By now most of you know the horrifying story of Gato, the cat who belonged to Jake Burris, campaign manager for the Ken Aden for Congress campaign in Arkansas. Sunday night, Jake and his young children found Gato brutally slaughtered on their front porch, the word "LIBERAL" written across her body. Well, since we broke the story on Blue Arkansas yesterday it has attracted national attention, and now as a friend of Ken's and Jake's I'm asking all of you to help us send a message loud and clear that this kind of terrorism and intimidation will not be tolerated, in Arkansas or anywhere else in the country.
Today, we starteda money bomb for Ken's campaign. Neither Ken nor his staff have any idea that we're doing this, and we're hoping to give them a nice little surprise over the next few days by showing them a groundswell of support in the face of this terrible act. We want to send a message to the person who did this and anyone else who would do such a gruesome thing-acts of violence will not intimidate us and will not defeat us. It will only band us together and strengthen our resolve.
This is about something more than politics than usual. Imagine if we let this go unanswered. Imagine if we respond with timidity. All that does is send the message that this is how you get results and will only embolden people who may do this sort of thing or worse in the future. But if we show today that this kind of evil will not go unanswered and that it will be counterproductive, then we can show that compassion and hope will always triumph over hatred and fear.
Ken Aden is someone I'm sure a lot of you had never heard of before yesterday. Well he's become a good friend of mine since I met him before he launched this campaign, back when he was a community organizor returned from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, running his own nonprofit and fighting hunger in some of the poorest places in Arkansas. When he called me and told me he was going to do this in a really tough district my exact words were "Ken, let me sit down...Now you're doing what?" Since then I've seen him do a campaign to get toys to kids in the district who wouldn't have had a Christmas otherwise. I saw him organize a resume building workshop for a community suffering job losses. (Jake Burris, who has handled job interviews for three different companies, played the role of mock interviewer in those.) I've seen him working tirelessy, knocking on every door and shaking every hand he could, and I've seen it starting to pay off.
There was a house party for Ken in Bentonville, one of the most conservative areas of Arkansas...and that's saying something. There was a man there, a Republican who according to his neighbor always listened to Limbaugh and Hannity. He heckled Ken endlessly, and Ken couldn't have been more polite and charming. He didn't pander to this man. He didn't argue with him or try to dodge his questions. He treated him with respect and kindness. "Do you at least agree with me that too many politicans are bought by corporations?" he asked him. The man agreed. "Then you should vote for me." And he's right. Ken went to Washington when he first announced his campaign to scope out the scene and attended a function where lobbyists were running around making deals with people who hadn't even been elected yet. Ken sat there with his back against the wall drinking their booze and kind of sneering at what was going on. Whenever one of those lobbyists would come up to him and offer their card, he'd hand it right back to them and tell them thanks but no thanks. After he told that story, that conservative Republican walked right up to him and handed him five dollars, told him he was the "right man in the wrong party" and promised to vote for him...this after having already argued with Ken about unions, gay rights, you name it with Ken not budging an inch on his principles.
What was done to Ken's campaign manager and his family was inexcusable. We as Americans can't let this kind of thing go unanswered anymore. Enough is enough. Let's send the damn message.