Concerning the controversy over the comments made by Barack Obama’s pastor, I don’t fear a president with the tolerance to listen to someone he disagrees with—I fear a president lacking that tolerance. Many of the problems we now face as a nation result from a chief executive intellectually handicapped by his decision to surround himself with like-thinkers.
Over the years, the political tirades at the Trinity United Church of Christ were far outnumbered by the hours and hours of worship, prayer, gospel readings, Christian fellowship and community outreach. How ironic [that], while Mr. Obama’s opponents conduct a whispering campaign claiming he is a Muslim, they are at the same time condemning him for the Christian church he chose to attend for almost 20 years. That makes about as much sense to me as a “United We Stand” sticker sharing space on a bumper with the Confederate flag.
Next time the newscasters and pundits hand us lighted torches and send us storming to burn down someone’s gate, step back and give pause. They don’t look to us to write their paychecks or advance their careers; the major news outlets are owned by corporate conglomerates, and the public interest has taken a back seat to their best interests and bottom lines. Crosscheck the facts from different sources. When a sound bite saturates the media, find the original source and listen to or read enough of it to understand the context.
Sometimes fact-checking doesn’t require research, just common sense. What kind of anti-American fights for and successfully passes legislation to help neglected veterans, works to secure rogue nuclear weapons to keep them out of the hands of terrorists, helps draft a measure that allows every American to go online and see how and where every dime of their tax dollars is spent?
Barack Obama urges us to step outside of the partisan boxes we’ve been herded into, so that we can tackle the problems we share—not as Republicans or Democrats fighting one another, but as Americans working together. The central core of his campaign encourages us to get involved, not just in the election, but in our democracy after the election is over. I can’t think of anything more American.
— Sue Wille