JUST SAYIN’-By now, most of you know that I am a dyed-in-the-wool, ultra-progressive Democrat. On the other hand, you must give me credit for not being so parochial in my views that I cannot also admire viewpoints from across the aisle, especially when they deserve consideration or emulation or when their hypotheses or proposals agree with long-held Democratic precepts.
Sometimes, left-leaning pundits give short-shrift to anything those on the Right have to say. Case in point, the Republican Libertarian, Senator Rand Paul. He believes in minimalist government which would be great if the people would act on their own to ameliorate the many severe and unjust issues facing us.
Yet, there is a big ‘however’. When “the people” applaud the thought of allowing the ill to suffer and die because God apparently has not looked favorably upon them and, thus, deserve our indifference, then maybe the government should step in. When a soldier, risking life and limb for his country, gets booed on national television by “the people” because he is gay, then maybe the government must step in. Would we still have slavery if the 13th Amendment had not been approved? And what about a woman’s right to suffrage or her right to equal pay for equal work? Maybe the government does need to step in.
Rand Paul does get things right every so often! When he supports the concept of a least-intrusive government, I do not agree. Let’s admit that there are definitely times when he makes a lot of sense! What about his statements, made some time ago, that were recently quoted? Isn’t it about time that a prominent Republican go on record (as Rand Paul has) stating unequivocally that then-vice President “Cheney pushed for the Iraq War so Halliburton [with which Cheney had a history and a vested interest] would profit.” We are still reeling from the consequences!
Yes, sometimes there is and should be a moral imperative to intercede on the part of the victimized, such as what the world ought to have done for Rwanda. Yet, no one acted. Was it because Halliburton had no stake there?!
If we left to the likes of Cheney and McCain decisions as to whether or not to engage in war, we would have feet on the ground today in places like Libya, Syria, Ukraine … the list is not endless but long enough.
People have chided Rand Paul for going too far back in history to prove his points about how “easy” our decision-making is regarding war. I know, in reality, many Congressmembers do a lot of contemplating and soul-searching over such decisions. Yet, we still wind up sending our troops across the world to fight war after war and use up treasure that could better be used here at home.
Have you ever thought about the fact that throughout our American history, we have engaged in some form of war give-or-take every 20 years? Then what happens? Generally, there is a boost to our economy, more people are employed in the military-industrial complex, and the “bad guys” (as some of us view them) always seem to lose. Do such facts speak to our ulterior motives, to our real intentions about military engagement? What if we could have turned those bad guys into good guys—partners to face the future together—before we obliterated their land?
Senator Paul has stated that America goaded Japan into attacking us and then offered demeaning terms to end the War in the Pacific. A prideful people, the Japanese were not about to accede to the unconditional terms that were offered, so we (the only nation that has ever done this) dropped, not one but two, nuclear bombs, not on Germany whose people looked like us but on Japan, whose people for us were simply too different to be concerned about the literal and figurative fall-out from such hostilities.
If you check historical documents more deeply, you will discover that he is correct about the Japanese engagement in WW II, yet he is continuously being ridiculed for his thinking (not only about Japan)—often well-deserved complaints but frequently unwarranted.
I cannot in good conscience support a person like Rand Paul for any office, let alone higher office. His opinions generally are just too far outside my own sphere of thinking, but I certainly want to give him credit when credit is due.
Thank goodness, both Germany and Japan are our friends now, but history could have been quite different in the long run (better for Japan but worse for Germany) had we not been so “eager” to engage in war in the Pacific or if we had decided to utilize nuclear weapons on Germany.
The long-and-short of it, Rand Paul does keep us on our toes!
Alternatively, when former-Governor Jeb Bush (did you know that Jeb is an acronym for John Ellis Bush?) spoke out about creating an immigration policy that should be designed with compassion for this nation’s undocumented souls, I was filled with admiration for his stand! He stated that by expressing his beliefs, he might be putting his political future on the line, but he spoke up anyway—something President Kennedy would have called a “profile in courage.”
It was as if he were echoing what I have maintained for many years. He went on to say that when a dad or mom or an entire family comes across the border outside the legal process, that person or those family members are not felons (though they have broken the law)—they have committed no moral crime. They have, he stated in no uncertain terms, imperiled their own lives through an “act of love”—risking everything, leaving loved ones behind, entering a strange land where they encounter a different language, a new culture, and frequent hostility. I urge you to remember what The Holy Scriptures repeatedly says, “Remember, you must not exploit a foreigner or oppress him because you were once strangers in a strange land!”
Bush maintained that these newcomers cross our borders to put healthy and abundant food on the table, to clothe their children and educate them and provide health care for them, but, most of all, to give them the opportunity to have a purposeful future, removing them, once and for all, from the crushing jaws and unrelenting, unforgiving grasp of a poverty that Ross Perot might say “sucks” the very marrow and sinew out of their bodies, leaving only an empty shell in place of what might have been. Keep in mind, our own NAFTA (let alone the TPP) policy is at least partly responsible for so much of the pain and inequity that people outside of our country endure.
Too bad we don’t look at our early history (until 1804—yes, the process was considerably different) when the President and Vice President were chosen separately, thereby making it possible for those holding the two positions to come from different parties. Can you imagine how much could be accomplished in Congress if we had, let’s say, a Democratic woman like Elizabeth Warren as President, and a moderate Republican like Jeb Bush just one rung down--together governing the nation in a collegial way that would, quite possibly, lead to the results most of us are currently seeking? Nowthat could just be a union made in heaven!
The bottom line is that reaching across the aisle to lawmakers with authentic, like-minded intentions is indeed a good thing. As I have stated in earlier posts, “compromise” is not a bad word so long as one’s genuine principles are not thrown under the bus. Opposition for opposition’s sake, however, is the real crime. When compromise is pursued to arrive at what is best for the most, one can still be a good and even great Republican or Democrat or Independent! In a democratic republic, we vote for our representatives to do that very thing.
(Rosemary Jenkins is a Democratic activist and chair of the Northeast Valley Green Alliance. Jenkins has written Leticia in Her Wedding Dress and Other Poems, A Quick-and-Easy Reference to Correct Grammar and Composition and Vignettes for Understanding Literary and Related Concepts. She also writes for CityWatch.)
Vol 12 Issue 30
Pub: Apr 11, 2014