It's fascinating the way words can come back to haunt their writers. I imagine if I ever run for political office (not likely!) people will dredge (Drudge?) up this blog and find plenty of hastily-written thoughts to incriminate me.

The same holds true for organizations like MEChA, whose constitution has caused some embarrassment for politicians in Los Angeles who are current or former members and can't bring themselves to renounce their ties to its racism. Their motto is: "Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada." Everything for the Race. For those outside the Race, nothing. The group is also dedicated to "continue the struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano people for the purpose of liberating Aztlán" -- that is, to return control of the southwestern United States to Mexico. You'd think that people running for elected office would be eager to disassociate themselves from such vitriolic nonsense, but apparently not.

Then there's groups like Hamas who periodically make noises about cease-fires and such, but whose intentions are continually betrayed by their past writings. Their ability to negotiate is severely hampered by their charter, which says:

Article Thirteen: Peaceful Solutions, [Peace] Initiatives and International Conferences
[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; [...] There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.
By their own words they're committed to a fight to the death, and that greatly limits their options. Even if they change their minds and decide to genuinely sue for peace, who would believe them?

Thus, politicians like George W. Bush presently have a distinct advantage: they haven't said much in the past that can hurt them. Just look at all the Kerry baggage that's coming back 30 years later, relevant or not.

This effect is unfortunate, because it rewards those who refuse to take positions on record (such as anonymous writers). I'd love to be able to read through decades of blog-writing by a politician I was considering voting for! Maybe with the ubiquity of the internet my generation will someday be in that position. Having such a written intellectual history would serve to make would-be public servants more human, and to cull the phony plastic baby-huggers from the herd pretty quickly.



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