It doesn’t matter what time of the day or night it may be, when I frequent a diner my order is the exact same – regardless of which diner I choose.
This afternoon was no exception: Swiss cheese omelette well done – no goo, fries well done, rye toast and tea. Simple, to the point, can’t go wrong, never disappointed.
On the table next to the salt and pepper shakers was a bottle of Heinz ketchup with an unusual looking label. Although I never use ketchup, I was drawn to pick the bottle up to read the label. I was instantly dumbfounded, not because of the intent of the label which states, “Our Turn to Serve,” but because of the paradox involved.
You see, I remember the Swift boat issue surrounding Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign. Swift boats are 50-foot aluminum Shallow Water Inshore Fast Tactical crafts that are engaged in coastal patrolling and rely on speed.
If you remember, Senator John Kerry (D) from Massachusetts was accused in a letter by fellow Swift boat veterans of “. . . upon your return from Vietnam, you grossly and knowingly distorted the conduct of the American soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen . . .”
The accusations were so devastating that Kerry’s chances of defeating President George W. Bush in 2004 became overwhelming, and a new word was coined for practicing unfair political attacks – “Swift boating.”
In 1966, Teresa Heinz, aka Simões-Ferreira from Mozambique, married the heir to the
H. J. Heinz Company – Henry John Heinz III. Teresa became a naturalized citizen in 1971, and in 1976 H. J. Heinz III won his senate seat as a moderate Republican. He maintained that seat until his untimely death in a 1991 plane crash.
It was in 1995 when Senator John Kerry and Teresa Heinz wed . . . but she chose to remain registered as a Republican until Kerry’s presidential bid. Although Teresa ultimately dropped her party affiliation, she never dropped Heinz from her name stating, “My legal name is still Teresa Heinz. Teresa Heinz Kerry is my name . . . for politics.”
So what’s the paradox?
Kerry’s conduct off the Vietnam battlefield catapulted him into notoriety. In 1971 – ironically the same year Teresa became a naturalized citizen – he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee describing his fellow soldiers’ demeanor during the Vietnam Conflict as brutal.
His questionable anti-war reputation, along with the Swift boat accusations sunk his presidential bid. Married to a woman who was the wife of a moderate Republican senator, who originally chose to define herself as a Republican and insists on maintaining “Heinz” as her legal name, Kerry finds himself in another awkward position. You see, the Heinz company has taken their noble, up-lifting campaign to tables across America . . . instead of denigrating America’s soldiers at a table during a committee hearing.
The Heinz company is proudly honoring “those who have served our country with a charitable campaign that celebrates veterans while also raising awareness and money for Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that honors and empowers wounded warriors.”
Visit woundedwarriorproject.org if you’re interested in getting more involved, or if you want more information. I wonder if Kerry has decided to get involved . . . and I wonder if Teresa is a registered Republican, again.