An Open Letter to Barack Obama…

from someone who is already hiding from him

Dear Barack:
I should be voting for you. Groupthink demands it of me. But I can’t do it. No way, nohow. I’m a card-carrying member of the American intelligentsia, and I’m being asked to turn off my brain and put my trust in you, blindly. And this frightens me to the core.
Change. Lots of change. That’s what you promise. Today, for the first time, I saw a television ad of yours that didn’t simply promise change, but actually breached the levee and spoke of permanent change. No specifics, of course. And that’s the rub, Barack. I have trouble with unspecified change, especially of the permanent sort.
And I also have a lot of trouble with the fact that Fidel Castro has endorsed your candidacy and is loudly rooting for you, along with his entire military junta. Here’s my problem, in a nutshell: Fidel Castro ruined my country and my life, and imprisoned, tortured, and killed far too many of my relatives, so I can’t vote for anyone endorsed by that genocidal imp. To make matters worse, some of my highly-placed contacts in Cuba tell me that the privileged elite who run that island as a giant slave plantation and penal colony are openly boasting that you have spoken with his brother, King Raul, and have already struck deals with him.
It’s just a rumor, I know, but the fact that it’s being spread by Cuba’s ruling class says a lot about your candidacy, and what may lie in store for us all if you become president. The slaveowners in Havana want the world to believe that you are on their side. That’s not good, any way you look at it. So, I have a question: why is it that you won’t you deny the rumors? Your silence gives them the ring of truth.
Even worse, you have links to all sorts of unsavory characters, most of whom remind me of the brothers Castro and their Argentine friend, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who lived in a huge mansion that he had stolen from its owners, and was driven around Havana in a Mercedes Benz. Redistribution of wealth, Che called it. And his favorite way of ensuring such change was the firing squad, and the coup de grace that he gleefully administered with his own pistol.
I’m deeply troubled by your association with far too many people who idolize Che and and sing Fidel’s praises. At the top of this list we find your colleagues Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dorn, and your pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Further down on this list there are hundreds of celebrities who fawn over the brothers Castro and their Venezuelan crony, Hugo Chavez. Then, there are all of those supporters on your campaign website who quote Fidel, Che, Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Ho Chi Min, and Mao, as inspirational figures. Finally, there’s that campaign worker in your Houston office, who proudly displayed Che’s image superimposed on a Cuban flag.
I hoped you would denounce her, your soaring prose laced with indignation, just as if she had carved a Swastika on her forehead. But your silence was deafening. As if all this were not bad enough, I worry about your esteem for liberation theology, which you say has shaped your life. I know that there’s no such thing as a liberation theologian who isn’t in some way a Marxist. Forget Reverend Wright’s rants, which you must have heard hundreds of times. Forget his devout pilgrimage to Cuba. Forget that your dismissal of Wright rings false. What vexes me more than anything else is that your core beliefs have this intimate connection to Marxism, and that you make light of that fact, and so many are fooled by your evasions.
When you dismiss all of these disturbing items as trivial spitballs hurled at you by desperate, unethical opponents, my brain sounds an alarm, and the noise inside my head is as loud as all the sirens of all the fire trucks in lower Manhattan on September 11th, 2001. You’re much too smart not to know about the Marxist bent of liberation theology and of some of your closest associates. It doesn’t take much effort to notice: I just took a look at Bill Ayers’s website, and it sent chills down my spine. It instantly transported me back to Cuba.
You skirt every serious question on this issue, pretend to be clueless, even. But let’s grant for a minute that you are really as clueless as you say, and can’t recognize Marxism when it stares you in the face. If that’s really the case – and I can’t believe it because you admit in your memoir that you preferred Marxist professors— then you scare me even more, Barack. I wouldn’t want someone that dumb in the White House.
Everyone around me tells me I should be happy, even delirious about your chances for victory. It’s expected of me, as an egghead. It’s also demanded of me as a “person of colour,” just like you. An undesirable. God knows how many times I’ve been called a spic. But the truth is, Barack, that you’re asking me to be brainless, like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, and that you scare the stuffing out of me. Your campaign and your supporters evoke memories of the communist correctspeak forced upon me at school back in Cuba, and of George Orwell’s warning in his prophetic novel, 1984: “Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
So, please, give me reason to turn off the alarm. Renounce Castro’s endorsement, and then heap scorn on all Fidelistas, as any decent person would on Nazis, or Stalinists, or Maoists, or the whole Ku Klux Klan, and put a great distance between you and them, measured in trillions and trillions of light years. Do it now, and do it with conviction.
Do the right thing.
But I fear you won’t; not now, not ever. And that’s what’s keeping me up late at night, and forcing me to scour world maps, looking for some other place of exile. Or, in my worst nightmares – which happen to be quite frequent– planning my trek to the hills, to join the resistance, or to start it. And it’s that likelihood of having to duck out of sight that makes me withhold my name. No point in risking too much before it’s really necessary.

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