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LETTER: Republicans need better grasp of reality

To the Editor:

After President O-BA-MA gave his annual State of the Union speech, the Republicans followed with two rebuttals. Both Republican rebuttals were given by TEA Party darlings. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul gave the Republican TEA Party view from the crazy uncle side of the GOP and Florida Senator Marco Rubio gave the rebuttal from the angry-white-man's side of the Republican Party that desperately wants a non-Caucasian on its presidential ticket in 2016.

Both rebuttals covered the similar ground. However, Paul highlighted his flimsy grasp of reality when he said, "America is exceptional because we were founded upon the notion that everyone should be free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. For the first time in history, men and women were guaranteed a chance to succeed based not on who your parents were but on your own initiative and desire to work."

Apparently, the only required reading to qualify for the TEA Party is the Constitution and an Ayn Rand novel. For some reason, the pro-abortion atheist Ayn Rand has become the patron saint of the God-fearing, pro-life Republican TEA Party. Paul has said he is "a big fan of Ayn Rand. I've read all her novels."

Perhaps Rand Paul should read some actual United States history. He might learn the Constitution was ratified in 1788 and contains more than just the Second Amendment. When it was ratified, five black slaves were counted as the equivalent of three whites and the importation of slaves could not be banned for 20 years. Another provision basically stated that slaves are property not people.

The Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery was ratified in 1865. This of course was after the bloodiest war in our nation's history was fought. In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified making African Americans citizens and guaranteeing all citizens "the equal protection of the laws."  Of course, most Native Americans were excluded from this Amendment, as the government was busy trying to steal their lands and eliminating them through genocide.

In 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified stating that the right of citizens to vote "shall not be denied of abridged...on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Of course, this didn't mean women could vote. It also didn't mean Southern states couldn't keep blacks from voting or the local law would look the other way as hundreds of blacks were being lynched.  Even though a Constitutional amendment to grant women the right to vote was introduced in 1878, women didn't get the right to vote until the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920.

Rand Paul's statement that everybody was "free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness" when this country was founded is pure fiction. Paul and his TEA Party patriots should spend less time reading Ayn Rand's fiction and more time reading American history. They might gain a broader understanding of reality and lose their latent teenage fantasies of being a fictional character in a poorly written novel by Ayn Rand.

James P. Nelson

Richmond Township