By Ken Robinson
On the evening of President Obama’s inauguration, a quiet kluge of men met secretly in Washington, DC. These men met in private, as they were not celebrating; they were fuming. A black man had been elected President, and they were not having it.
It did not matter that the country was in its greatest domestic crisis since the great depression; these men were determined to act. Their agenda discussed “by any means necessary” any and all ideas that would ensure the President of the United States failed legislatively in his first one hundred days and ultimately experienced a failed presidency. Then they planned to run against him on all that he failed to accomplish. Very Orwellian.
In the 1800’s this behavior was called sedition. Today, we call it politics as usual. Who were these men ?
Answer: The Republican caucus.
The same men who have waged a morals war for the last four years, encouraging wedge issue politics, take their direction from “the Architect,” their unelected mentor of choice, Karl Rove. They have attacked our mothers, sons and daughters for marital rights, parental rights, and attacked women in general regarding reproductive rights.
Is this what Americans voted for? No. They voted for hope and change, not a replay of the 1950′s, where women belong in the kitchen or the maternity ward, and the “lesser races” have no voice at all.
Instead, these same men have confronted Americans with a caucus of “delay, deny and obfuscate” on every issue important to most Americans. Their embarrassing and out of control Tea Party surrogates have done their dirty work, district by district, across the nation.
I submit that extremism is extremism, regardless of race, political ideology or national origin. Crazy is still crazy, the last I checked. But, sadly, the politics of fear does work on an uninformed electorate.
The Republican politicians of Virginia have voted on a party line against most of the issues important to the military and veteran population of the State of Virginia (the third largest population in America).
What would happen this November 6th if we had an informed and angry electorate? Should we not be angry, for example, that the best and brightest of this generation – our veterans – are committing suicide at rates higher than at any time since we started counting? That our wounded warriors still struggle for reintegration back into society?
The current administration has fought hard to establish affordable healthcare for all citizens and attempted to push measures through the congress to address the classic injury of the Iraq/Afghan war - mild traumatic brain injury. But this administration has constantly been thwarted by a group of men whose loyalty oath to Grover Norquist (the “no new taxes” guy) is deemed more sacrosanct than their oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
As we approach the Presidential election in a few days, we are asked: Republican or Democrat? Like many Americans, this election cycle I would rather be neither, than either, as a result of tedious party politics. But from a national security point of view, it’s President Obama for me. Because of my profession and unique national security access, I know exactly what’s been going on the last four years and what happened the eight years before that – and who is in a better position to protect the interests of this country.
If we elect Gov. Romney, we must accept all of the Neocons that are attached to him back into the White House. I submit that this entire crew of science-denying, wedge political operatives and activists need to politically die off, not be allowed to raise another new generation of blind-followers or make life appointments to the Supreme Court that impact the next 50 years.
For me, that makes the choice easy.
Today we are respected again around the world as being part of the solution by NATO and our alliances. I would not want to change that and have a universally disrespected Ambassador Bolton becoming Secretary of State.
Through that lens, the choice becomes much clearer.
This year, every single vote counts, as voter disenfranchisement initiatives are at a record high in every battleground state, reminiscent of the Jim Crow laws of the 1960′s. Polling and election trackers are predicting lower voter turnout than in 2004 or 2008. Historically, low voter turnout means low Democratic voter turnout (unfortunately, Republicans do a better job of getting their butts to the polls and voting).
The Republican party is trying to create a litmus test of who is qualified to represent you, which has prompted me to respond to editorials appearing in local small-town papers, in battleground states like Virginia. Take, for example, the Fredericksburg.com – Freelance Star, which advocates to reelect Republicans Rob Wittman and Eric Cantor. The editorial discusses the road to becoming a successful legislator, where these incumbents have spent years in collusion with local and national party bosses – voting 94% on the party line, voting to obstruct any legislation that moves the country forward. This 94% voting record of obstruction did not happen by accident; there was a plan, and they swore an oath to keep it. The editorial denigrates anyone who does not follow that party-approved path, and opines that candidates who fail to follow their prescribed Republican path are not worthy to hold national office. (By the way, if we actually believed their garbage, John Kennedy would never have become a Senator nor would he have become President to prevent World War III [Cuban Missile Crisis]… but I digress.)
Relevance, especially after a natural disaster, is key to short-term voter behavior. That’s why I am writing, speaking publicly, making phone calls and driving people to the polls on election day. Now is the time to place qualified candidates into office who will reach across the political boundary which now resembles the Berlin Wall, not ideologues who rubber-stamp the party line and use soldiers as window dressing for photo ops while voting against every bill that has their real interest at heart.
American voters must select men of good hearts and good will, with full faith in the Constitution and America. At the end of the longest war in the nation’s history, we stand at a crossroads. We will either create a new and stronger middle class (just like we did at the end of WW II), or we will destroy every gain of the last 40 years and become a pariah nation instead of the world leader we must be.
Let’s demand that Congress get to work, or fire them so that America can get back to work!
Ken Robinson is a former Ranger and Green Beret (special forces officer), an entrepreneur, writer and producer, and an inductee in the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame. Follow Ken on Twitter.