A friend forwarded me an email this morning. An old one, one that I've seen before... but this morning it just was not ok anymore. I'm posting that forwarded email, along with my response. This full page ad was placed in the Washington Post by a businessmannamed George J. Esseff, Sr. He paid $104,655.60 to run the ad andonly did it because he is sick and tired of the way that "The Rich"Are portrayed by liberals these days. It is a great read!In today's America, ask a growing number of high school and collegestudents; their teachers and professors; the self-anointed media eliteand/or hard working men and women of all ethnicities, the question"What is a Republican?", and you'll be told "... a rich, greedy,egotistical individual, motivated only by money and the desire toaccumulate more and more of it, at the expense of the environment, theworking poor, and all whom they exploit."I am a Republican. I am none of those things and I don't know anyRepublicans who are.WHAT I, AM. first and foremost, is a loving husband of some 52 plusyears, the father of four and an American who's proud of his countryand his country's heritage.WHAT I AM is the grandson of immigrants who risked everything,including their lives and those of their children, to escape tyrannyin search of freedom.WHAT I AM is a man who grew up during the Depression and witnessed,first hand, the effects of the Stock Market crash and the soup linesthat followed. I watched as both my parents and grandparents, who hadvery little themselves, share what food they had with a half dozenother families who had even less.WHAT I AM is someone who worked his way through college by holdingdown three and four jobs at a time and then used that education tobuild a better life.WHAT I AM is a husband who, at age 24, started his own business forthe "privilege" of working 60, 70, 80 hours a week, risking everythingI had, including my health, in search of a better life for myself andmy loved ones.WHAT I AM is a businessman whose blood, sweat and tears - and plentyof them - made it possible for me to provide a secure living not onlyfor my family and myself, but also for literally hundreds of myemployees throughout the years. Employees, who in turn, were able tobuy their own homes, raise their own families and give back to theircommunities and their country.WHAT I AM is a man who believes in God, a God who has blessed thiscountry and all for which it stands.WHAT I AM is someone who knows, if you doubt miracles exist in today'sworld, you need only to look into the face of those who received them,and the eyes of those who give them.WHAT I AM is an American who's proud that his President embraces abelief in God; proud of a President who understands, as "politicallyincorrect" as it may be, there is evil in this world and for thesecurity and safety of all freedom loving people everywhere, it mustbe confronted and it must be defeated.WHAT I AM is an American who takes comfort in the knowledge that ourPresident refuses to allow decisions concerning the very safety andsecurity of this nation, to be governed by the political whims offoreign governments.WHAT I AM is tired of hearing from leading Democrats who see onlynegativity in America; racism in her people, class warfare in hersociety and "political incorrectness" in her character.WHAT I AM is a former democrat who now understands that it is thesoldier and not the reporter that guarantees us our freedoms of press,speech and dissent.WHAT I AM is a man who believes in the sanctity of life, a man who isrepulsed by the pandering of the political left for votes, at theexpense of the unborn.WHAT I AM is a husband and father who believes in the sanctity ofmarriage and the preservation of the family unit.WHAT I AM is a movie go-er who is repulsed by those insecure, sociallyinept, elementary thinking, ego-inflated "entertainers" who haveappointed themselves "experts" in the fields of national security andgeo-politics and then use their forum to attack this nation, itsleaders and its actions, much to the delight and encouragement of ourenemies.WHAT I AM is an American who understands the difference between"censorship" and "choice." Evidently, these individuals do not,because when these same "celebrities" receive public ridicule for their offensive actions, the first thing they yell is "Censorship!". What they seem incapable of understanding is that the right of freespeech and dissent is shared equally by those offended as well asthose who offend. I support and will continue to support those filmsand performers whom I choose to and refuse to support those I don't. It is my right as an American a right I will continue toenthusiastically exercise.WHAT I AM is a voter, tired of politicians, who, every time theirvoting records are subjected to public scrutiny, try to divertattention from their political and legislative failures by accusingtheir opponents of "attack ads" and "negative campaigning" and thenews media who allow them to get away with it.WHAT I AM is a Catholic who loves his God and his Faith, and who'sbeen taught to respect all religions whose teachings are based inlove, peace and charity. As such, I am embarrassed and ashamed ofthose individuals, in both private and public life, whose decisionsand actions are devoid of any sense of character or morals;individuals who are only driven by what's best for them - rather thanwhat's right - often times at the expense of many including ournational security.WHAT I AM is a realist who understands that the terrorist attack thatmurdered hundreds of innocent Russian children could have occurredhere, in our heartland. That's why I sincerely believe America needsnow more than ever a President who sees with a clear and focusedvision and who speaks with a voice when heard by both friend and foealike, is understood, respected and believed.WHAT I AM is eternally grateful to Ronald Reagan for having thebravery to speak out against Communism and the courage of hisconvictions in leading the fight to defeat it; and George W. Bush forthe vision, courage, conviction and leadership he has shown inAmerica's war on terrorism amidst both the constant and vicious,personal and political attacks both he and his family are made toendure.WHAT I AM is a human being, full of numerous faults and failures, buta man nonetheless, who, though not always successful, has continuallystrived to do "what's right" instead of "what's easy". A man who ischallenging the religious leaders of all faiths, to not only preach totheir congregations the fundamentals of "what's right" and "what'swrong", but to also then hold them accountable for their actions inboth the public and private sectors.WHAT I AM is disgusted with the Courts who, on one hand, call themurder of a pregnant woman a "double homicide" but then refer to theabortion of her baby as, "pro-choice."WHAT I AM is someone deeply troubled by a political party whichembraces a candidate whose primary "leadership" qualities centeraround his protesting of the Vietnam war and his labeling thehonorable men and women who fought in it, (50,000 of whom gave theirlives in that action), as rapists, and war criminals. That samepolitical party then stepped forward this year to block the appearanceof a true Vietnam war hero, retired Admiral and former United StatesSenator, Jeremiah Denton, (a man who spent seven years and seventorturous months in a North Vietnam prison), from speaking before anopen session of the California legislature as part of that state's4th of July celebration. The reason Democrats gave for refusing toallow this American hero to speak before their state legislature wasbecause of the "conservative" nature of his views. As an American,that troubles me deeply, as well it should you. (Are you listeningMr. B?)WHAT I AM is a man who feels the need to spend, ONE HUNDRED & FOURTHOUSAND SIX HUNDRED & FIFTY FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($104,655.60, taxpaid) of his own money, to purchase this advertisement, in order toset the story straight. Some may say this money would have been betterspent feeding the world's poor. At the risk of sounding self-serving,as an American and as a Republican, for the last six decades of mylife, I have done exactly that and more. Following the examples of myparents and grand parents, I have used my earnings to feed the poor,shelter the homeless, provide housing for the elderly and medical carefor the sick, and continue to do so, and I'm not alone in that work.WHAT I AM is someone who is paying for this announcement, at my soleexpense, in hopes of opening the eyes of those led blindly by ill-informed elements of our great nation, who, through either ignorance, or malicious intent, repeatedly attack and belittle thoseof us who belong to a political party that holds true to the belief," the rights of the governed, exceed the power of the government". Forthose interested, I am speaking only as a tax- paying individual whois in no way associated with The Republican National Committee, norwith any of its directors, or delegates.WHAT I AM is a man who understands, "the American way of life" is amessage of self-empowerment for all.WHAT I AM is an American who is grateful that our nation gives each ofus the opportunity of self-determination and the right to benefit fromthe fruits of self achievement.WHAT I AM is an American who wants to preserve that way of life forall who seek it.WHAT I AM is blessed to be an American and proud to be Republican.
Dear Mr. --------,
This is not a full page ad to run in any newspaper or periodical. This is simply a response to an email forwarded by you that is such an affront to my belief system that it warrants a reply. I don't have $104,655.60 to run an ad. Had I that kind of expendable cash, I doubt very much that my ego would allow me to run an ad based solely on the assumption that people would not only care to read my personal manifesto, or that it would have such an effect as to influence anyone else's beliefs simply because I paid a pretty penny to have them printed. Surely there are better uses for 104,655.60 dollars.
What I am is a woman, an American, a Southerner, a daughter, a sister, a wife, and a Democrat.
What I am is the great granddaughter of immigrants who came to this country from both Germany and Ireland searching for exactly what I've been blessed with... safety, education, family, security, prosperity, freedom from oppression, and community. I am the fruit of my ancestors toil, and I try to live everyday earning the blessing that is the life I lead.
What I am is a homeowner. I bought my home, alone, at the age of 20. What I am is tired of the youth of this great nation being treated as second class citizens, as unworthy of an opinion, and belittled simply because of age. We are voters, we have a voice and our voices deserve equal volume.
What I am is a woman who grew up in Memphis, confronted with the remnants of racism everyday. I have seen the face of someone belittled because of thier skin color and that shame, that sunken heart is unacceptable in a country that claims the equality of all. I see a country that came together in brotherhood and unity after 9/11 that is now turning against each other. I see a country that is harboring old racisms and making them new again. I see a country that is being coached by it's leaders in how to hate.
What I am is a woman trying to work her way past the glass ceiling. What I am is a woman who in 2005 shouldn't even have to CONSIDER that the glass ceiling exists. What I am is sick and tired of women like me working just as hard, just as long, and just as well and still not getting treated equal to their male counterparts. I am just trying to make my way in this world.
What I am is a woman who believes that religion is personal, private, and not political fodder. What I am is disgusted with politicians using thier religion as a tool to divide and conquor. What I am is turned off by anyone who uses religion as a litmus test.
What I am is a woman so utterly incensed by our President using religion as a jingle, a catch phrase, a sound bite so as to appear like the 'everyman.' What I am is tired of our President using every oppportunity possible to wear his religion like the medal that he never earned.
What I am is a woman terrified by the fact that this great nation has become a nation of sheep, willing to follow a President simply because he and his spinners are adept at conjuring fear in the hearts of Americans. What I am is saddened by the jargon that has become mainstream, that the ideology of Evil is being used as a political ploy to accomplish the goals of the few, to the detrement of the many.
What I am is a woman unsurprised, sadly, that the jargon of "security and safety, spreading freedom around the world," was in fact a pack of lies. This march of freedom has secured the position of the formerly great United States of America as the worlds leader in torture, lies, evading international law, and inhumane treatment. In this country we used to believe that one is innocent until proven guilty. No longer. You are now more likely to be detained, shipped far away secretly, held for years without notice to your family, without the international right of legal representation, without being charged with a crime, tortured, your FAITH desecrated and either left to die, rot away in prison, or released without reason, apology or restitution. What I am is utterly incensed that this is being done in MY name, as an American. What I am left with is the tattoo of human rights abuser on my forehead while travelling abroad because of one man's personal vandetta.
What I am is appalled that this country was told lie after lie after lie that lead to the deaths of thousands of the brave men and women willing to put their life on the line for America. What I am is disgusted with the hypocracy of politics, willing to tar and feather a man for an affair, and unwilling to challange a man who gambled lives on a lie that he knew to be a lie.
What I am is a woman embarrassed by a President that patently refuses to read, to be informed, or to hear opinions that differ from his own. Differing opinions require listening skills and facts, neither of which seems to be important to this particular leader of the free world.
What I am is a woman tired of the Texas cowboy go-it-alone attitute that is rapidly leaving this great nation exactly there.... alone. This President has squandered international sympathy and support and traded it for international hatred of our "my way or the highway" attitude with our equals, our friends, our partners in this world. What I am is a woman terrified by the knowledge that our President refuses to allow for a well thought out plan when making any decisions concerning the very safety and security of this nation.
What I am is a Democrat tired of being painted as the 'other' party. What I want is clean air to breathe, good schools for my future children to attend and a hightened importance on education, not to be treated as a pariah in this world because of my President's decisions, a good job, a secure future, heath care for all, to ease the suffering of the sick and the poor, and for my children's children to experience what the untouched wild looks and sounds like.
What I am is a Democrat wholly disgusted with the media as a whole. It is not soldiers who fight for freedom of the press, it's the people who no longer realize that THEY do. We the people have to fight for our rights and the longer we roll over and allow them to be compromised, the sooner we will forget that we ever had the freedom or the right of privacy, when a court couldn't look at our medical records or library cards using the excuse of fear to peddle invasion.
What I am is a woman sicked with the thought that any man in Washington DC, or any man anywhere for that matter, believes that he has the right to have any opinion on what I do with my body. What I am is a woman waiting for my pharmacist to refuse to fill my birth-control prescription because it goes against his beliefs... that, my friend, will be the day. I wonder What I am is a woman that wonders what makes you think you have any right to make a law that determines my rights to my own body. What I am is a woman saddened that this is once again an issue; whether or not we are equal to men, and capable of making our own decisions. My body, my choice. No one is gets an opinion.
What I am is a woman enraged by the idea that a court can force a rape victim to carry a pregnancy to term because 'abortion is murder.' Rape is a crime. Abortion is a very hard choice and not one that anyone else can make for you. I am disgusted with a man who is willing to send thousands to their deaths under the guise of spreading freedom while witholding those freedoms from the very people those deaths were to protect.
What I am is a woman who believes that love is a gift that we all hope to recieve and that that gift does no harm to the sanctity of anything. What I fail to understand is how love shared harms anyone or anything. What I do understand is discrimination based on ignorance and the inablity to live and let live. Who I know are loving, caring gay couples who do a better job than most in raising loving, respectful, thinking, and contributing children. How that reflects poorly on the 'family unit' is beyond me.
What I am is a voter that doesn't trust our voting procedures. Until every single vote counts, we are not a democracy. What I intend to do is continue to fight for voting rights and the transparency of voting processes.
What I am is an American who believes the war on terror is a farce, propagated as a free ticket for the President to do what he wants, when he wants, without fact, reason, or accountablity. What I am is an American fearful of the repercussions of such bravado. Terrorism is real. Any ties between Saddam Hussein, Iraq and 9/11 are not. Any claims that this war was justified because of phantom weapons and false fear only solidify our fate and doom us to further horror on our own soil.
What I am is a woman unwilling to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars to prop up my own ego. What I will do is spread this email far and wide in the hopes of garnering an equal amount of donations in the name of actually spreading freedom and truth. What I hope is that Mr. Esseff Jr. takes a long hard look at who he believes to be his oppressors, his enemies and sees an equal instead; an equal who also believes in rights and freedoms... but for all, rather than a select few.
I too am blessed to be an American. I hope my children can say the same.