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TULSI: Presidential candidate vows to "lead with love"

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2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.
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Aloha is what our country and the world needs most, now more than ever”– Tulsi Gabbard

OKLAHOMA CITY – In the month since U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) announced her intention to run for president in the 2020 national election, the media – largely those on the left and friendly to mainstream Democrats – have been throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the unconventional congresswoman and war veteran.

The tone amongst a number of progressive/left voices aimed at Gabbard have bordered on the sexist and misogynistic. And yet, she remains committed to “lead with love,” to quote a campaign slogan she has bandied about. She might as well trademark the phrase “love trumps hate,” if she makes it far enough to go toe-to-toe against the incumbent president in 2020.

For instance, Gabbard, raised in a very conservative household in Hawaii, held very unfortunate anti-gay positions early in her political career in Honolulu and in her young adult life.

But, Gabbard has remained intellectually honest, and has admitted her past mistakes, particularly the hard-line, anti-LGBTQ positions she publicly took some 15 years ago.

In fact,  just today, newly-elected U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), who is the first openly LGBTQ member of Congress from the Empire State, Tweeted out his support to Gabbard saying that Gabbard, “like many LGBTQ allies, started out in the wrong place but has been a solid friend in Congress. Forgiving former opponents when they stand w/us spreads love and builds strength. LGBTQ ppl shouldn’t confuse forgiveness w/weakness nor substitute recrimination for healing.”

Gabbard quickly responded to Maloney’s Tweet with this reply: “Many years ago I said & believed things that were wrong & hurtful to the LGBT community. For that, I remain deeply sorry. My views have changed, & I’m committed to continuing to fight for LGBT equality.

So, finally, this weekend, in Honolulu, Gabbard officially kicked off her Tulsi 2020 presidential campaign with an exceedingly articulate, warm and optimistic message of hope and vision, while acknowledging that division is tearing America apart and that an anti-war, progressive president is needed in Washington to take us all to a better day.

What our country needs now, more than ever, is the spirit of Aloha. That spirit of respect and love for one another and for our country. This is the most precious gift that Hawaii has to offer to our country and the world. Aloha.  Aloha is so much more than hello and goodbye. Aloha means I come to you with an open heart,” Gabbard said at her campaign announcement event this past weekend in Honolulu and featured here. “I respect you and I have love for you and I care about you. Whether you are a friend or a stranger I come to you with aloha. Regardless of the color of your skin, where you come from, how you worship God, who you love, or what political party you belong to.

Gabbard noted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1959 visit to Hawaii and his address to that new state’s legislature, saying that “We look to you for inspiration and as a noble example,” noting Hawaii’s advancements in racial harmony and justice and how the different races King saw in Hawaii was an example of what “the future” of America was destined to be like, with all colors and beliefs represented.

Shortly thereafter, the smears continued, efforts made by NBC and other outlets like The Huffington Post, to make her out as not what she claims to be and also being “a stooge or asset of the Kremlin.” While dismissing these outrageous slanders, Gabbard Tweeted that “as commander-in-chief, I will work to end the new cold war, nuclear arms race and slide into nuclear war. That is why the neocon/neolib warmongers will do anything to stop me.

Think about that last sentence – these warmongers, she Tweets, “will do anything to stop me.” And this after quoting great American leaders of the recent past including MLK and Pres. John F. Kennedy, both slain by the same military-industrial complex that reared its ugly head in the mid-20th century and not abated since.

Independent-minded journalist Michael Tracey, who strikes me as very intellectually honest, noted on his Twitter account on Monday that anti-war candidates like Gabbard “are always subject to extra-intense smearing, vilification, and attack. That’s just how the media operates.”

And what we find curious is the 24/7 coverage of outspoken young New York-based Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, when it is Gabbard, and her humane message, that should be getting the serious coverage. It almost begs the question … why is a serious and viable presidential candidate like Tulsi Gabbard being summarily dismissed from the conversation while Ocasio-Cortez and establishment-friendly Democrats like Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and others getting all the attention? Yes, they are all women, but so is Tulsi Gabbard. And she has a lot of political and international experience under her belt and she being under 40.

For all their “progressive street cred,” I do not hear any of them speaking as stridently about the issues that matter most to the people, than what I hear coming from Tulsi Gabbard. We have been following her political life since 2012 and are amazed at her rise. But it is clear the establishment fears her message catching on - a message that is the antithesis of the rotten, Trumpian one that continues to plague our great nation each and every day. A President Gabbard would help repair the wounds caused by Trump. 

If you would like to learn more about Tulsi Gabbard, this 2017 New Yorker article is a great place to start. Or just check out her website tulsi2020.com.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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