Another Republican jumps ship
After years of being a self-described “liberal Republican,” Jeremiah Goulka stayed with his party even as it began to slide down the path of craziness. He believed in the Republican mantras of “picking oneself up by one’s bootstraps” and the infallibility of the US military.
Then he volunteered to work in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and soon after spent several weeks in Iraq working with the RAND Corp.
The scales fell from his eyes. Alternet link
While in New Orleans, he discovered an entirely new world of people he never knew had existed.
Then something tiny happened that pried open my eyes to the less obvious forms of racism and the hurdles the poor face when they try to climb the economic ladder. It happened on an official visit to a school in a suburb of New Orleans that served kids who had gotten kicked out of every other school around. I was investigating what types of services were available to the young people who were showing up in juvenile hall and seemed to be headed toward the proverbial life of crime.
My tour guide mentioned that parents were required to participate in some school programs. One of these was a field trip to a sit-down restaurant.
This stopped me in my tracks. I thought: What kind of a lame field trip is that?
It turned out that none of the families had ever been to a sit-down restaurant before. The teachers had to instruct parents and students alike how to order off a menu, how to calculate the tip.
I was stunned.
And in Iraq:
Our nation-building efforts reeked of post-Katrina organizational incompetence. People were assigned the wrong roles — ‘Why am I building a radio station? This isn’t what I do. I blow things up…’ — and given no advance training or guidance. Outgoing leaders didn’t overlap with their successors, so what they had learned would be lost, leaving each wheel to be partially reinvented again. Precious few contracts went to Iraqis. It was driving people out of our military.
This incompetence had profound human costs. Of the 26,000 people we were detaining in Iraq, as many as two-thirds were innocent — wrong place, wrong time — or, poor and desperate, had worked with insurgent groups for cash, not out of an ideological commitment. Aware of this, the military wanted to release thousands of them, but they didn’t know who was who; they only knew that being detained and interrogated made even the innocents dangerously angry. That anger trickled down to family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. It was about as good an in-kind donation as the U.S. could have made to insurgent recruitment — aside from invading in the first place.
So, he has left the party of his childhood and youth, because, as they say, “reality has a liberal bias.”