Charles Kopp - Contributor
Kopp is a graduate of the New School for Social Research.
He is a composer and musician, and an ardent lover of poetry.
He has been a teacher and a systems analyst. In Lafayette,
California, he now designs websites and works on creative
projects. He can be contacted at email@example.com [go
Decline and Fall of the Democratic Party
Lesser sons of greater fathers ...
[Charles Kopp] 8/9/04
Kerry, we have a candidate for President whose positions on issues
daily, as he makes shameless attempts to please
whomever he is speaking to at the moment. He views the Israeli
wall as an obstacle to peace, when he’s speaking to Arab
Americans. He views it as justified self defense, when he’s
speaking to Jewish Americans.
What does he really believe, when he is alone with his own thoughts?
God only knows. What would he actually do if he were President?
It depends which way the wind blows. Whether you agreed with
John Fitzgerald Kennedy or not, he did have some beliefs and
some definite policies.
This is not about 'nuance.' There is scarcely any issue upon
which Kerry has not attempted to insinuate his support for both
sides. Most crucially, John Kerry cannot clearly say one way
or the other, whether our conflict with terrorists is a war or
a legal matter.
Indeed, at the Democratic Convention a few weeks ago, many of
the gathered Democrats are supporting Kerry as a candidate exactly
because they do not believe he will keep the promises he is making
to the television cameras. He claims before the nation that he
opposes gay marriage, for example, a claim which no person supporting
him actually believes. He claims a life-long interest in a strong
national defense, another claim which even his own precinct volunteers
do not believe.
So we descend to this spectacle, in which the most liberal member
of the Senate and the fourth most liberal campaign, presenting
themselves as mainstream Americans, strong on military issues,
conservative on fiscal issues, full of deep (though unspecified)
values, with a secret plan to handle Iraq and terrorism cheaply,
quickly, and easily. At some point playing politics, by playing
charades, passes by the humorous, passes by the ridiculous, and
passes finally to the disgraceful, like a lonely drunk too many
hours on the barstool.
Indeed, Kerry asks us to accept this startling new edition of
himself, based upon his supposed heroism in Vietnam. But by his
own testimony, implicating himself and all his fellow servicemen,
he did not perform heroic service, but quite totally to the contrary,
committed crimes against humanity. Is our capacity as a people
to judge character so completely bereft, that such complete contradictions
can be endured? By voters? By those who pretend the profession
That a major national political party would put forward a man
with such a fundamental lack of clarity -- both in his political
life and personal history -- should have taken our breath away,
if we had not little by little lowered our standards as a republic
so egregiously. His vote against a military response in 1991,
when Iraq had already invaded Kuwait, while the rape of Kuwait
City was in progress, while vital American interests were being
impacted -- this one vote should have forever closed the door
to national office to John Kerry.
John Edwards is little better. With him, we have a trial lawyer
who has made himself very rich, and a few individuals somewhat
better off, but at what cost? He and others like him are at the
very heart of what is wrong with our medical system. It is you
and I who paid the insurance premiums that made John Edwards
a rich man. It is because of John Edwards that Americans pay
more for medical care than any other people on earth. How can
any serious person propose that John Edwards will help the situation
as Vice President?
What a comedown for a once-noble party. Who can answer: Exactly
what are the great ideas of this Democratic Party of today? Where
is the New Frontier? Where are the profiles in courage, the confrontation
with hard choices, the calls to sacrifice and service? You do
not hear Democrats today demanding that we ask what we can do
for our country.
Things are quite the opposite now; it is the party of easy answers
and getting things from our country. Environmental concerns and
manufacturing jobs will never force us to make difficult decisions
in this fantasy world; everything will be win-win. When talking
to the workers, or when talking to gatherings of environmentalists,
the stump speech changes a little, but the answers always sound
The party that once had Roosevelt and John Kennedy, that advanced
noble causes like racial justice and anti-communism -- surely
no fair minded person can imagine that the Democratic Party today
is the equal of those times. The change has crept along day by
day, or we would all be shocked at sight of a party fallen to
lesser men and lesser ideas.
Compare the left of those days with present leadership. Remember
the dignity and inspiration of Martin Luther King Jr., and compare
it for a moment to Al Sharpton. Remember Robert Frost reading
a poem at the 1960 Inauguration, and think of Michael Moore.
For the good of our country, I hope some Democrats will try to
return their party to those who mean what they say, who have
some real ideas and some inner strength.
That the Democratic Party has descended through several decades,
to the point of nominating such candidates and making such arguments,
is a shame upon that Party which sincere Democrats must face
honestly and seek to redress. That such candidates' polls rank
about even with the President's is a national disgrace, and reflects
badly on our character as a people, on our education systems,
and on our journalists.
It is a dishonor that we as a people have even come to contemplate
these men and their ideas. In Kerry and Edwards, we have already
elevated two men who are both worse than average men, to national
prominence. If we go on to elect them, to whom can we complain? CRO
2004 Charles Kopp