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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

John Kerry--Then and Now

Under the Same Sun compares the John Kerry of the VVAW with the John Kerry of the JDAM (Jingoistic Democrats Against Muslims). The post concludes as follows:
And the Kerry-then, speaking on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, proclaimed their desire to fight one last battle, a noble one unlike the ignominious one they had been pushed into:

"We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this administration has wiped their memories of us. But all that they have done and all that they can do by this denial is to make more clear than ever our own determination to undertake one last mission, to search out and destroy the last vestige of this barbarous war, to pacify our own hearts, to conquer the hate and the fear that have driven this country these last 10 years and more and so when, in 30 years from now, our brothers go down the street without a leg, without an arm or a face, and small boys ask why, we will be able to say 'Vietnam' and not mean a desert, not a filthy obscene memory but mean instead the place where America finally turned and where soldiers like us helped it in the turning."

Sad to say, that battle has been thoroughly and completely lost. Vietnam did not become the place that America finally turned, that burden remains with us today. On that day, that John Kerry confronted the nation with this unforgettable question: how do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? I'd like to ask the current Democratic Party presidential nominee, also named John Kerry, another question. How do you kill your own soul for a shot at power? I would have hoped that it were not possible, that once awakened, a conscience could not be discarded as if it were just another empty campaign promise by just another power-hungry politician.
I left the following as a comment to Under the Same Sun's post:
I got a call from Clean Water Action last night telling me about Kerry's "exemplary" record on the environment. I can't help but question--what makes anyone think that someone who has so completely sold out on his most heartfelt convictions so he can become president won't sell out on everything else he's ever done so he can remain president? People always mention the Supreme Court. I suspect that President Kerry would nominate Ted Olson or John Ashcroft to the Court in a Boston minute if he thought it would win him a couple of swing states in 2008. And most Democrats would still defend him, saying he'd only started one new war, compared to the three that Bush started--It's not the Court, it's the wars!

Still, better than Bush, but what sort of standard is that? Here's the best argument for Kerry I can come up with: "Vote Kerry--he'll be easier to impeach."
It really is depressing for me. I've worked pretty hard and done things I had never done before over the past two-plus years, all with the goals of, first, preventing a war in Iraq, and second, of getting us a government that wouldn't start such wars. And now, I'll have to admit that on November 3 I'll actually be relieved to see John Kerry elected, even though he opposed and opposes my goals.

A lesson in "democracy," I guess.