Monday, March 9, 2015


Senator Tom Cotton, the junior senator from Arkansas, is a classic example of educational failure. The puzzle is what, where and why did things go so wrong with him. He is the son of a Vietnam War veteran, lives on a cattle ranch in rural Arkansas near a town named Dardanelle High School, and is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard yet turned out to be a radical rightwing Republican Tea Party conservative. He went to college before going into the military so there is no reason to suspect he received government subsidies to pay for college.

Although we cannot credit autobiographies as being factual, his life follows an almost too perfect picture book pattern of someone who was grooming himself for elected office. He won his seat by a significant margin over his opponent. As with most politicians, there is a gap between what they say they are and what they actually do. As is a conservative in a purple state, Sen. Tom Cotton is doing pretty much what those who elected him expected him to do even though he is doing it with a radical twist. For liberal such as me, this is a tough realization.

Where the failures of education enters with the education of people in Arkansas and other places like that—rural conservative with low to marginal incomes would vote against their own interest. The purpose of government of the people by the people is for the people, not against them. Distribution of wealth by taxes and salaries is to the benefit of all and they stand to gain the most by having a good government. The ten poorest states in the nation, 11 if we include Puerto Rico, are all in the south and Arkansas is one of them. The distribution of the nations wealth is the age old rich industrialized North versus the poor agricultural South. The South should love it and the North should hate it, but the reality seems just the opposite.  The average family income in this state is less than $45,000. Then stop and consider Tom Cotton’s economic status. He comes from a rich cattle ranching family in a very poor state; he went to Harvard. Actually, it is not just cattle; there are multiple farms with multiple corps involved in the family. However, he voted no on everything; the farm bill, Obamacare, Student loans, abortions, also voted against increasing wages; all things that would help the people of Arkansas.

Oddly, the only bill he introduced was equally strange; it was legislative language to overturn the United Constitution in respect to prohibiting attainder, which is the extinction of the civil rights of a person upon sentence of death or outlawry especially treason. Let me repeat, he proposed legislation to protect the civil rights of people who commit treasonous acts, in addition, he is from a farm family but voted against farm subsidies—he voted against his own personal interests but also against the interest of small farmers in his state. Of course, there was a conflict; the farm bill included the federal food stamp provision, which Republican hate but farm owners back of which there are quite a few millionaire farm owners in congress; they and their bank accounts stand to gain tremendously from that law.

More recently, Cotton wrote a strange but open letter to Iran’s leaders signed by a group of 47 Republican senators warning them that any nuclear deal they sign with President Barack Obama's administration won’t last after Obama leaves office. These 47 Senators know that the Constitution gives the President the responsibility of negotiating such agreement and give the Senate the responsibility to agree with the agreement. We have to ask why Senators would write such the letter.

We have to assume Cotton is knowledgeable of the law. We have to assume from his background and his military record and his political affiliations that he is a flag waving America patriot to an extreme degree, as willing to die for his country as a religious zealot is to die for their religious belief. I would guess fate worse than death for him would be to lose his citizenship for committing an act of treason such as acting against the Constitution. Does this strange man think his attacks on the Constitution would endanger his standing as a citizen?

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