The enemy of the good
While waiting for things to get worse, the German Communists were tossed in camps while the Nazis destroyed Germany.
I was reading Greg Palast, who was ranting about how Kerry wasn't liberal enough. Then I remembered that he lives in London. So, his kids aren't going to get a ticket to Iraq, either way. I find all the (usually) rich or middle class, white male liberal caterwalling about Kerry isn't liberal enough, both amusing and disconnected. It's amusing because despite their pretentions, people like Palast have made it in American life. He was well-off enough to move to England. The only way most Americans do that is with a military ID. So-called radicals like Alex Cockburn can complain about Kerry while sipping Chardonay and working on $3,000 laptops. Now, they can claim to be on the side of the working man all they want, but no working man sees that. Why do you think so many vote Republican? Because these people live in an alien world from them.
Palast, who in my knowledge, never picked up a weapon in combat, said Kerry was no hero for shooting a Vietnamese teenager in the back. Really? Since that teenager had a B-40 and was trying to blow his boat out of the water, it wasn't like he was Amadou Diallo, minding his own business. Besides, it took Kerry a long time, like decades, to reconcile his war service and his actual heroism. If any man in America should not be accused of revelling in his war record, it's John Kerry. What Palast doesn't get, and a lot of his peers miss, is that military service is not regarded as a bad thing for most Americans. It's regarded as a plus. Especially when Kerry sought out combat. The cheap use of the words or implication of war criminal disgusts me when you talk about John Kerry for two reasons. One, we have what most people consider a real, live war criminal sitting in the White House today. George Bush waged aggressive war and then was indifferent to, at best, torture. Then, it wasn't like Kerry had some sudden change of heart a few years ago, he came home and opposed the war openly, at no small risk to himself and his future.
But a lot of these folks, and the non-Americans who read this site, forget: there are a lot of Americans who will die if Bush gets a second term. Not just the PBI or the elderly who can't afford their drugs, but places where OSHA forgets to visit, or so bleary from that second shift at Wal-Mart they crash that hooptie car of theirs into a wall. Bush is removing the protection of the law from working Americans. Not just the right to organize, but to have safe working conditions. It's nice to talk about how liberal Kerry should be, or the leftist fantasy that four more years of Bush will turn people against the GOP like they were rancid meat. Well, what about the people who catch it in the neck between now and then? What do you tell them? The revolution is coming? They need help, hell, just a president and Congress who will listen to them, try to raise the minimum wage, not ship their jobs overseas.
I wish Kerry could openly oppose the war, and not offer solutions which will never happen, but that's not a winning debate in post-9/11 America. The thing is to change presidents then call for the end of the war. Because it will never happen with Bush. He will destroy the Army first. There is nothing wrong in electing Kerry and then opposing any expansion of the war. He's not king, we can change policy when we need to, but not with George Bush in office.
A lot of these upper class, white liberals need to get over themselves and realize, while John Kerry isn't perfect, a lot of people don't have time for perfect. They get it in the neck every day. People like Palast and Medea Benjamin seriously need to think about what they want. Benjamin was tossed off the floor of the convention for asking when they would pull the troops out of Iraq, which Jimmy Breslin lamented as "being too nice". Well floor antics make for a great story, but the idea is to win the White House and take back Congress. Ms. Benjamin is a courageous woman, but she needs to understand, Bush is imploding. Her little protest, if picked up, would stop that process.
While I like to poke fun at Ben Affleck at times, unlike these parlor radicals, he gets it. His father worked at Harvard-as a janitor. So he knows what the deal is with real work, for real people. Which is why so many on the left resent Michael Moore. He's the working class fat guy who crashed the party. He's famous, rich and not part of their club. He was fired from Mother Jones for having the temerity to talk about real working people in a real way. While he's pissed at the way the Dems walked away from the working class, he doesn't sneer at the process. He got caught up in the Nader wackiness of 2000, but has atoned for his sins. A lot of these folks don't get it, it's not just about their ego, real people catch it in the neck with more Bush.
I do understand the frustration of liberals who wonder why they can't run a real liberal for the White House. Of course, these liberals miss the point that Kerry IS a liberal, a real, bona fide liberal with one of the most liberal voting records in the Senate's history to match. He's far more liberal than Bill Clinton. In fact, if a few of these people were less reflexsive and contemptuous, they might find that Kerry was to the left of Howard Dean on many issues over his career.
I'm also tired of the lesser of two evils crap. Kerry isn't evil, he isn't a crook, he doesn't bang interns in his office. He's stood for most of what the left wing of the Democratic Party has stood for since 1972. Unlike many rich people, he didn't stick his money in his pocket and walk away. This is a man who mortgaged his home to run for President, while Dean was swimming in money. Who fired his campaign manager because he didn't want to drag the party and himself in the mud. Who reached out for advice when his campaign was faltering. And while he's questioned issues, his core beliefs have remained fairly consistent over that time. Unlike Bill Clinton, Kerry is and has been, willing to make people unhappy and not always be liked.
He may not take every leftist stand in the book, but his record should have a lot of people jumping for joy. He's done the right thing more often than not.
We live in a political system with constraints, and Kerry has had to live under them. You are aware of exactly how crooked Boston politics is? For Kerry to remain relatively clean in that environment speaks to his character. No dead girls in back seats for him or angry mistresses or mobbed up brothers.
This isn't to say he's always been right, but come on, this guy is NOT some tool of the DLC and those people are not all over his campaign.
My advice is to both research Kerry's record and think hard, very hard about four more years of Bush. Not about yourself, but about the people who would get it in the neck if he's around for four more years. And then ask if your so-called principled stand is really principled or just a political temper tantrum.
posted by Steve @ 5:13:00 AM