Alternately titled, "Give me a freaking break".
[Disclaimer: Let me premptively disclaim that this is not a Pro-Obama rant, nor is it intended for publicly advocating Obama for the presidency. In fact, it is advocating something else entirely: integrity and intelligence.]
Admittedly, I shouldn't be concerned with or upset by people who rely on mass forwarded emails to obtain and consequently, dissmiate their information on political candidates. It is just a side note - or rather, a side show - to the condition of our culture. But, at the same time, I have to admit that if I receive another anti-Obama email forewarning me of his role as the (or an) anti-Christ, my head may very well explode. The most troublesome aspect of all is that the vast majority of these disparaging emails are coming from [supposed] peers in the faith, yet they reek of misinformation, corrupted scriptural references, flawed theology, gossip and insinuations of both racial and religious persecution.
It is ironic how the [always anonymous] authors of these emails ambiguously allude to scriptural references of the anti-Christ, yet pay no attention at all to any other pertinent scripture like, oh, i dunno... take your pick from the plethora of verses throughout Psalms and Proverbs specifically instructing against creating, partaking and distributing slanderous gossip; or 1 Thessalonians 5:21, which asks that we “prove all things, hold fast to that which is good/true”. Unless any among us actually has legitimate proof or factual evidentiary support about something, it’s very unlikely that it’s something that deems repetition.
I believe that our political and religious beliefs are deeply personal. I have no qualms about speaking about my own views from the comfortable height of my proverbial soapbox, but I am not going to try use alternative methods – even those that fly in the face of scripture - of persuasion in the futile hope of forcing my beliefs onto anyone else. That said, this is not a pro-Obama email. I am still largely undecided about who I will vote for come November (and I say that with the sincere hope that my mother will never read this blog). I will tell you that I have liked Obama for several years for reasons I’ll allude to in a bit, although I do have legitimate reservations about his candidacy. But the bias that I am seeing (i.e. reading) from people who obviously know me well enough to email me, is completely unfounded and quite frankly, insulting to the intelligence of all who receive it.
I am not opposed to healthy political debate, even opinionated debate… about real political issues, even those encompassing the moral and religious spectrum. I wouldn’t be in the midst of this rant or as my mom would say, have my panties in a wad, if my inbox were full of emails declaring the inadequacies of either candidate’s foreign policy or energy plan, (not that i am insinuating that I have the political savvy to discuss either at great length). But, if you want to persuade me with arguments on Obama’s inexperience, his questionable former minister and religious affiliation, have at it. If you want to reiterate his voting record on the Illinois State Senate or the US Senate, by all means, knock yourself out. But please, please, fortheloveofblog, I beg you: do not send me any more emails filled with half-truths and defamatory content regarding his possible role as an anti-Christ.
The latest one, the one from this morning, the author ended with the statement: "I refuse to take a chance on this unknown candidate who came out of nowhere".
Any person with the physical, mental and technological capacity of forwarding a mass email should also be equally as capable of accessing wikipedia, where they would learn - within a few seconds - that Obama did not mysteriously emerge from an ambiguous dark cloud of nothingness.
In fact, his childhood background is strikingly similar to my own: an immigrant father who came to America in search of the American dream, an education and the hope of a better life. His mother was a lower middle class woman from the South (Kansas). His parents divorced when he was two, his father all but disappeared from his life and he was later raised by his maternal grandmother. The beginning of his story is parallel to the beginning of my own story and it is not one that simply materialized on its own.
Having an immigrant father who fulfilled his own American dream, I know firsthand that their perception, and consequent love, of our nation is not the same as those of us who are born and raised here. There is much more hope than cynicism; and a stronger belief in equality amongst our diversities than we could ever hope to obtain. Every aspect of our lives that we take for granted, they know - not as a right – but as a privilege. And a blessing.
Aside from the parallels in our upbringing, what I initially liked about Obama [as a person] was that he was not a descendent of great wealth, nobility or power. There is no grand political or financial lineage; rather, he is a descendent of his father’s American dream and at his core, is his father’s sincere belief in the innate goodness of America. It is this embodiment of the American dream that has awoken an entire generation – my generation - from political apathy.
Does this mean that he is the right choice for the presidency? Absolutely not. My point - and I promise I have one - is that there is a fine line between advocating an opposing political candidate and defaming the character of another. We expect those antics from political parties and pundits, but we can't [and should'nt] justify it as Christians.
I am not attempting to instruct or persuade anyone on how to vote. I could easily write as many paragraphs with an equal amount of biographical content on John McCain… or any other political candidate. What I am attempting to do, however, is to get people to think before they click ‘FWD’ and to base the merit of what the dissimate on fact rather than fiction. (As my coworker, "Ted", did by immediately flooding my google talk with links to legitimate articles on why I shouldn't vote for Obama.) :) I have no qualms with ANTI-Obama messages, as long as they have some merit and I don't feel compelled to check them on Snopes.com.
Standing on my soapbox,