There was a time in this country when, during crises, we all pulled together to solve the problem and improve the situation. Think of World War II or the aftermath of the Terrorist Attack on September 11, 2001. Then, we were united in our determination to strive, to work together, to take every conceivable step to resolve each present crisis and prevent any future ones. It was considered to be our duty as Americans to put the general good above petty and spiteful political attacks. Our unity was a major part of our ability to move forward.
Now, however, the Republican party -- not just the far-right fringe, but many of their members of Congress, governors, and other top leadership -- goes far out of its way to blame our President for the crisis in Ukraine. We are told that, if only Barack Obama had taken some undefined steps to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin's territorial ambitions, we would not be facing this present crisis. The Republican rationale for those extreme statements ranges from the problems with the rollout of Obamacare to the tragedy at Benghazi.
In Critical Thinking college courses which I have taught for decades, I always point out the fallacies of "straw man" and "ad hominem" arguments. A "straw man" is a symbol purposely set up and then attacked, in order to divert attention from the substance of an argument or the real causes of a problem. An "ad hominem" argument blames the real causes of that problem on some particular individual's alleged shortcomings. Neither of these approaches deals with the substantive issues involved, nor do they move us towards any resolution.
None of which matters in the latest despicable Republican blame game. The important thing to many of their leaders is not to resolve the crisis by maintaining full Ukrainian independence, including that of Crimea --but rather to put one more nail in the coffin they try endlessly to construct for the Democrats. At a time when American unity is truly essential, the Republican leadership manages to create disunity and disarray. These despicable efforts serve only to weaken us as a nation, while giving aid and comfort to the Russian Prime Minister in his trumped-up efforts to destroy Ukraine's independence. One might well ask: Has the Republican leadership no shame? Obviously not.
Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)