Point of View Columns

Freedom of Speech

The winds of change continue to ebb and flow across these United States. Change and renaissance and renewal and the possibility of the impossible are as much a part of this country’s DNA as amber waves of grain. Change has not always been for the better and the improbability of renewal is always fraught with the possibility that not everyone will awaken to a new day with smiles wreathing their faces.
The so-called midterm elections that are slated for November 2, 2010 promise to provide another opportunity for us to observe the limits and outer limits of change and the promises inherent in the prospect of different realities. Of course, no change is inevitable; voters across the United States will determine which candidates and what kind of change are preferable.
As a public service, during the coming months this Point of View column will present the unexpurgated and unvarnished campaign positions of some of the self-anointed avatars of change who are running for office. I will offer opinions as to those positions but it is important for all of us to know and understand what those positions are and why we should care.
Let us begin with three names that we should all know by now – Linda McMahon of Connecticut, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sharron Angle of Nevada, all Republican candidates for the United States Senate.

One of the founders and principal shareholders of the World Wrestling Federation, Ms. McMahon presents herself as a “successful businesswoman and not a career politician”. The fact that she made her millions (she has already spent $20 million of her own money on this campaign) by promoting violence, misogyny and mayhem does not seem to deter her supporters. Clearly, in the view of some, enough millions can hide the grime of the grim exploitation of wrestlers, women and the prurient interests of the American public.
Ms. McMahon also proclaims that “people create jobs, not government”. I assume, in the WWF world that she inhabits, Ms. McMahon is able to conveniently ignore the WPA, NASA, the United States Defense Department and the G.I. Bill.
Ms. McMahon also calls for increased drilling for all offshore and in Alaska. It should be noted that in this particular proposal there will be no oil wells (and therefore no oil spills) off the coastline of Connecticut and the recent BP oil spill fiasco is somehow a once in a lifetime event that could never ever ever happen again.

Like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, Rand Paul is the gift that keeps on giving to commentators and observers of political discourse. According to him, Rand Paul is a “career doctor not a politician” even though he grew up in a political household headed by his father who was (and is) a United States congressman.
Dr. Paul opposes all federal bailouts of private industry – absolutely and without exception. Consider then, that in Rand Paul’s reality the devastation and upheaval that would have taken place with the collapse of General Motors, Citicorp, and AIG during the past 18 months would have been the natural consequences of free enterprise. Presumably the unemployment and financial dislocation that would have occurred would have been unavoidable collateral damage.
Citing the 18th century world view of the Founding Fathers (a world view that did not include the internet, jet travel or totally interrelated global economy), Dr. Paul would pull the United States out of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. I am not making this up.
Dr. Paul sees home schooling as an answer to the deepening crisis in public schools across this country (including Kentucky where the adult illiteracy rate is 40%). Home schooling can be an alternative for families where one literate and educated parent can stay home instead of working, but the reality is that this precondition exists in a minority of a minority of American families so Dr. Paul’s answer to the crisis in our nation’s public schools is not much of an answer.
On the subject of immigration Dr. Paul is adamantly opposed to amnesty. Presumably, as a United States Senator he will propose a bill that will result in the issuance of 11 million deportation notices. And, he is also unalterably opposed to any restrictions on gun ownership, and his website shows him aiming an assault rifle (every home needs one) in case there is some unintended subtlety in his message. Finally and unbelievably, there is his quirky questioning of the validity and constitutionality of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill (Please see “With A Child’s Heart” Point of View column in the archives).

Last but not least, there is Sharron Angle of Nevada. Ms. Angle has publicly and repeatedly stated her view that these government initiatives, programs and departments should be repealed and discontinued – Social Security, Healthcare, the Department of Education and the Department of Energy. She has also been quoted as saying that unemployment benefits “spoil” the recipients, which must come as some great surprise to the recipients of unemployment benefits who, by definition, have lost their jobs and are probably not feeling very spoiled or pampered.
I invite you to go the websites of these candidates – Linda McMahon – http://www.linda2010.com, Rand Paul – http://www.randpaul2010.com , Sharron Angle – http://www.sharronangle.com and you can see for yourself. One wonders if the leaders of the Republican Party are willing to endorse and support these candidates and their views as they become more publicly known. The light of day can be as merciless as the reality that these candidates seek to avoid. Let them speak freely and then let the voters decide.