Two recent editorials concerning the presidential campaign deserve a response. The first, "Negative Campaigning Isn't good Politics" laments the state of modern day campaign practice. It asks us, "Have we become so jaded and partisan that we allow the negative to prevail over the positive?" At the same time, unfortunately, it answers that question by commenting negatively about the expansion of the Obama campaign here in Missouri. "With 30 field offices manned by 150 paid staffers, that many feet on the ground will provide ample negative news that will fill the headlines and the airways in the coming months."
Before the offices have even opened, our editor makes the bold assumption that the Obama representatives will wage a negative campaign. Although I am not a paid Obama staffer, my feet have already hit the ground here in Sikeston with nary a mention of our opponent, Sen. McCain. There is no need to attack our opponent's character. Sen. McCain is a true American hero who has spent his life in service to our country, a fact known to almost every American. This is not in dispute.
But consider now the ugly smear campaign that has been waged against Sen. Obama for months. Over and over we've been led to believe that he is a Muslim. . . with a name like Hussein what else could he be? The truth is that he is a Christian as are the majority of people in our country. What about the rumor that he took his Senator oath on the Koran, not the Bible? That is just another falsehood making the rounds on the Internet and talk radio.
A recent SpeakOut caller wanted to know where Sen. Obama was born, the implication being that he might not even be a "real" American. Another caller expressed the opinion that "we don't need a Muslim running our country." I think it is worth noting that while some remarks and questions appearing in SpeakOut are followed by comments and answers from your staff, neither of these items were addressed. You chose instead to perpetuate these ugly myths concerning Sen. Obama.
The second editorial, "Media Favoritism is Disservice to All" decries the liberal media bias in favor of Barack Obama. Rather than bias in favor of one candidate over another, the coverage I've seen has been fairly balanced in opinion. I think what we are witnessing is that Sen. Obama may be getting somewhat more coverage than Sen. McCain. The reason for this seems rather obvious.
Sen. Obama is new to the national scene. He is the first biracial candidate to win the nomination of a major party, and most of us, like the media, want to find out everything we can about him. The campaign he has ran so far has been funded on grassroots level, by ordinary people who have been inspired by Sen. Obama's ideas and his excellent skills in sharing them. Basically, he's the new kid on the block waging a different sort of campaign, a campaign based on issues, not personalities. Even when he answers his critics, he does so in a civil, low key manner. He does not practice the slash and burn political discourse we have witnessed in most previous contests. And, those of us who support him are doing our best to follow his example.
The current condition of our country should be the deciding factor this November. We need a president who can restore our reputation on the world stage. Our priorities must change to reflect the challenges we face, both at home and abroad.
Our flailing economy, our energy dependence, our safety in this dangerous world and the health and well being of our citizens are the issues we face. We must elect a leader who can inspire us to become committed participants in the greatest democracy in the world.
Yesterday, a woman whose house was being foreclosed committed suicide. Isn't it time for a change?
Editor's note: Recheck our SpeakOut responses. We have indeed corrected the misconception on Sen. Obama's religious history.