As you and I are men of faith with a deep belief in God and Providence, in a good, wise and loving Deity who governs our nation’s destiny, directs and inspires its leaders and intervenes in its affairs, it is not unthinkable that such a Being through signs and wonders would warn us if we lost our way in world affairs and steer us to a better course. The Bible is riddled with stories of ancient kings and powerful princes receiving guidance from above when deciding state policy and matters of war and peace; and since the exalted being who inspired its pages is timeless unchanging light He is as communicative with us today as He was in ancient days when prophets spoke His truth and gave warnings to His people. Such oracles I believe have been given to us today through our political culture, oracles about our fortunes in Iraq and the greater Middle East-signs recalling our pitiful ordeal in the jungles of Vietnam and the disaster that struck Indochina after the tragic fall of Saigon.
Were we not warned that a crisis was coming, Theo? Were we not told of the tempest ahead? Were we not given ominous signs that Iraq was turning into a strategic disaster like our terrible setback in Vietnam when we showed weak resolve when confronting the enemy?
Think back to the last presidential race, Theo, think back to that campaign when the President was challenged by a 60’s anti-war leader and decorated Vietnam vet who made Iraq and Vietnam the two most burning issues. Think back. John Kerry was not a random accident thrown up by chance into the heat of a presidential race. His campaign was a national necessity and was his appointed destiny. He was born for it, fated for it and was meant to lose it. It was the ultimate purpose of his political life, a prophetic warning from the past symbolically given about our war in Iraq sadly turning into this generation’s South Vietnam and Indochina catastrophe.
When we trace the steps of Kerry’s life, the steps that led up to his presidential nomination, you will see, my friend, new meaning in his campaign, a prophetic meaning transcending the senator’s ambitions and lofty political aims.
We must begin at the beginning, Theo, not at the beginning of John Kerry’s life but the beginning of the war as it relates to his life. We must begin in the early 1960s when Kerry’s idol JFK as a result of the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the building of the Berlin Wall made a decision that would change the course of U.S. history and shatter our domestic peace for years: deciding that Vietnam must be the place to draw the line against communist aggression Kennedy, on December 11, 1961, secretly sent a shipment of helicopter units to help the Diem regime in its war with communist insurgents backed by Hanoi. That was the day U.S. combat operations began in Vietnam, Theo. That is the day cited by many historians as the beginning of the Vietnam War. It was also the day that young John Kerry celebrated his 18th birthday (see note 1) .
That the secret day the war began should have fallen on the birthday of a future presidential nominee whose campaign during a Mid-East war turned his service in Vietnam into an explosive issue cannot be dismissed as the work of mere chance. For that day in 1961 was 43 years away from John Kerry’s campaign, 43 years from the time he would challenge our 43rd President to be Commander-in-Chief. Indeed, as Vietnam was started by a man who became President at age 43 (see note 2) it is remarkable that Kerry came into this world in the 43rd year of the 20th century.
Equally amazing, and not randomly contrived, was that JFK started the Vietnam War at age 44-which were the number of years separating Kerry’s campaign from the Kennedy-Nixon race in 1960 (see note 3). Moreover, as Kerry’s enemies, the Swift Boat Vets, used his dubious war record to foil his chances of becoming the 44th President amazingly the first Swift Boat Kerry commanded was PCF number 44. But there is more: adding to this numeric wonder the elder George Bush, father of the man Kerry would challenge, beat Massachusetts governor Mike Dukakis in 1988 when Kerry was 44 (Kerry was his Lt. Governor). As Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, ran for Bush’s job ten and six years later this number 16 is the square of 4 or 4x4 (see note 4). But there is more: as Election Day can fall on the 43rd, 44th or 45th week of the year Election Day 2004 fell on the 44th.
When it came to presidential politics 44 was not an auspicious number for this man, nor were his 4 short months of a one year tour spent in Vietnam. But numbers in truth are neither fortunate or unfortunate by nature, Theo, they have no bearing on success or failure; in life, numbers could signify the one or the other as ordered by Providence, but have no magical power to determine or influence the progress or outcome of events. St. Augustine following the Pythagoreans said that “Numbers are a universal language given to us by God for the confirmation of truth.” And the truth confirmed by these numeric marvels is that Kerry was born to run for the presidency, born to run and born to lose and raise a storm along the way about his past for our own good.
But let’s take a walk down memory lane with a tour of Kerry’s past as it relates to his failed but prophetic campaign:
As an antiwar student at Yale who applied for and was denied a student deferment Kerry enlisted in the Navy to avoid the draft and the hazards of combat duty in Vietnam. After volunteering for a Swift Boat command to safely patrol the coastal waters of Vietnam Kerry reluctantly found himself in counterinsurgency operations on the MeKong Delta when the Swift Boat mission had unexpectedly changed. Fighting in a war that he believed was morally wrong is not what Kerry bargained for. After receiving three Purple Hearts for superficial wounds and completing four months of a one year tour Kerry returned home to a country in turmoil over the war. Thereafter he joined the peace movement as a veteran against the war relentlessly bashing his fellow troops for every sick crime under the sun-while meeting in secret with our communist foes to advance their evil cause. Kerry was a Leftist radical who hated his country right or wrong, and did whatever he could to hurt it in time of war. Imagining that the Vietnamese were the racial victims of U.S. aggression Kerry believed that the communist North were the true sons of liberty on the right side of history fighting to unite their divided land in democratic peace.
Inspired by his hero JFK Kerry dreamed of one day becoming president. But when he answered the call of destiny and threw his hat into the presidential ring, portraying himself unabashedly as a war hero fit to lead, his dishonorable past caught up to him and sunk his campaign.
Remarkably, Theo, on the Friday before Election Day something remarkable occurred which seemed to signal this JFK wannabe’s coming defeat: the 1960s comedian Vaughn Meader died. If you recall Meader created a national sensation impersonating President Kennedy on the fastest selling record album in U.S. history “The First Family.” While the timing of the Kennedy mimic’s death was an astonishing coincidence-coming four days before the burial of Kerry’s presidential hopes (see note 5)-equally remarkable, and seemly apropos to the senator’s defeat, was the year of Vaughn Meader‘s birth: for that year 1936 is the number 44 squared* (see note 6).
*The year of John McCain's birth.
Though doomed from the start Kerry’s candidacy was not a chance mistake or accident. It was an oracle of ominous things that could possibly come given in a confused and unintended way. Kerry was the right man to challenge the President at the right time in history to warn us as a symbol of the Sixties about a war of necessity that had gone awry and could end in defeat. He was the right man from the Left, my friend, and the only man living who could bring back into focus and full public view the raging days of the Vietnam War because of its correlation to the war in Iraq and, most importantly, our conflict with fascist Iran.
Think about it, Theo. If anyone of Kerry’s rivals had won the Democratic prize Vietnam would not have been a major issue that election year. Outside of Howard Dean accusing the President of leading America into another “unwinnable war” we would have heard little more about the Vietnam War. Without question, my friend, no other candidate but John Kerry could have made us relive, re-fight and agonize over the socially disruptive Vietnam War as if it were a contemporary event.
Indeed, the reelection campaign of Richard Nixon in 1972 should have been the last presidential race where Vietnam was a crucial issue. But 32 years later it was resurrected from the grave by a 60 year old 1960s retread, springing up disturbingly with some of its old hell and fury because of Kerry's dubious war record and shameful anti-war activities. The Swift Boat Vets, John O’Neil’s scathing book and interviews, reruns of his debate with Kerry, Kerry’s deplorable Genghis Khan speech villainizing his fellow troops. In those three rancorous months between the senator’s nomination and election day the entire nation was embroiled in the maelstrom of the 60s and a bitter debate over Kerry’s role in the war.
Clearly, my friend, Kerry’s failed candidacy was an act of divine intervention with the Deity in a sense resurrecting from his Arlington grave Kerry’s old hero JFK who he resembled in many distinct ways: for both men share the same initials JFK; both had mother’s with the first name Rose and were raised as believers in the Catholic faith; both won U.S. Senate seats in Massachusetts, won the Democratic nomination for the presidency and were decorated lieutenants in the U.S. Navy commanding PT Boats during a war with an Asian country.
Indeed, it would seem that in the presidential campaign of the Kennedyesque Kerry-an adopted political son of the Kennedy clan (see note 7)-we saw JFK returning to the world of the living, to the country that he served and loved, to warn George Bush about his Mid-East policies, to warn him that the war he had fathered in Vietnam is a template for understanding the war in Iraq; to warn him and us that what South Vietnam was to the Communist North Shiite Iraq is to radical Iran and Ho Chi Menh to Kho-mei-ne; to warn us, in effect, that in his weakness and lack of military resolve in confronting resurgent Iran Bush is leading the country down the same tragic path taken by his fellow Texan LBJ-who having lost the respect of Ho Chi Minh lost the winnable war Kennedy began.
Looking back does it not seem surreal to you that 30 years after the fall of Saigon Vietnam once again became a blazing issue dividing the nation and causing a storm? What occurred was extraordinary, unprecedented and unlikely to be repeated as it seems Kerry has renounced presidential politics for good. Even a presidential run of John McCain, a Vietnam vet who served and suffered with honor as a tortured prisoner of war-another ominous sign to be sure-can never ignite the same fierce passions Kerry set off over Vietnam. Indeed, Theo, if the Deity were to deliver a prophetic warning about the war in Iraq eventually morphing into a new Vietnam for US foreign policy He couldn’t have chosen a more perfect agent than John F. Kerry.
1. Kerry was born December 11, 1943.
2. 1961-2004=43 years. John Kennedy was 43 when he became
the 35 President in 1961.
3. 1960-2004=44 years.
4. When JFK ran for office in 1960 Kerry was 16 years old.
5. In the early 60s when Vaughn Meader was all the rage John Kerry affected John Kennedy’s deep Bostonian accent-which he later was to drop-and dated Jackie Kennedy’s half sister.
6. Meader was born March 20, 1936, 44x44=1936
7. In the 1970s Ted Kennedy took John Kerry under his wing and became his political mentor.