Sunday, July 20, 2008

Obama's main obstacles

Republican Politics, American Style
Published on July 10th in Metro Eireann By Charles Laffiteau

As a follow-up to last weeks column I want to discuss the three interconnected obstacles which Senator Obama must still overcome if he wants to become America’s 44th US president.
The first one is our fear of change involving someone or something which is either unknown or unfamiliar to us. The second obstacle is ignorance of the facts coupled with a predisposition to believe what we want to believe when we don’t know the facts. The last obstacle is the latent racial prejudice which still exists in the hearts and minds of many white Americans more than a hundred years after the United States first Republican President named Abraham Lincoln freed America’s slaves.
Sadly for me, as soon as Barack Obama claimed the Democratic nomination for President of the United States I began to receive emails from friends and acquaintances which underscored the unfortunate existence of all three of these obstacles to Barack Obama’s election as America’s next president in November. Now I want to offer you some quotes from the email that I have received most often in the last couple of months.
The first email came under the heading of FAMILY PICTURES OF THE 'POTENTIAL' NEW FIRST FAMILY?? How come we haven't seen or known about some of these....? These statements were then followed by a series of photos of black relatives of Barack Obama in Kenya and then a photo of Obama speaking with Odinga seated in front of him above the following caption description; Barack has stated his support for Luo Raila Odinga (Opposition Leader in Kenya who signed a 'Shariah pact' With Muslims and claims to be Obama's cousin) and is married to Ida Odinga. They have four children - two sons and two daughters. His oldest son, Fidel, is named after Fidel Castro. Below this is a photo of Barack Obama’s father above a caption which reads; Barack's father, Muslim, hard-drinker, Was married three times, attended Harvard and returned to Kenya. Obama claims he was an atheist, But he was raised Muslim and was Given a Muslim burial at Barack's
family's request.
Then there are the only two photos with white people in them. The first one is above a caption saying; Mother's 2nd husband Lolo Soetoro (Indonesian Muslim),Their daughter Maya, and Obama. Followed by another photo of Barack with his white grandparents above a caption reading; Abandoned by his father and shipped off by his mother to his white grandparents, Barry Sotero becomes Barack Hussein Obama. Obama would describe his grandparents as 'white folk.' (Yeah, 'white folk' that would NOT abandon you, their grandchild. Shame on you Obama)
Next we see a photo above a caption reading; Barack stands behind Kezia (stepmother) in a Kenyan family shot. (Including brother Abongo 'Roy' Obama who is a Luo activist and A 'Militant Muslim' who argues that the black man must 'liberate himself from the poisoning influences of European culture.' ) Followed by another photo of Barack speaking through a megaphone above a caption reading; Obama's visit to Africa '06 (Where are the transcripts of the speeches he gave here? Campaigning for Odinga? Wouldn't it be great to be able to read these? Do the people of the State of Illinois know about Obama's radical background?)
Then we get the closing line of the email which reads; SINCE CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, AND THE NEW YORK TIMES, WILL NOT SHOW THESE PICTURES, AND WE WONDER WHY NOT, WILL YOU FORWARD THESE TO THE (APPROXIMATE NUMBER) 200 MILLION AMERICANS THAT HAVE INTERNET ACCESS? THANK YOU. THE ABOVE CAPTIONS HAD SOME MENTION OF 'MILITANT MUSLIMS' AND 'SHARIA LAW'. HERE IS A WEBSITE THAT TELLS YOU ALL ABOUT THEM (ALSO CALLED ISLAMIC TERRORISTS), AND THE END RESULTS OF THEM. But neither this one nor any of the other smear emails contain any such links, nor do any of them cite the references or sources that support the numerous false and misleading statements made in the captions.
The intent of the photos and captions in this and other similar emails is as ominous as it is clear. This particular email and others like it are designed to strike fear in the hearts and minds of white American voters by erroneously leading them to believe that Obama is not only a Muslim but is also one who is sympathetic to Communism and that the truth about Obama’s true beliefs is not being disclosed by the US news media.
Because Barack Obama has only been in the US Senate for two years, he is still not very well known outside of Democratic Party circles and his home state of Illinois. Many older and or less educated white Americans are afraid of change involving politicians they don’t know or are unfamiliar with. Then you have to factor in the ignorance of many of these voters as well as other Americans as regards their understanding about the true beliefs of the Muslim faith. All they know is that it was Muslim extremists who carried out the 9/11 attacks on American soil, so they are predisposed to believe that Islam and all of its Muslim adherents must be evil.
Finally these emails play on the fears and to the latent racial prejudice of many older and or less educated white Americans by repeatedly projecting images in their photos of Africans and blacks in unfamiliar native African garb, coupled with false assertions linking these blacks to people many white Americans perceive to be our new enemy, Islam and or Muslims as well as an old familiar enemy, Communism.
Maybe now you can now understand why I believe Barack Obama’s number one obstacle in November isn’t John McCain and the Republican Party. His main barrier to being elected President is fear of the unknown plus ignorance of the facts coupled with decades of racial prejudice which still lurks just below the surface in the hearts and minds of older and or less educated white Americans. It remains to be seen if Obama can overcome this obstacle.

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