Lawrence Wilkerson Comments on South Carolina’s Worst

-

wilkerson twn naf.jpgThis is a guest note by Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff at the Department of State from 2001-2005 and a sixteen-year long aide to General Colin Powell. He now serves as Harriman Adjunct Professor of Government at the College of William & Mary.
South Carolina’s Worst
My father was a life-long Republican.
This was not easy for him because my grandmother, a foundation stone of our family, was a life-long Democrat. Both were South Carolinians to their core–my grandmother a first-grade school teacher for half a century, traveling widely, but always most comfortable in her southern home; my father a military man in WWII, later a vice president for Allstate Insurance Company, and still later an Arabian horse and Black Angus cattle rancher, but only after returning to his beloved state of South Carolina.
Thomas Wolfe’s admonition about not going home never appealed to my father.
My grandmother died at the Darlington, South Carolina Baptist Home, beloved of those kind and generous people for her more than 70 years of service to her Baptist Church. I miss her greatly even today. My father passed away in December of 2007 after telling the head nurse at his full-care facility, “You people make it too g-d hard to die.”
But before my father died, he spoke some profound words about the state of politics in South Carolina.
A few months before he passed, as I was talking with him about serious matters such as my Mom’s financial inheritance–she’s still living at 89–he turned to me and said: “You know, son, I’m not voting for Lindsey Graham again. He promised to be term-limited and he broke his promise. So, I’m not voting for him again.”
That was a hard thing for my father to say, as hard as granite.
jim demint twn.jpgAs he paused and looked gravely at me, I took the opportunity to ask him: “What about Jim DeMint?”
He fixed me with his steely blue-gray eyes and said: “I’m not voting for him either. He’s an idiot.”
My father was mistaken but his intent was in the right direction.
Senator DeMint’s (R-SC) latest “idiocy” is single-handedly holding up two of President Obama’s appointments to State Department duties–Tom Shannon as U.S. Ambassador to the most important country in South America, Brazil, and Arturo Valenzuela to be the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
A single senator’s ability to effect such holds is lunacy gone amuck in any regard; but Jim DeMint gives that state of affairs new meaning altogether. He is holding up a refurbishment of U.S. foreign policy in our own hemisphere–and in the name, he says, of a coup d’etat in Honduras, a coup that he apparently supports.
Recently, South Carolina–my home state–has not shown up too well in the harsh kleig lights of today’s radical-eat-radical politics. A governor who gallivants off to see his lady friend in Argentina, a congressman who calls the President of the United States a liar from the floor of the House and then raises political money because of it, and a senator who blocks a much-needed re-examination of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America because he supports a coup d’etat that, according to him and not the people of Honduras, brought a better leader to the helm of Honduras.
In defense of his position, Senator DeMint writes in the Wall Street Journal that “America’s Founding Fathers–like the framers of Honduras’s own constitution–believed strong institutions were necessary to defend freedom and democracy from the ambitions of would-be tyrants and dictators.”
I do not believe that the likes of George Washington, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin would have included coup d’etats in their listing of “strong institutions.”
And, of course, nothing is said in DeMint’s article about the real reason for his and other politicians’–including some Democrats–reasoning with regard to Honduras. In their reasoning, AT&T and other U.S. business interests play heavily, perhaps even more heavily than democracy? Likewise for long-standing and nefarious U.S. ties to the Honduran military establishment.
In that latter regard, nothing is said about the reason that President Zelaya, the leader whom the coup d’etat removed from office, may have wanted to change the constitution of Honduras. One clear reason, for example, was to limit the power of the military in that much-troubled state–a military with whose leaders I met some years ago in my capacity as Deputy Director of the US Marine Corps War College, and I can only say that when I departed the room where we met, my greatest urge was for a shower to cleanse myself of the stench that lingered from their presence.
Jim DeMint. Not an idiot as my father claimed–because that would in some way excuse him. And there is no excuse for his actions, the reasons for which are all too apparent.
Ah, South Carolina. Both my beloved grandmother and my father would be as ashamed as I am.
— Lawrence B. Wilkerson

Comments

20 comments on “Lawrence Wilkerson Comments on South Carolina’s Worst

  1. Chris McNeice says:

    higgins1990, first of all, how, in god’s name, and please give specific examples, is the Obama administration anti-democracy?
    Second, despite the clamor about how the Honduran government followed constitutional procedure, considering how barren that document is in the actual procedure to remove an elected head of state, there are reasonable questions to ask about the actions of those who spearheaded this impeachment, in particular, those of the Chief Prosecutor, the Court of Administrative Litigation, and the Congress itself, which chose to interpret the constitutional power to “disapprove” of a president’s behavior in office as the power to “remove” the president from office.
    There are too many questions to address in this forum, and far too many to encapsulate in a rant such as yours.

    Reply

  2. higgins1990 says:

    A coup d’etat in Honduras? WTF? You have no freakin’ idea what is happening there, and that goes for the anti-democracy Obama administration.

    Reply

  3. ... says:

    grytpype the democrats have their own special brand of incompetence and insanity. it is a tough guess who wins in a race to the bottom, but both leading parties are certainly turning off the general public big time…

    Reply

  4. John Waring says:

    I deeply regret that we South Carolinians traded Fritz Hollings for Jim DeMint.

    Reply

  5. grytpype says:

    Let’s be clear, George W. Bush permanently crippled the Republican Party.
    The majority of Repubs now are crazies who will drive out anyone who is still sane.
    Meanwhile the Democrats will keep winning elections and trying to save the country from Republican incompetence and insanity.

    Reply

  6. grytpype says:

    Let’s be clear, George W. Bush permanently crippled the Republican Party.
    The majority of Repubs now are crazies who will drive out anyone who is still sane.
    Meanwhile the Democrats will keep winning elections and trying to save the country from Republican incompetence and insanity.

    Reply

  7. xargaw says:

    Wilkerson has emerged as one of the few truth tellers in government. It is shame that so few men in the beltway have had the conscience and courage to expose the obscenities of what is done in government. The ones that do are particularly deserving of our gratitude because they are usually pillaried by their cowardly brotheren that huddle together defending the indefensible.

    Reply

  8. Mr.Murder says:

    AT&T will hear from this new customer. Might be time to switch cell phones….

    Reply

  9. Mr.Murder says:

    AT&T will hear from this new customer. Might be time to switch cell phones….

    Reply

  10. Mr.Murder says:

    AT&T will hear from this new customer. Might be time to switch cell phones….

    Reply

  11. JohnH says:

    And then there is Afghanistan. Too bad Fellini is no longer around to do a movie about it. The US puppet Karzai gets mysteriously deemed unacceptable. The US insists on conducting an election in the midst of a hot war, ostensibly to promote “democracy,” as if that were possible! But most likely the election was intended to get rid of Karzai. Instead, Karzai the rogue pulls out a stunning, fraudulent election victory. Machinations begin, wands are waved, and Karzai’s stunning victory magically evaporates, barely failing to meet the 50% threshold for victory. (Ohioans understand how this works.) But then the great brown hope, the shining alternative, Abdullah, turns rogue, pulls out of the election, leaving the US stuck with the now clearly illegitimate Karzai!
    Obviously this is the moment to send in 40,000 more troops to solidify the new-born Afghan democracy and restore the government’s legitimacy!
    The State Department must be overjoyed that by comparison the fraud in Honduras is proceeding almost flawlessly.

    Reply

  12. JohnH says:

    And then there is Afghanistan. Too bad Fellini is no longer around to do a movie about it. The US puppet Karzai gets mysteriously deemed unacceptable. The US insists on conducting an election in the midst of a hot war, ostensibly to promote “democracy,” as if that were possible! But most likely the election was intended to get rid of Karzai. Instead, Karzai the rogue pulls out a stunning, fraudulent election victory. Machinations begin, wands are waved, and Karzai’s stunning victory magically evaporates, barely failing to meet the 50% threshold for victory. (Ohioans understand how this works.) But then the great brown hope, the shining alternative, Abdullah, turns rogue, pulls out of the election, leaving the US stuck with the now clearly illegitimate Karzai!
    Obviously this is the moment to send in 40,000 more troops to solidify the new-born Afghan democracy and restore the government’s legitimacy!
    The State Department must be overjoyed that by comparison the fraud in Honduras is proceeding almost flawlessly.

    Reply

  13. ... says:

    yes but johnh – demint is in the banana business and would like to pave the road to democracy with a few banana skins….
    i love how this bimbo gives new meaning to some amerikans patriotic nonsense around dumbocracy…

    Reply

  14. JohnH says:

    To preempt any irrational exuberance about restoration of democracy in Honduras, the following needs to be considered: “The past few days have been a rush to figure out a way to get President Zelaya “placed” back in “power”, but with no power to govern, just his cowboy hat in the presidential office, so that the elections could proceed.”
    http://www.chavezcode.com/2009/10/dont-believe-hype-about-historic-deal.html
    The coup regime’s candidates would of course be the only ones to compete seriously (something Washington condemned severely in Iran but maintains silence about in Honduras). And when one of the coup regime’s candidate wins the election, Washington will rush to anoint him as fully legitimate.
    Bottom line: the whole “deal” could well be a sham, Washington in cahoots with the Honduran oligarchs to pull the wool over the world’s eyes. Fortunately, I doubt that the resistance to the regime, now widespread in Honduras, will allow an easy return to the good old, profitable, banana republic days.

    Reply

  15. Jackie says:

    hzzn,
    Yes, the title is a problem. Wilkerson doesn’t deserve that.

    Reply

  16. DonS says:

    So returning President Zelaya back to power — as is currently reported — for 3 months; and not to run again. Not likely he’ll be able to advance the cause of reducing the military to it’s proper place. Is it more than a fig leaf for Obama’s pov?
    We need to get more details.

    Reply

  17. hzzn says:

    Great piece, but you have to change that title. It makes it sound like the article is a condemnation of Mr. Wilkerson himself!

    Reply

  18. Jay C says:

    One wonders what Sen. DeMint will have to say about the Obama Administration’s recently-announced “resolution” to the Honduras crisis. Poor-mouthing and nonsense, probably; and grousing that the Honduran species of the “Tree of Liberty” wasn’t well-watered enough for his taste……
    Maroon.

    Reply

  19. ... says:

    i 2nd john h’s comment.. thanks to wilkerson and twn… demint is only the most blatant of political opportunists… this type of dynamic is rampant and needs to be dealt with openly… writing articles like this and having a forum to do so are absolutely necessary in a ”’healthy democracy”… a healthy democracy would also see the mainstream media addressing these very same issues… they aren’t, but like old print media, they are going to figure it out when it is too late and most people have looked elsewhere for honest coverage… thanks again to both of you – wilkerson and steve here at twn..

    Reply

  20. JohnH says:

    “In [some politicians] reasoning, AT&T and other U.S. business interests play heavily, perhaps even more heavily than democracy? Likewise for long-standing and nefarious U.S. ties to the Honduran military establishment.”
    Exactly the point I’ve been making for months.
    Kudos to Wilkerson for putting his authority behind the charges of obvious corruption in the prosecution of foreign affairs. And Kudos to TWN for hosting him
    BTW US business interests don’t play heavily just in Honduras. The problem is rampant. More important, it is a major reason that American foreign policy lacks any semblance of coherence or reflection of American values.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *