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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trump and American Moral Leadership

TRUMP: I think right now when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems, and I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country. We have tremendous problems when you have policemen being shot in the streets, when you have riots, when you have Ferguson. When you have Baltimore. When you have all of the things that are happening in this country — we have other problems, and I think we have to focus on those problems. When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.
Someone cites this and is willing to "embrace the idea that American democracy has nothing to offer the world." 

When dealing with tools, it's hard to accept that they do at times say something right or represent overall sentiments that have some sort of bite. And, that applies especially for the likes of Trump.  But, some do think we shouldn't be the "policeman of the world," we should address our own problems and when we try otherwise, we screw up. There is some truth to this; it's a matter of scale.  And, there are various ways to do things, other than directly preaching to foreign leaders.  Plus, in the long run, supporting human rights and democracy benefits us too.

The U.S. still provides some guidance to the world (e.g., our belief in constitutional limits and judicial review, if not our presidential/electoral system in all respects) and has a role to play. And, the Corruption Perceptions Index suggests all things considered (our size and scope of power isn't quite akin to New Zealand or Denmark), the U.S. is doing pretty good.  Still, limits and humility is a lesson to be learned, even if promoted by Donald Trump.  Anyway, especially given the religious sentiments of some of them, think many of his supporters will not want to come down from the "city on the hill" too much.

Anyway, interesting historical footnote regarding Tim Kaine, in particular, his wife:
Holton's governorship arguably is best remembered for his response to a court-ordered school busing controversy during his first year in office. The Holtons voluntarily enrolled their school-age children in predominantly black Richmond public schools. A photo of the governor escorting his daughter Tayloe into John F. Kennedy High School on Aug. 31, 1970, made the front page of The New York Times.
"Tayloe" being his wife's (Anne Holton) sister. Accounts have Anne Holton retain her maiden name, including reporting on her current job as the Education Secretary of Virginia. Will her name be an issue like Hillary "Rodham" once was? Her past efforts to promote children's welfare might be one more thing that appealed to Hillary Clinton, given her own work in that area. Anne Holton has an impressive resume, including as a local judge.

The more I read about Tim Kaine, the more he seems like a fine vice president pick. His appeal in swing states, including his own (Virginia) and Florida (speaks Spanish, good campaigner, wide support) along with a comfort level with HRC are but two. His stance on the issues, even if not perfect lefty (shocker that), have repeatedly been honored by progressive publications and personnel. One thing cited in the coverage is his support of a new AUMF.  Sounds like an important matter of checks and balances to me. 

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