For 19+ months you've tried to run a positive campaign. You've focused on change. You've inspired millions with your message of hope. You've focused on the issues. Now, all of a sudden, with the introduction of Sarah Palin as Republican Vice Presidential candidate, the game has changed.
The Republicans cannot go head-to-head with you on the issues because they know if they try they'll lose. THey have been. They're trying to co-opt your message of change and it's back-firing. They're offering more of the same and they know it. So suddenly it's not about issues anymore, it's about personalities: The grizzled POW and the pert PTA mom.
Here's what I want you to do:
I want you to fight. back. I am giving you permission to get. angry. I want to hear you say, "Enough is enough!" every time you speak. I want you to take on their cynical, half-truth-ridden, insulting-to-all-American-citizens campaign and wrestle it to the ground.
For 19 months you have shown me the kind of man you are. I know what you stand for. I know—because you have been vetted by the media and the public and you've endured the sickest, most twisted kinds of smears—what kind of president you will be. I know this. Which is why it's OKAY for you to take on the McCain campaign and their swift-boating attempts head on. We ALL knew it was coming. The time is here. It's time to meet the Republicans on their turf. Seize this moment.
You said the campaign is about us, and it is. We want our country back. We are here in the trenches battling it out for you. We've been fighting your smears. We've been correcting the untruths. We've been making calls. And registering voters. And walking our precincts. And sporting your bumper stickers.
We know you are not sleeping, but we, too, are not sleeping until this election is over. We are distracted. We are preoccupied. We don't want to lose any momentum to a team who, at a time of economic crisis in our country, has deemed issues unworthy of being the centerpiece of a presidential campaign.
Senator Obama, I am—we are— giving you permission to do everything you have to do to win this thing.
We've been sharing our messages of hope, but now we are mad. We look at the mean-spirited stump speeches that Sarah Palin has been giving and we're pissed. We've endured the slimey Rovian attacks with mouths agape, shaking our heads. We remember 2004 and we want to stand up with you and say, "Enough is enough! How stupid do you think we are?! Don't talk to me about eBay and being a POW. Tell me how I can have insurance and a better-paying job!"
This part of my letter I am directing to John McCain, Sarah Palin, Karl Rove, the McCain-Palin-supporting Republicans and the Fundamentalist Christian Extremists who have hijacked that party:
I am not stupid. I can think critically. I know that John McCain is not about change. He is no maverick. Not someone who said himself that he votes with George W. Bush 90% of the time.
I see all of your lies. I see you trying to repeat lies over and over again so that people will believe it. Obama isn't going to raise taxes, he's going to decrease them for all Americans except those in the highest tax bracket. My brain wants to explode when I hear the same lies repeated on Palin's stump speech day after day, lies that strangely weren't repeated when she gave that speech in Alaska. Why no mention of the bridge, the plane, the chef, or the fighting earmarks in your Alaska speech, Governor?
I am not going to be fooled into believing that an intellectual lightweight who knows how to deliver a snappy one-liner and who can see Russia from a remote island in Alaska is qualified to be Vice-President of our great country. Five colleges in six years? That is a slap right to my face. What you present to the American public as her "qualifications" are ridiculous and no matter how hard you try to spin it, you know it. Why is being educated suddenly a strike against a candidate? What kind of values are those? Let's say no to intellect and scholarship! Let's all be dumb! That's not how I'm raising my children. Sorry, I want leaders who strive for better than five colleges in six years. I don't want to be more knowledgeable about issues than my VP. I don't want to have a beer with my president. I don't want to have traveled to more countries than my VP. I don't want a VP who in her adult life never showed even a shred of curiosity about the rest of the world. Never wanted to leave our shores and get to know people not like her. She says she went to Mexico? When. I want to see proof, Mr. Rove, and I'd love it if it wasn't when she was in college swilling tequila poppers at Señor Frog's on spring break. If that's elitist, then so be it. Forgive me if I want the people who have the most important jobs in the entire world to be high-achievers.
And to the Fundies who think everyone who isn't like them (like me) needs to be saved. To those who want Creationism taught in science class. To those who want to bring prayer into my schools. Or take away a woman's right to choose what's best for her life. For those who want to eliminate stem cell research. To all of you, I just have one thing to say: You are lucky you live in a tolerant country where you have the freedom to practice your religion. Try to remember that when you attempt to impose your beliefs on me, my body, our laws, or our country. You will FAIL. I can choose believe in god if I want to. You don't get to shove Jesus down my throat. I can choose to have an abortion if I want to. You don't get to tell me no. I can choose to marry whomever I want to in my state. Equality is for everyone. As long as I live, you will never get to decide how I live, love, or learn.
Senator Obama, as you can see, we are up against an irrational, condescending, and cynical opponent who is counting on half of our country to eat up their bullshit with a big, old spoon. You can fight back and still run a principled campaign. I know you can. You've shown me you can. So please, take the advice of Joe Biden's mother: "Bloody their noses so you can walk down the street tomorrow."
You have to do it. For hope. For us.
Stefania Pomponi Butler
If you want to sign this letter along with Stefania Pomponi Butler and give Barack Obama your permission to fight back and win this election, please do so in the comments.