Jackson, said Reagan, "absorbed within himself the three strains of thought that go to the making of a noble foreign policy: a love of freedom; a will to defend it; and the knowledge that America could not and must not attempt to float along alone, a blissful island of democracy in a sea of totalitarianism."
Jackson, who came to Congress in 1941, was from a generation that put his own country before career or politics. He would rather America win conflicts and be strongly defended and export freedom to the world than be concerned about which party received the credit. As Reagan wonderfully put it 19 years ago, "Scoop Jackson believed in a strong defense for one reason: because it would help preserve the peace by deterring military violence. He believed in arms control, because he wanted a more secure world. But he refused to support any arms control initiative that would not, in his judgment, serve the security interests of the nation and ensure the survival of the West."
In receiving the award, Jackson's widow summed up his philosophy: "If you believe in the cause of freedom, then proclaim it, live it and protect it, for humanity's future depends upon it."
When it came to love of country and freedom, there was not an inconsistent bone in Jackson's body. We could use more of his type of Democrat and less of the type represented by politicians who care more about the next election, power and their careers than they do the nation.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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