I was watching some PBS yesterday afternoon and came across John Kerry's recent speech. I've seen him speak before as well as Bush, and both have said things that really rub me the wrong way.
Politically, I'm a blend of all sorts of things with a focus on a path that will work for the best for the most people in the long term. I try to think globally but with sensitivity to place and propriety. I mention this to set the context for my observations about both speakers/candidates.
I voted for President Bush at the last election and have been, for the most part, supportive of his service. There are things that his administration has done that I don't agree with, but I do not see any evidence that the shortcomings or failures are malicious in intent, some of which aren't even his fault necessarily. What has really bothered me was some of the rhetoric used in many of his speeches in the past few years. I do think he's put a lot of people off by not directly addressing some concerns and giving direct answers. There is the security factor of course (regarding how much and what is wise to officially disclose) but there many socially issues at home that I wish he would really answer more candidly. The main thing that has really gotten to me though is how he keeps saying that the terrorists are attacking use because they hate how we're free. I can say with almost 100% certainty that (although freedom could be a small factor for some) the majority of those that hate America have at least two much bigger reasons: #1 We support Israel, the most hated of all in the Arab world. #2 We are perceived as a Christian nation of infidels and a harborer and purveyor of impurity, filth, and many other undesirable things. Somewhat contradictory, yes, but we're talking about their motives not our perception of them. We are dealing with people that put a much larger emphasis on their religious beliefs, who, because of many factors (including poverty, age-old grudges, and limited or biased information sources) simply hate our culture and influence on their side of the earth.
I can understand some of their positions, and I'd like to think I have a grasp on our situation and where we're at, but it is absolutely imperative that we not allow ourselves the luxury of thinking these people are so angry for reason that boost our own ego. Truth is what people need.
John Kerry is still on my radar as a "investigate further before trusting" blip. His speech I just watched didn't help my perception of him. It was actually improving until that speech. He claimed that Bush never let the American people know what the war might cost and also alleged that Bush was inventing new reasons for the war in Iraq. The whole tone was laden with claims that Bush is simply lying to the public and is bent on deception with malicious intent.
I can remember way back right as Bush was making his nationally televised speech regarding the decision to depose Saddam Hussein and this is the primary thing that really set off alarm bells. The President clearly stated in that speech and others that this was going to be a long and difficult war, all part of the war on terror. Bush plainly stated that we were going to be in it for the long haul, there would be a high cost, but it would be infinitely worth it in the long run. The reasons for going to war were also laid out by Bush; there is no new reason popping up. It only seems that way if you're going by headline reasons emphasized by the media. Goodness knows the full reasons wouldn't have made an attractive headline statement. Looking back over the actual records of the Presidents speeches should be more that enough evidence to disprove these particular allegations by Kerry. The other issue is the ever-so-popular misconception that Iraq didn't have any ties to Al-Qaeda. This was widely published as a product of the 9-11 Committee's findings in its official report. The discrepancy is in the context. The report did find that Iraq did not have a direct hand in the 9-11 attacks but that is all. It has been confirmed that Iraq has ties and has had ties with numerous terrorist organizations including Al-Qaeda. To allege that Iraq was innocent of all terrorist ties is simply a lie. Kerry really should know this and if he doesn't, that really worries me because that means that he and his administration are either incompetent or just simply spinners and liars. I've seen some decent public speaking skills out of Kerry, even some good ideas and observations, but his overall rhetoric is more nearsighted than he even realizes. When I've heard him talk, more often than not I've always gotten the sense that he's making dangerous oversights. For things he is right about, his plan to rectify things also seems lacking. I'm not going to say Bush has it all together but at this point Kerry does seem like the greater of two "evils."
I'm not sure Iraq was the appropriate second target on the war in terror, I'm not sure the economy is on the best track, and I doubt that putting a constitutional ban on homosexual marriage is the best way to deal with things (in the format of this nation). What I do know is that the US needs to a lot of hard work and really examine itself to find out who it really is. We are not the same nation we were 50, 30, or even 10 years ago. Our basic makeup is different, we are incredibly diverse, and we are quite weak in some areas. We can't afford to deceive ourselves internally for the sake of politics.