Thursday, December 02, 2004

Arafat and Stockwell Day

Never assume
"I was just saying there are two schools of thought about Yasser Arafat: one that he was a great statesman and a help to the Palestinian people, and one that reflects on his terrorist background and that he wasn't a help," he said. "It was reference to two schools of thought."
The Conservative Party of Canada's Stockwell Day responds to media report that he failed to send condolences regarding the death of Yasser Arafat because Araft had AIDS When I first heard of this story it was from David Frum in the National Post. I thought Frum's analysis was fine. Here was Stockwell Day, noted Evangelical member of Parliament, being cruelly torn apart by the biased Canadian press. Again. More digging showed a different story. Day is a guy who's heart is in the right place, but who's head is all too often missing in action. Who on earth sends out a vague e-mail quoting David Frum speculating that Arafat might have died of AIDS as an "explanation" of why no condolences were sent to anyone after Arafat died? Who does the right thing - no hypocritical condolences for a murdering, lying, wretch like Arafat - and then not only fails to explain it, but manages to make himself look like a homophobic bigot? Stockwell Day, that's who. Day has a history of being a spectacular fumbler. He's terrible with the media and seems to have almost no grip of where his critics are coming from. The e-mail in question reads like it was sent to your best friend in the next room, one you have known for years. In other words, it assumes far, far too much about the recipient. It assumes that Stockwell's vague reference to "two sides" of the story is to two different portraits of Arafat. There was nothing to be gained by being murky on the issues. If you want to take a bold - and I would say correct - stance on controversial issue, you simply must explain yourself, do it well, do it convincingly, and not allow anyone to take your message hostage. I think the brevity of the e-mail is itself a result of Day's past skirmishes with the Canadian press. But that is no excuse; the brevity made the message more dangerous, not less. Where were Day's Media people? Does he have any? Did he use them? The Conservatives simply don't need high profile politicians fueling people's fears about Christians. And, frankly, Christians don't need it either. Posted by Hello

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