To the editor:
A recent letter again critical of President Obama's character and program prompts me to respond. It is very appropriate to offer criticisms and endorsements of politicians and candidates and have them published. The extending our constitutional right of freedom of the press and speech to the individual is a privilege not many in the world would enjoy. We all should relish and exercise this precise right.
I have on rare occasion submitted letters offering pro or con opinion on a wide range of topics, mostly political. Through it all I have tried to be objective and respectful.
The letter I am referring to embraces a number of pejorative statements and inferences towards Barack Obama, regarding his birth, citizenship, he and his wife losing their law licenses and receiving a Fulbright Scholarship, a scholarship program which the writer asserts is reserved for foreign students. Perhaps Kenyan
What more can be done regarding proving Obama's native birth? Must we have a Stanley Cup type arrangement where the hockey trophy is shared between each player on the winning team for a day, having his birth certificate passed from person to person?
As to the assertion that the Obamas lost their law licenses. This is not true. They didn't lose their licenses which is stated is stated to imply there was something improper involved. They both decided to suspend their law practices because of their obvious life change. Maintaining a law license mandates a periodical, even yearly, participation in a testing procedure. Obviously, they are not at present engaged in practicing law, so they opted to discontinue their licenses, in effect putting them on hold. They can re-activate the licensing at any time. There was nothing, as implied, negative involved.
The issue of the Connecticut Social Security card is also very misleading. The issue arises because of the first three numbers on President Obama/s Social Security number is 042. The assertion is that this prefix is used only for people living in Connecticut. Again, this is false. It is true that early on in the '30s and '40s this rule was used to facilitate bookkeeping by the Social Security Administration, but it was later dropped because of more modern file keeping techniques. The fact is that the first three numbers no longer, and have not since before the president received his number, reflect the state in which it is issued. I cannot help but see that this is another attempt to question the president's origin of birth.
As far as the Fulbright Scholarship, these scholarships first of all are not simply given to foreign students. The scholarship is one where an American student is exchanged with a student from a foreign country. It is not a program for foreigners. President Obama never participated in or received a Fulbright Scholarship.
It is very appropriate for people to disagree in politics, but it is also very appropriate and proper that the arguments contain facts, not falsehoods.
Finally, I am definitely not a socialist and do not endorse or embrace socialist dogma, but it puzzles me that the terms socialist and socialism are such an anathema to the right. What precisely is so dreadful about this philosophy? Is there a fear that somehow our government will be transformed into a socialist state?
During the early and middle part of the last century it seemed every dictator described his government as socialist. Hitler, Stalin, Salazar, Mao, Franco, Peron. In reality none of these states were socialist. The term was used because it was more easily accepted by the people.
Presently, I think there is only one country today that openly describes itself as a socialist state. That is Sweden. It is a kingdom with an elected parliament. This country has been socialist for probably close to a century and seems to be a stable, responsible, internally popular, non-authoritarian country. Does the right somehow fear we may become like Sweden?
Do the anti-socialists want to get rid of Social Security, Medicare, unemployment benefits? These are just three social programs that socialists endorse and embrace. I would genuinely like to see someone write and explain what it is about so-called socialism that causes such an uproar from the right.