Newt Gingrich’s recent appearance on Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” illustrated the cowardice of Republicans in dealing with national security issues. The Republicans are afraid to grant civil trials and constitutional protections to anyone they suspect of having terrorist leanings, most recently demonstrated by their fear of having terrorist trials in New York. Jon’s reply to Gingrich that he was not afraid to hold such trials was a lone voice in the media, but one that reverberated with me. How can we trust cowards like Gingrich, or George W. Bush and Cheney (who dodged the Vietnam draft), to defend the US? Somehow Republicans have the reputation of being strong on defense, which maybe they are, because they are so scared. They fear everybody, strange lights, noises in the dark, anything that might potentially threaten their ill-gotten wealth. These are the people who defend their “private property” by shooting trespassers on sight, even children, and asking questions later. I am ashamed for America. But the good news is that they don’t represent all of America. Even if they make big gains in the next election, there are a lot of people who won’t vote for them.
I suspect that a lot of the military is Republican, but I don’t know for sure. It makes some sense, because Republicans support the troops in general, because they are so fearful that they want somebody to go out and fight for them. But Republicans are also in favor of low taxes that may leave the troops without the support they need. Bush and Rumsfeld sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq without the best body armor or Humvees, the army you have, not the army you would like to have. Then rather than raising taxes to support the wars, they said just to go out and shop. They certainly made no effort to increase the size of the military to fight two wars; that might inconvenience some of their wealthy friends, whose children might have had to go.