Friday, December 17, 2004

John Kerry and Moral Values

I have not written about the election at all. But I did read a lot of opinions about the poll where a large percentage of voters said that "moral values" were the most important influence on their vote. I interpret that answer this way.

Senator Kerry spent 4 months in Vietnam. During that time, he was wounded thrice. Two of those three wounds were more like accident wounds than combat wounds. By all accounts, he fought hard to get those "upgraded" to qualify him for the Purple Heart status. Soldiers with 3 Purple Heart medals were eligible to ask to return home BEFORE their tour of duty (one year) ended. As soon as he was eligible, Sen. Kerry signed up to come home.

There is more than a whiff of cynicism and selfishness in Sen. Kerry's behavior in that story. Not quite the material that heroes are made of.

The USA has fielded a large military for a long time, and been involved all over the world for decades in "hot wars". There must be millions of voters that were servicemen or their immediate family circle--a son, a daughter, a cousin, a niece. Throw in some more millions who know a neighbor who served, or a close office colleague, and that is a huge chunk of the electorate!

I have no close relatives or friends who served in the military. Still, I thought his actions were dishonorable, even if understandable, for a young man. Could it not be that some of those connected to veterans felt that shiver of revulsion at the cynicism and opportunism, and decided to vote against Sen. Kerry?

If pressed to come up with a short "buzz-phrase" to describe what was uppermost on their mind as they voted, they rattled off a convenient phrase: moral values


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