Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tom Lantos, Righteous Democrat

I’m a deeply partisan conservative Republican, and it’s not often I celebrate a Democrat. It’s not that I hate them, I just find most of them incredibly misguided. When I ask them what the Democrats are for, they just tell me what they don’t like about Republicans, but they haven’t a clue towards explaining the guiding principles of Democrats.

That makes it very easy for me to conclude they don’t have any.

However, now and again there is a Joe Lieberman, or a Tom Lantos.

You can easily spot the principled Democrats.

Other Democrats can’t stand them while they’re alive, although they praise them mightily when they’re dead.

Like they did Ronald Reagan.

Democrats thought he was awful in every way when he was President, and for many years after as America basked and prospered under his legacy.

Now that he’s gone, Democrats disparage every Republican presidential candidate by saying, “He’s no Reagan.” And wish that they could find a Reagan to lead them.

My impossible dream would be to be compared in a positive way to Ronald Reagan. Another wish or dream of mine is to be considered by Jews as a latter-day "Righteous among the Nations" person, a Righteous Gentile. I already consider myself one and have proclaimed myself an Honorary Jew.

I have consistently supported Israel and attacked the Islamofascists with the only weapons available to me, my blog and letter to editors.

What do you expect, Rambo?

Tom Lantos was a righteous Democrat.

I didn’t agree with a lot of his positions, but neither did many Democrats, even in his own district.

I don’t agree with everything John McCain advocates either, particularly campaign finance “reform,” but I am a 100% supporter because of four little words – “Aging Supreme Court Justices.” And immigration reform is a good idea.

I honor John McCain's sacrifices and service to his country, and despise the "scum-sucking pigs" who tell lies about it.

Back to Tom Lantos. He courageously supported getting rid of Saddam. While Democrats condemned Saddam’s WMD activities while Clinton was president, and forgot their condemnation during Bush’s presidency, Tom Lantos didn’t forget.

Also, unlike most Democrats, he understood that Hamas wages war on Israel while hiding behind Gaza women and children, and that Hezbollah does the same and hides among civilians in Lebanon, and that both scream “aggression” when Israel retaliates for attacks on its citizens.

I didn’t agree with his action to condemn Turkey for the Armenian genocide, not because it didn’t happen, but because it had nothing to do with the Turkey of today. The problems that condemning Turkey was causing in the present would in no way change what happened a century ago.

If there was logic in Lanto’s position, in equity we should pass condemnation of Japan for not paying reparations to China for atrocities such as the Rape of Nanking, to Korea for “comfort women,” and to Japanese-Americans placed in internment camps (by a Democrat President and Congress) because of wartime fears of sabotage and invasion.

On a very personal note, my Virginia ancestors owned slaves, and some fought for the Confederacy, but I would never consider it fair to accept condemnation and to pay reparations for their actions. Or even to be ashamed of or for them, because nine of our first twelve presidents were slave owners, and seven of that nine were Virginians like my ancestors.

In the final analysis, I salute Tom Lantos for his principles and courage. I didn’t agree with a lot of his tax and spend, quasi-socialist ways, but I’m a proud American that appreciates, as Tom Lantos said, that “It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust … could have received an education, raised a family and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a member of Congress. I will never be able to express fully my profoundly felt gratitude to this great country.”

Congressman Lantos, I feel the same inadequacy in expressing my appreciation for you and all you did.

Men of principle and courage may not win my total agreement, but they do win my total admiration.


UPDATE: A gifted writer, and Holocaust survivor, Zdena Berger lives near our Gualala home on The Sea Ranch. Her haunting autobiographical novel, "Tell Me Another Morning" should be read and appreciated by all.

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