Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week_ Michael Dukakis

Hmmm....since there is the NCAA men's basketball tournament here in the United States (editorial comment: Go Harvard! They face Vanderbilt today) and the UEFA Champions League soccer games in Europe, assuredly Taiwan may be one of the few places where actual work is getting done today.

Today, we quote Michael Dukakis, the Democratic candidate who unsuccessfully ran against George H.W. Bush, in the 1988 presidential election. All this month, we are quoting men who fought the good fight, but didn't end up serving in the White House. Last week, we quoted Republican Robert Dole who lost to Bill Clinton in 1996.

There is a bit of a personal connection with me and the Dukakis campaign. Since I was 18 in 1988 and I was one of the few people from my high school in a conservative zip code who disdained the policies of Ronald Reagan, I was eager to vote Dukakis. And, I did.

The problem is that I'm a Turkish-American, and this didn't go over well with the relatives in Istanbul. In fact, my since deceased uncle by marriage Omer Bati pretty much threatened to throw me over the balcony for voting for Dukakis.

We learned today that Dukakis, a Greek-American, actually has connections to modern-day Turkey as his parents came from the Turkish port town of Erdemit in the Balikesir province. There are still many Turkish citizens of Greek heritage in Turkey; most of them reside in Istanbul.

Ironically, Dukakis was the second Greek-American to become the governor of a state. Long before Dukakis became the governor of Massachusetts, a post later held by both Democrat John Kerry (who lost to George W. Bush in 2004) and Mitt Romney, who is likely going to be the Republican nominee this year, one Spiro Agnew was the governor of Maryland from 1967-69.

Agnew's life is however best remembered for scandal as the Republican who would become Richard Nixon's first vice president was forced to resign from that post due to a bribery scandal.

As for Dukakis, he is perhaps best-remembered for taking more firm stances on liberal issues, including his opposition to the death penalty and his belief in gun control.

As for me, there are no regrets about voting for Dukakis, though today, I may not share voting for a Greek-American with other Turkish people.

Here is the quote from Dukakis:

"The best America is a nation where the son of Greek immigrants, with your help, can seek and win the presidency of the United States."

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