Everybody has said poorly thought-out, foolish things. We’ve all committed boners. But some are harder to walk away from than others, and some folks can say things that others had better not.
“I hate you,” for example, might be easy for a child to recover from, but not so easy for a spouse or a parent.
Better example? Secretary of State John Kerry on the recent Paris massacres. But let Paul Jacob explain — for it is his thesis about how to understand Kerry that is at once most charitable and makes the most sense:
Deep Thinker Kerry
Comparing Friday’s horrific shootings by Islamist terrorists to the events of last January, one-time presidential candidate John Kerry noted that there is “something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo. . . . There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of — not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, ‘OK, they’re really angry because of this and that.’ This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve [sic] one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people. It was to attack everything that we do stand for.”
Yes, Kerry pulled himself out of the fire pretty fast, but, even if he earnestly believes that (as Reason characterized it) “killing cartoonists is less appalling than killing concertgoers,” this was a thought better left unexpressed.
What could Kerry have been thinking?
Here’s a guess: John Kerry sees himself as a reasonable man. Reasonable men try to understand things. And in the course of trying to understand things, a reasonable man will likely explore all sorts of ideas, make uncomfortable comparisons, follow challenging arguments wherever they lead.
But Mr. Kerry does have a job: Secretary of State. This makes him a key mouthpiece for the United States of America . . . to the world, and about world events.
A Secretary of State should know that standing up for rights is his public duty. It is not spinning theories about motivation that could ominously pass as justification for slaughtering some folks but not others.
His statement may betray him mid-thought, but hey: “everything we stand for” includes free speech and the press.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
I quote Paul Jacob because (a) he wants to have people send around his “Common Sense” squibs, and (b) it fits nicely with the theme I’ve been running with these last few days, on discriminate versus indiscriminate thoughts and ideologies.
It should be hard for Kerry to “walk away from” this faux pas. But who knows? Americans forgive all sorts of sins and misstatements — if made by members of their own party.