Thursday, June 4, 2015

Presidential Ambition of Senator Lindsey Olin Graham Revisited, Retold

Keywords or Terms; Presidential Campaign; Politics and Politicians; Immigration; Social Security; Tax Reform; Hawkish Conservative Republican; Central, South Carolina; Islam; American Muslims; 9/11; Domestic and International Terrorism; Lindsay Graham; Rand Paul; American Patriot Act; Waterboarding; Preventive Strikes; National Security Policy; and Religious Bigotry and Alienation

Of all the announcements this week of a run for the White House in 2016, none is as predictive and fascinating as that of South Carolinian Senator Lindsey Olin Graham, whom we had earlier predicted at the end of January, will be throwing his hat into the race, soon. The Hawkish Conservative Republican finally made his announcement this week, revving like the fume from an exhaust pipe and the aggression of a lion on Monday with the words: “I want to be president to meet our problems head on.” What are these problems you might ask? The Republican Senator, who made his announcement in his hometown, Central, South Carolina, crystallizes them as: terrorism against America has resurfaced and there is an earnest need, scratch that, "Simply put, radical Islam is running wild.”

To Senator McCain’s probable protégé, honestly and realistically, without a perception of taking advantage of the resurfaced threat to America’s security, as President, “[I will] defeat those who are trying to kill us, not just penalize them or criticize or contain them!” Boasting of his national security credentials, the South Carolina senator on Senate Judiciary Committee, wants America to know: "They [America’s Enemies] have more safe havens, more money and capability, and more weapons to strike our homeland than any time since 9/11. They are large, rich, and entrenched. As president, I will make them small, poor, and on the run." Could the senator be playing on the fear of terrorism; or, arousing once more, religious bigotry against Islam or fellow American Muslims?

More significantly are the revolutionary changes that have taken place in the fight against homeland insecurity and international terrorism. Under succeeding Presidencies, George W Bush and Barak H. Obama, America has experimented with a number of strategies to keep American lives at home and abroad safe. No one would doubt the commitment of our presidents to keep America safe; each of the last two, worked so hard, some even say, trashed the constitution a few times with the help of federal agencies, to ensure that American lives are not only safe but also preserved, wherever they choose to go or reside. President Obama just signed the USA Freedom Act, a compromised version of the Patriot Act, with some libertarians, including fellow Graham’s Republican Senator, Rand Paul, who also has his eyes on the White House in 2016, railing against the provisions and extension of the patriot act, even with the new limitations.

It is clear that Lindsey Graham’s Presidential Campaign team will have to work overtime, in explaining what the Senator meant on Monday, by the world is: “exploding in terror and violence.” Such a grandiose statement seeks to seize the opportunity of instilling fear in the populace to the advantage of a campaign; and or, an aspirant. Thus, if it could be assumed that Senator Graham is right on his assessment, perhaps it is time once again, to revisit our national security policy.

On the other hand, it is also safe to recognize that the Senator is probably attempting to differentiate himself from other far-right, or hardliner candidates on the Republican Campaign trail. With Graham’s campaign message, there is a presupposition that the last two US Presidents have not done enough to disarm homegrown terrorists and international terrorism. Republicans would say President Obama has not done enough, and Democrats will point finger at the overzealous efforts of water-boarding by President Bush’s Administration; and, libertarians will highlight the trashing of constitutionally protected rights of Americans by the Presidency, for the continuation of many provisions of the American Patriotic Act, by both Presidents. Furthermore, there is every reason to doubt the first Presidential Campaign message of the South Carolina Senator, Lindsey Graham, who is fascinated with confronting radical Islam with military force.

In the confusion of the Presidential launching of the unmarried fifty-something senator of the Palmetto State, there is all reason to doubt the authenticity of Lindsey Graham’s Campaign Message, considering some Republicans see him soft on immigration, social security and tax reforms, with some of them insisting that the Senator sounds very much like Democrats on climate change; and spending, through his suggestion that the rich must pay a little more in order to help the poor. A Republican moderate, assuming the word means re-conciliatory on issues of passing congressional legislation; a long shot candidacy, assuming you taking into consideration, the star qualities or powers of other candidates on the Republican Campaign trail.

Notwithstanding the reservation(s) in some quarters, there are two dimensions to consider in this Presidential Campaign message: 1) Is there a need for reform of America’s National Security Policy in light of candidate Graham’s assertions; 2) Is there room for reflections, presupposing that his message carries with it, element of religious bigotry against American Muslims?

The most significant factors influencing future national investment on defense and spending will depend on the degree to which Americans see the presupposed emerging threats from domestic and international terrorism. It is premature, if not bigotry, to assume that Islam equates terrorism; and Muslims all over the world are to blame as they are all bent at destroying America. 2016 Presidential Candidate Graham believes that the world, is; “exploding in terror and violence”, and the only solution to this malaise is to send American Military to the Middle East to fight ISS or radical Islam. No one is doubting that there are existentialist reasons to combat domestic terrorism and international terrorists; however, very few will associate terrorism with the practice of Islam. Further, while some may disagree along the line on how best to fight terrorism, domestic and international, there are ample reasons to believe that the past two presidents after September 11th, 2001, have put a lot of efforts to combat attacks from terrorist groups and persons across the globe.

The initiatives to fight terrorism, domestic and international, by both President W. Bush and H. Obama, have introduced some level of new thinking into the efforts, exponentially. This new thinking, as much as they are criticized by either libertarians, Republicans or Democrats, foreign allies and sometimes partner-countries, should be seen as genuine effort to address a problem that no one today, has a definite and complete answer to: why do some people engage in dastardly act of terrorism, domestically and or internationally? Why do governments, direct and or indirectly, finance global terrorism? Until we are able to resolve these questions, association and blaming one religion, hardly seem a useful direction. New thinking must envision that, a common security reason, safety for everyone, is necessary, if not totally sufficient to guarantee a reduction in domestic and global terrorism. If there are proposals and policies to counter the gradual expansion of terrorist networks and groups fascinated by dastardly acts, let’s put them in place to prevent future mayhem at home and abroad. No responsible politician should use this very grievous issue as a pedestal for presidential ambition.

It is entirely possible that, even once we achieve success at combating this global canker-worm, another enemy will arise that will have a domestic and or international dimension. It depends on the willingness and eagerness of Americans, to pull ourselves by the bull-straps and direct our frustrations on the culprits, the financiers and their leg armies, who continue to destroy lives and disrupt governments across the globe. The greater the underlining reasons, why a sub-urban European Kid or his friends from inner city Boston, Massachusetts or St. Paul’s, Minnesota finds solace in leaving the convenience of his or her neighborhood to find their dreams in a world they have never met or lived, is actually the duzzy? The inflow of new peoples into America may appear as a problem; however, that hardly seems the case, there are new immigrants entering Europe every day and there are people of many other faiths coming into America that have not only assimilated, but has become model citizens, some Muslims others, Bhai’s, Seeks, Zoroastrians, Hindi, Jewish and many more faiths.

Significant to our present and future security goal, including fighting domestic and international terrorists, are fundamental restructuring of the way we have often addressed minorities among us, during wars: Japanese Americans during the Second World War; and, American Muslims, during the current rise of global terrorism. While it is unlikely we can completely resolve the impact of the current malaise by encouraging the involvement of every American in fighting domestic terrorism and many foreign governments in fighting global terrorism, we must still make the efforts because all our lives depend on it. There is no need castigating everyone who look alike as the same; or everyone in a religion, as the devil. If we have to reform our national security by increasing spending to combat terrorism in our federal budget, so be it; if we are to build greater public consensus towards increasing spending on international surveillance and preemptive strikes, so be it. However, we must never turn against ourselves in fighting an enemy, many of us, including those practicing the Islamic religion, hardly or completely understand.

The most viable manifestations of a candidate’s campaign message to address a national problem is its efforts to prescribe workable and non-discriminatory assertions – that is, how it speaks to the issue of terrorism, without labeling many who can hardly define the problem. I am postulating that Presidential candidates resolve to carry messages of hope, not of disunity; one that is based on realistic assumptions, not inflammatory assertions that demonize a selective few; a message that introduces competitive strategies to make use of our advancements in technology and substantial lead in understanding the world’s environment, to combat the new enemy, global terrorism; and, a promise to never relent, until the problem is resolved or eradicated across the world.

Realistically, this is a very difficult proposal, because of the nature of politicians and politics. However, this must never prevent us from trying or encouraging our politicians to move in the direction that prevents alienation of fellow Americans. We are in the nasty season of politics season, we must never allow the nastiness to degenerate to politically infeasibility or difficult situation, where some of us, are perceived as the enemy within.
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