Monday, September 13, 2004


Ah, dissent channel is rocking and rolling now! I'll add a couple of my own haikus at the end of this essay, but I bow down to everyone else in the house for their witty, wise and oh so on-target verse. Making the world a better place, one haiku at a time...

So did George W. Bush really put in those 80 hours of flight time and perform his National Guard duty? Is John Kerry the Purple Heart earning war hero who served bravely on that swift boat in Vietnam? My question is this: who cares?

It is 2004. The Vietnam War ended for this country 29 years ago. There are people with children in grade school who weren't even alive during this conflict. The issues that loom before us in this national election--the War in Iraq, national health care, the future of social security, the protection of our civil liberties, the threat to freedom of reproductive choice, the "war on terrorism", just to name a few--are what we should be talking about in the presidential discussion, not what happened three decades ago. Every second spent talking about it (including on this blog) is a precious second wasted in the Most Important Presdential Election of our time.

But I have to weigh in on this. To those who suggest that Vietnam serves as some kind of character litmus test for the two main candidates in this election, I say bullshit. While I personally view Kerry's record much more favorably (he DID serve in Vietnam, he WAS injured, he DID fight for his country and ultimately he DID speak out about the wrongheadedness of our involvement in Vietnam, thereby making him much less of a "flip-flopper" than Dubya), I'm not nearly as interested in the past military service records of these two men as I am in their plans for both the present and the immediate future. I am interested in their political ideologies, their social views and in their very powerful political backers. In short, its "what have you done for me lately?" or "what are you going to do for me?" as opposed to "what did you do when you were 25?" (I think back to what I was doing when I was 25 and I'm not sure I would vote for myself if I ran for president...)

Funny thing is, call me crazy but I believe the majority of people in this country feel the same way. On Election Day, those who vote will be asking themselves a few basic questions about the candidates, and I have a feeling their Vietnam War record won't be one of them. (Although some people may be misled into forming some kind of character judgement about Kerry or Bush because of this "debate.") So this isn't me scolding the American public (for once) but rather me scolding the media who allow themselves to manipulated by the PAC's and the spinmeisters into reporting non-issue stories at the expense of focusing on what really makes either of these men worth voting for. By not holding a unrelentingly harsh light up to either candidate (which I believe would expose Bush to be the corrupt, morally bankrupt fraud he really is), the media fails us all, softens all of our brains while hardening all of our hearts. It's ugly, frustrating and ultimately, destructive to our republic. It's 2004 and it's 1976 all over again.

A couple of the promised haiku:

Ashcroft kills freedom
With wasteful war on terror
Right wing reigns Supreme.

Sudan's genocide
Where thousands die each month
Alas, no oil there.

Keep dissenting...until tomorrow sports fans, arrividerci!