2004-09-17

New Site: Urban Renewal

I've mentioned my father (Ken McLintock, 1920-2000) a number of times in this space; now I'm giving him his own blog.

Dad was a thoughtful, quiet man, but not without his opinions. He wrote innumerable letters to the Hartford Courant and the Jounal Inquirer (the hometown daily), speaking out against race prejudice, anti-gay prejudice, and environmental pollution. He didn't care for religious fundamentalism, having been raised by a zealously devout mother (who dabbled in several sects before settling on Christian Science), and disliked the pretensions of the social elites.

He had witnessed a good deal of prejudice in the Army ranks during World War II, and while he was no stranger to the savagery of the Emperor's army, he was profoundly grieved by the internment camps and the atomic bomb. But then, I don't know any feeling person who would not be.

Like my mother, he opposed the Vietnam war. He composed a lengthy poem in response to tales of American atrocities he had read about - and, being the kind of man he was, was only too willing to believe. I am not going to debate the rightness or wrongness of the war itself; but clearly my father's beliefs, and the beliefs of many people of good conscience in that generation, were shaped in part by these stories.

Thirty years later, it seems plain enough that many of those horror stories were at best exaggerations, and at worst outright lies. My father was an idealist, but he was also a patriot. If his faith in his country was crippled by these lies, then he was deceived in the cruelest way possible - deceived by men like John F. Kerry. And he took his belief in this monstrous slander with him to his death.

I do not live in my father's world; none of us do. Many of the battles that liberals like my father fought for have been won; and the war we are fighting now, and the enemy we face today, are unlike any he could have imagined. Nor is the spread of knowledge and ideas the same: yesterday's typewritten memos travel the globe today at lightning speed. And publishing is no longer the exclusive province of editors and academicians in brick-walled buildings; it is in the realm of ordinary people like you and me, who can write letters to the world, pajama-clad, from their own living rooms.

With the touch of a button, you can create your very own editorial page. My Dad would have loved it.