Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bits and Pieces

1. I felt deliciously ironic today when I walked to the Auto Licensing branch in order to get the car's tabs renewed.

2. I feel quite stupid at the moment to have no good idea where the new tabs are. I do know they are not on the car.

3. I love my neighbors who let me borrow their gas-powered mower when my grass is too long for the reel mower.

4. Back to irony. In February, when I thought Sleek was only going to last for another 2-3 months, I wrote down a bunch of stuff about what she has meant to me, brought into my life, etc. I also wrote down a bunch of stuff about what her decline and death might mean to me, and what I would gain and lose by her passing. One of the things I said I would gain was freedom from the tyranny of her reaction to fireworks. As the July 4 fireworks sales approach (June 28 is the first day), Sleek looks better than she did in February. Looks like I get to go through the fireworks with her one more time! We go Wednesday morning to talk to the vet about Xanax and Valium (for her, not for me). Pray for a cool week and especially a cool July 4 so we can shut the windows without suffocating.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What I Finally Sent

Dear Sister,

I’m a little confused by the message you forwarded. Whoever wrote it seems to object to Barack Obama running for US President for some unusual reasons: that his middle name is Hussein, not a conventional Christian name; that his father was Muslim at one point in his life and had a Muslim burial although he apparently was either agnostic or atheist at the time of his death; that a cousin named a child “Fidel” after Fidel Castro.

Like John McCain and many other sons before and after him, Barack Obama was given his father’s name. If John McCain’s middle name were Adolf, would that be worth mentioning as a factor in his suitability for the Presidency? To me, the President’s middle name has no effect on his performance.

Barack Obama has belonged to and worshipped at Christian churches for more than 20 years, so I don’t see why his father’s religious beliefs or lack of them should be an issue. We ourselves were raised by a Catholic father and a Methodist mother to be Catholics. Although I no longer identify as Catholic, I never felt I was less of a Catholic because my mother worshipped at a different church. I would be surprised if any member of our family felt we were less Catholic because Mom was Methodist.

As for the senior Obama’s funeral, the dead can’t really control the form of the services they receive, even if they express their wishes prior to death. Heck, look at our Dad. He rejected the Catholic Church years before his death, yet he received Last Rites when he was neither physically aware nor capable of telling the priest to go away. It was important to some members of his family, so he received them. It was important to some family members that the elder Obama receive a Muslim burial, so he did.

Then we get to the cousin rumor. First, it is not substantiated that the man claiming to be Obama’s cousin is a genetic relative. Second, if they are genetically connected, what difference does it make given they have had very little contact in their lives? We have cousins in Europe. For all we know, they may have given their children names that would sound odd to us. I hardly see them, even if we met them now, as strong influences on, or reflections of, our behavior or beliefs.

I guess I just don’t understand the email or the reasons why people would send an it. After all, I don’t think my status as a non-Christian would affect anyone in our family if they wanted to run for political office, would it? If you think it would, could you explain why? I really don’t get it.

In the meantime, here are a couple of links that deal with rumors circulating about Barack Obama. One is the product of the Obama campaign, http://www.fightthesmears.com, and the other is a more “neutral” source. Snopes, the rumor clarifying site, has devoted a section to Obama rumors. Some are found to be true, some mixed, and many false. The Snopes site is http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/obama.asp .

Thanks for any clarification you can add where I said I’m confused. Otherwise, happy reading!


Friday, June 13, 2008

Family Politics

I'm a bit to the left of most of my family, apparently, when it comes to politics. A couple of them tend to send a lot of rightwing crap around in presidential election years, and they've started up now with Obama-bashing. One sister sent some stuff today with pictures of Obama with various members of his father's side of the family and nasty comments about them, including nastiness on whether or not his father was Muslim. I'm thinking of sending the following letter to her, and to everyone who received her post.

Your comments welcome.

Dear Sister,

You were raised by a Catholic father and a Methodist mother as a Catholic. Do you feel you were (at the time: I realize you no longer identify as Catholic) contaminated or less of a Catholic because your mother was Methodist? Do you feel you are less of a Christian now for being raised by a Catholic father and a Methodist mother? Barack Obama has belonged to and worshipped at Christian churches for more than 20 years. Why would anyone suspect he is a Muslim? Just because he was given the same name as his father, as so many other sons before and after him have been? Whew.

Your father repudiated the Catholic Church years before his death; yet, he received the Holy Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick (aka Last Rites) shortly before his death when he was not physically aware nor capable of telling the priest to go away. I see this as parallel to Barack Obama’s father being buried in a religious ceremony. It’s a little difficult for the dead to dictate the type of service if the living choose to disregard their wishes.

You have a sister who is not Christian and has not been for at least 15 years. Would that disqualify you, or any member of your/her family, for elected office? The same sister has attended Passover and Sukkot rites with Jewish families. Would that affect your suitability for elected office? She has never voted for a Republican presidential candidate, although she has voted in every presidential election since 1980. Would that affect your suitability for elected office?

You may want to look at some other material about Barack Obama. Snopes has numerous clarifications addressing rumors circulated about Barack Obama. You will find them at http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/obama.asp
The Obama campaign has addressed a number of rumors at the website http://www.fightthesmears.com