Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Last Honest Republican?

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Dwight David Eisenhower, familiarly called 'Ike', may very well have been the last honest Republican. As both General and President, Eisenhower held his positions in 'good faith'; he was not a 'crook'.

Bertolt Brecht had said: "A man who does not know the truth is just an idiot but a man who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a crook." By that standard, Nixon. the progenitor of the modern Republican who lies to conceal his/her true position, was a crook. When Nixon said 'I am not a crook', we knew he was one.

Arguably a great general, it was  Ike who supervised the allied forces landing in Normandy in preparation for the final assault on Hitler's Third Reich, Eisenhower made the best case for world peace, putting forward five 'precepts' in what is often called the 'Cross of Iron Speech'. Tragically, Eisenhower's five principles have been hypocritically eschewed. It is symptomatic that the GOP leadership fell to the likes of Nixon, Reagan. Bush Sr and the Shrub --all of whom failed the economy, failed the people, failed the Constitution. All were crooks who whored themselves to the Military-Industrial Complex that Ike had warned about. The GOP has been crooked ever since.
In that spring of victory the soldiers of the Western Allies met the soldiers of Russia in the center of Europe. They were triumphant comrades in arms. Their peoples shared the joyous prospect of building, in honor of their dead, the only fitting monument-an age of just peace. All these war-weary peoples shared too this concrete, decent purpose: to guard vigilantly against the domination ever again of any part of the world by a single, unbridled aggressive power.
This common purpose lasted an instant and perished. The nations of the world divided to follow two distinct roads. The United States and our valued friends, the other free nations, chose one road. The leaders of the Soviet Union chose another. The way chosen by the United States was plainly marked by a few clear precepts, which govern its conduct in world affairs.
  • First: No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice.
  • Second: No nation's security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only ineffective cooperation with fellow-nations.
  • Third: Any nation's right to form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable.
  • Fourth: Any nation's attempt to dictate to other nations their form of government is indefensible.
  • And fifth: A nation's hope of lasting peace cannot be firmly based upon any race in armaments but rather upon just relations and honest understanding with all other nations.
In the light of these principles the citizens of the United States defined the way they proposed to follow, through the aftermath of war, toward true peace.
--Cross of Iron Address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower "The Chance for Peace" delivered before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16,1953.
It is not my position that I agree with every thing Ike did or said nor is it my purpose in this short article to analyze his every position with respect to a world view or my values in particular. It is, rather, important to point out that people of 'good faith' may disagree honorably. That Nixon failed the standards Ike lived up to defined the course of U.S. history and showed us a glimpse of a demise that we may very well be experiencing now.