Name Calling

I am about to call someone a name.

This is not a decision I??¢â???¬â???¢ve reached lightly. Name-calling is not in my nature. True, I have cast more than my share of aspersions on others, but I have tried to do it with humor, or, even when I was seriously upset, I tried to modulate my tone.

This is not to say that I don??¢â???¬â???¢t get angry, but I??¢â???¬â???¢m not a screamer. I tend to sulk and plot revenge. I??¢â???¬â???¢m sure there must have been times when, as a child, I called someone ??¢â???¬?????stupid??¢â???¬  or ??¢â???¬?????ugly??¢â???¬  or ??¢â???¬?????fat??¢â???¬  or some of the other hateful things that children often say, though I don??¢â???¬â???¢t remember specific instances.

And, yet, I??¢â???¬â???¢m about to call someone a name.

I??¢â???¬â???¢ve always been interested in politics, a rough-and-tumble field where name-calling is not unusual. I enjoy reading and writing about politics, and I have some strong opinions, some of which I??¢â???¬â???¢ve shared here. However, I try to keep my politics in context. I discuss the subject here, or at overtly political venues. My quarrel with celebrities and politics is not that they voice opinions, but that they often foist those opinions on others in inappropriate settings. I??¢â???¬â???¢ve had some tough things to say about people when I??¢â???¬â???¢ve spoken at some of these events, but, again, I don??¢â???¬â???¢t think I??¢â???¬â???¢ve ever just flat-out called someone a name.

Until now.

This sudden shift in my policy is a result of the Iraqi elections. I??¢â???¬â???¢m not sure how anyone could look at the lines of voters who, quite literally, risked life and limb to exercise a right many Americans tend to take for granted even without terrorist threats and suicide bombers. I don??¢â???¬â???¢t care what your opinions of George W. Bush, the Iraq War or the War on Terror might be, this was, on a strictly human level, a moving event for a region of the world where democracies are not exactly flourishing.

Every voter in those lines was, in ways big and small, a hero, and should be admired and supported. How could anyone look at voters dancing in the streets and proudly holding up their blue fingers to indicate what they had so bravely done, and not be moved? It seems to me that Sunday was not the time to attempt to minimize or trivialize what millions of Iraqis did that day. That could wait at least 24 hours, couldn??¢â???¬â???¢t it?

Enter Massachusetts Senator and former Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry. Here??¢â???¬â???¢s a man who should know something about heroics, as he reminded us a thousand or so times during the campaign. On the very day Iraqis were voting, most of them for the first time in their lives, here??¢â???¬â???¢s some of what Kerry had to say on NBC??¢â???¬â???¢s ??¢â???¬?????Meet the Press??¢â???¬ : “It is significant that there is a vote in Iraq, but … no one in the United States should try to overhype this election. This election is a sort of demarcation point, and what really counts now is the effort to have a legitimate political reconciliation, and it’s going to take a massive diplomatic effort and a much more significant outreach to the international community than this administration has been willing to engage in. Absent that, we will not be successful in Iraq,”

More Kerry: “It’s hard to say that something is legitimate when a whole portion of the country can’t vote and doesn’t vote.” (Sound familiar?)

What a marvelous way to pay tribute to those trying to embrace democracy! I know he??¢â???¬â???¢s bitter, and I know he??¢â???¬â???¢s not going to say anything that would appear to endorse any of President Bush??¢â???¬â???¢s policies, but couldn??¢â???¬â???¢t it have waited a day? Or couldn??¢â???¬â???¢t he have at least included a kind word of encouragement or congratulations to the millions of Iraqi citizens who voted before he began to belittle the process and the turnout?

His dour demeanor on ??¢â???¬?????Meet the Press??¢â???¬  and in another interview Sunday contrasted sharply with images coming from Iraq, and his comments sounded small and petty. You would expect something more from a man who, less than three months ago, lost a race for the Presidency of the United States. It was a despicable performance. So now it??¢â???¬â???¢s time for me to get this off my chest.

Mr. Kerry, you are a jerk.

There. I feel better.