last night i caught most of ‘frontline’ on pbs. the episode was devoted to an impartial examination of the lives of both presidential candidates. sort of like those compare-and-contrast exercises i used to do back in the day. The Choice 2004 presented both candidates pretty fairly and a few things stood out.

  1. george w. bush is first and foremost a businessman. while john kerry was serving as a lt. governor and senator, bush was raising taxes to build The Ballpark in Arlington (now Ameriquest Field). he had yet to “make his mark” and had failed to present himself as a viable politician. it was only after he made over 10 million dollars on the Texas Rangers deal that the powers that be started tossing his name around for governor of Texas.
  2. john kerry has strong opinions and holds himself accountable to them. from being an activist to heading a special p.o.w. investigation, john kerry – contrary to popular opinion – has strong opinions and isn’t afraid to voice that opinion even if it is unpopular. he seems to possess the one important thing that bush seems to lack: a feeling of personal responsibility. he felt it was his responsibility to head that investigation, his responsibility to get to the bottom of things just before the contra scandal broke out, his responsibility to tell the truth about what it was like to be in the vietnam war. george w. bush doesn’t even feel responsible enough to the united states to honestly admit his mistakes.
  3. at some point, george w. bush lost his ability to speak in public. archive footage showed him being charismatic and free of the verbal diarrhea from which he suffers today. he also blinked less. again, i draw your attention to
  4. george w. bush sees an opening and exploits takes it. when his father was slipping in the polls before the iowa caucas, george w. saw an oppotunity to use his faith to get pat robertson and the religious right to vote for the candidate whose son was a born-again christian.
  5. john kerry thinks war is bad. well i would hope so. i could see how conservatives might see him as a pansy, since he *gasp* actually believes in trying to talk things out before bombing the fuck out of another group of people.

generalizing here – conservatives, republicans, manly-men, do NOT like talking. talking makes them feel dumb. they like getting their rifles or whatever and taking action. taking action makes them feel superior. they think john kerry is unwilling to throw down and fight, thus this makes him less of a man. i think the point is, unlike most americans, kerry has been in a war and has seen and felt it’s effects. if a war can be prevented by some negotiating and conversation, that is billions of dollars and thousands of lives saved. kerry isn’t willing to go to war over a misunderstanding or as a pissing contest. he’s been ‘in the shit’ and doesn’t want any other young people to have to do the same. it all boils down to this: bush is swift action and kerry is careful consideration. i cannot help but feel that those who support what bush has done are the same people who would encourage their children to not turn the other cheek and instead to fight with their peers rather than talk things out.

however, i’m sure this sort of thing rarely enters his supportors’ minds because george w. bush is a master manipulator. he and his colleagues are experts at identifying what you are afraid of, making it seem worse and showing you who to blame for it. george w. identified the cultural and moral conflicts in the united states. he exploited people’s fear of change and, yes – personal faith – in order to focus that fear and devotion at the one target he wanted to slap down since his dad failed to do so during his term as president – saddam hussein and, by happy coincidence, those muslim heathens. anyone who thinks that religion isn’t part of this is seriously kidding themselves.

bush will continue to humiliate and debase the united states in the eyes of the international community. he seeks to keep americans in a state of fear, rendering us docile and more easily manipulated. he is a poor role model to the nation’s youth and an inadequate representative of the people of the united states; he is disingenuous, tramples on accountability and hell would probably freeze over before he’d be able to admit he was wrong or apologize without the smirk of a snake-oil salesman who can hardly believe he managed to dupe so many people into thinking he was presidential material.

kerry seeks to regain world respect and pull the united states out of its socioeconomic backslide. he gives the united states a face of reason, compassion and honor. kerry strikes me as the type of man who would come to a person’s aid while others looked the other way and told themselves it wasn’t their problem or their business. i think that parents can point out john kerry to their kids as a good role model; a man who makes a stand and is man enough and leader enough to do it without invoking mass hysteria, weapons and bloodshed.

i think bush is more concerned with personal and short-term gain than he is with the big picture or the needs and trials of the common man. i think kerry understands that we’re all in this together. i think he has the ability to recognize the merit and necessity of different viewpoints and ideas and will do his best to make the world a better place for our children and grandchildren.