Friday, October 17, 2008

Response to a forwarded e-mail

You may have received, or seen elsewhere, a letter from Joe Porter, of Champaign, Illinois, about Mr. McCain's qualifications, and Mr. Obama's lack of qualification, for the Presidency. The entire letter, as I received it, is reproduced below along with my comments.

(Forwards and email addresses deleted.)

I disagree.

A proper self thinker would not have included a reference to Obama's "Muslim background".

There are plenty of "self thinkers" who favor Obama over McCain.

An impassioned letter from a 'nobody'. But he gives his telephone number at the end.
No, he doesn't.

Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 3:19 PM
Subject: FW: A letter from Ilinois

Dear Friends:

My name is Joe Porter. I live in Champaign, Illinois. I'm 46 years old, a born-again Christian, a husband, a father, a small business owner, a veteran, and a homeowner. I don't consider myself to be either conservative or liberal, and I vote for the person, not Republican or Democrat. I don't believe there are 'two Americas ' but that every person in this country can be whomever and whatever they want to be if they'll just work to get there and nowhere else on earth can they find such opportunities. I believe our government should help those who are legitimately downtrodden, and should always put the interests of America first.
Joe Porter sounds like a nice guy. We seem to have a lot in common. Husband, father, homeowner, veteran, neither conservative or liberal. Neither Republican or Democrat. Good stuff. Me too. But Mr. Porter doesn't believe there are 'two Americas'. He's mistaken. Look around you, self-thinkers!

The purpose of this message is that I'm concerned about the future of this great nation. I'm worried that the silent majority of honest, hard-working, tax-paying people in this country have been passive for too long. Most folks I know choose not to involve themselves in politics. They go about their daily lives, paying their bills, raising their kids, and doing what they can to maintain the good life. They vote and consider doing so to be a sacred trust. They shake their heads at the political pundits and so-called 'news', thinking that what they hear is always spun by whomever is reporting it. They can't understand how elected officials can regularly violate the public trust with pork barrel spending. They don't want government handouts. They want the government to protect them, not raise their taxes for more government programs.
I can go along with that.

We are in the unique position in this country of electing our leaders. It's a privilege to do so. I've never found a candidate in any election with whom I agreed on everything. I'll wager that most of us don't even agree with our families or spouses 100% of the time. So when I step into that voting booth, I always try to look at the big picture and cast my vote for the man or woman who is best qualified for the job. I've hired a lot of people in my lifetime, and essentially that's what an election is - a hiring process. Who has the credentials? Whom do I want working for me? Whom can I trust to do the job right?
I can go along with that, too, except that this year I'm looking more at the party than the individuals running for office.

I'm concerned that a growing number of voters in this country simply don't get it. They are caught up in a fervor they can't explain, and calling it 'change'.
'Change what?', I ask.
'Well, we're going to change America', they say.
'In what way?', I query.
'We want someone new and fresh in= the White House', they exclaim.
'So, someone who's not a politician?', I say.
'Uh, well, no, we just want a lot of stuff changed, so we're voting for Obama', they state.
'So the current system, the system of freedom and democracy that has enabled a man to grow up in this great country, get a fine education, raise incredible amounts of money and dominate the news, and win his party's nomination for the White House, that system's all wrong?'
'No, no, that part of the system's okay we just need a lot of change.'

And so it goes. 'Change we can believe in.'
If Mr. Porter says the dialog above characterizes his experiences, then I guess it does. What it does not do, though, is reduce the certainty that a lot of change is required on fronts as diverse as health care, foreign policy, energy policy, education, regulation, law enforcement, trade agreements, civil rights and on and on.

Quite frankly, I don't believe that vague proclamations of change hold any promise for me. In recent months, I've been asking virtually everyone I encounter how they're voting. I live in Illinois, so most folks tell me they're voting for Barack Obama. But no one can really tell me why only that he's going to change a lot of stuff 'Change, change, change.' I have yet to find one single person who can tell me distinctly and convincingly why this man is qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful nation on earth other than the fact that he claims he's going to implement a lot of change.
I share Mr. Porter's apparent disdain for the phrase, "Change we can believe in," but pointing out that people in your circle can't verbalize specifics doesn't discredit the candidate.

We've all seen the emails about Obama's genealogy, his upbringing, his Muslim background, and his church affiliations. Let's ignore this for a moment. Put it all aside. Then ask yourself, 'What qualifies this man to be my president? That he's a brilliant orator and talks about change?'
Obama's genealogy is irrelevant unless you're a racist. That he turned out OK as a result of his particular upbrining is evident. Obama is a Christian, not a Muslim, and any reference to "his Muslim background" discredits the author. Obama's church affiliations are pretty tame and less objectionable than Mr. McCain's courting of the sort of "agents of intolerance" he rightly criticized in times past.


Friends, I'll be forthright with you I believe the American voters who are supporting Barack Obama don't have a clue what they're doing, as evidenced by the fact that not one of them - NOT ONE of them I've spoken to can spell out his qualifications. Not even the most liberal media can explain why he should be elected. Political experience? Negligible. Foreign relations? Non-existent. Achievements? Name one. Someone who wants to unite the country? If you haven't read his wife's thesis from Princeton, look it up on the web. This is who's lining up to be our next First Lady? The only thing I can glean from Obama's constant harping about change is that we're in for a lot of new taxes.
Not one can spell out Obama's qualifications? Come on now. Even if that assertion is true in Mr. Porter's experience, that the people Mr. Porter talks to can't satisfy him says nothing about the candidate.

Michelle Obama is an impressive woman, and she's going to make a fine First Lady.

For me, the choice is clear. I've looked carefully at the two leading applicants for the job, and I've made my choice.
So have I.

Here's a question - 'Where were you five and a half years ago? Around Christmas, 2002. You've had five or six birthdays in that time. My son has grown from a sixth grade child to a high school graduate. Five and a half years is a good chunk of time. About 2,000 days. 2,000 nights of sleep. 6,000 meals, give or take.'

John McCain spent that amount of time, from 1967 to 1973, in a North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp.

When offered early release, he refused it. He considered this offer to be a public relations stunt by his captors, and insisted that those held longer than he should be released first. Did you get that part? He was offered his freedom, and he turned it down. A regimen of beatings and torture began.

Do you possess such strength of character? Locked in a filthy cell in a foreign country, would you turn down your own freedom in favor of your fellow man? I submit that's a quality of character that is rarely found, and for me, this singular act defines John McCain.
Senator McCain's military record, though admirable, does not constitute qualification for the Presidency. It's just one factor among many.

Unlike several presidential candidates in recent years whose military service is questionable or non-existent, you will not find anyone to denigrate the integrity and moral courage of this man. A graduate of Annapolis, during his Naval service he received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross. His own son is now serving in the Marine Corps in Iraq . Barack Obama is fond of saying 'We honor John McCain's service...BUT...', which to me is condescending and offensive - because what I hear is, 'Let's forget this man's sacrifice for his country, and his proven leadership abilities, and talk some more about change.'
No, it is not condescending, not offensive, to acknowledge Mr. McCain's military service then move on to any number of other issues that require attention. Hero worship is not a good way to pick a President.

I don't agree with John McCain on everything - but I am utterly convinced that he is qualified to be our next President, and I trust him to do what's right. I know in my heart that he has the best interests of our country in mind. He doesn't simply want to be President - he wants to lead America, and there's a huge difference. Factually, there is simply no comparison between the two candidates. A man of questionable background and motives who prattles on about change, can't hold a candle to a man who has devoted his life in public service to this nation, retiring from the Navy in 1981 and elected to the Senate in 1982.
Questionable background and motives? Like Obama's being a Muslim, right? Insinuation discredits the author.

Perhaps Obama's supporters are taking a stance between old and new. Maybe they don't care about McCain's service or his strength of character, or his unblemished qualifications to be President. Maybe 'likeability' is a higher priority for them than 'trust'. Being a prisoner of war is not what qualifies John McCain to be President of the United States of America - but his demonstrated leadership certainly DOES.
I appreciated Senator McCain's leadership in the Gang of 12 effort to break a deadlock over judicial nominees. I appreciated his initial stand on torture, but not so much the wafle that followed. I did not care at all for his involvement in the Keating business. I most certainly do not approve of his choice of running mate, and I don't like his social conservatism.

I don't trust a McCain administration to respect my civil rights. I expect a McCain administration to further the tendency to authoritarianism. I don't trust him to honor his debate pledge to end federal programs that don't work; rather, I'm confident that a McCain administration will, for example, stay the course in the War on Some Drugs in deference to the prison cop complex.

I don't trust him to make good judicial nominations. During the debate last night McCain said he would have no litmus test for federal judges, but then went on to say that a judge who thinks Roe was correctly decided wouldn't make the grade because he wouldn't be a strict constructionist.

I don't trust McCain when he protests that he is not George Bush; instead, I expect a McCain administration to be a continuation of the Bush administration.

Mr. McCain does not have my trust, nor that of the majority that will probably elect Mr. Obama in three weeks.

Dear friends, it is time for us to stand. It is time for thinking Americans to say, 'Enough.' It is time for people of all parties to stop following the party line. It is time for anyone who wants to keep America first, who wants the right man leading their nation, to start a dialogue with all their friends and neighbors and ask who they're voting for, and why.
Speaking of party line, I don't trust a McCain administration to do anything other than toe the Republican party line.

There's a lot of evil in this world. That should be readily apparent to all of us by now. And when faced with that evil as we are now, I want a man who knows the cost of war on his troops and on his citizens. I want a man who puts my family's interests before any foreign country.
I agreed with Mr. McCain at times during the last debate, particularly when part of his answer to the question, "What don't you know and how will you learn it?", was the simple truth that "Nobody knows what will happen."

Nobody knows what will happen, but I'm confident that an Obama administration will bring better qualifications to the office than a McCain administration.

I want a President who's qualified to lead.
Yes, that would be good.

I want my country back, and I'm voting for John McCain.
Phone: 760.434.1395
I want the Republicans out, and I'm voting for Senator Obama.


paulkramer said...

Thank you for your reasoned response. I was nearly as angry as a John McCain when I received this forwarded email today. I'm happy to see a carefully worded and thoughtful response.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear!!

Jim said...

Thank you! Here was my response when I got this today:

Enough of this garbage.

This guy could have nominated John McCain in the republican primary of 2000.

But no -- he bought the Bush camp's evil lies about McCain's "illegitimate black daughter" and nominated George W. Bush.

In the general election, he could have voted for Al Gore, who served in the US House of Representatives for 8 years, the US Senate for 8 years, and was vice president for 8 years during the single greatest economic expansion in US history.

But no -- he'd rather have a beer with George W. Bush.

Four years later, after Bush exploited the tragedy of 9/11 to undermine the Constitution, failed to capture Bin Laden and started the Iraq War -- the most colossal foreign policy blunder in US history -- he could have voted for another Vietnam war hero, John Kerry.

But no -- he bought the evil "Swift Boat" lies and voted again for George W. Bush.

And now he wants us to trust his judgement? Why should we trust him with anything?

"I want my country back"? Ronald Hess and the Republican Party have had the damn country for 8 years and have screwed it up in so many ways I can't begin to count them all.

John McCain served his country honorably 40 years ago. Indeed, I once admired him. But now he's a sick, old man who has whored out his principles in a desperate attempt to be elected — bedding down with the same win-at-all-cost sleazebags who slimed him in 2000 — and has named as his running mate an intellectual lightweight and extreme right-wing religious "warrior."

God help us if McCain and the G.O.P. get four more years to turn our country into a theocracy.

The McCain camp is fond of saying, "who is the real Barack Obama"; I ask, who is the real John McCain? I don't recognize this year's model.

And while we're pondering that question, let's also ask: who wrote this e-mail?

He starts off the letter by introducing himself as "Joe Porter" but then signs off as "Ronald Hess."

Ronald Hess is not a man from Illinois. He is from Carlsbad, CA as his phone number indicates. Something fishy here, for sure.

I could go on, but if you are truly a "self-thinker," you will read this thorough, well-reasoned rebuttal:

I am voting for Barack Obama. I hope you do, too.


Anonymous said...

I'll be voting for John McCain. Obama is a Socialist plain and simple. God help our country if he wins. God help us anyway....there are too many American Haters such as yourselves.

Anonymous said...

VOTE AMERICAN________VOTE MCCAIN!!!!!!!!!! How can you say your an American and vote for Barrack Obama? God forgive you.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean "Vote American" both candidates are “American”? Last I checked you have to be an American citizen to run for President.

Anonymous said...

I think you should know the definition of Socialism before you call someone a “socialist”.

Socialism – 1. Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.

This sounds like the George Bush bailout plan that John McCain is so proud of saying would not have been approved without all his hard work. Just today there is an article on about the government not only buying up banks but now they are talking about buying the automobile makers GM & Ford. Now, that is true socialism.