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Baltimore’s Kevin Zeese was ahead of his time | READER COMMENTARY

Activist Kevin Zeese, standing, interrupted before the U.S. Senate candidates' televised debate in 2018 had formally begun to protest the exclusion of Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Margaret Flowers. Dr. Flowers took to the stage, as her supporters in the audience joined her in complaining that she should have been included in the debate. Mr. Zeese, 64, died Sept. 6 of a heart attack at his home in Baltimore.
Activist Kevin Zeese, standing, interrupted before the U.S. Senate candidates' televised debate in 2018 had formally begun to protest the exclusion of Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Margaret Flowers. Dr. Flowers took to the stage, as her supporters in the audience joined her in complaining that she should have been included in the debate. Mr. Zeese, 64, died Sept. 6 of a heart attack at his home in Baltimore. (Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun)

It was with great sadness to read in The Baltimore Sun that my friend Kevin Zeese had passed (“Kevin Zeese, attorney and activist who sought to reform drug laws, dies,” Sept. 18). The world lost a warrior for good. For most of his adult life he created, in the words of Rep. John Lewis, “good trouble,” whether it be in the courtroom, streets, institution or corporation.

Like Sen. Bernie Sanders, Kevin was a man ahead of his time. The first time I heard him was in 2006 when he was on the Marc Steiner show. He was running for the U.S. Senate. Aware of the inequities in our society, this lawyer advocated government-run health insurance as well as a small tax on every micro-trade in the stock market that was instigated by computers. It would be a way to eliminate the deficit. The man was a font of common-sense solutions. My wife Denise and I became involved in his campaign, handing out flyers at the Fells Point Festival, hosting a “Meet Kevin Zeese” event at our home, whatever it took. The man could talk, and his logic was irrefutable because it was based on common sense. He was gaining ground through the sheer force of his personality.

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On the eve of the candidate debate, a U.S.A. poll had him at 6%, significantly trailing Republican nominee Michael Steele and Democratic Rep. Ben Cardin, but in the running as a legitimate contender, especially in a three-way race. The high point of his campaign was this debate held in an old Baltimore church that once was part of the Underground Railroad. Finally, he was sharing the stage with his opponents.

He was great that night. While Mr. Steele and Mr. Cardin debated heatedly, doubling down on one another, Kevin took advantage of the moment to spread his ideas, offering solutions to health care, income inequality, the military-industrial complex, global warming, and more. By the end of the evening, he received a standing ovation from the mixed crowd. There was no doubt who won the debate.

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I couldn’t wait to read the coverage of the debate in The Sun (“Cardin, Steele play ‘gotcha’ in three-way TV debate,” Oct. 16, 2006). There had to be some recognition of the third-party candidate. My disappointment ran deep when I saw the photo of the event in the newspaper. There was Mr. Steele and Mr. Cardin, but no Kevin Zeese. He had been cropped from the picture as if he didn’t exist. The article only mentioned him four times. Nothing about the applause and little about his ideas. He didn’t have a chance.

David Bolton, Baltimore

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