Monday, October 04, 2004

Presidential Debates and Squashed Memorials

The presidential debate certainly caught a lot of interest and inspired much comment. In the end, it seemed that personality and style was the biggest difference between the two.

Kerry seemed nervous and unsure of himself at the beginning. Bush was his usual smiling, slogan quoting self. Round one for Bush.

As Kerry began to warm to the task and focus his attack, Bush was suddenly bewildered, unsure, and at times, defensive. More like a hesitant challenger than the current title holder, Bush’s voice, body language, and shifty eyes telegraphed his discomfort and confusion.

The thirty IQ points that separate the two became very apparent. Bush, who reads very little, was unprepared for the slow pitch intellectual challenge represented by the format.

But, to my ears, there seemed only quibbling differences between the two global strategies represented. Neither really knows what the hell to do now. Or so it seemed.

On the home front, I have no doubt that Kerry will use the so-called Patriot Act in a similar but more careful manner than the Bush gang. Especially when the going gets tough, as it will, no matter which man occupies the Oval Office.

Iraq and the ever worsening problems it has created, is not going away. In some respects, Kerry finds himself in a situation analogous to that of Richard Nixon. Elected as a peace candidate, during the Vietnam war, the Nixon slogan was “Peace with Honor”. He could produce neither, of course. Any more than Mr. Kerry is likely to.

Still, Bush must go. His brand of Corporate Fundamentalism is destabilizing the globe. World leaders don’t trust him and can’t work with the gleeful aggression that characterizes Republican foreign policy.

America can not go it alone nor, in the end, can it stand alone in a dangerous world. A world that Imperial America is making evermore dangerous. A world that desperately needs a stable democratic America. Not this armed bull in the china shop that the Texas klan is setting loose.

On another note:
The city council, in Nelson BC, has given into local business fears that the Our Way Home Memorial, to Vietnam era draft resisters, will hurt the local tourism industry.

I am not surprised by this move. I am a bit disappointed that Nelson city council members are willing to allow such threats, from America, to determine what parts of Canadian history may be memorialized.

Canada and Canadians have a different relationship to the world, and indeed to history, than America. For some members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and their conservative allies, to take such umbrage at this small expression of those differences, is quite absurd.

It indicates both ignorance and arrogance towards their neighbours. It also indicates that many members of the VFW did not learn important lessons from their service. Contrary to the belief that such a memorial dishonors them, they are dishonored by these attempts to hide the political reality of a dishonorable war.

The honor of the men who served is not marred by the dishonor of their leaders. Nor is it questioned by recognition of others, Canadians and Americans, whose lives were also part of the history of that war. It was an ugly evil war, fought by the poor for the rich. It is time to quit thinking like slaves.

The memory, the courage, and the honor of the men who went to war is not attached to the motives and intentions of the powerful men who create and profit by these wasteful conflicts.

It is also true that more than one kind of courage was displayed by young Americans of that era.


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