US Presidential Medal of Freedom Hypocrisy
Most often, America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom awards mock what they’re supposed to represent. It’s America’s highest civilian award.
Honoring its worst is longstanding US policy – the nation’s best most often ignored, denigrated or punished, notably anti-war/human rights champions, notions Republicans and undemocratic Dems deplore.
In July 1945, Harry Truman authorized awarding the Medal of Freedom “to any person.who, or on after December 7, 1941, has performed a meritorious act or service which has aided the United States in the prosecution of a war against an enemy or enemies and for which an award of another United States medal or decoration is considered inappropriate.”
In February 1963, Jack Kennedy ordered it be replaced by the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
It’s awarded for “(a)n especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Annual honorees are largely chosen for political reasons – most often unrelated to involvement in what’s stated above.
Notable earlier dishonorees include Joe Biden, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Henry Jackson, Bob Dole, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Tony Blair, Shimon Peres, Margaret Thatcher, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, Alan Greenspan, Antonin Scalia, Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Colin Powell, Wesley Clark, Bill and Melinda Gates, Angela Merkel, and 7 former US presidents, among others.
At a White House ceremony days earlier, Trump awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom to seven Americas.
They include Antonin Scalia, Orrin Hatch, former NFL players Alan Page and Roger Staubach, billionaire GOP donor Sheldon Adelson’s wife Miriam, Elvis Presley and Babe Ruth.
Page alone comes closest to representing what the award is supposed to be all about. The former NFL star served as a Minnesota Supreme Court associate justice from 1993 – 2015.
While still active in the NFL, he earned a law degree at the University of Minnesota, practiced law during the offseason, serving as special assistant attorney general and assistant attorney general until elected to fill an open Minnesota Supreme Court seat, the first African-American to serve on the court, retiring at the mandatory age of 70.
He once said “(t)o me the law is about solving problems and helping people.” Along with his wife Diane, he founded the Page Education Foundation.
It’s involved in providing financial aid and mentoring assistance to black and other students of color, conditional on their later performing volunteer community service.
The Foundation aided over 6,500 students. In retirement, Page continues his Foundation work, helping students develop essential skills for success in their life’s work.
In June 2017, Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Alexander Ramsey Middle School was renamed the Justice Page Middle School in his honor.
Page earlier earned honorary doctorates in humane letters and law from Notre Dame, Duke, St. John’s, and other schools.
The nine-time Pro Bowler is far more distinguished for his post-NFL career than his notable gridiron achievements, a worthy recipient of the nation’s highest civilian award.
Others chosen by Trump were uninvolved in what the award is supposed to be all about.
Like most other Supreme Court justices, Scalia was supremely pro-business, pro-monied interests at the expense of government of, by and for everyone equitably.
Orrin Hatch is a pro-war, pro-business, anti-populist right-wing extremist. Sheldon Adelson bought the award for his wife, maybe assuring it for himself later on.
Commenting on her award, the Center for Responsive Politics said “Trump, GOP get millions, Miriam Adelson gets Presidential Medal of Freedom,” adding:
The Adelsons “accounted for more federal political contributions than any other megadonor couple since the 2012 election.”
Following his NFL career, Staubach was involved in commercial real estate, earning far more in business than during his playing days when the game didn’t pay huge salaries like today.
He also briefly served as a CBS Sports NFL commentator, his post-gridiron activities unrelated to what the Presidential Medal of Freedom is supposed to represent.
The same goes for Elvis Presley and Babe Ruth. The “king of rock and roll” was famed for activities unrelated to public service.
Babe Ruth was perhaps baseball’s greatest ever player, bigger than life during his heyday, a seven-times World Series champion – a home run, batting and MVP Hall of Famer.
Yankee Stadium in the Bronx is called “the house that Ruth built” in his honor. His field of dreams achievements are unrelated to national security and other interests of the US or world peace.
Commenting of this year’s award to Miriam Adelson, Public Citizen president Robert Weissman called it “emblematic of the corrupt and transactional presidency of Donald Trump.”
The same goes for countless other honorees chosen by all US presidents. Former US officials chosen were largely war criminals, replicating Nobel committee hypocrisy.
America’s best and most honorable are usually shunned, the nation’s worst honored instead of punished.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”