Saturday, July 26, 2008

My baloney has a middle name...

I just sent an email to a friend asking him to take me off his email list. He’s one of those people who sends out a lot of political emails, which is all fine and well, as I love a good political debate, but this particular guy is always sending emails that espouse ideas that to me, are very un-American.

The email started off nicely. It was a story that illustrated John McCain’s strong feelings about the pledge of allegiance. It talked about his time as a POW and what a friend of his endured so that those honorable men with him could pledge their allegiance and remind themselves why it was they were made to suffer.

It was a moving and poignant account. I really enjoyed it and I agreed with the message. The flag, as a symbol of our country, our Pledge, our Anthem, those things are sacred to us as Americans—or should be.

I’m on board with that. I’m all for it. Good story! Good send! Thanks for thinking of me and copying me on this buddy!

Then I read on.

Instead of just leaving off with a positive message about McCain, the originator of this email felt the need to sling propaganda and hate.

I got to read about Barrack “Hussein” Obama (YES!!! THAT’S REALLY HIS NAME!!!!!) and how he’d just as soon piss on the flag as salute it, how he refuses to wear a flag pin—blah, blah, blah.

It went on and on. It was all divisive. It was all geared toward an ignorant audience. It was all geared to induce hatred. It was narrow-minded. It wasn’t about the issues, it was about propagating stereotypes and mistrust based on a person’s heritage.

This isn’t the first email like this I’ve received from this guy. I asked him once before not to send me emails that included messages of hatred. I sent another one just now.

I have enough reasons to be sad for this country without the people in my life who I consider friends adding to that depression.

I don’t think the friend in question is a hateful person. I know he’s conservative in his politics and right wing in his affiliations. I know he’s voting for McCain. That’s fine. I think he sent this message to me because of the positive message, not the negative one, but that fact remains, when you forward a message like that, you are responsible for all of it—not just the parts you like or believe.

I’m not going to elect my next President based on that which some want me to fear. I’m not afraid of a man with the middle name of Hussein being the leader of this country. He had as much choice in his own middle name as I did. I’m sure if his parents had known he would be running for president some day, they’d have named him Barrack Ralph Obama.

I’m not afraid of man with brown skin being my president. I’m not afraid of a man who’s Muslim (which Obama is not) being my president. I’ll go ahead and measure the worth of a man by that man’s ideas and actions instead of the preconceived notions some may have about him.

There was a time when Irish-Americans were the most despised people in our country. That’s a part of my own heritage. We were mistrusted. We were ridiculed. We were treated like a lower class of people.

Time changed that perception. John F. Kennedy never would have been president if it hadn’t.

Stereotypes and ignorance aren’t new to this country. In fact, they are as ingrained as baseball and apple pie. We just keep changing the target. It’s easy to pick on the new guy, the minority, those not yet established.

And in today’s charged climate, it’s easy to pick on a guy for having a middle name that reminds us of an evil dictator. As if his name makes them alike, so I should pledge my allegiance to his opponent.

Ah, but we come full circle to that silly little pledge, the subject of all of this rhetoric in the first place, you see it promises, “liberty and justice for ALL.”

The originator of that email must think that means “all who are like himself.” I know better. I pledge allegiance to that flag based on the acceptance it symbolizes.

I bet those words really mean something to John McCain. I bet he really takes those words to heart, especially after reading the story of his harrowing time in a POW camp and what it meant to be able to say those words with his brothers-in-arms every day.

How sad that a hero should be so thoroughly disgraced by a supporter who obviously waves a flag and says the words, but never thought to measure his own hypocrisy against them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The period leading up to the election has me turning off and maybe that is simply my ignorance, or maybe it is just that it doesn't carry the same meaning for me as a candidate here would.
I had a lengthy wait in a doctor's office recently, the only magazines of value were TIME. I read some very different and interesting articles on Obama- things that haven't made the headlines here. I was impressed at how the reporting didn't have a spin, not even a slant.
I read something recently on another blog, much the same as your email, seems some gullible people really buy into it.