A Love Letter To Rand Paul in the Wake of GOP Hypocrisy

USA

Dear Senator Paul,

I know we’ve had our disagreements – you and I just cannot seem to agree on how people are supposed to run a country. The only thing we do agree on is that your dad was a consistent man who stuck to his beliefs even when they became unpopular, even when they cost him votes. Rand, with your curly coif and your deep blue eyes, I applaud you for holding up the family legacy. Even though I think that you’re wrong about the future of Medicare in America, I practically swooned when I saw you on CNN the other morning.

Like a character in a Frank Capra movie, you marched heroically across the hill and banged on the door of the house, demanding to see the replacement bill for the affordable care act. When you were told there was no bill to see, you said, "This should be an open and transparent process. This is being presented as if it were a national secret, as if this was a plot to invade another country, as if this were national security. That's wrong." Oh, Mr. Senator, I’m all flushed.

In an even more astounding move, you did something that few people in American politics have the courage to do – you sided with the other party over something you both agreed on. You added your voice to the chorus of Democrats who also want answers. You openly criticized the hypocrisy of your party leadership at a time when they are most in need of criticism, and sir, that takes sand no matter what side of the aisle you stand on.

I understand your frustration, Rand. I get how looking at your fractured party you must feel that what little integrity is left in politics is rapidly dissipating, awash in a fog of equivocation. The party of Lincoln is now the party of half-stands and partial moral uprightness.

How could you have felt when Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation into Russia’s meddling with the election? It must have struck you as a weak defense indeed when he said“I don’t recall. Ambassadors are ‘pretty gossipy,’ and this was in campaign season, but I don’t recall any specific political discussions.” after being asked if he had discussed Trump or the election with the Russian ambassador. It must irritate you that he met with him on two occasions, and can recall that they talked about the ambassador’s atheism at a church meeting in 1991, but is somehow drawing a blank on the other details of their conversations. Does it nag at you, the way it does me, that a man who claims he “never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign” has recused himself from that investigation? He must be joining the trend of innocent men who step aside anyway.

Or maybe it frustrates you more when you look the White House, itself a caricature of the institution you must venerate, only to find that our sober and reasonable Vice President has committed the same infraction for which he so violently criticized Hillary Clinton. Though it is true that he did not violate Indiana law by using a private email server, and that the correspondence of the Indiana governor are fundamentally less sensitive than those of the Secretary of State, should a man of principle not act in a way consistent with his criticism? Rand, I can only imagine your disappointment when you learned that the state would not release a large portion of his emails due to their sensitive nature, while Pence argues that his server having been hacked posed no security risk. Does the face that governor Eric Holcomb disclosed 29 pages of email seem like the empty gesture of a sycophant to you?

Does it discourage you to watch Paul Ryan shouted at in the street, the man who has been described more than once as the moral and intellectual center of your party? You must heave deep sighs Mr. Senator when you see him support the misguided President, when you watch him defend his non-position on healthcare reform, when he talks big about ‘freedom’ but thinks the middle-road on Affordable Care, the one where people have less choice and less coverage, is the best way to go. When that man calls your actions a publicity stunt, that must boil your blood.

Because we both know that what you did wasn’t a mere stunt, though you were trying to get attention. What you did was a rallying cry, an attempt – though desperate – to draw attention to the eroding moral center of your party. You took a stand for transparency, consistency, and the call to live up to the high ideals that Republicans claim to stand for. Mr. Senator, for the first time in a long time I imagined a Republican party I could trust, who would defend what was right. Thank you for the glimmer of hope.

Affectionately yours,

Ben Hayward