Saturday, October 11, 2008


Sarah Palin, her smile frozen on her face as though she enjoyed what she was doing, stood before a crowd of Republicans and told them that Barack Obama was a pal to a terrorist. "He doesn't look upon America as we do," she said, as though God and her witch pastor had given her insight into Barack Obama's mind.

In the days that followed, this theme continued, with McCain allowing both his vice presidential choice and his wife to stand before the crowds and repeat these accusations, adding new ones as the need arose. Cindy McCain accused Obama of voting against funding for her son in Iraq, forgetting the fact that her husband had voted against a similar bill on funding Iraq just a month before. The dispute was over the placement of a "timetable" in the bill, with Obama voting for it, and McCain voting against. When the timetable was removed from the bill, Obama voted against it and McCain voted for it. Cindy McCain must have known this before she got up to speak.

Thus, actions are twisted and exaggerated in elections and it is up to the voters to sort it all out. But there is no sorting out the reaction of the Republican crowd. "Kill him!" they cried. "String him up!" "Death to all Muslims!" and other choice catcalls. They sounded like a crowd of loyal Nazis at a Third Reich rally, violent and angry and ready to pick up their weapons and shoot!

With Obama a biracial man, with Black skin, John McCain has endangered his life. All it takes is one lunatic to decide it is his duty to obey Sarah Palin's call. We have had many years of this violent behavior, with gunmen shooting innocents in schools, churches and restaurants. We have had terror in our classrooms. We have had terror in the workplace. Now we have a political Candidate working a crowd into an angry froth, shouting out epithets and vowing retaliation, while McCain smiled and allowed it to continue!

Most of us old enough to remember the murder of John Kennedy shudder at the thought of a repeat performance. Many of us are not sure that his murder was not engineered by political forces. It is a dark shadow on our history, and was followed by similar murders of two other men, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. Each time, we are told that these slaughters were accomplished by "lone nuts." Well, if ever a call was sent out for a lone nut to act, it was during the last week of John McCain's campaign!

It is hard to believe that there are people so stupid as to pay attention to this kind of hateful rhetoric. All it would take is a little investigation, perhaps a few minutes with Google, to discover the truth. Obama did, indeed, know a man named William Ayers, a college professor with a checkered past as an activist during the youthful revolt against the Viet Nam War.

I remember this time very well, when the adults sat in silence while the young people went into a time of revolt! Who could blame them? Sixty thousand young lives were wasted in Viet Nam and today, it is a tourist haven! Sixty thousand young men marched off to war and failed to come home! Sixty thousand graves, and the leaders of our government continued to lie. Fed up with the falsehoods of the government leaders and the military tactics, our Youth rebelled. Some of them were violent, and William Ayers fell in with this group. He was leader of the Weathermen, and had a hand in bombing a Federal building. He was later placed on trial, but the court proceedings were halted because it was revealed that Prosecution withheld some vital evidence.

Ayers, freed, went on to obtain an education and became a Professor at the University of Illinois. He became a Community Leader and was selected as a member of a Charity Board. Also serving on this board was a young man named Barack Obama. They became friends and acquaintances, and it is doubtful that Obama even knew of Ayers' past misdeeds. Ayers hosted the first fundraiser for Obama's political career. Obama admits that, somewhere in this time, he learned of Ayers' reprehensible past, but considered him rehabilitated. Obama himself was a Professor at the University of Illinois, so the two were fellow employees as well.

I doubt if any politician in Chicago has not rubbed shoulders with those who have pasts that leave much to be desired. In fact, political life anywhere seems to attract a variety of people, and Chicago is known to have had a very violent history, with mobsters and criminals of all sorts. However, William Ayers strikes me as a man who has left his past behind him and has tried to manage his life well. If every criminal in our prisons today served their sentences and came out to be college professors, doctors, lawyers, scientists, economic experts.....should we flay them or cheer them? Is punishment the goal, or is it rehabilitation? I think I would choose the latter.

I remember the first time I ever saw a Black man. He came to the Farm to do some business with my father. I looked out my upstairs window and saw him, this fascinating creature with such dark skin. It amazed me. I was mesmerized. Since my father never allowed a guest to leave our property without eating something, the Black man was soon ensconced in a kitchen chair, with my father opposite him. I sat in a chair in the corner and stared at our visitor, electrified by this strange-looking fellow. He turned to look at me and smiled. His teeth were so white it was like a sudden flash of lightening.

When our guest had eaten, he thanked my mother profusely and walked to his car, my father saw him out, then came back into the house.

"Gee, Pop," I said! "That sure was a black man!"

Pop said nothing for a few seconds, then he turned to look at me. "That was a man," he said, then left the room to sit in his chair with his pipe. It took me years and years to understand what he had told me. I had no understanding of the bigotry in the world, but in those four words, my father was telling me that skin color is not the measure of a man.

So, with just a few days left before this election, I suppose we can look forward to more of the same. The last two elections have reeked of suspicious behavior, with machines that mark a vote for Bush if you punched in Kerry, with minorities accused of being felons whether or not they were or not, and with long lines standing in the rain in the poorer districts, while the rich folks got voting machines to spare. The 2000 election is still disputed, with the Supreme Court voting along partisan lines to halt the recounting of the ballots in highly populated counties.

Did you ever wonder what our lives would be like if Al Gore had been selected as winner? Just think, we could have freely and easily asked for French Fries. We could have bought a Dixie Chick tape without guilt. We could have supported our troops in Afghanistan, because the War in Iraq would have never taken place. We could have lived in a land with a balanced budget. We would never have borrowed a dime from China. That ten story boat, loaded with Chinese products, would have had to find a different port.

Things would be so different, it almost makes one weep with nostalgia, remembering what our country used to be. That was before Cotton Mather and his crowd came to weed out the witches, put the Ten Commandments in every courthouse, then proceed to ignore every one of them. That was before the radical, warloving, spendthrift rabblerousers took control! That was before George W. Bush! God help us, we DO need change!