It doesn’t happen very often, but every now and then a true statesman (or stateswoman) on either side of the aisle stands up. This person — Democrat or Republican, it doesn’t matter — is willing to resist bullies in their own party and to tell their own party’s voters and leadership that they’re wrong. This, even though they know all too well that speaking out may cost them dearly.
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is clearly one of those brave, principled politicians deserving of the label “statesmen.” It was so easy for her to vote for impeachment. It’d play well with her party’s base and she’d ingratiate herself with her party’s leadership. Instead, she chose to vote “present.”
That takes guts.
In a new video, Gabbard explains why she made the decision to break with her own party. Her explanation once again proves that she is — quite frankly — not only too decent for today’s Democratic Party, but even for today’s politics in general.
“Politics should not be a zero-sum game,” she explained to Democratic primary voters, “but tragically, that’s exactly what it’s become and it’s polluted the whole nature of our politics. The point of politics should not be about doing maximum damage to your opponents just to win, because all that’s happened, as has in the case of our current America, is that people get hurt and nothing gets done.”
“So my stance [Wednesday], my vote, was opting out of this zero-sum game mindset, and back into one of negotiation and compromise,” she continues. “We are stuck right now in this terrible scenario where everyone is trying to extract maximum hurt from their opponent for a ‘win.’ My passive vote was not passive, it was an active protest against the terrible fall-out of the zero-sum mindset that the two opposing political parties have trapped America in.”
“There’s no winning here. Everyone is losing. Our country is losing. So if we, WE, if WE don’t break this stalemate we find ourselves in, America is done for. My vote and my campaign for president is about freeing our country from this damaging mindset so that we can work side by side to usher in a brighter future for all Americans.”
Tulsi is a veteran. She’s rather obviously a woman. She’s a woman of color. She’s young and energetic. If the only thing she cared about was winning this thing, she easily could’ve presented herself as a veteran, woman-of-color-version of Elizabeth Warren. Had she done so, her chances of going far in the Democratic Party’s primary would’ve significantly increased.
We may disagree with her on policy issues (and I do most of the time!), but we can’t deny that Tulsi Gabbard is one of the few modern-day politicians with the courage to stand by their principles. For that, she deserves respect.