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LETTER: Party lines
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times

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To the editor:

As my partner Brad and I watched CNN Aug. 28, we sat in awe as we viewed at a split screen with two hurricanes—one hitting Baton Rouge, La., and Mississippi and the other coming from Tampa, Fla., in the form of voter suppression, ideological racism and classism as well as social and spiritual homophobia.

As an African-American, I am more than offended at the notion that by selecting people like Arthur Davis of Virginia as speakers, the Republicans can persuade African-Americans to vote for Mitt Romney. Romney represents an oppressive ideological system of values that is not about freedom and fairness, but is about distortions and protecting the 1 percent of society. Davis' message is only about an attempt to create collective amnesia.

The desperation of the Republican Party is shown through masking its message in even more lies through even more voices—voices like that of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who really must believe that the majority of the country's residents are dumb enough to believe the lies about President Obama's record.

Those lies include the phrase the Republican Party used for the majority of the Republican convention. The phrase is "We Built It," a phrase that President Obama used that was taken out of context. The president used the phrase "We built it" to point out that many businesses have always depended on some services from government. However, Romney has twisted it to mean that the president said the government has created all companies. It is a shame that they believe that people would be such sheep of collective manipulation.

The Republican Party always goes back to the founding fathers that many in the United States—such as African-Americans and Native Americans—cannot identify with. Early settlers treated the descendants of both of these cultures violently. Is this what they mean when they say that they want to go back to a time of the founding fathers—a time of slavery, rapes and murder over appropriation of land where populations ran free and where communities were villages? The phrase "back to the founding fathers" conjured images that are not like 95 percent of the Republican Party has idealized.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie praised his efforts to block jobs for tenured teachers: "We took on the teachers union by ending jobs for life regardless of performance." This tough talk is about union-busting and ruining the systems put in place to protect workers in terms of health care as well as fair and liveable wages. He went on to boast of attacking Medicare, the only tool for seniors and their families to have dignity in providing health care and skilled nursing and even palliative care. His quote on this was "telling our seniors the truth about our over burdened entitlements." Gov. Christie, it is not an entitlement to protect and to offer services that people have worked for more than 75 years. Taking these services away is void of compassion and does not reflect the Jesus you claim you know.

As people of faith, Brad and I identify with most with the Democratic Party of today because it cares about the United States it seeks to serve and because it supports open voting of all people. This is imperative for the health of our democracy and for the values and freedoms for all. We are not just saying this as a gay couple, but as people who are concerned about combating poverty, maintaining access to health care and education for all and, yes, supporting an end to the Defense of Marriage Act.

Let me say this clearly: Voter suppression in this election is the agenda of the Republican Party because it is the only way the party can see itself winning the White House. We have seen this before in the election of George W. Bush. Rigging the election is nothing new with the Republican Party. This is not just un-American, but immoral to the God they always claim they serve.

Therefore, we call on all pastors and community leaders to be vigilant in assuring that the least of these who are at risk of being turned away at the polls is protected. If I were a pastor, I would do everything possible so this presidency can be protected and respected so we can collectively move forward as a nation.

Too many have died and bled on the bridge to Selma, Ala., for this election to be stolen by a few who have exchanged their white sheets for white shirts, colorful ties and Gucci suits. We are not telling clergy what to do, but we are merely asking clergy to speak truth for the sake and the grandchildren of the least of these, and to protect the values that the founding fathers implemented.


TJ Williams and Brad Hauger


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