In last week’s edition of the Lombard Spectator, we ran a letter to the editor from Fran Dvorak of Lombard. She took exception to an editorial that ran in the paper the previous week. Here is Dvorak’s letter in its entirety:
“I am bothered by your editorial in the Nov. 14 Lombard Spectator. Within the guise of a supportive headline (‘Give Obama help to address U.S.’s plight’), you use the space to indulge in a tired bias against him.
“Why, for example, does it ‘speak well’ of him to have addressed race so rarely in his campaign? For all the pride America should feel for this moment in history, one look at the TV screen showing that band of McCain red across the former slave-owning states tells us we obviously still need to address race.
“And your comment that he has spent ‘a good chunk of his time’ preparing to run for office is ironic. How else does a smart, ambitious and talented person ascend into a level of responsibility that matches his or her capabilities? Read history.
‘People who bring real change don’t patiently slog their way through the ranks. Obama has been under intense scrutiny on a world stage for well over a year now, a stage that appears to have tired out — and sometimes confused — his opponent. You can stop pretending your objection to him is that he’s untested (or, in Gov. Palin’s words, that he doesn’t have ‘a big, fat resume’).
“Last, Obama did not ‘throw around the concept’ of redistributing wealth. He spoke about enabling middle-income citizens to get tax benefits similar to what high-income citizens have enjoyed. Please be accurate about what he said and clear about what your objections to it are.
“I wore an Obama button on my purse throughout the campaign. The most interesting experience I had occurred at an antiques fair in Kane County.
“I actually had forgotten I had the button on when an elderly man came up and squeezed my elbow and whispered, ‘I’m glad to see you’re supporting the right person.’ I was delighted.
“But during the course of my time there, the same thing happened twice more with completely different (elderly) men. One asked if I had an extra button. That was when I actually felt that a change — a change it’s probably going to take us awhile to understand — might really be coming.”
I appreciate Dvorak’s feedback and the time she invested in submitting it. While she disagreed with the point made in the editorial, it’s worthwhile knowing that our readers make the effort to let us know what’s on their mind. With that said, I will address her concerns point by point.
That President-elect Barack Obama had to speak about race so rarely in his campaign speaks well of him as a candidate. As the first black American who was a major contender for the presidency, I thought that race would have dominated his attempts to capture the White House.
But it didn’t. For the most part, Obama highlighted his vision for the United States. His engaging personality and command of important issues got voters to focus on his ideas, not his race.
And that most voters made this a campaign about ideas rather than race speaks well of us. This is not to say that racism doesn’t exist. But it means that race isn’t the dominant preoccupation with the American people that it once was. While we still have a long way to go to improve race relations, we’ve entered a new era here. And for that we can take some measure of pride.
The editorial’s point about Obama spending “a good chunk of his time preparing to run for other positions rather than building legislative accomplishments in the offices he held” is a valid criticism. It’s not that I don’t expect politicians to use one position as a springboard to another. But we don’t elect people to public office just so they can spend most of their time campaigning for a better job.
Shortly after becoming a state senator in 1997, one of Obama’s first major decisions was to run for the U.S. Hosue of Representatives against Bobby Rush (a race Obama lost). To consider that our next president has held elective office for less than 12 years is astounding.
It’s obvious Obama has spent a great deal of time strategizing his next career move as opposed to learning the ropes of a legislator. He hasn’t even completed four years of his six-year term as a U.S. senator. He is quite skilled at campaigning, but we don’t have a great deal of evidence to see how good he’ll be at governing because he’s done so little of it.
When Joe the Plumber confronted Obama about his tax plan, Obama told him, “My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” And Obama has previously spoken about his concern that government doesn’t do more to redistribute wealth.
So the editorial’s assertion that Obama was “throwing around the concept of redistributing wealth” was accurate, because that’s exactly what he has repeatedly done. The point was that to conjure this concept was foolish for someone as intelligent as Obama is because he had to have known he’d be accused of being a socialist. It’s the government’s role to make sure everyone has the opportunity to enhance their wealth, not take it from some and dole it out to others.
Despite these reservations, Obama deserves to have everyone support and help. Our welfare is in his hands, and his success would bode well for the nation.
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