Thursday, September 19, 2013

Frank Wolf (R-VA)-- Nothing Like John Quincy Adams


Most Congress observers aren't aware that Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf is a raving lunatic and one of the worst religionist fanatics on Capitol Hill. Most people just think of him as a run-of-the-mill conservative-- for better or worse-- who was elected back when the most popular shows on TV were The Dukes of Hazzard, Mork & Mindy and Hill Street Blues. But he has also served as Dobson's cat's paw in Congress and helped him pester other Members of Congress to join his cult. A virulent misogynist and homophobic maniac, Wolf is the co-chair of the House Human Rights Caucus. He has a bizarre and narrow interpretation of what human rights are all about and he uses his seniority in Congress to promote his own aggressive religious beliefs, while consistently voting to deprive people who have other beliefs than his own of their rights.

Yesterday, Wolf got another one of his busybody bills entangling the U.S. in other countries' affairs, passed. And it passed big, 402-22. Most of the libertarians, like Justin Amash (R-MI), Walter Jones (R-NC), Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Tom Massie (R-KY) had the good sense to vote NO. So did one-- only one-- Democrat, El Paso freshman Beto O'Rourke. This is the official summary of the bill:
Directs the President to appoint a Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia within the Department of State.

Requires the Special Envoy to: (1) promote the right of religious freedom of religious minorities in the countries of the Near East and South Central Asia, denounce the violation of such right, and recommend appropriate U.S government responses to such violations; (2) monitor and combat acts of religious intolerance and incitement targeted against such religious minorities; (3) ensure that the needs of such religious minority communities are addressed, including economic and security needs directly tied to religious-based discrimination and persecution; (4) work with foreign governments of such countries to address inherently discriminatory laws; and (5) coordinate and assist in the preparation of specified reports required by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

Authorizes the Special Envoy, subject to direction by the President and the Secretary of State, to represent the United States in matters and cases relevant to religious freedom in: (1) contacts with foreign governments, intergovernmental organizations, and specialized agencies of the United Nations (U.N.), the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, and other international organizations; and (2) multilateral conferences and meetings relevant to religious freedom.

Requires the Special Envoy to give priority to programs, projects, and activities for Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
I'd like juxtapose that with a part of a speech given by John Quincy Adams in 1821, while he was James Monroe's Secretary of State. (He bought Florida from Spain and he wrote the Monroe Doctrine and is widely considered one of America's greatest Secretaries of State). His principled "leave people alone" attitude couldn't be more different from Wolf's approach:
America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights. She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.... She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit....
A couple of hours after the vote I asked Beto O'Rourke what made him vote NO. He was, after all, the only Democrat to do so. "It just didn't make sense to me," he replied. "We don't have a great track record of imposing our values on other countries. I am all for foreign aid that focuses on nutrition or medicine, but not in helping to shape another country's culture or values." I can't understand why other Democrats didn't see it the same way.

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