Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Hold Your Fire!

The Democratic National Convention is in full swing in Boston this week. I’ve been watching some of the speeches in prime time. I was surprised by Jimmy Carter’s scolding of the current administration, in awe once again of Bill Clinton and his incredible ability to address complex issues in a "down-home" way, and bowled over by the intelligence and poise of young Barack Obama of Illinois. The Democratic orators are taking such pains NOT to fire personal shots at the president, vice-president, and their gang. I respect them for it, but I truly think they’re going to get killed if they don’t step up to the plate and swing away when they need to. I suppose I will have to wait until the Republicans hold their convention, but I strongly suspect they are not going to refrain from trying to drag everything about John Kerry, his wife, his military record, his congressional record, what he ate for dinner last night…through the ugliest mud available. It’s who the Republicans are. It’s what they do.

For some reason, the GOP are holding their fire during the DNC…I’m not sure why. Are they just soaking up all the Democratic rhetoric, taking notes, trying to identify the location of the soft underbelly so that they can attack that much more fiercely when their time comes? I can’t believe it’s a courtesy offered in order to let "the other side" have their moment in the spotlight. If it IS, my apologies to the Republicans for not cutting them enough slack to believe them capable of decency and fair play.

The world of the internet, however, has not been notified of the "cease fire." Venomous emails containing perverted facts, put forth in the most slanted way possible, are zooming back and forth through cyber-space. I had a weird experience this week… My journal attracted the attention of a woman who, at first, emailed me a positive comment about one of my political rants. She said I had "a gift," and that I should try to get published. Of course, I was very flattered…and I should have known it was a snow job. I emailed her back, thanking her for the compliment, gushing about how much I appreciated that kind of feedback from a reader. We emailed back and forth a couple of times in the next few weeks. And THEN I started receiving all these right-wing forwards from her. Each time with the personal admonition to "consider this very carefully and think before you vote." I can only think that she believed my attempt at trying to tone down the viciousness of the political exchanges I take part in, meant that I was ripe for conversion. But, I read this treacle that "concerned people" zap all over the internet, and I think, "Where do they get this stuff? How do they have the nerve to write some of this? How much of this is based in actual fact?" I’ll share a couple of gems with you:

This forward was supposedly an open letter to John Kerry, written by a man whose father served in WWII, whose sons are serving/have served in Iraq/Afghanistan, and who himself is a "Proud Reservist" of some kind….

"In looking at your record I found myself comparing it not only to that of my father and my sons, but to the people they served with. My father served with the 87th Chemical Mortar Battalion in Europe. They landed on Utah Beach and fought for 317 straight days including the Cherbourg Peninsula, Aachen, the Hurtgen Forest, and the Battle of the Bulge. You earned a Silver Star in Vietnam for chasing down and finishing off a wounded and retreating enemy soldier. My father won a Bronze Star for single handedly charging and knocking out a German machine gun nest that had his men pinned down. You received three purple hearts for what appears to be three minor scratches. In fact you only missed a combined total of two days of duty for these wounds. The men of my father's unit, the 87th, had to be admonished by their commanding officer because: "It has been brought to our attention that some men are covering up wounds and refusing medical attention for fear of being evacuated and permanently separated from this organization..." It was also a common problem for seriously wounded soldiers to go AWOL from hospitals in order to rejoin their units. You used your three purple hearts to leave Vietnam early."

All I can say is, WTF? Let’s attack John Kerry’s combat record. Three Purple Hearts for scratches? Used them to leave Viet Nam early? Earned his Silver Star for committing a combat atrocity? How dare anyone make such a mockery of the service of a Viet Nam veteran…ANY veteran? ANYONE who has stared into the face of death on a battlefield earned any medal he got from doing so, in my opinion.To try to minimize his service and his sacrifice is so reprehensible, it boggles my mind. How can someone from the same side of the political spectrum that flies into a tizzy of hyper-outrage at even a slight hint of not "supporting" our troops, be responsible for writing this garbage? Can you say "hypocrite?"

This email attacked Mrs. Kerry:

If you thought John Kerry was scary, he doesn't hold a candle to his wife!…

If voters will open their eyes, educate themselves and see the real Teresa Heinz Kerry, they will not appreciate her position as ultra rich fairy godmother of the radical left. They will not want to imagine her laying her head on a pillow each night inches away from the President of the United States.

The main complaint in this forward was that Mrs. Heinz Kerry had inherited the ketchup fortune of her first husband, Republican Senator H. John Heinz III. Heinz died in a plane crash in 1991; Teresa married John Kerry in 1995, defected to the Democratic party, and is now squandering all that wonderful Republican money on, horror of horrors, liberal causes! And of course every fund or foundation she donates to supports Osama bin Laden, Sadam Hussein, the Taliban, the Communists, the Vikings, the Huns, Ghengis Khan, Hitler….

Then there was this one, that just goes to prove the old adage that an elephant never forgets:

Hello My name is Mary Jo Kopechne.

I would have been 65 years of age this year.

When Sen. Ted Kennedy was merely just another Democrat bloating on Capitol Hill on behalf of liberal causes, it was perhaps excusable to ignore his deplorable past. But now that he's become Sen. John Kerry's leading campaign attack dog, positioning himself as Washington's leading arbiter of truth and integrity, the days for such indulgence are now

It's time for the GOP to stand up and remind America why Sen. Kerry's chief spokesman had to abandon his own presidential bid in 1980 – time to say the words Mary Jo Kopechne out loud.

Seriously folks…this one is SO old, easily half the voting public have NO idea what you’re talking about here. If this is the best shot you can take at Kerry and the Democrats, you need to take your gun (which we will have to pry from your cold, dead hands) out to the firing range and practice up!

Of course, emails aren’t the only thing that exist to spew venom on the internet. I caught a comment in Cynthia’s journal from J-land’s pet "Rush-clone." So I thought I’d mosey on over there to check out his take on the Democratic Convention. I think Remo is an intelligent guy, and a great writer. But I wasn’t prepared for the stark ugliness of his language:

Isn't Jimmy "The Wabbit-Hunter" Carter dead yet? Displaying the symptoms of dementia (and bad set of choppers) President Peanut-Brain tried to remind us of how great things were when he was in charge. Sure. Hostages, gas shortages and high prices, interest rates near 20%, cutting our defense budgets. Have a seat, Jimmy. You had your chance and you screwed the pooch. Your Presidency was like a giant episiotomy on this nation, and it took almost two decades to heal the gaping wound of your incompetence.

Again, WTF? Slamming Jimmy Carter is like calling Mother Teresa a gutter-crawling whore. There are some things, some people that demand respect. President Carter is one of those people. It’s bad enough to use an awesome wit to concoct vicious, contentious, and downright slanderous prose about the current cast of characters on the scene…but there is a place to draw the line (and it really should have been drawn far on the other side of criticizing any opponent in such a way.) It’s people who write stuff like this, who say stuff like this, who believe that it’s way okay to stake out their political claims in such a patently disgusting manner, that are making this country the mess it is today. Sorry, Remo. I just think it’s gross.

America is facing challenges that are far too serious for us to let ourselves be caught up in this knife-twisting negativity. We don’t all think alike. We never will. But in order to get anything accomplished, we have to quit making a career of painting the side that doesn’t share our philosophy as the worst kind of idiots and/or monsters. What good does it do? Does it bring us together? Does it move us toward a common goal? Does it foster an atmosphere of mutual respect? Does it show the rest of the world what a truly great nation we are?

Let’s get a clue, people. Let’s earn respect for our views by showing respect for others’. Didn't they teach us that in, like, kindergarten?


  1. Good gosh Lisa, I need to get my head out of the sand!  I am appalled at how some people have no idea what they are writing about, having been fed some second hand B.S. and before checking out any facts, run with it.  

  2. First visit here...looks like we stand about the same place politically. I thought Bill Clinton's sppech was a stroke of genius. Vote Kerry-Edwards and save the country.

  3. I haven't been by Remo's lately because I'm bogged down with journal reading but I know he can come across quite abrasive. Most of the time I think it's just his sarcasm and not truly his nature. I guess you could call it his style of writing. Kind of like a crotchity old man who is actually a teddy bear underneath. They put up this rough exterior to keep people at a distance.

    I don't have cable so I've missed most of the speeches. I did watch Bill Clinton's and felt inspired. He did throw a few darts at the Repubo's though. His comment about having an administration that showed "strength and wisdom" was a clear jab.

    I'm glad that the Dem's aren't making this convention a mudslingingfest. Who knows if that's how the Repub's will handle themselves but it's better to take the high ground in my opinion.

    Great entry! :-) ---Robbie

  4. You are a brave woman!  Thank you!  Those forwards you quote sound a lot like things my dad sends me ocasionally.  I used to ignore them, but I started getting pissed!  I started looking for info that refuted those hateful messages, and generally, I can send him a link or two written from a different point of view, or ocasionally something from that will state that the info is FALSE.  He has actually sent me some of those things lately, asking me to check it out before he would send it on to his friends.  I think that's progress.  If he's just wiling to look at them with a little skepticism, I'm content.  


  5. The opening night was outstanding with great speeches and a hopeful positive message. The people are going to come to the conclusion John Kerry is a Leader and should be the next President of the United States by the end of Thursday Night.

    Al Gore was relaxed, animated and his speech was outstanding. Jimmy Carter, our Elder Statesman, really put the message out there about the failures of this Administration.

    The theme of Strength at Home and Respect Abroad is perfect. Walk softly and carry a big stick has always worked best for America in the past. If Al and Jimmy had given those types of speeches when they were running, neither would have ever lost.

    Bill, of course, was excellent and Hillary did a good job of setting him up. But what the heck is with the Media? The number one focus of the Media was on Teresa Kerry, who told some guy to, "shove it" on camera. With all the problems facing this Country and with the truly monumental decisions facing this country and with the need to get the real substance of each Party's message through to the people, the Media wants to talk about the candidate’s wife telling off some small paper's editor.

    There seems to be this constant desire of the Media to make trouble and to manufacture these truly meaningless stories, while carefully avoiding any substance. They need to realize they have a stake in America too and stop acting like they are a bunch of Jerry Springers.

    John Kerry and John Edwards are going to restore this country's unity and our standing in the world. They are America's Ticket to a Bright Future. Please join us in restoring our country greatness at home and abroad. Vote Kerry-Edwards in November!

  6. Hypocrite is the perfect word, how anyone can cry about how some people refuse to romanticize the reality of Reagan’s presidency, and then turn around and bash a respectful and honorable man as Jimmy Carter is unreal.  

  7. Whenever I get those rabid right-wing e-mails forwarded to me, I usually check them out at , get the facts, and then e-mail said facts back to the misinformed person who sent me the e-mail.

    This week I got an e-mail forward from one of my leftie friends, supposedly a Newsweek article in which Bush addressed some anti-abortion group and kept saying "feces" instead of "fetus". It was funny enough that I wished it was true, but again, I checked out the urban legends site, found that it was false, and informed my friend.

    I can't read people like Remo.  It's just too irritating.  Then again, they probably can't read me.  :)


  8. Let me see, where to begin.

    One-While we're tied up on the trivial-say Teresa Kerry, we don't have to deal with the real problems. Say, how to get out of Iraq with something resembling our honor intact.

    Two-There has always been an undercurrent of "if I don't have (fill in the blank) you shouldn't have it either-and I'll rip anybody apart who thinks you should." and it's getting worse.

    Three-What can I say the negativity and willingness to believe the worst no matter what  seems to be multiplying like a particularly bad virus. Maybe journals
    like this are part of the cure. I sincerely wish I knew the answers.

  9. I feel like standing up and applauding.  What a incisive, wonderful analysis of what is going on.  

  10. Lisa, it looks like in addition to being intelligent, able to write well, and politically astute, you may now add psychic to your resume.

    Poor child, sometimes, all I can do with him is {YAWN!}.

  11. Okay, I caught this line first:

    they are not going to refrain from trying to drag everything about John Kerry, his wife, his military record, his congressional record, what he ate for dinner last night…through the ugliest mud available. It’s who the Republicans are. It’s what they do.

    And then I read this:

    Let’s get a clue, people. Let’s earn respect for our views by showing respect for others’.

    The latter and the former are at odds with one another.

    So, I have to ask, I shouldn't look at Mr. Kerry's cogressional record, his military record or anything else to build an informative opinion about the man?  I should just vote for him simply because?????  

  12. Just a short note to let you know I found my way to your journal (by way of some weekend assignment). I just started my journal 2 days ago, and really wanted to get some direction as to how others might be posting entries. Fortunately I was able to read some of your recent writing. What I can clearly see with your journal is that substance does matter! I look forward to checking in now and again to read some more.

    Anyway, I had to stand up with you on Jimmy Carter. He was President during my impressionable high school years, and somehow I feel a little more connected to him than Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon or Ford. Jimmy Carter may have not been the greatest President of the past century, but I challenge anyone to find a current or former leader of ANY country that is not a bigger humanitarian. And in the end, I'm sure I would rather my contribution be remembered for something as simple as building just a single house and not for spending billions of dollars on war.

  13. President Carter showed his true colors by blasting a former friend and Georgian, Zell Miller.  How mean spirited is Mr. Carter when he engages in name calling.  I have to admire Senator Miller for speaking out against his own party and saying what he thinks. He said in an interview that he has seen things in Washington that you and I don't even know about which led to his decision to support President Bush.  

    You will never know what Mr. Carter really thinks because he says one thing and does another.  Mr. Carter would sign a pack with the devil and sell out his fellow man and call it peace.  I cannot believe anyone would put their party before their conscience and family.

    Mr. Carter, you owe Zell an apology!  He's more of an American than you will ever be.  

    An American (not a republican nor democrat).