dad drove a truck for 35 years, Kucinich sports the soul of a worker. His father died with his first retirement check in his pocket, uncashed. Kucinich says, "I am of the House of Labor and still building. This is my card of membership in the House of Representatives. This card (House) is where my work is. And this card (Union) is where my heart is."
Kucinich grew up in inner city Cleveland, Ohio, where his family was often the only Caucasian family in the neighborhood. People of color have been his friends and allies his entire life. This same authenticity of spirit resonates among Latino communities, with youth, with feminists-indeed, with any subset of people who comprise the heart and soul of America.
To the multitudes who've hungered for a leader capable of marrying conscience with consciousness, Kucinich serves up a veritable feast. His declaration of interdependence-not just within the U.S. or among nations, but with all life on Earth-often moves listeners to tears, precisely because it resounds with the force of a promise fulfilled.
The annual Peace Sunday celebration held at Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles on November 23, 2003, showcases how Kucinich weds the body politic with the body of Gaia.
The gathering, billed as "A Call to Spiritual Activism," begins with a confluence of cultural energies. The sacred music of Stephen Pike, who wrote, "Saying Yes to the Kucinich Heartsong," wafts through the Great Hall, together with the sweet scent of sage, an herb used by indigenous peoples to bless, consecrate and heal. A Native American woman shares a blessing for the ancestors.
Rev. Michael Beckwith, DD, founder of the multicultural, transdenominational 9000+ member Agape congregation, introduces "Our brother Dennis," rousing the audience to a roar by intoning, "We're here to download peace on this planet!"
And then Kucinich takes the stage.
With laser eyes beaming the twin rays of passion and purpose, he surveys the crowd and says simply, "Every one of you creates the focus of peace in your own lives. It's so important to bring this peace into the public forum. We're told war is inevitable. We dress up our statecraft in the notions of the inevitability of war. War then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy from which we cannot escape.
"Suppose we act from a different paradigm: the certainty of the inevitability of peace." (Enduring cheers.) "We get disconnected by the loud drumbeats calling for war. There is something much more powerful in meeting the challenge of disharmony. The most powerful agency of change is the human heart.
"We need the agency of our own hearts to reweave the fabric of peace. The advancing tide is for human unity, if only we have the chance to claim it and to reject these efforts at making war inevitable.
"We must embrace the world community-get the U.N. in and the U.S. out of Iraq. That is just the beginning. We must take the step to be the peace that we're advocating. Abolishing all nuclear weapons is essential. The U.S. has this capability.
"It's time to unify the world community. We have the opportunity to consciously choose a new direction, where the peace within us becomes so radiant that we will reject war."
Outside the Agape auditorium, Kucinich supporters are wearing T-shirts that read, "Kucinich: A Candidate with Backbone," and "Got Kucinich?" Clearly, they know Vitamin K is key to our collective body's well being. Despite the mainstream media blackout, Kucinich's book, "A Prayer for America," is a New York Times bestseller. It seems a lot of people know they're not getting their RDA-and they've found the missing nutrient.
Kucinich is offering us sustenance and sustainability, on every level. What vitamin pledges to deliver more?
Amara Rose is a life purpose coach, interfaith minister, speaker, writer and workshop facilitator. You can subscribe to her FREE e-newsletter, What Shines, through her website, www.liveyourlight.com. Amara can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-862-0157.