Monday, March 22, 2010

Maybe I am being unfair to Benedict Arnold

I am thinking now that the comparison between Benedict Arnold and Bart Stupak may not be fair. At least Arnold got a commission in the British army and a fairly large sum of money in return for his betrayal. Stupak got nothing but an empty gesture. I think a different betrayal, one closer to home in Michigan might be more accurate.

A better correlation to the Stupak capitulation might be more recent (relatively speaking). In a fairly unknown event (the surrender of Fort Detroit) in a fairly unknown war (The War of 1812), General William Hull surrendered Fort Detroit to the British on August 16, 1812. I am somewhat familiar with this event because Hull is a family name on my mom’s side and I have always found the War of 1812 to be interesting because unlike the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, a lot of the action in the War of 1812 happened in Northwest Ohio near where I grew up. Anyway, through a combination of subterfuge and incompetence, General Hull surrendered Fort Detroit to the British after only token resistance. In fact he was court-martialed and could have faced a firing squad. Would he eventually have lost the fort anyway? Probably but the fact that in the face of a tough fight he chose to surrender at the end before the real fighting began speaks volumes. So I think that while “Benedict Bart” Stupak sounds better, perhaps a more apt comparison might be General William Hull. Of course, Hull’s surrender probably saved lives. Stupak’s surrender is going to cost lives.

The lesson here is one we should all have learned a long time ago. Politicians have as their first priority their own political protection. That is why party loyalty will trump principle every time. Putting our faith in politicians will invariably lead to disappointment, no matter which party they belong to.
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