April 28, 2004

Kerry: My Main Man

Last Wednesday, someone informed me that several people were offended by my mention of the racist KKK experiment that had aired on AOC. I had included that extreme anecdote in order to ridicule the Klan and to show that free speech often means having to deal with insanity. However, some people thought I was making fun of African-Americans instead. So I sincerely apologize if anyone was offended by that.

Incidents like that help me realize that what I intend to write is not always what people pick up. I have learned this lesson, and it’s one that the Republicans need to pick up soon if they want their campaign to be less pathetic in the coming months. While the GOP attacks on John Kerry sound like criticism to them, they sure don’t register with his fans.

Currently, the right-wing flavor of the month is to attack John Kerry by calling him a “liberal.” Ouch. That’s like trying to insult George W. Bush by calling him “a Yale-educated father of two.” Are conservatives really so wrapped up in their own linguistic fantasies that they think “liberal” is a bad word? What kind of insult is that? Can you imagine some of these Kerry attackers “doing the dozens” with each other?

“Yo mama’s so fat, she’s on a diet!”

“Yeah? Well, your momma’s so poor that she…she…she doesn’t have any money!”

Why on Earth would Republicans do something so monumentally witless as to try to pass off “liberal” as a cut-down? Well, for one, because it works. Part of the reason that George H.W. Bush hammered Michael Dukakis in 1988 was by playing the “liberal” card. By October, Bush had successfully demonized what he called “the ‘L’ word.” When Dukakis finally used that word to describe himself, Bush went to town. That town, of course, was Washington D.C.

Faced with endless war, an embattled economy and cronyism not seen since Boss Hogg, Republicans are running low on options. They are betting everything on their campaign to make the Democrats look even worse than themselves. But if we liberals and moderates are willing to stand our ground and take pride in who we are, then no amount of fear and propaganda will stop us in 2004.

Right now, our biggest asset is our candidate for president. And when I say “our,” I don’t just mean the Democrats; I mean Democrats, Greens, independents and everyone else who objects to today’s conditions. Our side has a quality candidate in Kerry. Sure, some of us would have preferred one of the other nominees; now that Kerry has all but clinched the nomination, however, we should rally behind him as he does his best to accommodate all of us. Unlike so many Democrats (Joe Lieberman, anyone?), Kerry is not afraid to criticize the current administration.

Kerry represents hope. Hope that our troops (including the latest 4,000 from Louisiana about to get shipped off) will stop getting shafted and killed in Iraq for no reason. Hope that our leaders will restore some respect for the laws of this nation. Hope that our economy will exist again. Hope that some minor and pointless sex scandal might once again become the biggest problem we face.

A vote for Kerry is not merely a vote against Bush; it is a vote for what this nation needs to revive—the people. While Bush is busy playing “Risk” with the globe as his game board, America is in a period of frustration and fear. The first step toward a better country is in a boot; specifically, in a boot to Bush in November.

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