Dear Mike,

 

I recently viewed a show on which your book, “A Simple Government,” was offered.  You spoke on the show of looking to responses to the work to determine your candidacy, and that if people wanted to know what you stood for they should read the book.  Having received the book, a signed and numbered copy no less in a beautiful box, I have read it in its entirety today.  I was a supporter of yours in the last election, and therefore looked forward to learning more about your views as a potential candidate in the upcoming contest.  After reading the book, I still encourage your candidacy but would hope that your aversion to nuance become somewhat dampened – how’s that for nuance.  My sense was that you wanted feedback and looked to that for your decision.  In that light, I offer the following.

 

I completely agree with your focus on the family in the beginning chapter of the book.  I have said or often thought, show me changes in the collective character of a nation and I will show you changes in that nation’s strength.  This character building begins, and is molded by, the family.  We must strengthen this critical building block of our democracy and enable it to inculcate in our future generations the virtues required for a democracy to survive and thrive.  This theme is not only valuable to our future but also, I am convinced, resonates with a large portion of our polity.

 

I also agree and wholeheartedly endorse reserving to the states those powers not specifically granted to the federal government.  In other words, I wholeheartedly endorse our constitution, and believe that we have strayed from its foundational principles.  This, however, is where nuance is not a four plus 2 letter word.  You, as I, grew up in a racially divided south.  I still remember the colored water coolers, the separate facilities, as well as the race riots, and I have seen the ugliness which can ensue when localities refuse to uphold individual rights.  Again as I have said, because we, collectively, did not uphold the right, we lost our authority to define the good.  In innumerable instances, as you have so rightly pointed out, the federal government is in a poor to impossible position to define the good for a local community.  Unfortunately, in many cases, our local communities and states have failed to protect individual universal rights and, therefore, lost their moral and political authority to uphold or even define the good.  There remain countless bigots waiting in the wings for someone to give excuse to their ideologies of hate and special privilege.  Should you disagree, I know a barber shop in Georgia which still hangs the sign “We retain the right to refuse service to any customer.”  I asked and got an answer to what this meant, but I don’t think I need to tell you.  The federal government is, indeed, in too much in our state’s business, but, the eraser word, it is certainly a nuance as to where the dividing line should be. 

 

          

Your stance on the national debt is, in my opinion, dead on in terms of the necessity for reducing it.  The key question is how.  If you can run on and convince America that a fair tax system will both work and has a chance for being passed, I believe this issue alone could secure your bid.  This, unfortunately, is also a nuanced argument.  You will be increasing the tax burden on nearly half of America as nearly half of America does not currently pay taxes.  Good luck! 

 

Here is my most serious concern – the war on terrorism.  I, like you, am an ardent supporter of having a robust national capability for prosecuting this endeavor.  Now listen to this – the reason I voted to get rid of President Bush was because I believed he had gone too far!  The AUMF had given the executive cart blanche.  Water boarding is torture, and I have very few doubts that if America knew what we have done in the name of national security in GWOT, they would revolt in horror.  A system in which the executive can declare an individual, including an American citizen, a terrorist, and imprison him/her ad infinitum without trial or judicial review sounds awfully like the dark ages to me and certainly anti-democratic and anti rule of law.  You seem to endorse our governments past actions as a necessary evil.  If we, by attempting to expunge the evil, become the evil we deplore, what good will we have done?  We will have become that which we detested.  We do, in fact, need a new set of rules for the war on terror and we have not been serious enough yet to formulate them.

 

Lastly I would advise that you consider that an international approach which does not rely on US hegemony and power alone, but rather relies on cooperation with allies, is both efficient and wise.  We cannot afford to police the world alone!  We must rely on cooperation with our allies.  We must have allies.  Our current now three front war effort cannot be sustained alone.  I am not a Democrat, but I laud the current administration’s recent endeavors to obtain international support for operations in Libya.  The fact of the matter is that we, the US alone, cannot afford the blood and treasure to secure the stability of the world.  We must have allies and we must somehow get them to contribute to the endeavor.  As well, we cannot win in this endeavor by military strength alone.  We have to bring all elements of our national strength to bear to meet these challenges.  As you noted, we pay approximately 700B/yr to maintain our military capability.  Contrast this with what we spend on the DOS, USAID, or other governmental capabilities.  I use to support The United States Joint Forces Command J-7.  We had a representative from the Department of State Office of Reconstruction and Stabilization give a talk in Suffolk, Virginia.  He stated that if they were involved in Iraq, that would be the only place they were involved in due to capacity limitations.  That spoke worlds in terms of where our priorities were.  As you said, the military can’t do it all, but that does not mean that after  killing the bad guys and providing security there is nothing left to do.  We need to refocus our distribution of funds to the various elements of national power so that we are not just fighting our nations’ wars but rather preventing these wars from occurring in the first place.     

 

Generally, Mike, your book left me feeling like I’d been listening to FOX – a one sided conversation.  It left me concerned that your administration would be similar.  FOX news is more propaganda than news, as is CNN.  I found it interesting that you did not note something about the lack of unbiased information availability in our democracy.  That is alarming, as is the recent effort to get rid of NPR, the last non-corporate owned, unbiased news source we Americans still have. 

 

I am still inclined to support you.  I wait your, or your staff’s, response to decide whether I still should. 

 

Respectfully,

 

Mr. Nuance (USMS-ret)