So here it is: My last closing for the Iron Blog as it exists now. I guess this is when I'm supposed to peel off the mask and reveal that I'm actually Atrios. Or Sydney Blumenthal. Or something. Sadly, I have no reveal saved up for this moment. It's just me, your humble Iron Blogger Democrat. Thanks again to the Chairman, for putting up with my crap and, I'm sure, following every link. And thanks to the Challenger, Rosemary Esmay, taking time out from her busy pregnancy to try the IB one more time.
I have a lot of respect for parents, even though I am not one and do not plan to be. And I can see how someone would consider herself a "security mom," as I imagine that a parental bond would be stronger than the love I have, for example, for my dog or my rabbit (hi, Maggie and Peter!).
I even have some similar nagging fears of my own, since I work in a school, and have not one or two, but 1500 kids who I know and care about. And I don't think there's a teacher in the country who--like parents--didn't feel personally for the children killed by terrorists in Beslan earlier this year.
But this election, at least in my mind, is about more than terror, about more than just making sure that the 1500 students at my school don't get blown up. I want to make sure that they have access to health care so they can grow up healthy. I want clean air for them to breathe so they can kick the asthma, and clean water for them to drink. I want their civil rights in tact, their schooling to be more than testing and test prep. I want affordable college options for them, and I want there to be jobs for my students when they graduate. I want, in short, John Kerry.
I began the Battle by laying out, as neatly as I could, some specific failures of George W. Bush and his administration. From the economy to the war on terror, I do not feel that we are better off than we were four years ago. While 9/11 changed many things, it did not change enough that we should abdicate our responsibility to our children and their future--not to mention the well-being of all of us right now.
Is John Kerry a perfect man, a perfect candidate? No. That's why I hitched my wagon to Howard Dean way back when. But in this Battle, I have tried to articulate, both in my Opening and throughout my rebuttals, that I believe John Kerry will do a good job of addressing many of the issues that Bush has done less than well.
Even the Challenger admits that she is displeased with much of Bush's agenda. That's not to say she would like Kerry's "liberal spending" any better, but when all is said and done, for purposes of this Battle, the Challenger has conceded pretty much all of the arguments save one, and that's terror.
However, I believe that I demonstrated that Bush's record on terror, in part because of problems in intelligence, but mostly because of Bush's out-dated state-terror world-view, is not all that much to crow about. Yes, Bush stands up straight and declares that he will not yield in his desire to take the fight to the terrorists. But we are not safer. And yes, the Bush administration and campaign try to make us fear what terrorists might do in John Kerry's America, but that is all they have. There is no record of accomplishments, no litany of success, no laurels to rest on. All they have left is to tear down Kerry's character and scare us into thinking we'll all die under his leadership.
I know I haven't changed the Challenger's mind, as I remain unpersuaded by her arguments. I probably haven't changed the minds of any of the other four or five regular readers here, either, nor, I'm guessing, has the Challenger. But I've made my case, and I believe I have done it well.
At the outset, I said that we have reached a moment in history where we will set the course we will follow for decades to come. I said that this election will decide who gets to chart that course. I've seen the course we are on now.
It's time to change course. It's time to elect John Kerry.
Jay Bullock, Iron Blogger Democrat