As I get ready to cook my bacon-wrapped turkey stuffed with bacon-wrapped lobster tails smothered in honey and adobo in preparation for my yearly display of culinary kickassery, I’m reflecting on what it is, exactly, I have to be thankful for. After all, the economy is still struggling. The GOP is still intent on making it worse in the crassest of political calculations. Occupy protesters are being beaten and chemically burned by those sworn to protect them. The Democratic Party is still searching for a spine and people all over are still suffering from Wall Streets’ greed. Not the rosiest of pictures.
Yet, I am hopeful. Why? Because even in the face of sociopathic opposition by the GOP, President Obama has made our country, and the world itself, a safer place. He got bin Laden, he’s wiped out more terrorist leaders in 3 years than the previous administration did in 7 and he signed the new and completely unappreciated START treaty. Considering people were so terrified of Iraq becoming nuclear capable that we just had to invade them (despite the incredibly flimsy nature of the “evidence”), you would think people would be more excited about ensuring that we continue to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in existence. Less nuclear weapons, specifically less Russian nuclear weapons, means less opportunity for hostile countries and organizations to obtain one for themselves.
This is not to say that Russia plans on arming terrorists but their security is, to put it mildly, lacking. Add to this the insanely corrupt government and you have a toxic mix where loose nukes end up in a shipping container headed for New York Harbor. Since I currently live in New York City, I would prefer not to be irradiated or vaporized, thank you very much. And this is why I am thankful to President Obama and everyone else that resisted the pressure to delay the treaty until the new Congress began instead of pushing it through a lame duck session.
Vice-President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton were crucial in this effort as were many others who work tirelessly and in secret to secure the very weapons of mass destruction the GOP screams about whenever national security is brought up but have taken great steps to avoid dealing with in any rational, methodical way. This is the same GOP, by the way, that gone out of its way to ensure that our mission to render the nuclear dreams of terrorists impotent actually fails. The outing of Valerie Plame comes to mind as she was “fair game” when it came time for the Bush administration to punish a political opponent.
Mind you, it’s not like her family and friends found out what she did for our country and suddenly shunned her like a pariah so it didn’t devastate her personal life. It did, however, end her career as a CIA operative and ruined her professional life. And what did she do for the CIA? Her job was to keep nukes out of enemy hands. And from all reports, she was very good at it. Sounds like just the person you’d want working for the country if you were actually serious about keeping America safe. But not if you’re a Republican.
In that same vein, the GOP fought tooth and nail to block the new START treaty. Their reasons ranged from the bizarre to the childish. One argument against the treaty was that the Russians would have more nukes than we do. This was the motto of the Cold War insanity appropriately known as M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction) where both sides raced to have more bombs then the other so, what?, in case of a war that would end civilization the side that irradiated more of the Earth wins? A couple of hundred missiles would be enough to end Russia (or any country for that matter, including us). We have thousands. “Overkill” is not a strong enough word. “Pointless” comes to mind, though.
And then there was the laughable argument that without all of our thousands of bombs (very expensive bombs, by the way. I thought conservatives were fiscally responsible?), we would be vulnerable to other world powers. Really? Really?! That’s supposed to be a viable argument? We, the United States, the country that spends more on defense than almost the entire world COMBINED would be vulnerable to conventional attack without thousands of nuclear weapons as a determent. Who the hell is going to invade us? Canada? Mexico? We have the a fleet that makes the legendary Spanish Armada look like a massing of rubber duckies and our air force is generations ahead of the next most advanced fighter plane available to the rest of the world. Forget the fact that our citizenry is armed to the teeth; an army occupying the United States would long for the good old days of Iraq and Afghanistan insurgencies.
So really, it all came down to trying to deny President Obama a victory. ANY victory. Even one that is unequivocally beneficial for the country. Because as Mitch McConnell said “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term President.” McConnell voted against it, by the way.
So this year, I am thankful that the Obama administration fought its way past the suicidal opposition of the GOP to make us all safer as we celebrate Thanksgiving. How about you?