On The Campaign Trail
BY AND FOR A NEW WORLD
by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
BOSTON, July 27, 2004 -- American history has come to a stage at which the nation must make critical choices about its future. Thus, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York told thousands of cheering delegates here last night, U.S. Sen. John Kerry "is a serious man ... for a serious time."
As they lauded him from the podium in the cavernous Fleet Center that is hosting the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Democrats from around the country were told that John Kerry has the vision, the skills of leadership, the experience and the courage to lead this vast and always-changing country forward.
The American Reporter has long seen those qualities in John Kerry. During a long career in the U.S. Senate, he has always taken on the most difficult and politically perilous challenges that came before that body. He probed the murky depths of the Iran-Contra affair with remarkable insight and determination, often going it nearly alone in some of the most treacherous backwaters of international finance, arms smuggling and intrigue.
There were few tasks less likely to come to fruition than the search for closure for America on the issue of the U.S. soldiers who remained missing in action or unaccounted for in Vietnam. On all sides of that cause lay minefields of discontent and a deep sense of betrayal that colored every interaction of bereaved families with their government. But John Kerry and another very brave American, former POW and U.S. Sen. John McCain, saw it to a concluision far better than any predicted at the outset. The resumption and warming of diplomatic relations with Vietnam was an extra measure of fulfiullment of their original goals.
Yet even those accomplishments pale beside the difficulty of reaching out to a polarized nation, bringing it together and uniting its people in moving forward against the more hostile world that has followed the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, and the misadventure of American aggression against Iraq. The aftermath of our invasion of a nation which, though led by a nefarious and cruel dictator, had not attacked the United States is a world that is more sharply divided and more dangerous than any we have known since Vietnam.
America's most reliable allies have stood with us through a torrent of deceptions - if not outright lies - that propelled an eager President to war. The failures of his administration have been well-documented in the report of the 9/11 Commission and elsewhere. But what those damning and trenchant public documents reveal is far less than the whole truth about 9/11's consequences. The loss of friendly relation with France and Russia have distorted the progress those nations were making towards a better future.
France has been the victim of an alarming new wave of anti-Semitism, and Russia has veered from its path to democracy by jailing dissident pro-democratic figures while ignoring the rampant gangsterism that plagues its financial life. Great Britain and Israel, among others, have been at our side throughout the Iraq invasion and its bloody results, andthey have seen themselves weakened by their willingness to tolerate our weighty mistakes. As we focus on problems we helped to create in the Middle East, their eyes have been on the more hostile world they must face without our military presence when the Iraq war comes to an end.
This is the troubled world that has pushed John Kerry to the forefront of its greatest, most powerful nation, that seeks him now to bring a new balance to relations between our friends and foes. His high sense of purpose and his serious mien may not be the preferred currency of an age given to glamor and the transient, tremulous and insubstantial celebrity conferred instantly by media conglomerates. John Kerry is a man preserved by his own strength and discipline during long hard years of public service that saw him rise from a lowly freshman to a place of honor in one of the United States Senate's most demanding jobs - leadership of the loyal opposition on the Foreign Relations Committee.
Along among his peers, he has proven to have the broad appeal to Democrats and Americans of every party that can once again inspire this nation to forge a fair peace with its former enemies and make our world a new and safer one, filled again with the promise of youthful, courageous and intelligent leadership. John Kerry is indeed a courageous, intelligent and serious man for these serious times, and America is fortunate that we have at last discovered him.