In this clip, a Tea Party firebrand, Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) reverses his opinion on foreign aid and the United States Agency of International Development after an eye-opening trip to Ethiopia and Kenya. USAID comprises less than one percent of the government’s budget.
He discusses how a USAID program in Kenya has established dairy co-ops among local farmers, teaching them to hydroponically improve their feed, which improves their milk production, which boosts their income and allows them to educate their children. He has an epiphany that investing in people promotes peace and security and that opportunity reduces the likelihood of falling to extremism or other violent behavior.
“Do we spend a dollar today to teach someone in Eldoret, Kenya, how to be a member of a dairy co-op? A dollar spent on that is a dollar we don’t have to spend on bombs and bullets, and God forbid, boots on the ground in the future.”
It’s reassuring to see a Republican in support of USAID, which does critical work around the world, helps thousands of people improve their lives and proves to the world that America does care about other nations and wants to see the world a better place, and dispelling the damage that George Bush’s cowboy diplomacy inflicted on our international image.
It’s just painfully ironic that he doesn’t see the need for this kind of investment in our own country.
Watch it here:
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.