For the first time in history, we have been a part of an historic contest between a woman and a man of African extraction to represent a major party in the race for the presidency of the United States. By a narrow margin, the Democratic party has chosen a man of mixed race to represent them in the general election. The test for the nation is now whether that man or the white hero of a former war, after years of additional service in the senior body of our government, should be chosen to direct the future progress of our nation into the future and, in a sense, to guide the process of bringing the world together in a spirit of common humanity.
There are many problems to be addressed in the coming months and the criteria with which we make our decisions are critical to the future of the entire world. Should we continue our occupation of a Middle Eastern state and threaten others with invasions if they are unaccepting of our edicts? Should we continue the current economic pattern of allowing the extremely wealthy to make their own rules and to reap the benefits of unscrupulous and excessive wealth to the detriment of the common folk, the poor, the disabled, and the elderly? Should we continue to pour trillions of dollars into the effort to subjugate a people of a different race and religion while neglecting the very real needs of the soldiers who are the real victims of this effort?
And, first and foremost, we must search our souls in the making of that decision in order to be sure that we are using the proper yardstick in measuring what out final decision should be. It is already a given that the Democratic candidate will be subjected to the worst possible form of racial discrimination that the evil minds of unrepentant bigots will be able to devise. It began during the primary season with the forwarded e-mails which branded Senator Obama as a Muslim and pointed out that his middle name is one that was shared by the tyrant of Iraq whom we were taught, (wrongly, as it turned out), to hate as an instrument of the devil himself.
In the few days since the primary count ended, the internet is hopping with transmissions reputed to be of the Senator Obama's family tree and their connections with scurrilous African leaders. Soon we will be led to believe that we know everything about every facet of this man's life which can be creatively construed to be derogatory all the way back to and including his toilet training. One would think that Senator McCain would show a bit of sympathy for his opponent since he was himself the victim of such "swift-boating" attacks in previous elections but I believe we will find him silent on the subject.
But there is an ulterior motive in this effort. The purpose of trying to find any acceptable reason for the citizens to vote against this man is to allow cover for those who will not vote for him anyway, though for reasons they would refuse to admit. You see, it had become politically incorrect for anyone to admit to that most basic and deplorable motive that is and has been at the base of the opposition to the nomination of Senator Obama. That motive is bigotry, a sin which every modern-day American will deny ever feeling.
We are the epitome of equal rights! The Shining City On The Hill! The example of democracy for the civilzed world! It is time to put up or shut up! The world is waiting to see if our deeds are equal to our words this time. We WILL be receiving e-mails with propaganda which will try to discourage us from voting for a candidate not based on his own character and actions but which will urge us to use other excuses to justify our own mistrust of one whose skin is a darker shade of tan than our own.
There is little that can be done to stop the dissemination of these outright lies and, truth be told, we would not want to since, as internet bloggers and writers, we want the internet to remain free. However, we can immediately delete those that we receive or, better yet, return them to sender with a few well-chosen words of truth. While many people will dutifully forward these messages to everyone on their mailing list without thinking, we must be vigilant, knowing full well that, at the same time, this campaign of slander is taking place, the Republican candidate will be trying to score on the fear factor which would have us believe that Iraq is still as dangerous as we were led to believe it was before the invasion and before we learned that it was based on carefully-nurtured lies..
This is one small thing that we can do to fight back. Let the warmongers know that the American people are onto them and will not be swayed by their racial ethnocentric fear tactics but will make up our own minds based on the expressions of intentions from the candidates themselves. We must remain in control and make these decisions based on our own and our nation's future well-being and not on the familiar tenets of fear and racial and religious distrust that have been fostered by the Bush adminstration. If we do not speak up as individuals, there will be no changes in the path of the nation
Yes it is time to put up or shut up, to stand up and speak up and let the opposition know that we will not tolerate their underhanded methods of spreading lies and mis-statements regarding any one of the candidates and that the time is past when they can do so with impunity and without retaliation. Now, those of us who believe in the free exercise of democracy can make it known that we have had enough of the threats and fear mongering of the ultra-right and that we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more! It's the least we can do on behalf of our own freedoms and our future.
The author is a very "with-it" old lady who aspires to bring a bit of truth, justice, and common sense to a nation that has lost touch with its humanity in the search for "societal perfection".