My mother forwarded the "Joe Porter" email to me a few days ago. I decided to take some time an write back in my own words.
We've never discussed politics in our family. I'm not sure why. But here we go.
I had not read that letter until you sent it. I only read it because it came from you. I see that it has been all over the internet and has sparked some debate. For the most part, Joe Porter makes reasoned points, but there are some things I don't agree with. This is not unlike my presidential choice. I don't agree with everything either candidate has to say. I get my facts from the candidate's websites directly. I seek out qualified points of view that I can trust. I tend to avoid reading this type of email from people I don't know because I have no idea what their motivation is.
I hope that you have done your own research. I hope that you have checked to see which candidate most closely aligns with your most important issues. I hope that you check the sources of everything that you read. There is so much bad information out there about both candidates. I hope you do not let fear and hate affect your decision.
I agree with Obama's entire outlook. He is positive. He brings an uplifting message. He is a level headed thinker. He sees solutions to problems not as Liberal or Democrat, but as a simple question of what is best for all people. I truly believe he will be able to change some of the fundamental problems of our country and the world.
I support Barack Obama's plan for the economy. I agree that this is a time where we need to help the middle class. His plan will assist people like Marie and I who are interested in starting a small business. I don't believe in making the rich richer and letting them decide how to let the profits trickle down. I believe in a strong middle class driving our communities and small towns to do great things.
As for the letter...
There are some very manipulative and untrue assertions in his text. He has implied that Obama is an evil Muslim. He has asserted that Obama's wife is a radical ( I urge you to read her thesis. It is very smart and there is a single line that has been repeated out of context that has caused a stir.)
Mom, Obama is a Christian. He is not Muslim, has never been a Muslim. He is an American Citizen with as much right to be president as anyone. The fact that so many people still think that he is a Muslim goes to show how much bad information is out there. He is a very smart man who served as president of the Harvard Law Review. He worked as a community organizer ( a wonderful thing to do with your time) and has served 7 years in the Senate. Obama's genealogy does not matter to me. I believe it only would if I were racist.
I don't trust McCain for a lot of reasons. I don't think his choice of running mate made sense outside of the republican base. She is under qualified to be in that office. She is under qualified to answer direct questions from the press. We need someone that can stand up to that pressure. What she has done is energized the republican base with hate and partisan politics. I don't trust McCain to protect my civil rights. His use of hate as a weapon in his campaign has left a terrible scar on our country.
I don't think spending time as a pow qualifies you for anything in particular. McCain endured terrible things and is a brave man and a hero. Does that mean he'll be a good president? That's a big leap.
I don't think either of the candidates is perfect, nor do I think either of them is an evil person. I think both are interested in doing a good job as president. Please don't fall into the "all politicians are evil" trap.
I am an informed voter. I have done hours of homework. I have made up my mind.
I am voting for Hope. I am voting for Unity.
I am voting for Obama.
On Nov 1, 2008, at 8:09 PM, P & C Flanagan wrote:
Have you read this?
Subject: A Letter from Illinois
Like you, I have received hundreds of e-mails relative to the forthcoming
election. All have attempted to sway my thinking in one direction or another.
All have been either relatively vague or unusually brutal. None have done what
this one has done for me, namely; reduce the equation down to simple facts
presented in a direct fashion. He has isolated character and experience in a
meaningful manner that makes a very strong case for his choice. I agree with
impassioned letter from a 'nobody'. But he gives his telephone
number at the end.
Monday, August 18, 2008 3:19 PM
A letter from Illinois
My name is Joe Porter. I live in Champaign , Illinois .
I'm 46 years old, a born-again Christian, a husband, a father,
a small business owner, a veteran, and a homeowner. I don't
consider myself to be either conservative or liberal, and I
vote for the person, not Republican or Democrat. I don't
believe there are 'two Americas' but that every person in this
country can be whomever and whatever they want to be if
they'll just work to get there, and nowhere else on earth can
they find such opportunities. I believe our government should
help those who are legitimately downtrodden, and should always
put the interests of America first.
The purpose of this message is that I'm concerned about the
future of this great nation. I'm worried that the silent
majority of honest, hard-working, tax-paying people in this
country have been passive for too long. Most folks I know
choose not to involve themselves in politics. They go about
their daily lives, paying their bills, raising their kids, and
doing what they can to maintain the good life. They vote and
consider doing so to be a sacred trust. They shake their heads
at the political pundits and so-called 'news', thinking that
what they hear is always spun by whomever is reporting it.
They can't understand how elected officials can regularly
violate the public trust with pork barrel spending. They don't
want government handouts. They want the government to protect
them, not raise their taxes for more government programs.
We are in the unique position in this country of electing our
leaders. It's a privilege to do so. I've never found a
candidate in any election with whom I agreed on everything.
I'll wager that most of us don't even agree with our families
or spouses 100% of the time. So, when I step into that voting
booth, I always try to look at the big picture and cast my
vote for the man or woman who is best qualified for the job.
I've hired a lot of people in my lifetime, and essentially
that's what an election is - a hiring process. Who has the
credentials? Whom do I want working for me? Whom can I trust
to do the job right?
I'm concerned that a growing number of voters in this country
simply don't get it. They are caught up in a fervor they can't
explain, and calling it 'change'.
'Change what?' I ask.
'Well, we're going to change America ,' they say.
'In what way?' I query.
'We want someone new and fresh in the White House,' they
'So, someone who's not a politician?' I say.
'Uh, well, no, we just want a lot of stuff changed, so we're
voting for Obama,' they state.
'So the current system, the system of freedom and democracy
that has enabled a man to grow up in this great country, get a
fine education, raise incredible amounts of money and dominate
the news, and win his party's nomination for the White House
that system's all wrong?'
'No, no, that part of the system's okay. We just need a
lot of change.'
And so it goes. 'Change we can believe in.'
Quite frankly, I don't believe that vague proclamations of
change hold any promise for me. In recent months, I've been
asking virtually everyone I encounter how they're voting. I
live in Illinois , so most folks tell me they're voting for
Barack Obama. But no one can really tell me why, only that
he's going to change a lot of stuff.
change, change.' I have yet to find one single person who can
tell me distinctly and convincingly why this man is qualified
to be President and Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful
nation on earth, other than the fact that he claims he's going
to implement a lot of change.
We've all seen the emails about Obama's genealogy, his
upbringing, his Muslim background, and his church
affiliations. Let's ignore this for a moment. Put it all
aside. Then ask yourself, 'What qualifies this man to be my
president? That he's a brilliant orator and talks about
Friends, I'll be forthright with you. I believe the
American voters who are supporting Barack Obama don't have a
clue what they're doing, as evidenced by the fact that not one
of them - NOT ONE of them I've spoken to can spell out his
qualifications. Not even the most liberal media can explain
why he should be elected. Political experience? Negligible.
Foreign relations? Non-existent. Achievements? Name
one. Someone who wants to unite the country? If
you haven't read his wife's thesis from Princeton , look it up
on the web. This is who's lining up to be our next First
Lady? The only thing I can glean from Obama's constant
harping about change is that we're in for a lot of new taxes.
For me, the choice is clear. I've looked carefully at the two
leading applicants for the job, and I've made my choice.
Here's a question - 'Where were you five and a half years ago?
Around Christmas, 2002. You've had five or six birthdays
in that time. My son has grown from a sixth grade child to a
high school graduate. Five and a half years is a good chunk of
time. About 2,000 days. 2,000 nights of sleep.
6,000 meals, give or take.'
John McCain spent that amount of time, from 1967 to 1973, in a
North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp.
When offered early release, he refused it. He considered
this offer to be a public relations stunt by his captors, and
insisted that those held longer than he should be released
first. Did you get that part? He was offered his
freedom, and he turned it down. A regimen of beatings
and torture began.
Do you possess such strength of character? Locked in a
filthy cell in a foreign country, would you turn down your own
freedom in favor of your fellow man? I submit that's a
quality of character that is rarely found, and for me, this
singular act defines John McCain.
Unlike several presidential candidates in recent years whose
military service is questionable or non-existent, you will not
find anyone to denigrate the integrity and moral courage of
this man. A graduate of Annapolis, during his Naval
service he received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart
and Distinguished Flying Cross. His own son is now
serving in the Marine Corps in Iraq . Barack Obama is
fond of saying 'We honor John McCain's service...BUT...,'
which to me is condescending and offensive - because what I
hear is, 'Let's forget this man's sacrifice for his country,
and his proven leadership abilities, and talk some more about
I don't agree with John McCain on everything - but I am
utterly convinced that he is qualified to be our next
President, and I trust him to do what's right. I know in
my heart that he has the best interests of our country in
mind. He doesn't simply want to be President - he wants
to lead America , and there's a huge difference.
Factually, there is simply no comparison between the two
candidates. A man of questionable background and motives
who prattles on about change, can't hold a candle to a man who
has devoted his life in public service to this nation,
retiring from the Navy in1981 and elected to the Senate
Perhaps Obama's supporters are taking a stance between old and
new. Maybe they don't care about McCain's service or his
strength of character, or his unblemished qualifications to be
President. Maybe 'likeability' is a higher priority for
them than 'trust'. Being a prisoner of war is not what
qualifies John McCain to be President of the United States of
America - but his demonstrated leadership certainly DOES.
Dear friends, it is time for us to stand. It is time for
thinking Americans to say, 'Enough.' It is time for people of
all parties to stop following the party line. It is time
for anyone who wants to keep America first, who wants the
right man leading their nation, to start a dialogue with all
their friends and neighbors and ask who they're voting for,
There's a lot of evil in this world. That should be readily
apparent to all of us by now. And when faced with that
evil as we are now, I want a man who knows the cost of war on
his troops and on his citizens. I want a man who puts my
family's interests before any foreign country.
I want a President who's qualified to lead.
I want my country back, and I'm voting for John McCain.