Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Drew Young, my first vote for a Republican, and the GOP in the House might vote "no" on Syria.

   More years ago than I care to count, Drew Young was the Republican Party candidate for Marion County Prosecutor. Jeff Modisett was the candidate for the Democratic Party. I knew members of the Young family. My roommate at the time (2nd-3rd years in law school) was a former fraternity brother of mine from DePauw and was a cousin of the Youngs. That was not the reason I voted for Drew in the election. I thought he was the better candidate. As is usually the case, the candidate for whom I voted lost. (Young's campaign disintegrated when it ran a negative ad of his opponent, one of the first grainy image/slow-mo things where a voice-over explains what a hypocritical shmuck the opponent is.) Drew was the first Republican for whom I voted. I met him a couple of months later and told him that. I have reminded him of that every time I have seen him since. I have voted for a few---very few---Republicans since that election. Usually my vote goes for the "other" of the two "major" political parties. Sometimes I have cast my vote that way because I like the candidate (e.g., and years ago again, Andy Jacobs, Jr.). At other times the matter has been a vote to avoid a perceived evil in office.

   As I write this blog, the projected vote on President Obama's proposal to bomb the distant nation of Syria is 212 votes leaning "no" and 44 leaning "yes." The House of Representatives consists of 435 members. The matter requires, according to my math work, 218 votes to pass. 

   As I have written over the course of the past several blogs, the notion of bombing Syria is lousy for many reasons. There appears to be no "side," if one can identify a group as such, to back that likes the United States. Russia supports the Syrian regime and has sent a naval vessel to park off shore. I have read elsewhere that the Russians never would commit military acts in support of Syria. Perhaps that view is correct. Unfortunately, two points give me cause for major concern. First, that the view is wrong and Russia would act. Second, the people on board that vessel, and on the United States Navy warships in the area, are human beings. Mistakes can be made. One screw-up, or quick series of screw-ups, and we could have United States armed forces firing weapons at Russian armed forces.

   The vote in the Senate might be close, but many observers say the vote there will have the required 51 votes. Of course, in the event of a tie vote in the Senate, the Vice-President casts the breaker. That would mean the vote would go "yes."

   In the House, however, we have the People's Chamber. The Framers thought the shorter terms of office for members of the House would mean those members are more responsive to the People. At the time United States Senators were not elected directly. Anyway, it would appear the Republican Party in the House could mean the defeat of the measure to support bombs in Syria.

   Too much of the debate about military intervention in Syria is reminiscent of the lead-up to United States invasion of Iraq. As the political philosopher Yogi Berra would say, it is deja vu all over again.

   Susan Brooks is the United States Representative for our Congressional District. I did not vote for her in 2012. I have written to her office, as well as to the offices of our United States Senators, Senators Donnelly and Coats, and asked they vote "no" on U.S. military attacks on Syria. If Representative Brooks votes "no," I cannot guarantee I will vote for her in 2014. If she votes "yes," I can guarantee I will not vote for her. But if she votes "no" on this measure---a measure that involves the lives of thousands, perhaps billions if one believes it possible that a screw-up could lead to World War III, a concept many thought behind us when the Berlin Wall, thanks to Soviet economic policies and not Ronald Reagan, fell in 1989---I will give very careful thought to casting my vote for her.

   She would join that small pantheon of GOP candidates, along with Drew Young, for whom I have voted.

   On Saturday's Show we shall discuss Syria and other issues from 11 am to 1 pm on "Civil Discourse Now." Please join us.

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