Paul Swifties and Homer

Homer Bound… In filling in for Kevin this week, I had to promise not to reveal where he’s spending his vacation. All I’ll say is that I’m sure he’s enjoying the baklava.

Just kidding. I don’t actually know where Kevin is. But I do know that if I were on vacation this week, I’d be in Greece watching the Games.

Well, to be honest, I’d probably be in my hotel room in Athens, flipping TV channels trying to figure out how the swift boat controversy was playing on the Sunday shows. As much as I adore Greece and the Olympics, right now I find the battle to win athletic medals less gripping–and far less consequential–than the effort to question John Kerry’s medals. This is an Homeric story. It’s about war, blood, death, comradship, envy, history, memory, politics, philosophy, and courage both moral and physical. It’s got a (to me) cowardly but powerful villain; a hero who is clever, serious, valliant, and flawed; and a fascinating set of supporting characters. It involves lies and honesty in a tragic, ill-prosecuted war–themes directly relevant to today. And the stakes–control over the mightiest country on earth at a time of genuine crisis–couldn’t be higher. On Face the Nation this morning, host Bob Schieffer gave one of his hurrumphy-but-journalistically-safe pax-on-both-your-houses closing monologues about how the American people want to hear about the issues, not about who did what in a war 35 years ago. This is one American who disagrees.

Paul Glastris

Paul Glastris is the editor in chief of the Washington Monthly.