Let me preface this “letter” to you first by letting you know that I do not plan on voting for you in the 2008 Presidential Elections. I respect your service to our country, even when I don’t always agree with it, and hope you continue to serve in whatever way you feel prudent and/or capable.
I went into this last weekend very upset with you and your campaign, with the smears and racially-tinged insults you’ve been throwing around at rallies. I, myself, have grown up as an “outsider” in my own community simply because I have a funny name and am not white. It’s hard to understand what that’s like if you haven’t lived it yourself, and I’m afraid I don’t have the necessary skills to really convey to you (or anyone else) just how much it hurts. I’m half-Japanese, with a semi-traditional name. I don’t speak Japanese. I don’t know kung-fu. Yes, I know I’m tall. No, not all Japanese men are 4foot11. I’m not Hispanic either. I’m not “an Arab”. I’m just not white.
I believe very strongly that anyone who hopes to attain the highest office in our nation should hold themselves to the highest standards. That being said, I understand that everyone is human, and so should be allowed their own human weaknesses as well.
Up until last night, I was almost convinced that racism was one of yours and it saddened me greatly. But then I saw the videos; you stood up to your own supporters on this. You may not believe what you said, you might actually be racist, but that doesn’t matter. The fact that you came out and said otherwise, that you made a stand is all that matters.
They didn’t like that, though, did they? And it seemed to surprise you. Your own supporters actually booed you at your own rally for showing that you had at least the most basic dignity for a fellow human. Instead of becoming even more enamored over you for showing incredible moral judgment under the worst circumstances, they became upset that you wouldn’t feed into their blood-lust.
Sunday night, I went from being very upset that someone like you could make it this far in an election, to realizing I may have misjudged you. I am still not convinced on your policies, your credibility, or your running mate . . . but to me, those are things that an election is supposed to be about.
I now actually feel bad for you. Not in a condescending, pitying sort of way. Rather, it seems that on the way to trying to make your dreams come true (and do what you feel is best), your path was hijacked by people who felt it’s okay to cross the line. They felt that it’s fine to call your opposition a “terrorist”, “Muslim”, and “traitor”. Even if you didn’t, they did. And they did it in your name.
Perhaps you didn’t realize how bad it had gotten. Sure, there were the times when your rally announcers tried to slam Obama by using his middle name (and with a middle name like Sidney, you shouldn’t be bragging either) and the wackos who may or may not have yelled “kill him” . . . but it’s possible you really didn’t know what kind of people your campaign and running mate have been pandering to.
It shouldn’t be surprising, actually. The people who you hired to manage your campaign were the same people who used the exact same tactics against you in 2000. Their job is easier this time, however; the opponent has a funny name, he’s black, and he wants change. They probably figured they could get the easy votes from the uninformed, the racist, and the people who are a nice combination thereof.
No matter who says what, and who tries to defend who, those people are still out there. They are the ones that still insist Obama isn’t a citizen at all because he wasn’t born in the USA (when we all know that he was, and, in fact, it’s YOU who was born in a foreign country). They insist he’s Muslim (because his father was, so he must be part Muslim, right? Doesn’t it work like that?). They might believe he eats children, and at the very worst, believe he and his family should still be property. The American hypocrisy and ignorance is internationally known and despised, and it would be naive to think it can be done away with a few words at a rally.
I’m not sorry you had to defend your opponent from your own supporters, however I’m happy you did. You took a political bullet at that rally (a bullet you can thank your own running mate for loading into every body’s guns), and you did it for your own personal dignity. I find that admirable, and it’s a shame you were put into such a position from your own camp.
Note: I have many friends who support John McCain and his policies. I understand that not everyone who supports him is racist or ignorant, nor is everyone who does not support him a socialist hippy. As always, if you are going to vote, make sure you vote on the issues you feel are important. If race is the only thing that’s important to you; there’s a reason why your own candidate stood up to people like you.