I got home this evening and my wife told me I had a message from a person neither one of us knew. When I listened to the message, I figured the gentleman (who sounded like he'd seen some years) was calling to take me to task for the following letter to the editor, which appeared today in our local paper:
The "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" should be more accurately named "Swift Boat Veterans for Selective Quotation."He was calling in reference to the letter, but he was calling to express solidarity with my sentiments! He went on to say that he had been a long-time Republican, but Bush had changed his mind! I talked to an actual former Republican--or at least a Republican for Kerry! I had heard tall tales about them and their disgust with Bush, but I thought such people were an urban myth--too good to be true!
In their new television ad, they have a tape of Kerry saying the words, "personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads," and then an offended Vietnam veteran appears onscreen to admonish Kerry for those words.
But what the ad's selective quotations leave out is that Kerry was paraphrasing honorably discharged, decorated Vietnam veterans who had testified that these rapes and decapitations happened. Kerry was not accusing these soldiers of anything. In fact, in their statements to which he refers, they themselves admitted to the rapes and decapitations.
Kerry was referring to the statements of these soldiers in his 1971 testimony to the Senate; he wasn't saying anything about them that they hadn't said about themselves.
But you don't have to believe me, just go to a search engine and type in "John Kerry testimony April 22, 1971," and you will get a transcript (C-Span has it in its entirety). You will see that in the Swift Boat veterans' latest ad, they are trying to create the impression that Kerry was accusing his fellow soldiers of something horrible, when in fact anyone who actually reads the statement will see that he did no such thing.
In fact, if you read it, you will learn that Kerry's antiwar group had a lot of support from soldiers in combat at that time.
Finally, given the statements made by the soldiers Kerry paraphrased, Kerry and his group were right and in fact had a moral duty to work to end the Vietnam War. And he had every right to speak up about it because he volunteered to go there and was decorated for his service.
He himself is a veteran of Korea, and he has no stomach for the way the Swift Boat Liars are trying to discredit Kerry. He went on about that and related how he had written several letters to the editor himself (one in response to the father of a high school friend of mine), even as recently as two weeks ago.
Broken Camel's Back
The gentleman said that the final straw for him was Bush's Medicare card fiasco. Being in his early seventies, this man qualifies for Medicare and is offended by the ruse of the prescription drug "benefit". He pointed out how prescription drug costs had gone up at 3.4 times the rate of inflation in the first quarter of 2004, essentially negating any savings from Bush's plan. He actually said "Bush isn't for me, he's for the pharmaceutical companies!"
My new friend didn't like the way Bush is handling the war in Iraq, either. He said, "One or two kids a day are coming home in body bags, and none of them are named 'Bush'--they're all 'someone else's kid.'" He also felt that Bush and Cheney's sensitive handling of the Najaf situation was tying the hands of the troops and he agreed with me that even though it's not popular to say it, that situation is like Vietnam all over again.
He doesn't like our new governor, either. He said Haley Barbour is "a joke!" He said that Barbour will be lucky if people don't end up harming him physically! He is contemplating putting a sign in front of his house that says "Screw W. and Haley--I'm voting for someone else if that's the best you can do!"
I mean, this guy was amazing! He said a friend of his told him that he wouldn't vote for Kerry because Kerry is "unfit to serve." He told the friend to go watch the Swift Boat ad and then read the transcript to get just how out of context Kerry's remarks are being taken. He said the friend hasn't yet emailed him back.
The gentleman said that he wants to educate himself rather than be spoonfed all the crap from the Republican goon squad. He said that since 2000, Bush has lost four votes--his daughter and son-in-law, his son, and himself. He said his son has always been a Democrat and told him "Dad, you just don't get it--Bush is not helping you." He finally took his son's words to heart when he saw the crazy things Bush has been doing.
Simply amazing...I've never received such a call. The fact that he took the trouble to look up my phone number and actually call me...Kerry on!