Glenn Rose

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Quid De Cogitatione?

Ken Cuccinelli was Virginia’s attorney general from 2010 until 2014. Previously he represented the 37th senatorial district.

Cuccinelli, “a self-described opponent of homosexuality… as attorney general defended anti-sodomy laws and prohibitions on same-sex marriage.”

He unsuccessfully fought for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Cuccinelli issued an opinion authorizing law enforcement officers to investigate the immigration status of anyone after being stopped, not just after being arrested, the previous guideline.

He requested the EPA reopen its proceedings regarding greenhouse gasses endangering public health. He sought review of that finding in court saying, “We cannot allow unelected bureaucrats with political agendas to use falsified data to regulate American industry and drive our economy into the ground.”

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected Cuccinelli’s arguments, unanimously ruling that the EPA had the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as part of a strategy to address “anthropogenic climate change” and that the finding that “greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may reasonably be anticipated both to endanger public health and public welfare” was well-founded in science and public policy.

Cuccinelli’s fight against science went to demanding the University of Virginia release a broad range of documents related to Michael Mann, a climatologist who was an assistant professor from 1999 to 2005. Cuccinelli based his demand on the 2002 Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, although no evidence of wrongdoing was given to explain the invocation of the law. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ investigation of accusations about Mann’s work on climatology subsequently cleared him of any wrongdoing.

The senior counsel with the American Association of University Professors said Cuccinelli’s request had “echoes of McCarthyism.” Barton Hinkle of the Richmond Times-Dispatch criticized Cuccinelli for “employing a very expansive reading of Virginia’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.”

It also made for very expensive bills for the taxpayers of Virginia, paying for Cuccinelli’s “witch hunt” and paying for the University of Virginia’s defense!

He continued demanding documents on Mann and 39 other climatologists all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court which finally ruled that Cuccinelli did not have the authority to make these demands, a victory for academic freedom.

Cuccinelli cemented his anti-progressive credentials by opposing Medicaid expansion in his failed campaign for governor.

He resurfaced as a conservative commentator on CNN where I was surprised to hear him take a more objective tone in offering his opinion on the things that Donald Trump was saying and doing. Unlike other supporters’ all-out knee-jerk defense of Trump, he seemed willing to question the wisdom behind some of Trump’s more questionable pronouncements and behavior.

That changed after he became acting director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Apparently when one passes through the eye of the needle into the Trump Administration one is forced to unload compassion, empiricism, nonpartisanship, and integrity. It is a world with no room for individual thinking, where just one person makes all the decisions without consultation or input from others.

It is a world where the only rule is servility to the leader. Bereft of individual thought one is now to mirror the mind and actions of “The Chosen One.”

Cuccinelli is capable of the task.

When asked would he agree “that Emma Lazarus’s words ‘Give me your tired, give me your poor,’ are also a part of the American ethos?” Cuccinelli replied, “They certainly are: ‘Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.’”

Strange, coming from a man serving an administration that raids a place where immigrants are working and not a public charge, leaving their children with parentless homes.

Strange, coming from a man whose father’s ancestors immigrated from Italy and whose mother’s from Ireland.

What skills and resources did they bring to America, save those brought by most, a love for America and a yearning to be free? Free to choose their own destiny and make their own way.

Last month two Green Beret master sergeants, Jose Gonsalez and Luis Deleon-Figueroa, were killed in Afghanistan.

I don’t know when they or their ancestors got to this country. Perhaps they are first generation citizens. Perhaps their ancestors became citizens when the U.S. annexed Texas or California from Mexico, in which case those ancestors were Spanish settlers, already North American inhabitants long before Cuccinelli’s and my ancestors or anyone English got here!

We can’t tell what a person at our door brings. Immigrants built the United States and history shows that the vast majority have enriched it.

If Cuccinelli thinks we need a litmus test for citizenship, shouldn’t we also make that assessment of those who are citizens by birthright?

How do we deal with those who do their raping from the board room?

How do we deal with those who evade their responsibilities for the cost of our democracy?

How do we deal with those, with and without bone spurs, who refuse to serve our country?

Is the contribution of those of us with generations-old-citizenship really any better than the potential of those at our door?