That's it! I'm not voting for Kerry. The man wants to be remembered as a hero, and with good reason, but he wants to hide the one part of his history which finally distinguished him as a truly great hero, his noble efforts to end the Viet Nam War. And the reason is that he's desperate to establish credentials as the same kind of warrior who thirty and more years ago ran the insane conflict from which he was fortunate to escape with his life. On war, including apparently even the War in Southeast Asia, and on just about every other subject he has addressed during his candidacy his position is almost indistinguishable from that of George W. Bush.
I have to admit that it's only because New York State has absolutely no chance of awarding its electoral votes to Kerry's Commander-in-Chief that once again I will not have to contribute to the end of the American experiment by voting for either of the Right-wing candidates held up by our two Right-wing parties.
Of course if I were unfortunate enough to find myself registered in one of those confused realms whose voters four years ago didn't seem to understand what was happening to them, I would probably find myself holding my nose tightly with one hand while I flipped the lever or touched the screen for the Democratic Party's candidate on November 2, hoping it might help my state swing toward Mr. Anything.
Kerry and the Democratic Party offer little more than somewhat inferior copies of what Bush and the Republican Party already represent very well. Most progressives would like to ignore this, operating on the now-familiar and almost universal, desperate principle of "Anything But Bush." Alexander Cockburn writes in The Nation this month,
Can someone win the presidency entirely on the basis of a negative asset? I wouldn't have thought so, but here's John Kerry, just about 90 days shy of election day, promoting himself as a man of presidential caliber entirely on the basis that he's the Anyone in "Anyone But Bush". Aside from the flag wagging , that's what it comes down to, unless you take the probably realistic view that when it comes to war-fighting in the service of Empire he's far more bloodthirsty. Come next January the Anyone behind the desk in the Oval Office may be a bit taller. There'll be medals on the book shelf showing he killed Vietnamese in the service of his country. Most everything else will stay the same. Kerry's been pretty clear about that, letting his core constituencies know that as President Anyone he's not going to cut them any favors.
One more, very prococative thought, and I'll close down for the night. In the same article Cockburn reports the real concern which Andy Stern, head of the Service Employees International Union, expressed to the Washington Post's David Broder on the floor of the Democratic Convention. Cockburn describes Stern as saying, "another four years of Bush might be less damaging than the stifling of needed reform within the party and the labor movement that would occur if Kerry becomes president."
Stern later recanted, but I don't think I'm the only one who wonders about the wisdom of his conversion.
Ralph Nader was there first, and he hasn't left, bless him.
[image from MSNBC]