Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) Deceptive or Delusional?
A couple weeks back, Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) spoke at the National Press Club about his book “Saving Freedom.” With 100 people in attendance, he claimed that America is now where Germany was before the rise of the Nazis. He also claimed to have had a conversation with an Iranian immigrant who was supposedly panicking about the increase of government spending and government control under the current administration and congress. Would you think me skeptical, if I thought that sounds like he had the conversation in his head?
When questioned by someone in the audience who thought the U.S. might need to have a revolution like the one we’ve seen trying to happen in Iran, he said, “The reason I’m convinced we can do this in a civilized way is that I’ve seen, on a number of issues, that when people get informed and want to change their government, the government will change.”
He’s right when he says that. That’s exactly what happened in the election!
He and his fellow Republicans drew their lines in the sand, and made up their angle. Now they’ve got their story and they’re sticking to it. I think most Americans can see that the real problem these guys are having is that they don’t like losing. Who does? But because of certain consistent behavior, they come off as sore losers, which at best makes them cautionary tales for our children (”You don’t want to grow up to be like those Republicans!”).
The most vocal of these characters, just like the Senator, spin everything that doesn’t go their way in the worst possible way they can feverishly imagine. I think Senator DeMint is wrong about his core idea. It isn’t freedom on the line. Freedom doesn’t need to be saved. I saw plenty of freedom and the love of it on display during our 4th of July parade. I see it in the sacrifices made by our soldiers, teachers, business owners and civil servants at every level. It’s the future of all of us that is on the line.
The American system is broken, whether you’re talking about the issues of healthcare, education, finance, or the way Congress itself works. And because of the broken system, the future our country and world are now faced with is mighty threatening. And our future is your future.
How broken is the healthcare system? My wife and I just had our first encounters with the conventional side of medicine system since we were in our 20s. Over the last two months, we each suffered painful injuries while riding our bikes. I had an additional injury while rescuing a cat. The cost of attending to these injuries is shockingly absurd, as is the cost of our insurance which, it turns out, isn’t what we thought it was. This time around, we could afford to handle the cost. We couldn’t afford to do this twice. And in this economy, we know we’re among the lucky ones.
Meanwhile, Congress has produced a tepid lowest common denominator response to just about every big challenge that crosses their desks, from climate change, to healthcare, to the rest of the problems we face as a nation and as a planetary civilization. And through it all, the Republican party and their leadership, with the assistance of Senator Jim DeMint, have done everything they can to poison the electorate and polarize the nation. They somehow refuse to own up to the fact that they broke the country and the world when they were in charge.
Seems to me that Congress, taken on the whole, is just pitiful, negligent and out of touch. Nothing new there, things have been going that way since the late 1700s, but Bush and crew took a wrecking ball to our fragile attempts at a more perfect union. It’s no wonder we’re reeling. We’re trying to bounce back, but we have to do it without their help. Because they’re busy ‘saving freedom.’ Right after they eat their freedom fries, and get their lapel pins polished, they get back to doing just that, by demonizing and blaming those who are trying to do something about our actual problems.
Fact is, It’s easy to tear down, harder to care enough to roll up your sleeves and work. If Jim Demint wants to save freedom, I think he should devote his energies to working positively to taking the long view and seeing the big picture of what is happening to us, and then find common ground in Congress in order to meet the needs of our nation. They had their shot at being in control. Look what they gave us! But DeMint hopes to capitalize, in his book and in his career, on the notion that there is some kind of power grab by Obama and his ‘willing allies.’
That’s just dumb. Yes, government keeps expanding it’s role, becoming more of a big brother to us. But both parties have paved the way for that outcome. And being against is not a solution. Being right about who is wrong doesn’t change anything. DeMint wants people to forget how we got here and why government is taking drastic measures, just as his party hoped we would all forget and give them even more time to do more of the same.
In fact, during the campaign, his Republican buddies wanted people to believe that freedom was on the line, that Obama was a terrorist sympathizer, and that we were heading for socialism. Their alternative? The flipflop champion John McCain with his campaign of mean yet spirited denial, and Sarah Palin, an ignorant, incompetent, unqualified extremist who turns out to be a quitter, as if she is somehow what the country needs.
And when they lost the election, did they hear America’s voice? No! In fact, they’ve raised the volume of vitriol and paranoia and lowered the level of discourse with their few remaining followers, many of whom it turns out are just plain nuts and eager for the new administration to fail, instead of respecting the election outcome and working shoulder to shoulder with the winners to solve the unprecedented number of problems facing our nation with a credible and doable plan.
Whether you agree or disagree with Obama’s policies to date (I confess that I vascilate from frustrated to disappointed on most of them), at least he is calm, reasonable and intelligent, rather than rash, inarticulate and utterly incompetent. At least he’s trying to keep most of his campaign promises and to address the unprecedented difficulties left him (and us) by his nation-building freedom suppressing power grubbing profiteering predecessors.
You know what scares me? The paranoid and polarizing loudmouths (Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter and the like) who have dominated our national dialog for so long that people have grown accustomed to it.
The crooks, liars and philanderers on the right and left flank of our nation are an embarrassment. But freedom isn’t on the line. It’s our future we should look to and do something about. Let Senator DeMint care about that, not with words, but with actions, and maybe he’ll have more credibility with his next book.
Your comments are welcome, but no flames. Be reasonable, be persuasive, and I’d love to hear your reasonable response to this post.
P.S. Senator DeMint, you are welcome to respond to what I’ve said here, and debate with me about what is really on the line!
Rick is a best selling author and the founder of the Art of Change Skills for Life. His book titles include, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the best in people at their worst, Life by Design and Influence and the Art of Persuasion. These days he is spending quality time away from the spotlight enjoying the company of his wife and practicing his electric guitar.