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Ads Conjure Up Wrong Images

David 'Kip' Koontz

March 12, 2004

President Bush and images of the tragedy of 9/11 have found themselves together in television commercials that some would say are a valid representation of Mr. Bush's tremendous efforts during those horrific days, while others say it is using a tragic event solely for political gain.

Families of those who died that day have weighed in on both sides of the matter.

It is, however, legitimate to question the use of something so bad in commercials that are political in nature. They are calling on you to vote for President Bush, simply because he was in office to guide the nation during that time.

Not to say he did not do a great job in calming a troubled nation, in showing compassion to those who mourned the loss of loved ones, to set a tone of America's fortitude to the people of a country who were angry, shocked and grieving.

Yet, is this justification to use a nation's loss for personal political gain?

We have to put this in context with the fact that the Republicans moved their convention back a month to hold it in New York City to coincide with the 9/11 anniversary.

Additionally, it has been rumored that President Bush's acceptance speech might actually be given at the site of Ground Zero, an act that - if true - is purely abhorrent and only self-aggrandizement.

The fact the President Bush is using the 9/11 images in conjunction with the convention being moved to overlap the 9/11 date, does not ring of honor. It does not seem to consider that we are a nation that is still struggling with the after-effects of this tragedy.

After all, we have not yet caught Osama Bin Laden, who is responsible for this terrorist act.

There are those who would say that we might have, or that we are very close and that the administration will produce him as some sort of "October surprise" to ensure President Bush's re-election.

Let us hope that not even this administration, which has clearly misled the American people on our reasons for the current intervention in Iraq, would not go that far. But can we not ask: "Is it possible?"

We as a nation experience the frequent elevations and de-elevations of the new security alert color system.

The nation is still, to a degree, afraid.

Showing the images of 9/11 does not allay this. It appears opportunistic and callous.

President Clinton did not use images of the Oklahoma City bombing of the federal building in a political context nor did the Democrats move their convention to Oklahoma City for political expediency.

It seems that there are those who recognize that there are events in our nation's history that are sacred and hollowed and should be remembered as such, and those who do not.

Using these images seems to some as an exercise in diverting people's attention away from the myriad other issues that are confronting the nation which finds Mr. Bush's ratings, whether they be based on his ability to handle certain matters, or his pure popularity, at all time lows.

Let us not forget that Frederick has had experience with politicians using images of 9/11 in an attempt to help their candidacy.

That mayor, however, was unsuccessful in his efforts at gaining re-election, due, in part, to the fact that so many found his use of those images to be tasteless.

In time, President Bush may well find himself meeting the same fate.


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