We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Hero

I first became aware of Tammy Duckworth when she first ran for congress in Illinois in 2006 and narrowly lost to her Republican opponent.  I don't think I'm alone in finding Duckworth's story a compelling one.  She served in Iraq as a major in the army and a helicopter pilot who lost both of her legs after being shot down.  An added attraction for me personally is that she was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and like my own daughters has a farang (Western) father and a Thai mother.  She's only a decade older than our oldest daughter.

Duckworth is now running for Congress again, this time against a tea party radical by the name of Joe Walsh (R - IL).  The race has gained some national attention because Walsh has criticized Duckworth for supposedly constantly mentioning her military service and sacrifice (see here).  In the process, he has called her heroism into question.  In light of his criticism of Duckworth, reporter Rick Newman has posted an article entitled, "What Joe Walsh Needs to Know About Tammy Duckworth," which describes her true heroism.  Being shot down, Newman writes, is not what qualifies her for that title.  Rebuilding her life in the face of horrific pain and daunting challenges does. I would recommend readers of Rom Phra Khun take a few minutes to read Newman's description of Tammy Duckworth's heroic struggle to regain her life.

 In my humble opinion, the United States will be better off if the voters of the Eighth District of Illinois replace Joe Walsh with Tammy Duckworth.

If Duckworth does unseat Walsh, she will be the second person of Thai descent to have served in the U. S. Congress.  The first, interestingly enough, served only briefly in 2010.  He is Charles Djou, a Republican who won a special election in Hawaii's First District in 2010 but then lost his seat in the general election of 2010.  He is running for it again this year.