Thursday, February 28, 2008

Myths and Facts about Barack Hussein Obama

Most of the people I work with everyday can be described as over 50, white, conservative Republicans.

Being the minority in an environment (although I actually do consider myself a moderate-conservative), gives me the opportunity to be a fly on the wall and listen and observe how others think.

I couldn't help but overhear one water-cooler conversation regarding Barack Obama..

"He hides it from the general public, but he grew up Muslim in this radical terrorist camp."

I couldn't help but shake my head in disbelief. I've read Obama's book, 'Dreams of My Father' and I knew this to be completely false. But just before I barged into the conversation, to 'enlighten' the participants of what the real truth was, I paused. And I realized that most people believe what they WANT to believe.

But for those who have to deal with similar situations, here's a list (that I didn't compose but gathered from another forum) of common myths about Obama. I'll be sure to update this page, as I'm sure new myths will continue to pop up the closer we get to the election.

Claim: “Why does Obama not participate in saying the ‘Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America’?”

Truth: Obama does participate in saying the Pledge, and has done so throughout his life. The claim is false.

Claim: “Have you or anyone else ever seen Obama with his hand over his heart while the National Anthem is being played?”

Fact: During the Pledge, he recites it with his hand over his heart. During the National Anthem, he sings. The U.S. Code makes it optional: “[W]e spoke with Anne Garside, director of communication for the Maryland Historical Society — home of the original manuscript of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and asked if anyone could be punished for not placing their hands over their hearts during the national anthem. She quickly replied, ‘Oh, of course not,’ adding that ‘there is no obligation to put your hand over your heart.’ Garside told us she has been asked numerous times about this rumor and finds the controversy to have ‘gotten a little bit ridiculous.’”

Claim: “Are you aware that Obama’s middle name is Mohammed?”

Fact: His middle name is “Hussein.”

Claim: To join Obama’s Christian church in Chicago, you “need to be…black.”

Fact: Rush Limbaugh and Fox News have repeated this claim on the air, and it’s false. Martin Marty, a professor of theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School, said last April: “To those in range of Chicago TV I’d recommend a watching of Trinity’s Sunday services, and challenge you to find anything ‘cultic’ or ’sectarian’ about them. More important, for Trinity, being ‘unashamedly black’ does not mean being ‘anti-white.’ My wife and I on occasion attend, and, like all other non-blacks, are enthusiastically welcomed.” He later added that the email “is vicious and lying, and makes my blood boil.”

Claim: Obama is “possibly a covert worshiper of the Muslim faith, even today.”

Fact: This is from the same email that attacks Obama’s Christian church, which seems odd. The smear artists should probably at least read their own emails before sending them out — Obama can’t be a radical Christian and a Muslim at the same time. (He is, of course, neither.)

Claim: Obama “spent two years in a Muslim school” in Indonesia.

Fact: No, he didn’t.

Claim: “Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim while admitting that he was once a Muslim.”

Fact: Obama was never a Muslim, so he has nothing to conceal.

Claim: Obama has “been a US Senator for about 100 days, give or take a week.”

Fact: Obama was elected in 2004, and has served in elected office for 12 years.

Claim: “When [Obama] was sworn into office he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Koran.”

Fact: Actually, that was Rep. Keith Ellison (D) of Minnesota, Congress’ only Muslim. Obama used the Christian Bible, and there’s a picture to prove it.

Claim: Lanny Davis said, "I say that senator Obama's words are contradicted by deeds. He said he would -- he pledged to take public financing as now senator McCain has pledged. He has just reversed that pledge." [Late Edition, 2/17/08]

Fact: Obama Campaign Never Committed To Public Financing in a General Election, But That He Would Pursue a Deal When He Is the Nominee

Obama Campaign Asked the FEC to Determine Whether It Could "Retain the Option" of Accepting Public Financing During the General Election. On February 1, 2007, the Obama campaign asked the FEC to determine whether if "Senator Obama becomes a candidate, he may provisionally raise funds for the general election but retain the option, upon nomination, of returning these contributions and accepting the public funds for which he would be eligible as the Democratic Party's nominee... the Senator would not, if the law allows, rule out the possibility of a publicly funded campaign if both major parties' nominees eventually decide, or even agree, on this course." [Letter to FEC, 2/1/07]

Burton: If The Republican Agreed, Public Financing "Would Be Something We Would Explore." Politico reported, "‘It would be a situation where if the Republican agreed to opt-in to the public financing system, it would be something we would explore,' Burton said." [Politico, 2/27/07]

Burton: "There Is No Pledge."
The AP reported, "Obama spokesman Bill Burton on Thursday called public financing "an option that we wanted on the table," but said "there is no pledge" to take the money and the spending limitations that come with it." [AP, 2/17/08]

Claim: Obama plagiarized a line in one of his speeches from Gov. Deval Patrick

Fact: Gov. Deval Patrick himself says that it was not plagiarism and that the charges were not fair.

Patrick called the comment "not fair" and said, "It's not just about words, it's about great ideas. … These are iconic phrases."

Patrick says an allegation such as plagiarism is too much. "It's not like he's writing a law review article or a book. He should have credited me two words," the governor said.

Patrick and Obama have longstanding ties and similarities. Like Obama, Patrick faced a tough race against a woman, is a fellow Harvard grad and the two are old friends. They even share political adviser David Axelrod.

"I've known Barack 15 years. We've talked a good deal. I fully expected he would sustain a charge at some point, trying to belittle his ability to motivate people. I got the same attack," Patrick said.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Praying for Our President

Believe it or not...I wrote this back in 2004.

Praying for our President

Praying for Our President - Thursday, October 14, 2004

When we were in our Young Adult’s Bible School class this past Sunday, our teacher had us all give an example of our testimony towards God’s goodness that we have had in our lives. We went around our small knit class, (there was about 6 students in class this week) and we all gave a personal account as to how we know God has kept us and blessed us in our lives. The key here is that when we pray, it’s so easy to pray for the blessings that we WANT, but we must never forget to go before the Lord and just tell Him thank you for all the blessings that He has allowed to be a part of our lives.

I was watching the presidential debate last night (between flipping from the Astros-Cardinals game..GO ‘STROS!!) and after the debate, they had Tavis Smiley from NPR/PBS on ABC and Dan Rather (or is it Peter Jennings? I get them confused) asked him a few questions about the debate. Tavis brought up 2 major points. One was that Kerry was the first one to bring up the issue of religion and prayer and openly state his own personal faith during this particular debate. This was quite an oddity, because to date the Democrats had criticized Bush for catering to the religious groups with his frequent references to his spiritual life and being a born again Christian. I say this, because as a Christian living in America, I know that I often give favor and the benefit of the doubt, towards a person who I believe has Christ in their heart over a person who does not believe in God. And as much as Bush has done some things during his term that made me feel that he is very much a part of the spiritual wickedness in high places that Paul says we wrestle against everyday (Eph 6:12), I know that Bush’s strongest backing is still the rich and/or Christian voter.

I guess my core problem with the Bush administration, is that as a black married working class man, with 2 kids living here on the Southside of Houston, Texas, I really don’t feel that the Bush administration really gives a damn about what is going on in the hood. In our communities, with our children. I listen as he touts his policies and all the good things his administration has accomplished, but then I look outside on the streets of the Southside everyday and I see people teetering on the brink of a total depression. A lot of folks don’t have jobs; a lot of folks that have jobs are still living from paycheck to paycheck. They’re one layoff and unemployment benefit denial away from having to go live with relatives or in a shelter. Senior citizens are having to sacrifice things such as running their air conditioner or the quality of their food just so that they can get their prescription medicine that they need. It’s tight out here in George Bush’s America 2004 ya’

Of course, it’s not like George Bush and his administration caused all of the problems that our poor and working class communities are dealing with either. A lot of the problems that we have in the hood are caused by our own laziness, selfishness and neglect. As any true God fearing man will realize, you can’t make anything happen in your life ‘jus chillin’ all day. You’ve got to get up and hustle and strive if you want to make it work, so as dismal as the outlook may be in the working sector of America, that does not excuse lazy hands.

6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer and gathereth her food in the harvest. 9 How long will thou sleep O sluggard? When will thou arise out of thy sleep; 11 So shall thy poverty come as a prowler and they want as an armed man. – Proverbs 6:6-11 KJV

Arise from your slumber O sluggard! You’ve got to get up, get out and DO something. That is every man’s responsibility to his family. At least, that’s how I was raised. Which brings me back to my testimony.

I’ve made reference and spoken of my maternal grandfather here on many times, my Big Daddy, the late Bishop Sam Scott, Sr. This is a man who never matriculated out of grade school, all he knew was work. He had his own plumbing/carpentry business, he was a landlord of several low-income houses in the poor black neighborhoods in El Dorado, Arkansas and he was a bishop that spent many hours on the road traveling to churches throughout Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi preaching. You could say a lot of things about Big Daddy, but NO ONE could call him a sluggard. At Big Daddy’s funeral, 3 of his sons (my uncles) delivered sermons to the congregation. When my uncle Lloyd (Pastor of Eastern Star Baptist Church in Port Arthur Texas, all ya’ll golden triangle folks looking for a church home should check him out..he’s a real n’ga!) got up to the pulpit, he told everybody about how the doctors came to Big Daddy and Big Mama on 3 different occasions and told them they should begin making arrangements for the burial of one of their children. And each time the doctors told them this most disturbing news for any parent to hear, the first thing Big Daddy and Big Mama did was get down on their knees and start praying.

The first time was when one of their daughters was in a serious home fire that caused her to suffer 3rd degree burns on a large part of her body. Another time was when one of their sons was in another of his numerous street fights and he was shot and wounded to the point of critical condition. Another time was when one of their sons was involved in a serious car accident. Each time, after the doctors gave their prognosis, their advice was to prepare for the worst, and each time man and all rational thinking said no, they got down on their knees and God said yes.

So often when life throws us these seemingly defeating and devastating blows, that is when we are humbled and our prayer life gets real frequent. Even folks who never go to worship God in any form or fashion know when they need to get down on their knees and go before the Almighty for help. The bad part is, so often when the Lord hears our cry and sustains us and brings us out of that pit to see a brighter day, we forget about Him and all the good things He’s brought us through, and we go back to doing whatever it is we want to do and our prayer life and fellowship with God becomes more distant.

Big Daddy was black man without any formal education in rural Southern Arkansas that was born near the turn of the century. He knew hardships, he knew how unfair it was for a black man to get a good paying job with benefits compared to the white man. But through all of the reasons why he could have just laid it down and been one of them lazy niggaz that do nothing all day every day, he didn’t. He got up on his hustle and took care of his wife and all 12 of his children, all the while preaching the wonder working power of the Lord to all who would listen.

So when I heard my uncle recant those times of distress and prayer, and how everytime, the Lord came through and delivered Sam & Tee’s children from the hands of death so they might live a longer life. And how one of those sons who was shot is now out ministering to the world, and how the son who was in the car accident had to get one of his legs amputated, but he made it through. And how the daughter ended up spending almost a year in the hospital due to the burns and go through numerous skin grafts where they used skin taking from the legs of her mother to restore her, how that daughter not only survived, but she went on to become the first person in the family to earn a college degree, you can start seeing the power of the Lord working in the midst of distress.

So when my time came to give my testimony as to how good God has been to me in my life, the first thing I said was that God let me see a miracle everyday when I was growing up. Because, that same daughter that Big Daddy used to pray for every week over the radio when she was recovering at the burn hospital in Little Rock….well, that daughter is an integral part of my testimony. You see, my Sunday school teacher is that same daughter of Bishop Scott that was burned and she’s also my mother. So when you look at all the people that go around complaining about everything, the economy, the election, the weather, their dating life, their finances, pimples on their face whatever, I let them go ahead and make it, but I can’t join them. I can’t complain ya’ll, because I know I’m wonderfully blessed, we have a risen Savior that can pull us through the darkest of times of distress and woe..kinda like where we are now with our leadership situation in America.

The 2nd point that Tavis Smiley brought up was the fact that through the 4 debates (3 presidential, 1 Vice-president) so far, there have only been 2 topics (total) that specifically was addressed towards the black community. The first time was in the vice-presidential debate when the topic of the AIDS/HIV reaching epidemic levels in the African-American community was brought up. Neither candidate had a clue that this was a problem in America. The 2nd time was last night when the question of affirmative action was brought up. Once again, I listened to both of these candidates’ answers and I realized that they are both very much disconnected from the reality that most black/poor/working class folks live.

So as I was sitting there thinking about the election, I realized that the main thing that had caused me to waiver on deciding who to vote for, was the fact that I don’t particularly care for either candidate. Of course, I’ve GOT to vote, because I honestly believe any black person in America who doesn’t get out and vote, especially after all the sacrifices our parents and grandparents made just so that we could have the OPPORTUNITY to vote..basically any eligible black person that doesn’t vote is a sorry nigga as far as I’m concerned. It don’t matter what precinct you live in, get out there and DO something for black folks ain’t free, it was paid for with a price that started with the blood of those African slaves who were killed or thrown overboard and fed to the sharks during the Middle Passage to the Americas. It was paid for when our grandparents were hung from trees for saying or doing the wrong thing around the wrong white person. It was paid when they put dogs and hoses on our parents who just wanted equal privileges for their kids.

Don’t be like one of them ignant dudes that vote for Nader or the Libertarian party either, cuz that’s a big reason how Bush got in this past election. All those no-votes add up, cuz you can best believe them rich white folks are at the polls baby. Not to say being rich and white is a bad thing, Kerry's got a lot of rich white folks in his camp also..we’d all like to experience it for at least one day I’m sure! :) But everybody who’s so ready to break Bush off needs to realize that it takes more than complaining to make something happen.

On the other hand, some black folks think that they’re only allowed to be Democrat, and that ain’t cool either. It’s too bad we can’t pick and choose different agendas.traits of each campaign and make a custom president, kinda like a Mr. Potato Head..Energy policy from this guy, education from that one, defense from that one…there! But what we can do is continue to write letters to our senators, state representatives and congressmen. Continue to vote and play an active part in our community and continue to do all the things possible to make sure our voice is heard. Personally, I’m eagerly looking forward to the day I can vote for the soon to be Senator of Illinois, Barrack Obama (Whoop Keyes az!!) to be our President..but we’ve got a ways to go before that day. Make sure you pray before you vote ya’ll…America needs it!