Kerry: The Singular Qualities and Experience to be President
Note: To mark the beginning of the primary season, the
editors of Democratic Underground solicited articles from
our members in support of the eight Democratic presidential
primary candidates. Publication of these articles does not
imply endorsement of any candidate by the editors of Democratic
easy to be swept up in the Ďhorse raceí aspects of the Democratic
primaries, and itís even easier to develop an attachment to
one candidate that prevents a fair assessment of the others.
Mass-consumption media narratives over-simplify the issues,
and voters have a hard time deciphering the meat from the
memes. Too, the mediaís constant harping on the twists and
turns of the candidatesí positions on Iraq has blurred the
fact that weíre choosing someone to carry all our highest
ideals to face George W. Bush.
This election is about everything we stand for, from national
security to domestic security to the economy to health care
to civil liberties to womenís rights to the environment. Itís
about two competing views of American life. And more, itís
about America itself, and how we define it and what we want
it to be.
I see value in each of the Democratic candidates, but I volunteered
for John Kerry because I believe he has the singular qualities
and experience to harmonize tomorrowís America with the time-tested
principles that have always defined it. Choosing a candidate
isnít a scientific process, but considering whatís at stake,
itís imperative that we take a hard look at the facts. We
wonít have a second chance to get this right, and we have
to judge the totality of the individual, not the buzzwords,
the polls, and the easy-to-digest storylines written by inside-the-Beltway
The backdrop for this election season is Americaís deeply
polarized socio-political environment. The chasm between left
and right, between progressives and conservatives, between
moderates and extremists, gets wider and uglier by the day,
and the natural dialectic that anchors a healthy democracy
has been replaced with barbed soundbites and push-button catch
phrases. The deterioration of our national discourse poses
an insidious danger: the signal hallmark of American life
is the right to speak up and speak freely, and freedom of
expression withers in an atmosphere of name-calling and intolerance.
Not to say that America is a stranger to vigorous - and often
rancorous - political debate. From the impassioned arguments
between Federalists and Anti-Federalists that helped forge
our Constitution to the infamous 1856 caning of Charles Sumner
in the old Senate chamber, we're a diverse and opinionated
bunch. But it's not an exaggeration to say that we're coming
apart at the ideological seams.
Thatís the problem, and Iím more interested in electing someone
who can address this dismal state of affairs than I am in
assigning blame. As a one-time resident of Beirut, Lebanon,
I witnessed internecine strife first-hand and Iíve internalized
the dictum that making peace is always more difficult than
making war. Building a bridge is harder than destroying one.
Some of the more entrenched voices on the right and left might
disagree, but unification and conciliation are worthy goals.
The preamble to our Constitution makes an eloquent case for
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more
perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility,
provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare,
and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity...Ē
The fact that we are straying from the high-minded dictates
of our binding document should trouble any sensible American,
but the cacophony of voices echoing across the great political
divide, and the media obsession with process over substance,
prohibits a sensible and thorough debate of the crucial issues
facing us. Taking sides and parroting the pundits has become
a substitute for reasoned debate and common sense solutions.
George W. Bush is a touchstone for this growing polarization,
and our shared responsibility is to nominate a presidential
candidate who can reverse the divisive Ėand destructive -
course our nation has taken.
John Kerry is a sincere and principled man, but knowing that
is not enough to make a decision in an election this pivotal.
There are a number of character traits that any Dem candidate
must display in order to best represent the core values of
the party, rewrite the language of division that splits American
from American, establish civility in our political discourse,
and provide a sense of comfort and security to an angry and
frightened nation: Dedication, Insight, Leadership, Strength,
Flexibility, Knowledge, Experience, Bravery, Wisdom and Balance.
On all counts, John Kerry shines. And he combines all the
above attributes with an unassailable three-decade record
of standing for core Democratic principles. John Kerry will
make an outstanding Democratic nominee and an exceptional
For more information about John Kerry, please visit www.johnkerry.com.