Silly Rubio-Paul fight over Cuba more about ambition than policy
The Marco Rubio-Rand Paul dispute over the antiquated Cuban embargo is funny, like a fight between costumed mascots from junior colleges at a chess match.
Rubio's playing to his Florida electorate. Paul is playing against Rubio's chances to become president and agrees with President Barack Obama. That's likely to Paul's detriment. Richard Viguerie, longtime Bill Clinton and Obama opponent who publishes yellow-journalism screeds, said that if Obama is for it, conservatives are against it.
Neither Rubio nor Paul seems to clearly perceive the complexities of the issue.
The Cuban embargo's usefulness has been long done, at least two-plus decades, served no useful purpose and was counter-productive.
Isolation benefits and does not penalize dictators; it's an asset and helps them keep their subjugated populace under control. The best current example is North Korea. How else does a despot maintain power for 70 years except through an iron fist, isolation and ignorance?
I look forward to one day visiting Cuba and being part of interaction that will bring Cuba from the Cold War '60s to the 21st century. That it wasn't accomplished before Y2K (remember that one?) is worthy of satire and parody — but then, so are Paul and Rubio.
Bank loans OK, not healthcare
In October, 2008, with George W. Bush as president, Sen. Mitch McConnell voted in favor of legislation that enabled federal loans to bail out major Wall Street banks.
They included Citigroup ($45 billion), JPMorgan Chase ($45 billion), Bank of America ($45 billion), Wells Fargo ($25 billion), and Goldman Sachs ($10 billion).
Now, in December, 2014 with Barack Obama as president, McConnell is highly critical of a federal loan to Kentucky Health Cooperative ($65 million). This organization is a nonprofit citizen-directed group dedicated to "making health insurance available for all Kentuckians — individuals and families and small employer groups."
So, apparently McConnell feels that billions of federal dollars directed to for-profit multinational banks is OK, while investing a small fraction of that amount to assist a non-profit co-op trying to help Kentucky citizens with health insurance — not so much.
With all due respect to the senator whom we have now re-elected once again, I would very much prefer my tax dollars be used to help people gain access to health care.
Gradual change only way in South
The 2014 election exposed the limitations of Southern liberalism; long associated with the fictional character Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.
Read carefully and you'll see that Finch is not the kind of liberal who presses for immediate change. Instead, he seeks to change hearts and minds knowing the process will be gradual.
For example, Finch is brave when confronted by the leader of a lynch mob. He shames the leader and stares down the others. They leave. Yet, Finch explains to his daughter that the mob leader "is basically a good man" who "has blind spots along with the rest of us."
It's said that Gov. Jim Folsom of Alabama also applied liberalism by attempting to change hearts and minds. His critics say his approach was more symbolic than substantive. Even so, he was turned out of office after Brown v. Board of Education by voters who demanded that segregation continue. Folsom's successors, including George Wallace, would enthusiastically toe that line.
It's the classic Hobson's dilemma. Gradual change cannot adequately respond to urgent situations. But, immediate change is not an option, according to the majority of voters. It seems the only choice is between gradual change and no change.
Time to get off couches and act
While watching the news lately, I remembered my youth in the 1960s and my commitment to the civil rights movement.
I was a naive white idealist who knew that if I worked hard for a cause, I could make a difference. I succeeded in a small way by working in literacy programs in Cincinnati and Lima, Ohio.
John F. Kennedy challenged us in the 1960s to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
It's time to start doing.
We have poverty, domestic abuse, religious intolerance, lack of knowledge of the traditions and mores of different world societies, racial discrimination from all segments of the world, need for educational reform, income inequality, etc.
There are enough problems screaming for solutions for every man, woman and child in the world to become involved in finding fixes that work for our time.
Let's get up off our couches and chairs and according to the title of one of my favorite songs, Give a Damn. We are the solution to the problems of our city, state, country and world.
Let's get started to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Taking the name of God in vain
I suggest that the newly adorned "In God we trust," state seals be displayed on a wall facing the legislators for it to do the most good.
The logo looks a little top heavy and perhaps it would be better balanced if they placed the words "Lobbyists Pay Cash" or "Legislators Pay Cash" at the bottom.
As for this being a country "established by God," as Sen. Albert Robinson claims, I don't believe God would approve of the way we wiped out the Native Americans, nor the way we mistreat the environment.
Robinson should revisit the Declaration of Independence which clearly states, "All men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."
That encompasses God, Allah, the Wiccans' supreme being and any other belief system. Our state motto, "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" would do any God proud, if we could live up to its promise.
Perhaps President Theodore Roosevelt's feelings express it best. He took issue with placing the motto on coinage as he considered it sacrilegious to put the name of God on money.
Charles A. Bowsher