Mary Pitt: Lassie And The Gator
Lassie And The Gator
by Mary Pitt
In the run-up to the vice-presidential debates I read a lot of comments about the fact that they would be like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. If one is to go along with the "Star Wars" scenario, the personna of Dick Cheney was more reminiscent of Jaba, the Hutt, kneading his hands and salivating over the delicious repast of which he expected to partake. However, as the "debate" progressed, it definitely took on an air of something one would see on the re-run channel, perhaps an episode of Lassie wherein the trusty collie takes on the dreaded swamp gator that is threatening the farm and every living creature on it.
One could almost hear the ominous throbbing of distant drums as the gator crawled out of his hidey-hole in the bowels of the Naval Observatory and emerged into the clearing. He lumbered along, confident in the knowledge that he was in no danger and could foil any weapon with which he might be attacked, anticipating the meal which awaited him at the end of his journey. Nothing stood between him and his quarry but a yapping dog who could be defeated with ease and consumed with great relish.
However, the brave "attack dog" was undeterred and immediately went on the offensive. He barked his warning that he was serious in his efforts to turn the gator back and continued to prove that he also had a pretty effective bite. Gators being what they are, his opponent continued on course, but occasionally had to react to strikes that obviously hurt. But there were instances where the fangs missed their mark. For instance, when Mr. Cheney remarked that he had never before met Mr. Edwards, the opportunity was missed to return with the observation that the only reason the man whose only Constitutional obligation is to preside over the Senate had not met a specific Democratic Senator may be because he had appeared in his assigned seat only during State of the Union messages, leaving the mundane direction of the body to an assignee. His visits to the Senate consisted of showing up for the Tueasday morning Republican caususes. This man had the nerve to denigrate Mr. Edwards for his attendance record!
The recitation of Mr. Cheney's legislative votes by Mr. Edwards drew theoretical blood. Mr. Cheney went back over John Kerry's voluminous voting record to find reasons to malign the Presidential candidate and then visibly flinched when Mr. Edwards reminded him that he had voted in the same way on those issues during his tenure in the House.. Mr. Cheney was similarly uncomfortable during Mr. Edwards' recounting of the facts regarding the necessity of invading Iraq and the wrong decisions that have been made for forging the peace after the conclusion of hostilities, particularly in those areas where the administration had said one thing and done another, referring to them as possible "flip-flops".
According to Mr. Cheney, our foremost enemy among the "terrists" is now a man named Zarqawi, a mysterious figure who was known to have received medical treatment in Iraq in the past. In some stories, it has been reported that Mr. Zarqawi had a leg amputated and, in others, that he had died. However, a masked man who uses his name is believed to be responsible for spearheading the insurrectionists and for the beheading of individuals working for the "coalition". Mr. Cheney offered a history of this man, stating that he had "operated an Al Qaida training camp in Afghanistan and is now back in Iraq". He must have received this information from his intelligence sources since it does not appear to be available in the common reference sources.
The one area in which the challenger fell short was in the question about the Israel/Palestine situation. Mr. Edwards fumbled over the statement that "Israel has the right to defend herself" and then turned to the question of the African genocide. No doggie biscuit tonight, Lassie! Genocide is genocide, and the color or religion of the victim is irrelevant. No offer was made to mediate a settlement to the continuing seizure of Palestinian lands or the indiscriminate destruction of their homes and livelihood as a step in mediating a lasting peace in the Middle East.
In sum, this debate ended in a draw. The collie got in a few good and telling bites, the gator snarled and scared little kids half to death before waddling back into his swamp. Stay tuned for the next episode.
Mary Pitt is a septuagenarian Kansan who is self-employed and active in the political arena. Her concerns are her four-generation family and the continuance of the United States as a democracy with a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people". Comments and criticism may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org .