The Republicans and their lapdogs in the media have spun up a mighty storm over John Kerry's remarks yesterday. They are in full outrage mode; I thought Rush Limbaugh was going to have a goddamn heart attack - he was jumping around, waving his arms; you'd have thought he was purposefully off his meds.
But here's what really ought to inspire outrage; in all of us: Both constructions of Kerry's remarks, what he meant to say and what it sounded like he said, are true.
Bush did just scrape by in school, getting an undergraduate degree only by the skin of his teeth and a few well placed donations to his Alma Mater by his well-heeled family. His lack of curiosity and lack of mental discipline really was a key element in our country being in the quagmire that is Iraq.
And, unfortunately, it always has been true - and still is - that the soldiers who fight our wars are, for the most part, the poor and under-educated. The rich have always been able to find a way to buy their way out of battle, from the Revolution right through to today. Those who've done well in school and gone on to university have either been able to get deferals or have been able to make their way into the Guard or Reserve as commissioned officers. Those who have wound up on the front lines, fighting the battles chosen by or committed to by the rich and powerful have always been those with fewer opportunities.
Those are the real issues that ought to inspire outrage. But the mighty Wurlitzer has been once more pulled from the closet and it's wheezing and grinding out that same old cloud of noise and distraction. Hopefully, the rest of our fellow citizens have had enough distraction. Hopefully they have learned to see through the noise and to the heart of the real issues.