Monday, August 18, 2003

I heard John Kerry on NPR this morning and as usual I was impressed. I thought he sounded composed and succinct. He has clearly mastered the art of the sound bite. There were a couple of things that I was dissappointed with though.

First of all, in light of the blackouts, I was dissappointed that he did not state clearly his energy plan and his 2010 goal of reducing energy dependence by 20%. I know he made a reference to it by saying that he would be a president that supports science, but I wish he had stated that more clearly.

The other thing was he stated his committment to clean water and clean air. The problem is that, while informed observers can connect the dots, clean water and clean air issues do not have the urgent punch for the regular guy. The environmental movement has mostly been a white-upper/middle class thing, which is why the people who tend to be disproportionately affected haven't caught on yet. I think he needs to spell out clear what clean water and clean air means, especially in terms of health and dollars.

Lack of clean air can be linked to the increase in respitory diseases, especially in minority communities, this hurts the health and wellbeing of the black and latino communities. Unclean air also increases health care costs, and decimates our children. He should then give the dollar figures of the impact and also stats on the rise in diseases, and that would make a major impact on listeners.

Similarly, with clean water, he should state clear that our drinking water is under assault and what the health consequences are. He should emphasize the negative impact on businesses, especially small businesses. For instance, I am a Marylander who is very concerned about the Chesapeake Bay. The bay is being starved for oxygen so much so that crabs are climbing cork buoys to get to the surface to breathe and native species are dying out, killing the livelihood of hundreds of fishermen, which would have a huge ripple effect. Also with the death of the bay will come a huge decline in tourism dollars which amounts to billions.

These connections make sense to regular people. So I hope the Senator would connect these dots for people, otherwise, they won't see these things as importantly as they should.

One last point that I think would be psychological impactful would be for Senator Kerry to begin to refer to Mr. Bush as "the current president." I think that has the psychological effect of making people see Bush as temporary.


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