Thursday, February 28, 2008

Beware the smear machine

I learned this lesson the hard way in my first real involvement in a campaign as leader in Students for Carter Mondale in 1980. As I knocked on doors I would be continually amazed at the false and untrue facts people believed about President Carter. I thought that significant numbers of people could not be fooled so easily. I was wrong. I watched in shock as perhaps the most moral and yes Christian President our country has had in my lifetime was forced out of office by the Christian right and specifically the moral majority.

Then I have watched what is going on this week. Obama is about the win the nomination next Tuesday. So the smear mongers both from the Clinton camp and the Republican camp are out in full force. The Clintonites know this Tuesday it will be over without a miracle. The Republicans want two things, to run against Hillary and to keep this fight on the democratic side going as long as possible.

This time I will not make the mistake and assume brains will over rule outrageous smears, so I will address some now.

His full name is Barack Hussein Obama. Yes that is his middle name. People throwing that out are purposely trying to provoke fear among the ignorant. It was Barack’s Grandfathers name, a very common name in Kenya and on the African continent. The ignorance people have about ethnic names is why so many American’s today do not have the original name of their heritage, because their ancestors “Americanized” the name to avoid discrimination. Can you imagine a Lebanese man named Amos Alphonsus Muzyad Yaqoob ever being a star in the 50’s and 60’s or even today? Of course not that’s why he changed his name to first Amos Jacobs and later Danny Thomas. Hasn’t our country grown beyond having to “americanize” names?

Oh my a picture of Obama in a turban. The Clinton staffer that sent this to Drudge wasn’t trying so show Obama’s foreign policy experience. It was an attempt to strike fear. It was the dress of a tribal leader, it was an honor for Obama to be invited to wear it. It showed that they see him as a leader.

Is Obama a seceret Muslim who attended a madrasah? Totally and utterly false. He lived in indonesia for a few years as a child. He went to public school. A school with children of all faiths. The majority of indonesians practice Islam as their faith thus many of the students were indeed muslim. The suburb of Bexley Ohio has a fairly significant jewish population, does that make students in the Bexley city schools jewish? Before I leave this point, the real question on this smear is: why does it matter!. We have had Presidents of all kinds of different religions. Has it ever really been a significant factor on how they did their job.

Regardless, the fact is Barack Obama is a very open practicing and devout christian. He has not only showed up for services once a week like most, he has given his life to helping the poor and being his brothers keeper. His entire career before elected office was working with church leaders to help the community.

He has ties to Lewis Farrakhan? Obama is a leader in Chicago, Farrakhan also is in Chicago, that’s about the only thing in common they have and there is no other tie between these two men period. Then Obama’s pastor is brought up. Let me ask anyone who has ever attended a church or synagogue regularly. Did you never disagree with a position your pastor or rabbi took on an issue? I personally can remember walking out of mass a couple times I was so incensed at what a priest was saying from the pulpit. Obama has made it very clear he does not agree with his former pastor on Farrakhan.

Obama is not patriotic? The definition of the word is “feeling, expressing, or inspired by love for his country.” Barack Obama has given his entire adult life to working to make his country better. His entire legislative career was about working hard to improve things for the citizens of his country. Did the patriots stand around waving flags or did they take on the British? Did Abraham Lincoln just wave his flag at the confederacy or did he take them on and per serve the union and in the process end slavery.

Wearing a flag pin is not patriotism. Lying to the country into war is not patriotism. Not supporting our troops with the medical care and needs they have upon their return is not patriotism. What is patriotism is doing something to make things better and that is what Barack Obama has done his entire life.

Oh the by way, the picture was during the national anthem NOT the pledge of allegiance, do you always put your hand on your heart and make sure you placed not a few inches too high or to left or right every time you put your hand up there?
I saw a United States Congressman on MSNBC actually trying to make this charge, though he forgot to put on his flag pin before going to the studio. Traitor!

Today’s smear that Obama contacted Canada to warn them he was going to speak against NAFTA but to have no worries he doesn’t mean it. I cannot believe Canadian broadcasting even gave this a second look. Hey folks he is a graduate of Harvard Law, he is not stupid. I knew at the first hint of this story it was crap, but oh there it was all over the blogs. Of course not only has the Obama campaign come out stating the falseness of this story but so has the government of Canada.

The final smear. Obama is too young and inexperienced. Wrong again. He is 47, two years older then Bill Clinton when he took office and 4 years older then John F. Kennedy. He has 11 years of experience as an elected legislator and 20 years of experience not only working for but gaining improvements in jobs, health care, and wages. Bill Clinton was in national office for a total of zero years before becoming President. But the Clintonites want you to forget that.

These are the big smears I have heard as of late. There are probably more I haven’t heard and there will be many more before November. Do not let these go unanswered where you hear them, whether its at the local pub, the office, barber shop, beauty shop or even among your friends and family. Nothing is too silly or too stupid to be believed by some, so we must continue to repeat the truth whenever we can.

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