I joined Rand Paul’s class action lawsuit against the NSA. Then Rand sent me a long mail-merge letter urging me to support our other common interests, like banning abortions and denying citizens the very health care that Rand receives as an elected official. I was annoyed, but I still felt that Rand and I could work together. Here’s my reply to him.
Dear Rand Paul*,
I have just received your mass-mailing, under the banner “Rand 2016,” urging me to sign a statement of “Republican Principles.” As a result, I have unsubscribed from your mailing list. I got myself on your list earlier this week by joining your class action lawsuit against secret surveillance of American citizens by Federal intelligence agencies, specifically the NSA.
When I joined that class action, I was NOT indicating support of a general “Republican” agenda or the “right to life” movement. I was supporting what I said I was supporting — a movement to curtail the secret surveillance state. I will not appreciate having my name used to suggest that I support things I do not support.
I’m not a Republican. In fact, I’m far to the left of what’s now called a “Democrat.” But that’s because the Democratic Party has moved so far to the right in just my lifetime. I actually haven’t changed much. I’ve never supported positions based upon “my country right or wrong,” and I don’t support them today.
But here’s the point of this letter: Noam Chomsky, a legendary scholar and truth-teller who calls himself “a classic conservative,” often tells people on the left to find commonality with those on the right, and to work together for what we all believe in. Therefore, I’m writing this letter to see if you think there are ways that you and I could work together even though we don’t agree on everything.
I read your statement of “Republican Principles.” It’s vaguely worded in some cases, and in other cases the language is suspiciously emotional, but I could probably support most things on it EXCEPT the statements on abortion, “ObamaCare,” and the reference to “the EPA’s green goons.” (Really, Rand, you must stop using language like that.)
I support a woman’s right to choose. It’s not negotiable. However, I do believe that abortion is never something to take lightly, that it should always be a last resort, and that it should be avoided by preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place. In other words, on abortion I take the rational, non-hysterical, non-fundamentalist position — the position that someone like you should be taking, I believe.
Regarding “ObamaCare,” first of all, you shouldn’t use that term; it’s inflammatory, needlessly partisan, and beneath you. Second, I agree that Obama’s health program is a disaster — but it’s a disaster for the same reason that Obama’s entire presidency is a disaster: he promised “change you can believe in” and delivered no such thing. His health plan is a disaster because it’s not full, single-payer health care for every citizen of the country, the same health care that all other “first world” nations have, and that you yourself get as an elected representative. Why should representatives of the people receive such a fundamental human benefit when the people themselves do not?
Regarding your “Republican Principles” statement on the Tenth Amendment, I support the traditional American right of a state to secede from the union. Is that “states’ rights” enough for you? However, if your states’ rights advocacy is a maneuver to try to outlaw abortion state-by-state, then I do not support it. There must be core individual liberties promoted by the nation as a whole. There must also be clean air and water for everyone. If you have a better way to ensure core freedoms and human-life guarantees than Federal law and regulation, let’s hear it.
I’m in favor of building a sane, civil society. How about you? Where are you on the “War on Terror”? How would you answer the question that George W. Bush so famously failed to answer: “Why do they hate us?” My own position on this crucial question is very clear, and you won’t hear it from Barack Obama.
My position is that the U.S. has given “them” some very good reasons to hate us over the years, and we need to stop doing that. I believe we should make Americans more safe at home not with a “War on Terror” (why is it always a “war,” Rand?), but by reducing understandable hostility to the U.S. – something well within our power to do immediately. For starters, an immediate end to cowardly, cold-blooded murder from the sky by unmanned drones.
Where are you on Israeli expansion into the territories (which is clearly illegal aggression), and on the need for an immediate, lasting Palestinian solution — something that, all by itself, would make Americans vastly more safe than they are today? For that matter, where are you on the “War on Drugs”? On the militarization of outer space? On getting corporate money out of our elections?
I suspect that you and I could agree on many of these things. But I’m not sure. I joined your NSA class action because you support dismantling the military/corporate complex that Dwight Eisenhower warned us about. Now, in today’s email, you call for eliminating “corporate kickbacks.” I agree. I assume that this means you’re against “corporate personhood.” I hope so.
Here’s my question, Rand: Can people like you and me collaborate on the values that we do share? Can we join together against a secret police state, unconstitutional expansion of Executive power, a corrupt Congress and a bloated and wasteful military? Can we work together for the restoration of the individual right to privacy against the “big data” oligarchy? Can we work together for the promotion of peace and justice around the world?
All these goals come under the heading “abandoning the quest for global hegemony.” And they are all quite compatible with the long-term interests of the United States. Think of it: after we get rid of the needless “War on Terror,” the equally needless “War on Drugs,” and many needless U.S. military bases around the world, we’ll be able to give all Americans full single-payer health care, repair our crumbling infrastructure, revive public education, build the fast mass transit that other developed countries have, and STILL lower taxes. Pretty remarkable, wouldn’t you agree?
Rand, a person could actually get elected President with an agenda like this. The American people are ready for it. I can feel it. The corrupt politicians aren’t ready, but the people are.
Can a person on the “right” work with a person on the “left” for common, fundamental goals? You’ll have to tell me. I accept that it will require “agreeing to disagree” on certain things. In fact, I think we should simply announce publicly that we have disagreements, but that we agree on many equally important matters.
Anyway, let me hear your thoughts.
*I realize that Rand Paul is probably not the direct recipient of this email. However, I’m replying to an email that purports to be from Rand Paul personally. It bears his signature. Therefore, I’m asking that you forward this letter to Rand Paul himself. And FYI, I’m posting this on my blog, and if Rand answers my letter, I will also post his reply.
On Jun 28, 2013, at 10:01 AM, “Rand Paul” wrote:
Millions of taxpayer dollars for Hollywood, NASCAR, algae growers, electric motorcycle makers and a host of other corporate kickbacks.
Hard working Americans like you are paying more in taxes to fund even more wasteful spending.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of the way things are done in Washington.
And I’m especially tired of Harry Reid, Barack Obama and their big-spending pals hatching schemes to waste your hard earned money on programs that contradict our conservative values.
If I sound a little fired up — it’s because I am.
And I’m going to do everything in my power to break through the establishment and return the GOP to its core principles.
Can I count on you to stand with me by signing your Statement of Republican Principles?
You see, the “fiscal cliff” fight served as a shining example of exactly what’s wrong with Washington.
A bill that included massive new tax hikes and wasteful spending was passed in less than 24 hours — with many Senators only having three minutes to read the bill before Harry Reid forced them to vote on it.
Of course, you may hear those same people claiming they’re going to get serious about cutting spending when the “fiscal cliff” fight is revisited this Spring.
They say next time it will be better.
But this is the same old song and dance the Republican establishment always uses to sell us out to the Big Government crowd in Washington — by promising future spending cuts.
In the past, the spending cuts never came, so there is no reason to believe they will come now.
It’s up to you and me to make sure things are different this time.
How long will the establishment continue to ignore our real fiscal problems?
Problems like $16 TRILLION in debt with seemingly no end in sight.
As a Republican, I want my party to be known for its stone-cold seriousness about our fiscal problems.
I want it to be known for its adherence to our party’s historical principles — like limited government, fiscal responsibility and lower taxes.
And adhering to this set of principles shouldn’t be hard — especially for Republicans.
After all, these are the same tried-and-true principles that made America the freest, most prosperous nation on Earth.
The truth is, I believe there’s never been a greater need for a Republican Party that isn’t afraid to look our nation’s problems in the face and start working to solve them.
If you agree, I hope you’ll sign your Statement of Republican Principles IMMEDIATELY.
Ralph, I didn’t come to Washington to join the “good olé boys” network.
I didn’t come for the “perks” of being a U.S. Senator.
And I sure as hell didn’t come to Washington to help maintain the Big Government, big spending status quo.
I came to Washington to fight to restore the Founding principles of individual liberty, free markets, and constitutional government.
And I believe that starts by returning the GOP to its core principles.
But I can’t do it without the help and support of conservatives like you.
That’s why — along with your signed Statement of Republican Principles — I hope you’ll agree to make a generous contribution of $500, $250, $100, or $50 today.
Your generous contribution will help mobilize millions of Americans to fight to restore our conservative values in Washington.
But there’s no time to waste.
The tax-and-spenders got their “fiscal cliff” victory, and now they’re going to come out guns blazing in the new Congress.
So over the next couple of weeks, you and I are going to be faced with an onslaught from the statists in Washington.
Gun-control schemes. Tax hikes. Out-of-control spending. More attacks on our personal liberty.
There’s no telling how far they’ll go.
That’s why you and I must send a loud-and-clear message to the Republican establishment that grassroots conservatives aren’t going to sit idly by and allow them to sell out our values for political expediency.
So please sign your Statement of Republican Principles IMMEDIATELY.
My plan is to circulate your Statement of Republican Principles to my colleagues to let them know you’ve had enough of the status quo in Washington.
And if at all possible, I hope you’ll agree to make a generous contribution of $500, $250, $100, $50 — or whatever you can afford — today.
I know times are tough for a lot of folks out there.
But if you and I don’t stand up and fight back — NOW - it’s only going to get worse.
So please sign your Statement of Republican Principles, and if at all possible agree to make your most generous contribution immediately.
Together, you and I can restore constitutional government in America.
Senator Rand Paul
P.S. With their victory in the “fiscal cliff” fight, the statists are going to waste no time trying to ram through their Big Government agenda.
If we’re going to win this fight, you and I must turn up the heat on the GOP to stand up and fight for our core principles.
So please sign your Statement of Republican Principles, and if at all possible agree to make a generous contribution of $500, $250, $100, or $50.