Diogenes is not exactly a household name, but my granddaughter learned about him in elementary school from one of those easy-to-read books designed to engage second- and third-graders.
Diogenes (412-323 BC) was a Greek philosopher who roamed around Athens with his lantern lit in the daytime. When asked what he was doing, he replied he was searching for a honest man.
His fellow Athenians thought him a bit odd. I'm sure many of my readers will believe the same of me because I am searching for a rational Republican, and right now that's about as unlikely as poor old Diogenes search for honesty.
I am not attacking the Republican Party as such, only its present behavior, which seems headed toward open insurrection. The nation has seen anger and incivility before, but if I remember correctly the last time state governments refused to honor a duly-elected president and simply announced that they would not obey the law of the land, we had a civil war.
I simply do not understand people who proclaim their love for their country and then go about attacking its very foundations: a two-party system, the rule of law and respect for political process. By political process I mean the historic swings in political philosophy that blow this way or that, but ultimately return to the middle and keep the nation in balance.
Don't preach to me about the Democratic Party. They are not above reproach, but right now it appears that it is the Republicans who are willing to jeopardize national stability in order to undermine a president they don't like.
For example, Sarah Palin accused President Barack Obama of being "weak on nuclear defense" because he signed an agreement with Russia to reduce the of nuclear weapons in their stockpiles. Sarah knows that accusations of this type, "weak on defense, weak on crime, etc." trigger a strong emotional response from fearful people; but she knows nothing — or simply doesn't care — about the specific treaty Obama just negotiated with his Russian counterpart.
There are now approximately 23,000 nuclear weapons in the world, most of them in Russia and the United States. They are not well-guarded, and some are still on hair trigger. The real threat is not that will be used but that they could fall into the wrong hands.
President Ronald Reagan was the first to recognize the danger and begin reducing the glut of nuclear weapons by signing the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Obama is simply continuing the process put in place by his predecessors.
Nevertheless, Palin saw an opportunity to take a swing at an opponent, and she didn't hesitate to put partisanship above the interests of her country.
Just as Obama isn't the first president to negotiate a reduction in nuclear weapons, he isn't the first to seek national health care coverage. How many readers remember the outrage from some quarters when President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law? Medicare is well accepted now, but at the time many Americans were furious, and there was a well-financed national movement to ignore or boycott the law.
This isn't to say Obama's health care plan is perfect. Far from it, but it's a step in the right direction, and individual parts of the plan can be tweaked or changed entirely.
However, Republicans begrudge Obama any success whatsoever, and again they are willing to put their own interests above that of the American people.
Please get this straight. I consider myself an independent voter. I am willing to listen to members of any party or no party at all, but I want them to state their position rationally and in terms of the general welfare of all Americans, in fact, of all people everywhere.
The world is too small and the hazards are too great for us to fight among ourselves.
Joan King lives in Sautee. Her column appears every other Tuesday and on gainesvilletimes.com.