Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) died Monday morning at the age of 80. He bravely fought a battle against esophageal cancer and recently announced he would not be seeking re-election after 14 terms in Congress.
From The Hill comes a quote released upon announcing his retirement in January,"It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust and a fighter in the anti-Nazi underground could have received an education, raised a family, and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a Member of Congress."
Known as a human rights activist, he founded the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in 1984.
I know it bucks popular thought from the left side of the aisle, but Republicans are concerned with human rights, too. We are the party that decided the passing of legislation on civil rights here in our country, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act. We believe a basic human right is the right to live in freedom. I admired Rep. Lantos for his steadfast support on the war on terror and for his bravery of going into countries to visit them after the U.S. left. "In 2004, he was among a small group of lawmakers to visit Libya, the first visit to that country by members of Congress since the 1960's, according to the Almanac of American Politics. In recent years he worked tirelessly to secure funding or people displaced by the fighting in Sudan," according to The Hill.
His childhood sweetheart, Annette, also is a Holocaust survivor. She volunteered on his Congressional Human Right Caucus. Together they have two daughters, 17 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Lantos was chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He was an excellent choice for the position. Though a Democrat, Lantos understood the ways of the world in general. He was a strong supporter of the war on terror and the Bush Doctrine. He got it. He reached across the aisle and tirelessly worked for the oppressed, for the folks trapped in dictatorships, under the thumb of a despot. He referred to himself as an American 'by choice.'
He will be buried in the Congressional Cemetary Wednesday. A memorial service will be held on Capitol Hill Thursday.
And, in stark contrast with today's Democratic race to the nomination for Presidential candidate, the two candidates are in a race for a defeat in Iraq. An interesting moment happened right here in Houston as the Obama office opened. A local news station reporter was covering the opening and interviewing the local office staff. What was that flag caught in the camera's view on the wall? It was the Communist Cuba flag with the face of Che Guevara. There's your support for human rights, courtesy of the far left. I know that Obama doesn't wear the American flag on his lapel but is this the message he wants his Houston office to send?
Representative Tom Lantos would not approve.