Letter: Not your father’s Republicans

Published 9:13 am Monday, February 27, 2017

President Eisenhower is a hero of mine — not only because he was the supreme allied commander who won the war in Europe for us, but because on D-Day when he sent his soldiers to storm the beaches of Normandy he had a note in his pocket taking total responsibility for that decision had it ended badly. He would let no one else be blamed for its failure, but he did not claim credit for the victory. The self-pitying 2-year-old in office now is always a “victim” of the “dishonest,” and routinely takes credit for things for which he deserves no credit.

When he became president, Ike cut the military budget and warned that the needs (wants) of the military-industrial complex would come to determine policy. Such as a former CEO of Halliburton lying us into war with Iraq so his former company could collect $39 billion in profits. Against Republican opposition, Ike taxed the richest among us at 91 percent of their income over today’s equivalent of about 4 1/2 million dollars, partly because he believed many of them had profited from the war that their kids (like Trump’s kids) had not served in it.

He grew up extremely poor and did not make a lot of money, even as a general, but he wrote to Mamie how to spend his money — to buy war bonds and to pay their taxes. He wrote to her, “I like to pay what the government thinks I owe them.” Our current president says not paying taxes makes him “smart,” and that when people lose their homes it gives him “business opportunities.” Ike paid union wages to have his Gettysburg home remodeled. Trump routinely stiffs those he does business with — both his contractors and his financiers.

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Our current draft-dodging president said, “I love war!” and that he knows more than the generals. Ike said, “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can … as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” Ike mourned the schools and hospitals money spent on the military could have built when he said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies … a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” He said and believed that “total, unilateral disarmament is the imperative of our time.” The leader in the oval office now wants to increase our nuclear arsenal and seems OK with more countries becoming nuclear powers.

I sincerely hope Ike was right when he said, “Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group … that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt … a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

Lonna Van Horn