I am an associate attorney in a small firm. I've known since I started working there a few months ago that one of my partners (I'll call him "Ted") is a Republican. This weekend I found out that Ted mainlines the KoolAid. I write this diary as a request for advice on how to deal with the political and ideological gap between us... perhaps you've had a similar experience and have some guidance?
Last Friday I received an e-mail from Ted... "Now this is how to use requests for admission" he wrote above a forwarded chain e-mail about Philip J. Berg's wingnut Federal lawsuit against Howard Dean, the DNC, and Barack Obama alleging Mr. Obama is not a U.S. Citizen. Before the court had ruled on the defendants' well-founded motion to dismiss, Mr. Berg submitted requests for admission to Mr. Obama. Some of the requests included...
Admit you were born in Kenya.
Admit you are a Kenya "natural born" citizen.
Admit your foreign birth was registered in the State of Hawaii.
Admit your father, Barrack Hussein Obama, Sr., admitted Paternity of you.
Admit your mother gave birth to you in Mombosa, Kenya.
Admit your mother’s maiden name is Stanley Ann Dunham a/k/a Ann Dunham.
Admit the COLB [Certification of Live Birth] posted on the website "Fightthesmears.com" is a forgery.
Admit you were adopted by a Foreign Citizen.
Admit you were adopted by Lolo Soetoro, M.A. a citizen of Indonesia.
Admit you were not born in Hawaii.
Admit you are a citizen of Indonesia.
Admit you never took the "Oath of Allegiance" to regain your U.S. Citizenship status.
Admit you are not a "natural born" United States citizen.
Admit your senior campaign staff is aware you are not a "natural born" United States Citizen.
Admit the United States Constitution does not allow for a Person to hold the office of President of the United States unless that person is a "natural born" United States citizen.
Admit you are ineligible pursuant to the United States Constitution to serve as President and/or Vice President of the United States.
I thought Ted was joking, and sent him "ha ha" reply. Of course he knew this conspiracy theory had long ago been debunked, right?... nope. Ted confronted me on the way out the door at the end of the day and told me that there were a lot of people who "knew about the real Barack Obama" and that I was blind to the threat he posed... Mr. Obama was visiting Hawaii, not to visit his sick grandmother, but to "deal with his citizenship problem."
I think my jaw hit the floor, but as diplomatically as I could I fought through my offense and tried to remind him of how easy it is to file a lawsuit and that just because one had been filed, didn't mean it had any merit. "Obama and McCain both think that they are the right person to help this country weather a tough period, they just disagree on how to do it," I offered, "I hope we can at least agree on that." He wouldn't.
I had to leave it there to pick up my son at daycare. I thought my brush with wingnutville was over until Monday... wrong again.
Today I received a short e-mail from Ted... "You have to see this." With a single link... I forced myself to watch the entire thing so that I could tell him I had... That doesn't mean you have to...
In case you don't want to watch it, it is a video of a sermon by a black preacher who refers to Obama as a N****r AND white trash AND "Tarzan." It is clearly a sermon meant to inspire the deep hate for, and fear of, Barack Obama, and Ted had swollowed it hook, line, and sinker.
I was dumbstruck... and when I recovered by faculties I could not help but respond. I don't know whether it was the smartest thing to do, but this is the note I sent him:
I feel that I have to respond... please know that I am not trying to foment discord or attack your beliefs...
I have listened to the entire sermon... Again... we will have to agree to disagree... The pastor clearly did not read Obama's books. He implies that Obama does not honor his mother in his books or in his public life... that is BS... Here is a quote from the Preface to "Dreams of My Father":
"...Most of the characters in this book remain a part of my life, albeit in varying degrees -- a function of work, children, geography, and turns of fate.
The exception is my mother, whom we lost, with a brutal swiftness, to cancer a few months after this book was published.
She had spent the previous ten years doing what she loved. She traveled the world, working in the distant villages of Asia and Africa, helping women buy a sewing machine or a milk cow or an education that might give them a foothold in the world's economy. She gathered friends from high and low, took long walks, stared at the moon, and foraged through the local markets of Delhi or Marrakesh for some trifle, a scarf or stone carving that would make her laugh or please the eye. She wrote reports, read novels, pestered her children, and dreamed of grandchildren.
We saw each other frequently, our bond unbroken. During the writing of this book, she would read the drafts, correcting stories that I had misunderstood, careful not to comment on my characterizations of her but quick to explain or defend the less flattering aspects of my father's character. She managed her illness with grace and good humor, and she helped my sister and me push on with our lives, despite our dread, our denials, our sudden constrictions of the heart.
I think sometimes that had I known she would not survive her illness, I might have written a different book -- less a meditation on the absent parent, more a celebration of the one who was the single constant in my life. In my daughters I see her every day, her joy, her capacity for wonder. I won't try to describe how deeply I mourn her passing still. I know that she was the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known, and that what is best in me I owe to her."
There are politicians that still want to do good with the power the People give them - they are that way because of how they were raised... and I think Barack Obama is one of them. I certainly don't think he is perfect, but I am confident that he wants what is best for this Counrty and its people. While I know that you will not vote for the guy, I hope that you are at least open to the possibility that the people that do vote for him are not completely insane (I truly hoped for the best when George W. Bush was elected even though I voted against him). That's how democracy works... the people agree to carry on as normal even if their guy loses because they know if the winner screws up there will be another election soon.
I have been lucky enough to attend churches where the pators and parishiners strove to create places of hope and love, not fear and hate. I truly think that this preacher is taking Jesus' name in vain when he invokes it to give weight to what is otherwise a racist and fear-filled rant (yes you can be racist even if you're black). Also, the pastor in several sections simply lies (e.g. Rezko did not "buy Obama a $1.6M house" the truth is available here... http://www.factcheck.org/...).
As to Barack Obama's citizenship I would ask that you read the non-partisan FactCheck.org page on the issue... It shows that, absent a 40+ year international conspiracy to put Mr. Obama at the cusp of becomming the most powerful man on the planet when he wasn't constitutionally eligible, Mr. Berg's lawsuit was frivilous. http://www.factcheck.org/...
I write this not to start (or continue) an argument... I really just want you to know that my support of Mr. Obama is the result of much research and thought. I send it with the utmost respect and hope that we can move on to arguing about whether supply-side economics is hopelessly flawed (voodoo economics as George H. W. Bush called it).
Anyway, thanks for the engaging political discussions... See you tomorrow.
Writing that may have been stupid... but I wasn't thinking clearly... I have only one question for you... What do I do now?