Monday, November 01, 2004

Where Have You Gone, John Kerry?

Friday night, I saw a free showing of Going Upriver, a documentary about John Kerry's service in Vietnam and subsequent protests against the war. The fact that I hadn't bothered to check it out until then was partially due to having had enough of the "propaganda" from both sides; I knew who I was voting for long ago, although except for a good showing in the debates, Kerry's candidacy has left me underwhelmed.

Well, Going Upriver really opened my eyes to the fact that John Kerry USED TO BE really cool. At 27, a genuine leader and decorated hero during the war, he showed amazing courage & conviction, passion & perspective, and even abundant charisma in spearheading the Veterans Again Vietnam group & rally in DC, and in speaking against the war in a U.S. Senate hearing. He really was quite impressive, and it made me think "What happened to him? Where did the fire go? Why is he so patrician, and seemingly unimpassioned, and prone to speaking in pre-programmed sound bytes?" I tried to think of a good analogy, someone who showed inordinate promise at an early age, and is still better than most, but just not the evolution you would have hoped. Another Kerry came to mind, as in Kerry Wood, but injuries are largely to blame for not fulfilling his wunderkind promise, plus he's only 26 now. This still may be weak, but John Kerry is like Elvis Costello. In 1978, Costello oozed anger and fire and brilliance, which you'll still see occasional glimpses of nowadays (which is why Sting wasn't my example; that would be too insulting to Kerry), but Elvis has veered too closely to middle of the road for my tastes, although I still like his current stuff more than 95% of today's music. I realize everyone gets older, changes priorities, is forced to make compromises, but if you're running to be the leader of the free world -- and you've shown that it's in you to say: THIS IS MINE, I'M TAKING IT -- it's just a damn shame that the fire still doesn't seem to have rekindled.

I sure hope John Kerry wins tomorrow, but I also hope he makes a better President than he does a presidential candidate. And if he wins, he certainly should thank Bruce Springsteen, Michael Moore, Al Franken, Eminem, Howard Stern, Robert Greenwald, Jim Gilliam, MoveOn,, Rolling Stone magazine, REM, Pearl Jam, Dixie Chicks, John Fogerty, Steve Earle, Bob Woodward, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, numerous others and John Kerry circa 1971, for they've all made a better case about why he should be President -- and done so with more balls -- than he himself has.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Smacked it out of the ballpark!