Kerry’s vision of ‘change position’ and Bush’s vision of ‘certainty’

Kerry’s vision of ‘change position’
and Bush’s vision of ‘certainty’

Prince Albert - Wednesday - October 6, 2004 - by: Mario deSantis

"What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist[1]

"The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa"

Werner Heisenberg, Physicist[2]

The talking heads of the news media have been reticent in expressing their critical thinking as the debate between President Bush and Senator Kerry ended. These talking heads all stated that they had to wait for the results of opinion polls to be carried in the next 72 hours before they could express their critical opinions. Again, as I have repetitively stated in my past writing, I must express my displeasure to the extent on how the ubiquitous statistical polling play an undemocratic cumulative role in making every social issue, an issue of pseudo-scientific division.

Anyhow, I felt a sense of relief when CNN correspondent John King expressed his genuine feeling in regard to the squirming facial expression of President Bush as he was participating in the debate.[3]

  What struck me most in this debate, is the fact that President Bush and Senator Kerry provide two different visions to the American people and indirectly to the world. President Bush provides his self described world of CERTAINTY, while Senator Kerry provides, as Bush says, a world of "CHANGE POSITION". So let us try to understand what these two different visions are by starting to quote the relevant portions of the debate in regard to the "certainty" of Bush’s world and to the "change position" of Kerry’s world.
Bush: My concerns about the senator is that, in the course of this campaign, I've been listening very carefully to what he says, and he changes positions on the war in Iraq. He changes positions on something as fundamental as what you believe in your core, in your heart of hearts, is right in Iraq. You cannot lead if you send mixed messages. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our troops. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our allies. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to the Iraqi citizens. And that's my biggest concern about my opponent. I admire his service. But I just know how this world works, and that in the councils of government, there must be certainty from the U.S. president
Kerry: But this issue of certainty. It's one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and be wrong. It's another to be certain and be right, or to be certain and be moving in the right direction, or be certain about a principle and then learn new facts and take those new facts and put them to use in order to change and get your policy right. What I worry about with the president is that he's not acknowledging what's on the ground, he's not acknowledging the realities of North Korea, he's not acknowledging the truth of the science of stem-cell research or of global warming and other issues. And certainty sometimes can get you in trouble. [4]
  In the course of figuring out my own understanding of these two different worlds I found this partial definition of CERTAINTY:
Certainty is contextual. It is based on one's current knowledge. It is possible to be certain, and still be wrong. Human beings are not omniscient. They can form conclusions, but there is the possibility of error. Humans need knowledge, though, and need a basis for accepting knowledge as true. They cannot live constantly doubting every piece of knowledge. To survive, they must be able to accept knowledge as true, and act accordingly.[5]
  Which vision is right? For me, Kerry’s vision of contextual "change position" is right, and Bush’s resolute "certainty" is wrong.

Mario deSantis



Wikipedia Margaret Mead




American Institute of Physics The Unceratinty Principle




Rosenfeld, Steven and Jan Frel Father Kerry vs. Boy George October 1, 2004 AlterNet,




FDCH E-Media Transcript: First Presidential Debate September 30, 2004


Landauer, Jeff and Joseph Rowlands Certaint


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