I can’t believe I’m coming out of my blog silence for this. But I have some thoughts about the Kerry gaffe.
For those who haven’t been following this, Kerry was at some kind of event and said that if you don’t work hard in school and do your homework, then you will get “stuck in Iraq”.
The plain reading of what he said is that a lot of people are in the armed forces because they’re stupid and failed in school. Kerry countered that the joke was meant to be an anti-Bush joke- that he meant to say if you don’t do good in school then you will “get us stuck in a war in Iraq”. He has gone on the warpath against the Republicans saying they’re liars, hacks, and even calling Limbaugh “doughy”.
I went back and forth on this. First I thought “What an idiot” (that thought has stuck with me through the whole thing, actually). But then I thought that he probably did just botch the joke and had no intention of saying anything negative about our troops, similar to John Derbyshire here. That just seemed too crazy even for Kerry, just before an election.
But then I thought something different, after seeing and reading Kerry’s response to it, and comparing it with my own experience. I communicate for a living. I speak to people in a professional capacity most days of the week, sometimes for quite a while at a time. I preach three times a Sunday and teach Bible studies sometimes two or three times a week. In all those words, I make mistakes. I say things I didn’t mean to say, and sometimes in doing so I inadvertently insult people.
When I do that, there is no choice but to apologize. I try to catch all of them. I’m sure I have missed some. Fortunately the people in my church are pretty gracious with me. But certainly any time something is brought to my attention I do my best to address it.
See, the thing is, none of us can respond to what Kerry meant to say. We can only respond to what he said. Kerry can’t duck responsibility by claiming to have meant to say something else. He’s responsible for what he said. And what he said, by a plain reading, was a vicious insult to our troops.
If he were an honest man, he would just come out and say he’s sorry for his remark. He’s kind of apologized after first attacking everyone and dodging responsibility. This demonstrates he’s not an honest man, which of course is something we already knew. He has failed to take full responsibility for the mess which he himself has created. And thus I think the only thing any of us can do is to assume he meant to say what he said and hold him accountable for it. His defensiveness and combativeness leads one to believe that he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and is now trying to make it everyone else’s fault.
We’re not mindreaders, Senator Kerry. You are responsible for what you said. Not only what you meant to say, but what you actually said. Just come clean and apologize.
But that’s a bit much to expect from him, given his three decade history of lies, slander, treason and self-serving political hackery. Which leads me back to my original thought:
What an idiot.
Check out The Corner for lots more on this.