Several things have been in news recently that have caused me to reflect on bravery and courage. One of the things that I have observed in that people who have performed extraordinary acts of courage and bravery general point out that they simply did what had to be done. They didn't view their actions as particularly extraordinary or even brave, they were simply doing their duty. But this is physical courage and reactive, these people took action in reaction to some event or circumstance and did so without a great deal of thought or analysis. I don't mean to denigrate or disparage these acts of courage, but courage takes many forms and sometimes, it requires a great deal of courage to do what is right rather than do what is expedient and this brings me to John Kerry.
There is no doubt that John Kerry served in a combat zone and was indeed under enemy fire. Whether or not he was a hero is really beside the point because he did do his duty and as we see from others, most acts of physical courage are reactive so it is easy to accept that John Kerry did in fact display physical courage. But that really isn't the point or certainly not the crucial point. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up and say "this is what I stand for" in an unequivocal way. President Harry Truman was famous for his moral courage. He took the position that I was elected to be President and I will do my best for the country. If you don't agree with me and my decisions, don't vote for me -- end of discussion. President George Bush hasn't been quite this direct, but he has effectively stated his intentions for the future and stood by his decisions in the past. He clearly believes in what he is doing and if you disagree, he is sorry but he doesn't plan on changing. But what does Senator Kerry stand for? What kind of moral courage has he displayed? He has yet to take any controversial stand and stick by it. For example, he clearly stated that he would expect any decision he made regarding military force would have to pass an international test. This was widely interpreted to mean that he would not act to use force to protect American interests unless the UN sanctioned it. When confronted with this interpretation, he didn't repudiate it, but he did try to soften it by saying he would always act to defend America. Not quite the same thing.
He has stated that he fully intends to raise taxes for the rich, except not for the very rich like himself. He and his wife pay 12.5% in taxes while the average "rich American" that he intends to tax pays considerably more in taxes. When confonted with this fact, his response was he would move to close the tax loopholes. The translation, is he doesn't plan on changing anything that will cost him but he fully intends to change things that will cost others.
His stance on military force is hardly distinguished. He voted against the Gulf War even after it was sanctioned by his treasured UN. Even though Kuwait was invaded by Iraq, he still voted against the war. He voted to give President Bush the authority to use force but he later equivocated by stating that he never actually expected the President to use force. He voted for and then against funding the military equipment and body armor he lated charged the President of not providing. Are these the actions of someone who has moral courage? With Senator Kerry, no one can ever be sure of precisely what he believes in because he only seems to believe what is expedient.
On a different subject, I see that the CEO of K-Mart is about to receive $94M in compensation even though the company has passed through one bankruptcy and is struggling to avoid another. The company has laid off thousands of people but the Board of Directors seems to think that it is morally right to pay the CEO what can only be viewed as an obscene amount of money considering that he was the leader who led the company into disaster. Here is a Board who has no moral compass rewarding an individual who has even less of a sense of morality.
The ACLU is running an ad opposing the Patriot Act. This ad points out that this act enables the government to search your house without first notifying you of its intention. Well -- helloooo -- the government has never been under any obligation to notify you that it intends to search your house. All that is required is that the government produce a search order signed by a judge and the Patriot Act has not changed that. It does permit the government to get one order and then apply it other cell phones since the terrorists move from phone to phone in an effort to thwart the government. The ACLU has also refused a grant from the Ford Foundation because they restricted the ACLU from using the funds to support terrorists organizations. Talk about being out of touch with reality. The ACLU also has successfully forced the government to provide lawyers to all of the terrorists held in Cuba. The judges in this country have completely lost their minds. Should we have provided lawyers to every POW we captured in WW II or Korea BEFORE locking them up? They successfully got one of their terrorists freed and he merrily went back to murdering and bombing in Afghanistan. Something needs to be done regarding this organization because it is becoming a serious danger to the country. Oh well, as Scarlett said -- "Tomorrow is another day".