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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Friday, October 01, 2004

 
Words, words, words
Last night, Kerry proved something I've argued before: he does not respect the true power of words.

This may be because Kerry completely misunderstands that power: he thinks words do what they say. That's why summits and treaties and resolutions are so important to him: if we say something like "hey, Kim Jung-Il, stop making nukes," it will be so. Or, more accurately, he appears to believe that if Kim Jung-Il says "I have stopped making nukes," that it will be so. That is not how words work at all.

Words have their own power seperate and apart from what they actually convey, or mean to convey, and Kerry doesn't appear to understand this. He doesn't understand that the words he used in 1972 had unintended consequences for American troops, their families, and the South Vietnamese. Likewise, he doesn't appear to understand that the words he uses today about Iraq have serious unintended consequences for American troops, their families, and the Iraqi people. And he doesn't understand that the words he uses about our (true) allies have unintended consequences for those allies, from Britain to Poland to Tonga to Iraq. He doesn't understand that the words he uses about North Korea will have unintended consequences for a great many people.

Bush, like many people who do not have a gift with words, does appear to understand their power, and he hammered Kerry on that in multiple ways. Obviously, there was the thinly veiled anger at how Kerry has treated our allies. Obviously there was his incredulous shock at Kerry's naïve plan to meet directly with North Korea. And there was a new message tonight, one that has matured from the (legitimate) charge of "flip-flopper." Bush hammered hard on this new idea of "mixed messages."

This was a good move, because it bypasses Kerry's (absurd) insistence that he's never wavered, pointing out that it hardly matters what his actual stance is, if it looks to the rest of the world like he's serving up "more waffles than a house of pancakes." To Kerry, this shouldn't matter: what should matter is his important, nuanced position that no one understand but him. But to the rest of the world, it matters a great deal.
Agree, disagree, have more information on the topic? Please, feel free to leave a comment. No profanity!
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