Hyper-Vigilance and Public Scrutiny


I’ve been stuck at home for almost two months, and it’s made me a bit crabby (turning forty in the midst of it didn’t help, let me tell you).  So when I heard the latest tempest in the foot in mouth teapot, my hackles rose and my fingers itched to type a response.  John Kerry, as we all know by now, made a comment about kids finishing their education or they’d end up “stuck in Iraq.” 

Okay, not the brightest thing to say, and his first impulse to withhold the obviously needed apology didn’t make matters any better, but give me a break!  Kerry was in the military (and he didn’t get his Daddy to defer active service in Vietnam; he went there, he served), and I find it difficult to imagine that he feels himself ill-educated or stupid for having done so.  Besides, he didn’t say, you’ll end up serving in the United States Armed Forces.  He said “stuck in Iraq,” so I do tend to think it was a dig at the Bush administration, a dig that went awry somewhere between his brain and his mouth.  But look who’s calling that particular pot black; the most syntax/grammar/diction-challenged boob in the history of American politics:  whether you love him or hate him, you can’t deny the fact that W. has said some pretty insane and just downright stupid things himself.

My main gripe with all this is not so much the attention it has received, for that is to be expected a week before mid-term elections, but it’s the constant media attention to everything everywhere.  Big Brother may not be watching, but the media is and so is anyone with a video camera or cell phone.  Any gaffe, any moment of anger or “not your normal you behavior” is open to intense and global scrutiny.  I think that takes holding public officials to a higher standard too far, and I certainly think it’s a shame for the rest of us. 

How long before your office colleagues or neighbors or students or patients or customers are taping you or snapping pics of your worst decisions and broadcasting them on Youtube?   Culpability is one thing, taking responsibility for our actions and words is one thing, but being held to an unattainable standard of perfection is quite another.  Who among us hasn’t misspoken, said something stupid or hurtful in a moment of haste or anger, who among us doesn’t have some sort of regret?  I don’t want to get all cast the first stone-y, and that seems to be where I’m heading, so I’ll step off my soapbox now. 


5 thoughts on “Hyper-Vigilance and Public Scrutiny

  1. OK Fuzzy Girl, step down, cus Im steppin up. When i heard that, i was really sorta shocked that he even had the balls to say it. I dont care for him. I want to make that perfectly clear. waht really got me thinking was, every time a republican or conservative person does something like this, the first thing we hear is ” that person should resign” It seems that is the first thing people think of to say, make them resign their position. I never heard that in this case, I sorta wish i had. Yes, W has said some really big dumb things, but some things just cant be considered accidental. Oops, I didnt mean to say that. That was a personal attack from Mr Kerrys heart that he just let slip. He did go to Vietnam, and what he did there is a mystery to me, cus i wasnt there, And this is Bush’s war, but he need s to keep his personal thoughts to himself. And right now was really the wrong time to make such a stupid mistake. this one will follow him for a very long time, and this is what the media does. they get hold of something, and they work it till it is so engrained in our heads that the one comment is the thing we think of when we think of that person. I think this is Kerry second stupid mistake, the first was throwing away his medels.

  2. I’m with you, Spartonmom, his throwing away his medals was embarrassing and (I think) disrespectful. I’m not a Kerry fan, either, but even if I were, the writing is on the wall with this last gaffe–doubt he’ll make the ’08 Democratic nomination.

  3. Hei Fuzz.

    Interesting but am not really into this particular news in details so will refrain from saying more. Take care. =)

  4. OK, here is my take on all this and I am right there with Kerry. It was certainly meant as a dish on Bush and I understood exactly was he was saying as I listened to the clip on NPR.

    It is well documented that the majority our military is made up lower-income, least educated young people in the United States. In addition, it has a disproportionably high percentage of minorities (again, refer back to point #1. In general, kids that join the military in this day and age have limited choice at the time of said decision.

    A student that does well in school generally picks up a solid skill of decision-making and is able to forge through their 20s with not just an academic background, but also some solid real-life survival skills. Those that do not pick up the later proficiency base are prime fodder for those that want to cajole them into what to think.

    Of course, a chunk of the American people fell into this category when they reelected President Bush based on the pallet of fear in 2004.

  5. Did you get this news story over there, Riihele? Just curious; it doesn’t seem all that newsworthy, let alone of global interest! Huggs.

    Hiya Gregg! Gosh it’s good to hear from and read you again! I do see what you are saying about there being a kernel of truth to what Kerry said. And didn’t you almost fall off your chair laughing at the huge poster those GI’s held up for “Jon Carry”? Too good.

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