Seeing as my post supporting Senator Rand Paul's (R-KY) filibuster on Wednesday, received some responses that made me feel like my Democratic bona fides were being questioned, I thoughtI would respond and am am showing them to you. This photo is a tattoo I have. It is the Democratic donkey. And the responses I am talking about are not the comments on the page where the post was published.
I feel like there is an almost knee jerk reaction liberals have to any criticism of President Obama or his administration. The comments I received here are not the first I have received about this. Yeah, I have been called a DINO (Democrat in name only). That is why I am so sensitive about this issue. There is an old adage: Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line. It has seemed recently like we are trying to be more like the Republicans. I don't need to fall in love but there's no way I am ever going to "fall in line." Criticizing a president -- of either party -- is what our First Amendment is all about and it is also the patriotic thing to do.
Teddy Roosevelt said:
"“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”
My criticisms of the right don't have a lot of merit if I am not willing to praise that side when I agree with them or if I am not willing to criticize my side when I see fit. I have been active in Democratic politics since I was eight years old. And, truth been told, I have been one who has lamented the fact that we do not have a more parliamentary system where one side gets the ball to run with. Maybe under that sort of system, we'd have a single payer health care system. Maybe. Then I think about administrations that I don't trust as much as I do the current one. George W. Bush, I am looking at you. What other misadventures would the neocons in your administration taken us on? Would we be at war in Iran? North Korea? France? And that brings me back to see the value in our system and even the current set up. Yes, the House seems hell bent on letting nothing constructive happen but it is possible to have a constructive conversation with people whose point of view differs from your own. Just because we are on the left does not mean our echo chamber is any better than theirs.
For whatever it may be worth, I am not alone in supporting Paul's right to do a full on, old school, in your face filibuster. Chris Matthews said, "I may not have the same attitude of a Rand Paul but I worship his right to have it. I would never put that down simply because there is a little right wing paranoia attached to that guy." Ron Reagan, Jr, had this to say, "The Dick Cheneys of the world will get into power and you do not want to set the precedent." (He was talking about the first letter Eric Holder sent Paul on the subject. Agreeing with Paul on this issue -- that the drone program needs more transparency and that we need clarification on when the administration thinks using drones against US citizens is permissible Wanting a conversation on this subject does not make you a right wing nut job.
Ps. I have to think that this week's dinner President Obama had with 12 Republican Senators had a real impact. It's the only reason I can think of that it was Senators Graham (R-SC) and McCain (R-AZ) came out to criticize Senator Paul's filibuster and defend the president. In fact, Graham said, on the floor:
"I welcome a reasoned discussion but to my Republican colleagues, I don't remember any of you coming down here suggesting President Bush was going to kill anybody with a drone. I don't even remember the harshest critics of President Bush on the Democratic side, they had a drone program back then. What is it about this drone program that has every Republican spun up? What are we up to here?"
Oh, and I am also happy that the House passed the Senate's Violence Against Women reauthorization bill, which included the provisions to protect partners in same sax couples. Good for you, House. See? Not everything they do is crazy.