Standing in agreement on the C-line

Election 2004 | Building/Consensus
I ran into my lawyer Michael at the Summit Ave T-stop waiting for the trolley into work this morning. Well, he is not my lawyer, but he is brilliant at talking me into a corner, I’d certainly want him on my side. (As it turns out, just about everybody I run into on the trolley in the morning– Eric, Sam, Julie, Jordan– happen to be lawyers). If you were on a “Type 8” Breda trolley today, and saw two fellows in navy overcoats, one with a maroon cap (Michael) and one with a brown fedora, you saw us.

Michael is a great liberal, or so he prides himself. He’s so agreeable because he answers his own questions to me “I can tell you’re a smart guy. You know why? I see you reading your New Yorker.” “You studied Latin? Of course you did, I thought so.”

Naturally I agree with him, though last year I had to draw the line when he questioned our military action in Afghanistan (and this year I still had to remind him that the Taliban was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Al Queda). We’ve finally gotten past discussing the Iraq war, so we moved on the current events, this year’s “American Idol”. (well, that’s what I would call the campaign, if I can banish the singing-contest show to the far side of the universe). Here’s our discussion, in short:

No, flip-flopped too much on the issues.
And on style. Just like Gore. Edwards?
What does he stand for?
The same thing we all stand for. But what does Clark stand for?

But then on John Kerry, I let Michael get the best of me. He felt that Kerry had no principle– it was not enough that he was a leader of the Vietnam Veteran Against the War; Kerry should have opposed the war before he even signed up. Why had he joined, Michael pressed? Because his father had served, and because he was preparing for a political career. 97% of his Yale class didn’t join, why should he?

So a cynic thinks. It took me a few hours to come up with a response, and I long ago left Michael at Park St. Kerry had a sense of duty then. Other men, of less fortune, men who never sailed on the Presidential yacht, would risk their lives for the conflict. They’d have to be joined, and led, by men who sought to do the right thing, even if the right thing led through the Mekong Delta, in the midst of the wrong thing. I didn’t of it, because I’ve never had to been asked to make that kind of sacrifice.

I read the Atlantic Monthly excerpt from Douglas Brinkley’s Tour of Duty about John Kerry in Vietnam. I’ll have to read that first… and then see my lawyer.

And whichever lawyer I catch, I better make sure I disagree with them.