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In a recent speech, Rand Paul gave a powerful presentation regarding the millions of dollars we are giving to Ukraine. He likened our situation to a conundrum that Davy Crockett faced when he served in Congress. (Most of us perceive Crockett as an iconic symbol of the West, but he also served in Congress from 1827 to 1835.) And Paul told a story that speaks to our continual donation of funds and military equipment to Ukraine and how it extends a long, expensive, and debilitating process of trying to be generous to other countries under the guise of national security.
Although Crockett’s original speech was not transcribed, his ideas were captured in an 1867 article written by Edward Ellis and published in Harper’s Magazine, called, “Not yours to Give.” And the conclusions that Crockett reached challenged Congress’ intention to donate charity to the widow of a distinguished naval officer. He took his position from an encounter with a citizen who called him out for a similar funding decision that Crockett made in another devastating occurrence. Crockett was credited with the following description of the situation:
Several years ago, I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.