2004.10.23 it's almost over:

last week, my dad forwarded me an email with a political joke comparing John Kerry to one of the hurricanes that hit florida. in response, i copied the text of the new york times endorsement of john kerry for president and sent it to him and all the people on the original email list of the forwarded email. what fun!

anyway, he emails me back, with a point by point breakdown through about half the time's piece, and i responded to his points. the text of my response to his responses follows (if you haven't read the nyt piece, you can reference it to see what the hell we're talking about.

Succinct perhaps, but nevertheless wrong! It is an example of the liberal press and how they are trying to influence the election. I have stopped listening to much of the news reporting, including Public Broadcasting, because they are obviously biased in everything they do.

There was very little in the NYTimes piece that was inaccurate or quantifiably false. I didn't say nothing, just very little. And yes, the opinion included in the piece attests to their "liberal bias", but still doesn't discount or negate the accuracy of the mentioned facts.

There is no greater responsibility to the future of this country, to our

Absolutely! And that is why I will strongly support George Bush as the best hope for the future of America. The liberal agenda of John Kerry and the Democrats will lead to moral degradation and eventual destruction of the American society! I don't have much time left to worry about myself; but, I have grave concerns for my grandchildren.

If you truly believe this, then you really don't know what the "liberal agenda" is. If you consider "doing unto others as you'd have them do unto you" and "love your neighbor as yourself" to be tenets that will destroy our morals and our society, then perhaps you're right.

If one of those qualities includes the willingness to say and do anything that will promote himself, I agree! Otherwise, everything I see in him is negative.

what exactly are you talking about here? aside from the fact that he is a politician (thus you can't escape from some self-aggrandizing) i've seen a man who's taken stands and stuck to them, until he learned–by benefit of more complete information and analyses–that he'd been wrong. i've seen a man who's learned from his mistakes, and who has striven to correct them, rather than someone who merely takes the politically advantageous position.
In contrast, with Bush, you've got a man who takes a position and sticks with it, even if he's wrong, and even if he's proved wrong again and again. He's practically stated that he feels he was "destined" for the role of president, and given it by God Himself (tell me that's not outrageous self-promotion!). And this is a man who can't even come up with a single mistake he's made in the three+ years he's been in office. If you asked, i could name at least 20 off the top of my head.

John Kerry has no morals I would support! He is a pathological liar in the vein of Bill Clinton. Truth is whatever is good for John Kerry!

i would sure like to see an example of this. in what instances has he lied, and what about? name just two.

He used his Vietnam period specifically as a way to make himself look good.

yes, of course. John Kerry went to war and put his life on the line "just to make himself look good."

did he capitalize on his experience during his campaign? yes, of course. This campaign, because of the Iraq war, has been all about who can be a good Commander in Chief, who can make the right decisions, with the primary goal of taking care of the soldiers and not putting them needlessly in harms way. I say that Kerry's Vietnam experience makes him a far better choice for CinC than Bush who never fired a shot at an enemy, never had a shot fired at him, and who has no real idea what it means to be a soldier. sure, he was in the Air National Guard, but his record in that endeavor was just about as bad, if not worse than my own.

Then, he turned his back on his fellow soldiers by speaking out against the war. To me, he is just as bad as Jane Fonda in that respect.

here you're just parroting right-wing propaganda gobbledygook. he did his duty as a soldier, he put his life in the hands of his government, and he came to realize that the war was not what it should be. it was being handled wrong, and good men were dying when they didn't need to be. the Vietnam war was a travesty, and kerry was doing what he thought would best serve his fellow soldiers who were still giving their lives.

He was willing to follow his convictions of what is right – which John Kerry will never do

Bush did follow his convictions, which would have been fine, had he campaigned as a radical right-winger. Unfortunately, he didn't. He campaigned as a centrist, as a moderate republican at best. He promised to protect social security, he promised to continue paying down the nation debt. he promised lots of things, and there were only a few that he kept. And as i said earlier, he may have followed his convictions, but he also is incapable of learning from or even admitting his mistakes, and many of the "convictions" he followed turned out to be ill-advised or altogether wrong. And yes, you are correct, John Kerry will never simply,blindly follow his convictions of what is right. He is a thinker, a decider. He will take as much information as he can get and only then will he make a decision. And you can bet that the decision that he makes 80 – 85% of the time will be the best decision that can be made for the largest portion of this country.

another. He moved quickly to implement a far-reaching anti-choice agenda

Pro-life is not "anti-choice"! I'm for pro-choice as long as the choice is whether to get pregnant! Once a life is created by conception, to terminate it is murder!

this is a very hairy topic, so much so that even in the midst of this email, i'd prefer not to get into it. suffice it to say that yes, i believe abortion is an abhorrent practice. the one point where i diverge from Kerry's stance is in his opposition to the partial-birth abortion ban. i think i would align myself more with Clinton's philosophy of "make it legal, make it safe, but make it rare." because, it is going to happen one way or another, and i'd rather have people doing it "safely" than having a bunch of people going back to the days of the wire coat-hanger in the truck-stop restroom.

also, if you think Bush is the great anti-abortion president, perhaps you should read this.

The next step for "pro-choice" liberals will be the choice for euthanasia – first by the individual; then by the family; then government.

there is governmental euthanasia already. it's called "the death penalty" and individual euthanasia would be "suicide" (not that suicide is expressly legal, but who do you prosecute?)

All these programs are discriminatory! A person should have the opportunity to compete on an equal basis – not given an "edge".

I agree. Unfortunately, there is still inequality in the system. Affirmative Action, though not perfect, is an unfortunate necessity to ensure an "even playing field" for many underprivileged people. And no matter what you might think, not everyone has the same opportunity in this country. Many inner city families struggle against their own lack of social inertia, they were born into and perpetuate a cycle of defeatism that it can be difficult if not impossible to break out of. Yes, it is possible to break out of it, and thankfully many children & young adults can and do, but just because they can, doesn't mean it's easy.

I have suffered throughout my professional career because of so called "affirmative action" programs. Had I been a black woman with my credentials, I could have been the president of a university.

I had it easy growing up, thanks to your hard work and determination. But you had an advantage over non-whites your age that allowed you to progress as far as you have. I don't know the particulars of your struggles, and/or how affirmative action may have hindered your professional development, but i freely admit that the system isn't perfect. Unfortunately, until women and minorities can truly compete on an even field, the program may remain necessary. Even right now, i can't think of a single black person at the office where i work. There are several Indians (as in from India), and even a Russian, but not one black person.

When the nation fell into recession, the president remained fixated not on generating jobs but rather on fighting the right wing's war against taxing the wealthy. As a result, money that could have been used to strengthen Social Security evaporated, as did the chance to provide adequate funding for programs the president himself had backed. No Child Left Behind, his signature domestic program, imposed higher standards on local school systems without providing enough money to meet them.

The financial problems of the country are the direct result of eight years of Bill Clinton's policies. Without the policies the Bush administration put into place, we probably would have had a depression rather than recession.

Clinton presided over the greatest economic period in our nation's history (s'far as i know, anyway). The economy and markets didn't start to decline until late in his last year, probably around the time Bush got elected. The recession didn't start until late March or April of 01, a full three months after Bush took office, and 5 months after his election. <i'm inferring a connection between Bush's election, the election fight, and the faltering economy, for the slower people out there. m@ > Clinton gave us a 5 trillion surplus, enough to protect Social Security for another 40 years, and paid down the national debt by at least half. Under his leadership, we were well on the way to becoming a debt-free nation, which would have bolstered the economy and heralded a new era of progress. Instead, we got Bush, whose answer to the unprecedented economic strength during his campaign was "tax cuts!" After Bush took office, and the economy started it's slide into recession, Bush's answer was still "Tax Cuts!" Does that really make any sense? It sure doesn't to me. It didn't to his Secretary of the Treasury either, who fought to convince Bush the tax cuts were a fruitless idea at best. Paul O'Neil told Bush and the Congress that the tax cuts would have a negligible effect on the economy and wouldn't make any difference in the long-run on the recession. Bush's idea was that if you give everyone a cut, then more people will have more money to spend. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, since prices for everything were rising as the tax cuts were being passed around. The tax cuts for the wealthy didn't help at all, because they don't even spend a large percentage of their income anyway, they just invest it. Their tax cuts didn't "trickle down" (to borrow the Regan term for Bush's tax plan), because they just went straight into stocks or other investment vehicles.

I'm not against taxing the wealthy, and the wealthy are taxed to a greated extent ( higher level), but you can't finance the country on the backs of the wealthy.

The whole idea of the progressive tax system is that those who profit the most from the system contribute the most to it. Besides the wealthy may be taxed to a greater extent according simply to the IRS bracket structure, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Because of the Bush tax cuts (and other tax incentives/loopholes geared toward the wealthy) more often than not, the truly wealthy ($1M annual and up) often end up paying lower taxes than you or I might. I forget the exact figure, but the actual amount of taxes Cheney paid on his income, after incentives and loopholes, was somewhere around 3%. just doesn't seem right to me.

Add to that all the corporate tax incentives and loopholes, and you've got corporations like Enron & Halliburton who can go for 5 years or more and not pay one red cent in taxes. Are they paying their "fair share?" I think not.

Everyone should be willing to pay their fair share. The Robin Hood ethics of Democrats may be noble, but it's still thievery. It also stymies economic growth to take away the incentives of people to get ahead.

What you're talking about is the welfare system where people get "something for nothing" (according to right-wing propaganda). Yes, the welfare system needs to be reformed such that people aren't allowed to "take advantage" of it, and have to do something to receive something. Clinton made strides toward this regard in getting the largest number off the welfare roles since the inception of the program–something about 20 million new jobs created during his two terms, and also through the "welfare-to-work" program. WtW wasn't perfect, but it was a step in the right direction of making sure that we weren't just bankrolling deadbeats. If you manage the system in the right way, and make it more about getting people jobs and training for jobs, and less about just paying them enough to live on, then you'll truly make a difference.

I certainly have never been one of the rich, but I don't begrudge what they have, because I believe I have more because of what they have done!

i certainly don't begrudge the rich what they have either, i just don't like that they are able to wield power because of that wealth, and get out of paying their "fair share" for the privilege that allowed them their success in the first place. It is their duty, as successful products of this society, to give back to that society which made their success possible.

This country was conceived and built on the idea that people should have the right to improve themselves. The government should help people better themselves, as it certainly did in my case. Without welfare while I was a kid, I would have had no chance to pursue an education. However; the government should not be expected to take care of me all my life.

see my points on welfare above. but also, yes, this is why it is imperative that we set up the system so that it truly does the job of preparing people for the workplace, and finding them work to do. of course, that also means that you have to have an economy that is creating jobs, something Bush has proved largely inadequate at doing. He may have added 1.6 million jobs in the last 13 months, but it takes at least 150,000 jobs each month to sustain a growing economy, and Bush hasn't been able to do that. 130,000 one month, 60,000 another, 10,000 another, 110,000 another. This is not the way to grow an economy. The reason unemployment has dropped, at least partially, is that people are dropping off the rolls because they can't find work, or they've exhausted their benefits. Not because of the upswing, or new job creation. New job creation isn't even keeping up with the pace of new workers entering the job force, much less the old out-of-work ones.
anyway, the government should make every effort to make it possible for everyone who wants work to have work. and if you don't want work, then you're a homeless bum with no welfare.

Environmental protection in the US is in better hands than it was with Bill Clinton and the Democrats. I can speak more directly from the agricultural standpoint since I have been directly involved with farmers trying to deal with the repressive policies of the Clinton administration. I believe farmers need to be environmentally sensitive and responsible. There are better ways to accomplish that than "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" as EPA was doing. I was in a meeting just a couple of weeks ago with EPA people in Atlanta planning how to deal with animal waste on farms. I can assure you they are working to address the problem without risking the disruption of food production.

Perhaps the EPA was too harsh with small-time farmers who are being driven out of the market by huge corporate farms already. But the bulk of Clinton's EPA was devoted to protecting the environment from irresponsible corporate interests. The Clean Air act made great strides in reducing pollution and holding companies accountable. I don't know all the particulars, but nearly everyone agrees that the environmental policy the Bush administration has pursued has been the most egregious disaster for public health and the environment in recent years.

And anyway, maybe food production needs to be disrupted a bit. Farmers are getting paid less and less for more and more, and are constantly having to find new ways to produce more from less, correct? And the American waistline is growing bigger and bigger by the day. The vicious cycle of production/promotion/consumption is killing us all.

America's security; 90 percent of the cargo unloaded every day in the nation's ports still goes uninspected.

Which is 10% more than it was under Clinton!

I doubt that, but nevertheless, it's still 80% less than it should be, or could be if Bush hadn't bankrupted our government such that he can't even fully fund "his own" initiatives (Bush initially opposed creation of a Homeland Security department, which was originally a proposal of the Democrats).

When you have been attacked in your homeland, changes are justified. There may have been some inconveniences, but who knows what may have been thwarted by those policies.

Removal of basic civil rights is never justified. If we think we can implement totalitarian policies just because we've been attacked, then we're really not much better than terrorists ourselves, are we? In any event, and to paraphrase a common refrain from the time of the attacks, if civil liberties are repealed then "the terrorists have truly won."

I do agree that this election will have a lot to do with the future of this country. I want what's best for my children and grandchildren in the years to come. I truly believe that John Kerry is not suited to lead it in the right direction. George Bush may not be the best person for the job, but he is the best choice we have at this time.

You sound just like me, but opposite. John Kerry isn't the second coming, he's not perfect, but i think at least he's got an IQ equal to my own or better. At least he will entertain facts and make decisions based on them, rather than decided based on what God tells him, or what he simply "thinks is right." My biggest fear is that, with four more years of Bush, we'll have no friends left and more enemies in the international community, we'll have unbreathable air, undrinkable water, we'll have a national debt that even my 5th great grandchildren won't be able to dig out from under, and we'll have a society in which the rich and the poor are separated by an uncrossable economic gulf. The american dream will become a legend, then a myth. the Poor will no longer be able to come up from the foothills of the Appalachian mountains and make a cozy home for themselves and their families.

Let me just say that I respect your opinions no matter how much I disagree with them. I am sorry that I failed as a father to instill in you the values I hold so dear.

Believe me, you didn't fail as a father. I carry the values you taught me with me every day. They inform my every decision, every conversation, every aspect of my life. My values are as i describe above, distilled down into those two tenets. "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" and "Love your neighbor as yourself." It is only by mutual respect, love, and understanding that we can move this country, and this world, into the future. Without them, we'll see fear, hate, and greed on all sides, and there will be no escape.

- 01:32 am :: permalink
categories ::  Family - Politics - Society