BY SKEPTIK SINIKIAN
So Presidential hopeful–Vermont Governor Howard Dean–MD–finally decided to issue a statement on the Armenian Genocide. I suppose we can stop holding our breaths now and run to our nearest Dean for President Campaign headquarters or mail in our campaign contributions. Wait! Before you pick up that checkbook or put down the Asbarez–let’s look at his "statement" again. Pardon me for being a skeptic but past Presidential candidates have left me a little? jaded–let’s just say–when it comes to statemen’s on the Armenian Genocide.
First of all–the statement would have been a lot more impressive if it had been made earlier on in the Dean campaign–back when his popularity was climbing the charts faster than a new boy band single. So what if there are less Armenia’s in Vermont than New York Yankees fans in Boston. It was only four years ago that the Armenian Genocide Bill was up for a vote in Congress and was capturing more national headlines than Janet Jackson’s loose breast or Mark Geragos’s clients (Fine–maybe not more–but it was up there–ok?) Am I–the undiscerning–hyphenated-American voter–going to believe for one second that this statement was not an act of desperation to salvage a campaign that was sinking like the Titanic?
I’ll give the barbaric yawp sounding Vermonter the benefit of doubt for the sake of argument. But now–Mr. Cover of Time Magazine can’t even get arrested in a New England state or get a delegate in for that matter. And he wants to convince Armenian-Americans that he is sincere about the Armenian Genocide issue. I guess his delayed statement should be a message to Armenia’s as to where on his priority list the Armenian Genocide would be–if he were to win the distinct honor of redecorating the White House. I can just hear the Dean Oval Office discussion come April 2005: Dean: "So now that we’ve made a statement supporting the civil rights of trans-gender bisexual homophobes who want to raise ferrets for civil union purposes–what’s next on the agenda?" Dean Advisor: "Well–Mr. President–you had said during your campaign that Congress should pass a resolution reaffirming the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide." Dean: (looking dumbfounded) "The Who-acide?" Dean Advisor: "The Armenian Genocide–Sir. 400,000 Armenia’s in California rallied to your side when you?er?I mean your campaign staff crafted your statement. They want to hold you to your word. Senator Geragos from California won’t stop calling the White House on this issue." Dean: (putting down the bottle of maple syrup he’s been guzzling and wiping his chin) "Uh?make something up?tell them we have our hands full with this bisexual ferret business?we’ll have to get back to them. And uh?remind me to come up with something for the Armenia’s before my reelection–will ya? Thanks."
Back to reality. Thank God. (Hey–it’s my article–I can make all the Geragos jokes that I want). Well–as this season’s riveting reality show "Democrat Survivor" winds down and Dean is left in the losers’ Tribal Council with Congressman Dennis Kucinich and the very Reverend Al Sharpton–I can only say that it serves him right. Even though I’ve ranted on about the timing of Dean’s statement–I had issues with the actual content of the letter. For those of you who don’t regularly read the Armenian National Committee’s press releases (you know who you are)–I’ll indulge you with my favorite quote:
"Modern Turkey is an important and long-standing ally of the United States–one that is making strong efforts to support the rule of law at home. We can all acknowledge this. However–it is also necessary to acknowledge the past if its worst chapters are not to be repeated in the future."
An important and long-standing ally? Turkey is the guy that promises to pick his drunk friend up from a party and then never shows up! (Prepare for petroleum pun in ?3?2?1?) Or better yet–asks his buddy to pay for his tank of gas after never showing up. Maybe Gov. Dean is so busy campaigning that he missed the news about Turkey denying US forces access to the northern front in Iraq and then asking for 32 billion dollars from the United States. And as far as making "strong efforts to support the rule of law at home"–Gov. Dean should hire better researchers or at least ask the Christian Greeks–Syrians–Armenia’s and Muslim Kurds what they think of Turkey’s so-called efforts.
I had to get this out of my system. I’m tired of being a dog waiting at the table to lap up the scraps off the floor from the political smorgasbord of campaign promises–only to find out that other groups are getting a doggy-bag and dessert. I think Governor Dean is a smart man who will learn from his mistakes and do better next time. In the meantime–Armenian-Americans should not be fooled or taken in so easily. Take heart fellow Armenian-Americans–there are still a few descent candidates left and the clock is ticking. But don’t be satisfied with political leftovers. Grab the turkey leg and don’t stop pulling. I’ll leave you with this to chew on before Super Tuesday. And Governor Dean–wherever you are–if you’re reading this–don’t give up the day job.
Next Week: General Wesley Clark makes an about-face on the Genocide just in time for the primary battle royal. What did I think about it? You’ll have to read next week’s Asbarez.