BY MATTHEW BROWN
Former Massachusetts senator and 2004 presidential candidate John F. Kerry was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan as the new secretary of state in a closed-door ceremony on Feb. 1, 2013. Kerry was officially sworn in again by Vice President Joe Biden on Feb. 6, 2013. He was appointed by President Barrack Obama and received a majority vote from the Senate. Kerry followed Hillary Rodham Clinton who set a new record for countries visited in one term.
“I want to share with all of you that as a recovering politician, I’ve grown used to being sworn at. It’s really nice to be sworn in,” joked Kerry in front of an audience of friends and colleagues moments after taking his oath.
“I am proud to take on this job because I want to work for peace, and because the values and ideals of our nation are really what represent the best of the possibilities of life here on earth,” said Kerry. “But I make clear today, to those listening, while my preference is for a peaceful resolution to conflict, my journey has also taught me when remedies are exhausted, we must be prepared to defend our cause and do what is necessary to stand up to extremism, terrorism, chaos and evil. And we will continue to do so.”
As Biden said before administering the oath, this isn’t the first time John Kerry has sworn in. After graduating from Yale University in 1966, Kerry swore an oath and served as a gunboat officer in the Navy, where he received the Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V – awarded for valor – and three Purple Hearts during his two tours of duty in Vietnam. After completing his duties in the Navy, Kerry co-founded the Vietnam Veterans of America and spoke publically for Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
Kerry’s political debut came in 1972 when he ran for congress and lost. He then pursued a law degree at Boston College. After a few years of practicing law, Kerry began his career in politics as the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts under Michael Dukakis. He was then elected senator for Massachusetts in 1984 and was re-elected in 1990, 1996, 2002 and 2008 giving him a total of 28 years of senatorial experience before accepting his role as secretary of state.
At Franciscan University of Steubenville, mixed feelings are shared among professors and students about the appointment of Kerry as Secretary of State. Steven M. Krason, professor and Director of the political science program, expressed his suspicion that Kerry’s ideals may lead to excessive retrenchment in our foreign policy.
“I’m very concerned about an excessive retrenchment and I can see Kerry signaling that” said Krason. With the steady rise of Islamic extremism in the Middle East and the state of Israel being threatened, increased retrenchment would bare negative results in that it will allow terrorist groups and hostile countries to build and become more adventurous, explained Krason. He also emphasized that intervention in the Middle East does not necessarily mean military action. Solutions can be reached through diplomatic efforts.
Student government president and Joseph Danaher also shared his views on the new Secretary of State. Danaher is studying political science and economics.
“I think in terms of experience and capability he is qualified, but in terms of ideological competence; I’m unsure,” said Danaher. “I think Obama has picked him partially because of his corollary ideological views and he likes to have people who fall in line with his ideas rather then bring a challenge to them.”
According to the Associated Press, Kerry wasted no time in submerging himself in his new position with a series of phone calls to foreign officials including Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas where he expressed his interest in peace between the Palestinians and Israelis as well as around the entire Middle East.