This is a political letter I sent to my local newspaper last year.
|I'm writing, for the first time, to provide some commentary on Don DeFoy's beautifully crafted 1200 word description of Barack Obama. I think many people in this country take for granted our right to free speech. Without the right to share our beliefs and opinions we, as a society, could not progress. Also, without this vital right we would not be able to communicate the things we've heard or hold fair discourse on what we choose to believe. |
I know there will be no shortage of people willing to provide their beliefs and opinions about Don DeFoy's piece, but there is one reason I hope you will choose to print mine: I know the man personally. I rode with Don DeFoy for two years when I was in High School bringing young children to the Bible Baptist Church so they can learn about our beliefs and opinions and hopefully come to embrace those ideas themselves. I know from this experience that Don DeFoy is a deacon at that church and known to be a great man. I can attest to this personally.
His writing gives us vital insight to the thoughts and attitudes that surround the journey our country takes to choose our leader. For the last year, educated, politically-oriented people such as Don and myself as well as voices from the media and, in fact, everyone else have been telling us stories, relaying facts, and sometimes willingly lying to meet their own agendas. These stories, facts, and lies have been mixed together and served to the American public with no indication of their source. So, what do we really know about Barack Obama?
Obama has many individual supporters including myself, Tony Rezko, and many, many others of many diverse backgrounds. Most of which are activists and philanthropists. I donated $5 to Obama, Rezko donated $2000. I stock shelves, Rezko developed low income housing units. I do not know what each of Obama's other supporters do to earn a living. In 2003, Rezko considered buying two adjacent lots in Chicago. Being a Chicago crook, he was offered the property for $300,000 below its value. He eventually turned this down. Obama was offered the lot at the same price. When Rezko's wife bought the adjacent property, she paid full price.
Another well known Obama supporter is Bill Ayers. Bill Ayers falls between Rezko and myself in terms of financial support, donating a sound $200. It is understandable in this climate, with everyone thoroughly studying Obama, that no one actually bothered to look into Ayers, but since Obama is responsible for the backgrounds of everyone who donates money to his campaign or invites him over for coffee: He was a domestic terrorist in the sixties, choosing to express his anti-Vietnam sentiments by bombing government buildings. Some have claimed that he "said 'he wished he had done more' in the way of bombings" He did not actually say that. The New York Times interviewed Ayers in 2001 and produced an out of context quote: "I feel we didn't do enough" On September 15, 2001 Ayers wrote a letter to the editor explaining that the quote referred to the actions taken by the American people as a whole to end the war, not about the bombings which are not something he remembers with pride. He is now a professor of Education at the University of Illinois.
Obama is a Christian, part of the United Church of Christ which is an anabaptist protestant church based on Calvinist beliefs. They believe in the Sola fide model of salvation based on Ephesians 2:8-9. If that sounds familiar to any Christians, it should because it is the same doctrine used in every mainstream Christian religion with the exception of Roman Catholicism and Mormonism who believe in a mixture of personal faith with other aspects of the Faith. Religious scholars will also find it interesting that the Trinity United Church of Christ was founded as counter to the spread of Black Islam in the early 1900s. Barack Obama is not a Muslim.
I could list many Obama supporters (like Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck, where are the terrorist accusations about them?), but I don't have enough space for that. The most damning group of supporters comes from Republican Congressman, and apparently latent psychic, Steve King who claims Al Qaeda is praying for Obama to win. How does he know? Is Steve King secretly a member of Al Qaeda? Maybe he's a double agent for the CIA? No, actually Steve King, being a party line Republican, claims that if he were a member of Al Qaeda he would hypothetically pray for Obama to win. There is no basis in fact for this claim, not even a fictional basis.
Not every criticism of Obama is a lie meant to create a toxic atmosphere of uncertainty for political discourse. It is true that Obama is pro-choice and equal rights for gay couples (he does not support gay marriage). In fact, not every criticism is serious. Conservative commentator John Semmens wrote a hilarious article exaggerating Obama's laid back interview style and off the wall comments, suggesting he wanted to change the flag and the national anthem. There is nothing wrong with political humor. However, there is something wrong with copying that article and falsely attributing it to an Air Force General and spreading it as a chain e-mail.
Briefly summing up other things we've heard: Barack Obama painted over a corporate logo on his campaign jet that included an image of a waving flag, a more accurate reproduction of the flag remained on the center of the plane, he puts his hand over the heart for the pledge and the national anthem (though not when he's singing it, you can see a picture of that on any chain e-mail where people make these claims).
McCain himself has chastised his supporters for making false, hate-filled, or stupid claims about Obama. When we make these decisions, it is important that we base them on fact and not on distortion. Neither of these men are America haters or dangerous terrorists. If you believe taxes for the highest 1% of earners ($220,000 a year) should stay low, that we should stay in Iraq until it is a democracy like ours no matter how long it takes, and that healthcare and education should be left the way it is, then you should vote for McCain. If you believe taxes should be adjusted to solve our multi-trillion dollar debt (which we owe a greater portion to foreign countries than we have in our entire history), the war in Iraq should end so we can focus on Afghanistan and catching Bin Laden, and that healthcare and education should be fixed, then you should vote for Obama. This is the difference between the two candidates. So please, put our country first and don't vote based on distortions and lies.