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Thomas Carroll

The Choice of a Generation
Apr 14, 2004

Never in my (admittedly short) lifetime has there been such an important choice as the one our nation will face in November 2004. We will have to choose between two candidates that are nearly diametric opposites. While I hesitate to engage in hyperbole, I truly believe that the fate of this nation, and very possibly the world, rests on the outcome of this election.

Do I think that the sky will literally fall to Earth if the election goes one way or another? Of course not. Rather, we might find large buildings falling down around our ears, here and abroad. The reason that I find this presidential election to be particularly important is that we find ourselves faced with a decision between two candidates with very different personalities. Obviously issues are important, but only to the extent that a voter can trust in their favorite candidate’s ability/willingness to actually do what needs to be done.

Here’s what the choice comes down to. We have John Kerry who has been shown beyond any doubt whatsoever to be a pathological waffler. He as been on literally every side of every issue at some point in his career. To be fair, we should restrict our criticism to, say, the past 20 years or so. In that period of time, he’s been on nearly every side of every issue. Perhaps the one area of national policy that Kerry has, at least recently, been steadfast is his opposition to unilateral military action by the United States. In his view we should wait for the permission of the UN (read: France) before undertaking any sort of action anywhere in the world. I know, I know, he supported Clinton in Bosnia and even supported unilateral action in Iraq in 1997…remember, I said recently (which becomes a very short period of time when one looks for Kerry on only one side of an issue). This issue is at the heart of our ability to fight terrorism, and is exactly the reason that the terrorists want Kerry to become President this fall (if you think so too, you’re not alone).

On the other hand, he seems to have the Slick- Willy-like ability to utilize talking points to a T. This definitely helps in his rhetorical performance during speeches, interviews and the like. Such an attribute is obviously of significant benefit to a politician, given the truism that perception is reality. However, such an ability also has the added benefit/drawback of hiding what’s really under the skin. All too often people allow themselves to be bamboozled into thinking that someone, just slick enough, is something other than what they are.

I personally hope people will see Kerry for what he is.

I also personally hope that people will see President Bush for what he is.

Unfortunately, I was unable to see the President’s remarks the other night, but I did read the transcript. Regardless of what you might think of him personally, you’ve got to admit that he calls ‘em as he sees ‘em.

Some would like to label the President as inarticulate and, well, stupid. I would argue that he’s a straight shooter, and, that he does so from the hip. Both of these attributes have their ups and downs. On the down side, he does have the tendency to come across as somewhat unsure of himself, especially when answering questions. That, in my view, is an illusion. What’s really going on is that he is actually thinking about what he’s going to say, rather than resort to talking points. Now, if people want to take issue with a guy who thinks about each question before answering that question, feel free. I’d take that any day over some slickly-canned BS that may or may not actually get to the point in question.

The issues here, and the reason that I’m writing this in the first place, are 1) whether or not people will see through the façade and the illusion (respectively) and 2) what will people do if they mange to see clearly?

I don’t pretend to predict the future. Will people choose the candidate who has proven he is willing and able to bring the fight to the terrorists? Or will people opt for the candidate who has, time after time, shown himself to be a horrendous waffler on nearly every important issue we face today?

I don’t know the answers to those questions. The one thing I am sure of, however, is that Terrorists around the world are pulling for Kerry. Are you?

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About the author: Tom is a conservative medical student in liberal New England who probably spends too much time paying attention to politics and never lacks topics for friendly discussions. Check out his blog MuD&PHuD. Email Thomas Carroll: carroll@student.uchc.edu

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