Advanced Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Wheatland, Iowa
I struck a nerve with this one.
I forwarded this to my Liberal cousin. Reply:
I have to admit the email you forwarded to my mother concerned me. Like many “blog” attacks these days, its claims seemed to contain broad strokes with few specifics based on even fewer/no/made-up “facts”. I’m critical of the messages sent from both sides of the political aisle, especially when their primary message seems to be fear and empty rhetoric. My hope is that you will continue to read and at least consider another viewpoint from the message you passed along.
The Audacity of Hope relates the advice the longest-serving Senator in Congress Robert C. Byrd (WV) gave to new Sen. Barack Obama: reread the United States Constitution. This is not a document Sen. Obama would be unfamiliar with, as he had taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago, one of the finest legal education institutions in the country. Contained in that document, even before the right to bear arms in order to maintain a well regulated militia, is this portion of Amendment 1 in The Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The author of the email you forwarded apparently has forgotten that there is a huge difference between radical, “Islamic fundamentalists” and a majority of the people adhering to the Muslim faith around the world. The words of the Organization of the Islamic Conference after the September 11 attacks were echoed by leading Islamic scholars around the world, "These terrorist acts contradict the teaching of all religions and human and moral values." According to the CIA, there are at least 2,000,000 American citizens identifying themselves as Muslims (although some estimates place the total at several times that number-suddenly 2,000 mosques aren’t suspicious-they’re places for decently sized congregations). As citizens, Muslims are allowed to worship as they see fit, and for the vast majority that means following the five pillars of Islam: belief in one God, belief in prayer, concern for the needy, self-purification, and an act of pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Like Christian Americans who believe in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; pray; give offerings to support their church and community; purify through sacrifice during Lent; and may journey to important Biblical sites, they have a right to pursuit their life freely as law-abiding citizens of this country.
So what does all this talk of Muslims have to do with Sen. Barack Obama? Absolutely nothing. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised as a Muslim, and never attended a radical madrassa. After he attended Harvard Law School with the help of student loans and scholarships, he worked on behalf of unemployed steel workers on the south side of Chicago. While there, he happened upon the Trinity United Church of Christ. He joined Trinity as a member, and it was at Trinity that he married his wife Michelle. The United Church of Christ is a denomination that was formed out of the Evangelical and Reformed Churches and The Congregational Christian Churches (which trace their lineage back to the Puritans); it has a rich history of social justice and its predecessor was the denomination Elsie Dickel’s husband, my grandfather Rev. Emil Burrichter served. For more information on the UCC, please go to http://www.ucc.org/about-us/short-course/.
So, how could the journalist Richard Carroll get the facts wrong about Senator Obama’s past? Well, he’s not a journalist. He’s the founder of a religious right website called www.rememberthycreator.com. While different religious denominations vary in the education requirements for their clergy, Mr. Carroll has neither Rev. nor Dr. preceding his name indicating no advanced study in theology. According to the site, they are “pointing people to Christ by upholding the authority of God’s Word from the very first verse with an emphasis on Genesis Chapters 1 through 11” (you know, the magic act to start the world and the big flood with all the animals in the big boat?-that’s the focal point of his faith system). Mr. Carroll has penned such impartial articles as “Florida: Islam’s Beach-head”, “The Putrid Stench of Liberal Cowardice Will Define Our Future”, and “The World According to Convoluted Dip Wads”. This is not a person that grasps the idea of unbiased reporting, which I find odd considering people of faith are not supposed to bear false witness.
Mr. Carroll spends a lot of time focusing on Senator Obama’s name, especially his middle name Hussein. He accuses the Senator of changing his name. He didn’t. He’s named after his father, Barack Hussein Obama; it’s on his birth certificate. Apparently, the father Senator Obama remembers meeting once liked the idea of naming his son after him-like George Bush liked naming his son after himself. Of course, there are other reasons that people use to name their child. My name is Timothy; Timothy was a Biblical convert of Paul and the name means “God’s honor”. The name “Barack” means “blessed” and its western equivalents by definition are Ben, Benedict, and Asher. “Hussein” means “handsome, or good looking”; its western equivalents are Alan, Kenny, and Beau. So, a parent wanted to name a child after his father with names meaning “blessed” and “handsome”. While certain fear-mongers like to highlight Sen. Obama’s middle name trying to manufacture a connection to the Iraqi dictator, Barack was born in 1961, Sadaam didn’t participate in the coup until 1968 and didn’t lead Iraq until 1979. The only connection Senator Obama has to the Hussein name is his father, who was an absentee father.
The people of Africa are prominently featured in the crosshairs of Mr. Carroll’s attack. He is outraged about how the media has covered the genocide tragedy in Darfur, but he failed to mention that Senator Obama cosponsored the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act in May 2008. In 2007, The Genocide Intervention Network assigned Senator Obama a grade of A based on voting records, bill sponsorship and other activities related to ending the genocide in Darfur. I am outraged that Mr. Carroll, this so-called man of faith would try to link the media’s reporting “failures” to Obama’s middle name “controversy” while ignoring the work this Senator has already done on behalf of the people of Darfur! I agree with Mr. Carroll that “ethnic cleansing” is a horrible euphemism for genocide, but I find his description to be transparent and disturbing: “Muslims killing non-Muslims”. He doesn’t seem to be outraged that genocide was called ethnic cleansing when Muslims were being killed in Bosnia or Georgians in Abkhazia. As a purported man of faith, shouldn’t he be upset when any innocent people are killed?
While the atrocities in Darfur are apparent, there are even greater catastrophes that devastate the continent everyday. Every 15 seconds, a child dies from a disease connected to the lack of access to clean water. 16,000 lives are lost per day as a consequence of TB, Malaria, and HIV/AIDS. These factors combined with crushing personal and systemic poverty have created volatile conflicts within the continent. In September of 2000, The United States joined 188 countries in a commitment to the United Nations Millennium Declaration to combat the economic arm of these problems worldwide. In 2005, George W. Bush and other leaders of G8 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, The United Kingdom and The United States of America) pledged 50 billion dollars in aid. During his 2008 State of the Union Address, President Bush called for an additional 30 billion dollars in American aid over the next five years to combat the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. It’s not money for Muslim extremists in Africa, it’s money for people that are being ravaged by hunger, thirst, and disease. Unfortunately, as with many political promises on both sides, the follow through is missing. As of 2007, only ten percent of the relief money promised by the G8 countries had actually been released. Senator Obama’s stated commitment to African aid is an increase of funding from 25 billion to 50 billion dollars to help fulfill our commitment and achieve the goals of the Millennium Declaration. The numbers Mr. Carroll uses are astronomical even when discussing the world’s commitment to stop the devastation in Africa. To be sure, that is an astounding commitment of resources, but how does it compare to the 2 trillion dollars Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates the United States will spend on the war in Iraq? While we have suffered terrible losses there, they are nowhere close to 16,000 lives lost per day in Africa to disease alone.
Even if the situation in Africa was not so dire, there is another important reason not to demonize countries that we disagree with on ideological terms. The RAND Corporation is a Washington research group that reports on issues of national and global policy. In a recent report on Terrorism and Homeland Security, they quoted al Qa’ida expert Peter Bergin, “Making a world of enemies is never a winning strategy.” The report goes on to explain that a majority of world terrorist organizations tracked since 1968 have ended by being absorbed into the political process or through the diligence of local policing efforts. Military force has not been a successful factor in either stopping a terrorist organization, or for that organization to achieve its goals. International diplomacy has a significantly better track record in achieving results for all concerned parties.
The stakes are high in this election year and so is the rhetoric. When Rich Carroll suggests that Senator Obama has “zero interest in traditional American values” that should raise some concern that this man may be prone to hyperbole. Consider these rankings for Sen. Obama by various voting groups:
2006 The Children's Defense Fund gave Obama a rating of 100 percent.
2007 The American Academy of Family Physicians gave Obama a rating of 100 percent.
2007 The Association of University Centers on Disabilites gave Obama a rating of 100 percent.
2006 The American Public Health Association gave Obama a rating of 100 percent.
2006 The American Academy of Emergency Medicine gave Obama a rating of 100 percent.
2006 The American Nurses Association gave Obama a rating of 100 percent.
2006 Disabled American Veterans gave Obama a rating of 80 percent.
2006 The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave Obama a grade of B+.
2007 The National Education Association gave Senator Obama a grade of A.
2007 The Association For Supervision and Curriculum Development gave Obama a rating of 100 percent.
2007 The National Association for College Admission Counseling gave Obama a rating of 100 percent.
2007 The Alliance for Retired Americans gave Obama a rating of 100 percent.
2006 Business and Professional Women USA gave Obama a rating of 100 percent.
2006 Federally Employed Women gave Obama a rating of 100 percent.
2007 The League of Women Voters's gave Obama a rating of 100 percent.
2007 The Utility Workers Union of America gave Obama a rating of 100 percent.
2007 The AFL-CIO gave Obama a rating of 100 percent..
2008 Citizens for Global Solutions gave Senator Obama a grade of A.
2008 Environment America gave Obama a rating of 90 percent.
2006 The American Wind Energy Association gave Obama a rating of 100 percent.
2006 The League of Conservation Voters 100 percent in 2006.
2007 The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights gave Obama a rating of 85 percent.
These ratings were based on voting records of Senator Obama tracked by the nonpartisan group votesmart.org if you click on the groups above, you should be able to see their rankings for all Senators in Congress. Certainly these groups have agendas, just like all people have things they want from their government, but surely some of the views of all Americans can be found somewhere in the organizations listed above. It is tough, maybe impossible, to find sources that are unbiased these days. It is our duty as Americans to be an educated electorate and to be critical when a sweeping claim like “he’s the most liberal member of Congress” is levied against a candidate by people like longtime Republican stalwarts Karl Rove and Pat Buchanan. One of the outlets distributing that “information” is the National Journal Group, an organization that claims on its website that it “is uniquely positioned to help corporations, trade associations, and advocacy groups reach Washington's decision makers.” I don’t know about you, but I think corporations, special interest groups, and their money have been reaching the candidates far too long. If we don’t stop listening to and repeating mindless attacks, we will continue to be a hopelessly divided nation focusing on our differences instead of concentrating on our common strengths with a will to move forward.
I thank you for your time.
I don't even know where to start
A veteran - whether active duty, retired, National Guard or Reserve - is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America" for an amount of "up to and including my life." That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand that - Author unknown