I finally received and watched my copy of Stolen Honor, the documentary created by Carlton Sherwood. I usually donâ€™t cry during movies, but I experienced some definite eye-watering during this one. The movie features testimony by brave men who were POWâ€™s during John Kerryâ€™s treacherous Senate testimony. These men truly possess courage and it shows. I came away with the deepest respect for them. John Kerry is merely a holograph compared to them.
The documentary expands on the facts contained in Unfit for Command chronicling Kerryâ€™s testimony and, especially, his two trips to Paris to meet with the enemy. This, by far, was the most disturbing part of the book to me. Here is a man who ate with, slept near and was on the same team as men who were still in danger in Vietnam. The safety of his â€œBand of Brothersâ€ and the safety of American POWâ€™s were obviously trumped in Kerryâ€™s mind by his ambition to become a political force.
This poses the question of whether or not John Kerry has the capacity for compassion and empathy for individual human beings. Expressing compassion for groups is insufficient. As Paul Johnson chronicles in his excellent book, Intellectuals, there have been plenty of influential people who have championed groups of people such as the poor. After spending a day engaged in such â€œchampioningâ€, these men would return to their homes to neglect and brutalize their friends and families. The most disgusting example brought to light in Intellectuals is Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Robespierre called Rousseau: â€œâ€¦the one man who, through the loftiness of his soul and the grandeur of his character, showed himself worthy of the role of teacher of mankind.â€ Meanwhile, Rousseau was dumping his newborn children on the steps of the State Orphanage. Given the conditions of the orphanage, he was knowingly abandoning them to an almost certain death. Rather than experiencing shame for his actions, he â€œformulatedâ€ a theory of education to be later embraced by totalitarian governments. His children were not â€œreal peopleâ€ to him. They were mere constructs to be used in his writings.
I recalled this chapter from Intellectuals while I was watching Stolen Honor because of one particular scene. It was a scene that features Joan Baez standing in front of American POWâ€™s in Vietnam singing Joe Hill. I fast-forwarded to the scene multiple times in abhorrent disbelief.
Joan Baez is a woman who fancies herself to be committed to â€œnonviolence, peace, and the human dignity of all people.â€ One would assume that she is committed to these ideals because she cares about individual people. As far as I am concerned she failed the most important test of that assumption that she has or ever will face. She stood there singing an insipid song in her beautiful, angelic voice while confronted with real people who happened to be her own countrymen trapped in hellish circumstances that she was obliviously making worse. What was she thinking?! Was she thinking about the men themselves and what they were going through? Or, were these brave men merely cardboard characters populating the background of a personal drama starring herself as a gentle, loving, peaceful and righteous person. If this is any indication, the POWs plight did not seem to register with her. So here she was, seemingly unfazed in the presence of other human beings in obvious distress, who wouldn’t look her in the eye and who were in the hands of our enemy.
John Kerry obviously viewed his fellow serviceman in the same manner. He created his own little drama starring himself explaining to U.S. Senators, in round and melodic tones almost as pleasing as Joan Baezâ€™s voice, how his fellow servicemen were akin to the barbarous armies of â€œJingusâ€ Khan. While purporting to be doing this on behalf of American Soldiers so that none of them would be the â€œlast man to die for a mistakeâ€, he caused immeasurable harm to real people experiencing the hell of combat and POW camps.
There is, I am sure, some psychological explanation for this failure to have real awareness of and empathy for actual human beings. The explanation is beyond me. I donâ€™t really care to know. I simply want to have the ability to discern people like this and to prevent them from having any power over me.
This is one important reason explaining why I will vote for George Bush instead of John Kerry. I donâ€™t care to be one of the characters in John Kerryâ€™s self-aggrandizing drama about being President of the United States.