Swiftboating Obama

The following is a letter from John Kerry, regarding the many smear emails circulating about Barack Obama. I post this not only because I’m backing the same candidate, but because I’ve also been forwarded some of the same mails from, I believe, well-meaning people. Whatever your political views, do what you can to help end what is no more than hate-mongering. I don’t require you agree with my politics, but I do demand that you argue with the truth.

I support Barack Obama because he doesn’t seek to perfect the politics of Swiftboating — he seeks to end it.

This is personal for me, and for a whole lot of Americans who lived through the 2004 election.

As a veteran, it disgusts me that the Swift Boats we loved while we were in uniform on the Mekong Delta have been rendered, in Karl Rove’s twisted politics, an ugly verb meaning to lie about someone’s character just to win an election. But as someone who cares about winning this election and changing the country I love, I know it’s not enough to complain about a past we can’t change when our challenge is to win the future — which is why we must stop the Swiftboating, stop the push-polling, stop the front groups, and stop the email chain smears.

The truth matters, but how you fight the lies matters even more. We must be determined never again to lose any election to a lie.

This year, the attacks are already starting. Some of you may have heard about the disgusting lies about Barack Obama that are being circulated by email. These attacks smear Barack’s Christian faith and deep patriotism, and they distort his record of more than two decades of public service. They are nothing short of “Swiftboat” style anonymous attacks.

These are the same tactics the right has used again and again, and as we’ve learned, these attacks, no matter how bogus, can spread and take root if they go unchecked.

But not this time — we’re fighting back.

And when I say “we,” I mean that literally. I know Barack is committed to fighting every smear every time. He’ll fight hard and stand up for the truth. But he can’t do it alone.

We need you to email the truth to your address books. Print it out and post it at work. Talk to your neighbors. Call your local radio station. Write a letter to the editor. If lies can be spread virally, let’s prove to the cynics that the truth can be every bit as persuasive as it is powerful.

The Obama campaign has created a place where you can find the truth you’ll need to push back on these smears and a way to spread the truth to all of your address book.

Take action here:

http://my.barackobama.com/factcheckaction

So when your inbox fills up with trash and the emails of smear and fear, find the facts, and help defeat the lies.

Barack Obama is committed to bringing our country together to meet the challenges we face, but he knows that power gives up nothing without a struggle — and to win the chance to change America, we must first defeat the hateful tactics that have been used to tear us apart for too long.

With your help, we can turn the page on an era of small, divisive politics — but only if next time you hear these attacks on Barack, you take action immediately:

http://my.barackobama.com/factcheckaction

The fight is just heating up — we won’t let them steal this election with lies and distortions.

Thank you,

John Kerry

Sad news about Coach Bryan

I’m very saddened to hear that my high school basketball coach and history teacher, Mark Bryan, has tragically died. Unusually sweet for a coach, every single student in our high school loved Woody. It was impossible not to.

I haven’t seen Coach Bryan or his wife Patty (my English teacher and high school principal) since my graduation in 1992, but they were both important figures in my youth. They were both very good to me, and are very loved.

Learning about the DREAM Act

For the past week I’ve been particularly fascinated with fourth act of last week’s This American Life, which describes the situation of undocumented immigrant kids in college. They are brought into this country by their parents, grow up here, totally integrate into society. Despite academic excellence and some amazing determination (listen for “hobo-mode”), they have no future.

The current immigration debate is not as simple as whether or not to punish people for jumping a fence in search of easy money. The DREAM Act addresses more subtle issues of cultural worth, contribution, and our society’s decision to reward talent and determination.