Going Up River: The Long War of John Kerry

I saw Going Up River: The Long War of John Kerry last weekend, and fully intended to comment on it, but I wasn't feeling good when I sat down to write a review. Fortunately, Kevin Drum saw the movie and wrote the very same review I had hoped to write. One thing that stood out to me about Kerry from watching this movie is just how much he is a man of strong convictions and ideals. It is precisely this quality that has forced the Republicans to attack Kerry on his flip-floppery. They’ve taken what I believe to be his biggest strength and turned it into his biggest liability. The inverse is true for Bush. I don’t think that he is the man of iron convictions and ideals that he tries to portray. His life history illustrates this. Kerry’s dedication to serving his country, not only on the battlefield, but also in protest, is inspiring to me because I got the feeling that he did it for no other reason than his idealism—he genuinely believed in what he was doing. Kerry’s detractors would like you to believe that he did this out of political opportunism, but I don’t think that is the case. Casting one’s self as an anti-war protest leader is not the easiest way to political glory, much less the Presidency. Certainly, there would have been far easier paths for John Kerry to take. I walked out of the movie with more admiration for Kerry than I had when I entered. This is because I connected with Kerry the idealist. I don’t expect him to be an idealist today, but I feel comfortable that he at least knows how it feels to believe in and act strongly for one’s ideals and convictions. I think this adds a perspective to one’s thinking that can only be gained from going through it. I do not believe that George Bush has this perspective, and never will. I also think it will require this type of perspective to adequately address some of the major issues facing the country in this election cycle.