Although I support Ralph Nader's independent campaign for president, I am concerned at the vicious lies being issued against Barack Obama by the McCain campaign. Most disturbing of all is the ridiculous notion that Obama is linked to some vague Islamic plot to rule the world and that he is somehow linked to terrorism. McCain advisers know this is false, but they hope that the media will assist them in making this a campaign issue and, by repeating the accusation over and over, will scare just enough people to swing the election in McCain's favor.
The McCain campaign is also using a guilt-by-association smear concerning Obama's "link" to 1960s domestic terrorist William Ayers. Although Ayers, who is now a university professor in Chicago, committed terrorism 40 years ago when Obama was just eight years old, he and Obama both served on the board of directors of an education reform group in the 1990s. This is the angle the McCain campaign is using in saying Obama "pals around" with terrorists. If the truth doesn't work for you, just make things up! What a sleazebag McCain is!
The other smear is against Acorn, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which boasts 400,000 member families in 1,200 neighborhood chapters in 110 cities across the U.S. Acorn is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that works on social justice issues such voter registration, access to affordable health care for all, fully funded public schools, immigrant rights, fair and affordable housing, and a living wage for all. Acorn works with other organizations that share common goals, including even local and state governments.
Acorn pays workers an hourly wage to go door-to-door in low and moderate- income neighborhoods and register people to vote. Acorn workers can also be found at shopping centers, grocery stores, and other public places where people gather. Acorn's voter registration mission is to ensure that as many people as possible participate in the democratic process. Each voter registration card collected is verified and those that are clearly fraudulent -- such as a registration for Mickey Mouse -- or cards found to be suspicious are flagged for election officials. All voter registration cards, including obvious fraudulent ones, are required by law to be submitted to state election officials. All organizations that register voters receive fraudulent cards, including Acorn. A lazy Acorn worker who wanted a paycheck but did not want to earn it honestly could theoretically make up names and put them on voter registration cards -- as could a voter registration worker from any organization. This sort of action tars the whole voter registration process and Acorn supports the prosecution of any member found guilty of voter fraud.
For some reason, the Republican Party has targeted Acorn in a media smear campaign, but Acorn as an organization has done nothing wrong. These frivolous accusations are nothing but a distraction during a time that should be used for serious democratic political debate among all presidential candidates, including Ralph Nader (independent), Bob Barr (Libertarian), Cynthia McKinney (Green), and Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party), as well as Obama, McCain, and others. Because Acorn registers voters in poorer neighborhoods, the Republican National Committee assumes that these new voters will be democrats and they would like to see as many democrats as possible lose their right to vote or become discouraged and not show up at the polls at all. The Republicans are setting up Acorn to be the scapegoat in case McCain loses the election. The targeting of Acorn is laughable and the publicity will certainly increase their ranks once people learn about Acorn and its mission to help uplift disenfranchised Americans, ensure democracy, and therefore provide for the betterment of our society.