John Kerry is a decorated Vietnam veteran, former prosecutor, United States Senator and 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate, who lost to a sitting President during a time of war by a close margin. John Kerry has been in service of others all his life.
Kerry served on a Swift Boat in Vietnam during a period when these boats were used for very dangerous patrols. Kerry saved the life of Jim Rasmussen on one occasion, the lives of his crew on another, and was also responsible for rescuing a number of Vietnamese villagers. Critics who generated partisan attacks on Kerry's military service in 2004, have been largely discredited because of their ties to right-wing groups and acceptance of neocon funding. This kind of dirty politics is now referred to swiftboating, after the group that attacked Kerry.
After Vietnam, Kerry became an anti-war activist. The rancor and division over Vietnam carries into the present. Many Vietnam vets see Kerry as a hero for speaking out, but others retain a bitter hatred toward him because they feel dissent was unpatriotic and that it somehow diminished their service. When Kerry, in his 1971 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke about the torture and atrocities American soldiers claimed to have committed, he was clear in that he was retelling the stories of other veterans. It is a testament to the extreme polarization over Vietnam that, to this day, that fact escapes the attention of those who inaccurately berate Kerry for accusing our military of atrocities.
Prior to becoming a Senator in Massachusetts, John Kerry earned a law degree, served as an assistant prosecutor and Lt. Governor in Mass. He maintains a critical eye towards crime and authored a book about crime and terrorism called The New War in 1997. Kerry's investigative skills were instrumental in breaking the Iran-Contra and BCCI scandal and, in his law enforcement approach to issues of government corruption and terrorism, Kerry remains ahead of the pack in speaking out on issues before they become popular.
John Kerry is a strong Democrat and he votes for liberal issues such as environmental protections, human rights, civil liberties, social security and lowering taxes for the middle class (but not for the upper class). However, Kerry is a fiscal conservative on the budget and has argued for a pay as you go strategy to government spending. Kerry supports maintaining a strong military and has proposed a wealth of legislation to protect and support veterans, but he does not support engaging in unilateral wars or nation building. Kerry voted to give George W. Bush the authority to use force in Iraq as a last resort, multilateral effort. This vote was based on lies about non-existent WMD that were presented to Congress as fact. In light of the truth being exposed about Iraq and WMD, Kerry has recanted his vote and has been fighting for a plan to withdraw our forces from Iraq by 2007. He also voted for the war in Afghanistan and maintains that this war was necessary for our security. Kerry has publically accused the Bush Administration of cuttting and running in Afghanistan and in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.
Senator Kerry has been campaigning and raising money for Democrats running in 2006, particularly for veterans who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Through his PAC, Keeping Americas Promise, Kerry leads in fundraising for Democrats this election cycle. His e-mail list has grown since 2004 and he is still hugely popular at fundraising and speaking events across the country. People are often surprised when the meet the senator because he is very warm, funny and attractive, contrary to the erroneous impression that was perpetuated in 2004.
Senator Kerry is considering another run for President in 2008. The Senator maintains, however, that the 2006 battle for Congress is the watershed event that will determine the direction of our country and that this year, not 2008, is the priority until after the elections in November.
John Kerry is one of the most personable, down-to-earth, intellectually curious, knowledgeable and compassionate human being I have ever met and there isn't anyone in the world more qualified to be President of the United States of America.
"No American President should be for torture before he's against it." - John Kerry 9/9/06
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