copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org
The tale is true. Names were changed to protect the innocent.
Last evening Mister Gregory had a chance to speak to Mister Fairbanks of the issue. "Who is Barack Obama?" Barry thought he might introduce the topic delicately. The two men were in a car together. They had traveled across the country to meet with school Principals, Superintendents, and other professional educators. The hour was late, and dinner was on the agenda.
As the gents drove to the restaurant, Barry began the conversation; "Just as Barack Obama might not have known Bill Ayers background, who would think someone in this car was a member of SDS, Students for a Democratic Society?" Sean smiled and quickly replied, "I would." He then revealed that he was in fact a member of the largest and most influential radical student organization of the 1960s. The devout Republican, a man who might represent the Corporate Class belonged to an organization, which was "initially concerned with equality, economic justice, peace, and participatory democracy." Sean recounted stories. He told tales of his participation in anti-war protests. Mister Fairbanks helped to close his college. Sean showed "determined resistance," he was a radical, a rebel. He could be considered a less visible, and less violent, Bill Ayers.
Barry was aghast. When he posed the question, he never imagined such a response from Sean. Barry Gregory, an extremely reserved, shy, and quiet man meant to reveal his own history. When he was in his twenties, two score ago, the now Vice President of a prestigious company, was active in the same Student organization. More than a thousand miles away from where Sean incited revolution, Mister Gregory did his rebellious "thing."
Senator John McCain asks Americans to ponder; "Who is Barack Obama?" Sean wonders, as he has for quite some time. The President of a large multi-million dollar-company does not think he can trust this man of color. Nor, does Mister Fairbanks favor a Democratic President. Sean Michael Fairbanks is among the more than seventy (70) percent of Chief Executive Officers who fear an Obama presidency will be a disaster. This tycoon intends to vote as he long has, just as all Americans have and do. Sean will cast a ballot in his own perceived interest. As a businessman, Sean believes he will benefit more if he commits to the Grand Old Party. Mister Fairbanks will vote Republican. Senator McCain and Governor Palin are his candidates of choice. Sean knows who John Sidney McCain and Sarah Louise Heath Palin are. He does however wonder of Barack Obama.
Sean Michael Fairbanks frequently expressed his preference to his protégé, and Vice President of the corporation, Barry Gregory. Barry and Sean are about the same age. Each experienced rites of passage in the 1960s. While the men work very well together and have for near a decade and one half, the fine fellows differ politically. Mister Gregory considers himself a peacenik. Each week, he stands in vigil on a street corner. He protests for peace. As naive as some may think him to be, Barry Gregory humbly holds up a banner, which invites passer-bys to ponder impeachment. Dennis Kucinich was his original choice for President of the United States. Now, this Vice President of a major firm, endorses Barack Obama.
Sean and Barry do not argue the divergent dynamics. Political debates are not prominent discussions when they are together. However, these are not avoided. The two share a mission, a vision, as it relates to the business at hand. Granted, personal revelations are realized. The chaps are more closely connected because they speak of their individual interests and issues. Each is empathetic. They understand the other believes as he does.
For Misters Fairbanks and Gregory distinctions are fine. Few friends and fewer acquaintances agree no matter the issue. Sean and Barry accept the differences and enjoy the relationship that has evolved between them. The well-established professionals on occasion, delve more deeply as they did after the most recent Presidential debate.
Sean Fairbanks, the more senior in the company, says of the McCain/Palin ticket, "The two mavericks are known entities. He says, "Barack Obama is an unfamiliar to the people. The Illinois Senator is untested, inexperienced, and perchance, he is not as innocent as he appears to be." Barry Gregory muses of the Democratic candidates record. He reasons as he shares his own sensibility. Barry says to Sean, "Barack Obama has a record." Mister Gregory refers to past performance that is respectable, not criminal in nature as Sarah Palin and John McCain would want Americans to believe.
Statistics: Barack Obama has sponsored 121 bills since Jan 24, 2005, of which 115 haven't made it out of committee and 2 were successfully enacted. Obama has co-sponsored 504 bills during the same time period. (Starting Sept 17, 2008, these numbers do not include resolutions.)
Some of Obama's most recently sponsored bills include . . .
Sep 22, 2008 S.Con.Res. 96: A concurrent resolution commemorating Irena Sendler, a woman whose bravery saved the lives of thousands during the Holocaust and remembering her legacy of courage, selflessness, and hope.
Jun 26, 2007 S.Con.Res. 25: A concurrent resolution condemning the recent violent actions of the Government of Zimbabwe against peaceful opposition party activists and members of civil society.
Jun 24, 2008 S.Res. 600: A resolution commemorating the 44th anniversary of the deaths of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner in Philadelphia, Mississippi, while working in the name of American democracy to register voters and secure civil rights during the summer of 1964, which has become known as "Freedom Summer". . .
Sep 17, 2008
S. 3506: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase the credit for purchase of vehicles fueled by natural gas or liquefied natural gas and to amend the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users to reauthorize the Clean School Bus Program of the Environmental Protection Agency. . .
Jun 3, 2008
S. 3077: Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008
May 21, 2008
S. 3047: Enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Act of 2008 . . .
Oct 18, 2007
S. 2202: Renewable Fuel Standard Extension Act of 2007 . . .
Sep 18, 2007
S. 2066: Back to School: Improving Standards for Nutrition and Physical Education in Schools Act of 2007 . . .
Jul 26, 2007
S. 1885: Military Family Job Protection Act
In a discussion with Sean, Barry offers, it seems Barack Obama, holds dear American values. He wishes to pay homage to those who saved lives during the Holocaust. Senator Obama rejects violence against a citizenry here and abroad. The Illinois Legislator understands the importance of Civil Rights and democracy in action. He also reveres the role of church and clergy in American lives. Mostly, as evident through his proposed policies, Barack Obama cares about the quality of life for average Americans.
Presidential hopeful Obama wishes to amend Internal Revenue policies that punish the poor and Middle Class. The lawmaker from Illinois hopes to strengthen laws that mandate transparency in government spending. Senator Obama supports alternative, renewable sources of energy. Surely, proposals that reduce a reliance on petroleum will end our dependency on oil. Military families will be better provided for if Barack Obama's Bill passes. Perhaps, most prominent among the laws Barack Obama introduced are those that relate to children. Barack Obama believes in education.
Fascinatingly, so too does Sean Michael Fairbanks. Indeed, the business Sean founded facilitates the acquisition of knowledge for students of all ages. Mister Fairbanks profits from policies that address improving learning, especially for the little ones. Still, Sean is not convinced that Barack Obama is any less scary than Sarah Palin says he is.
Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin speaks to a truth that those such as Sean embrace. She does not inquire as to who Senator Obama might be. She is sure she knows. Recently, at a well-attended rally, the former small-town Mayor of Wasilla, Palin answered the question that haunts people such as Mister Fairbanks, "Who is Barack Obama?"
The "sensational Sarah," as Sean calls her, says, according to The New York Times, Presidential hopeful Obama is "our opponent, (he) is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who target their own country.” Sean Michael Fairbanks agrees. As a registered Republican who admires the Alaskan Governor Palin, Mister Fairbanks does not inquire further. He does not read the actual article, Obama and ’60s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths. Had he, perchance, he would not have been swayed. For Mister Fairbanks, the query is unnecessary. Sean trusts that a man with a name such as Barack Obama cannot be "one of us."
However, while the wise and wondrous Sarah Palin and Sean Fairbanks may believe as they do, another reader of the article might see the statement, "Since 2002, there is little public evidence of their relationship," and conclude that the two are not chums. Nor do the infamous Bill Ayers, founder of the radical Weathermen, and the much younger Barack Obama have a close relationship. Indeed, once Barack Obama learned of the historical link to illegal and destructive activities by a man who twenty-six years later is an Education Professor, he expressed antipathy for the radical views and actions of Mister Ayers.
Presidential hopeful Obama proclaimed, Bill Ayers is “somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.” The Senator had not known that the person who served with him on a board that oversaw the distribution of education grants in Chicago was part of a group that, had he been old enough or prominent to voice a public opinion, Barack Obama would have condemned.
Senator Obama, at the time, was only certain that the Chicago Annenberg Project, which bestowed money to networks of schools from 1995 to 2000, was a worthy cause. As Chairman, it made sense to Barack Obama that an Education Professor, Bill Ayers, a man active in the community would care about the quality of instruction in his home city. Barack Obama was concerned about children and their education, then and now. Mister Fairbanks is as well. Barry wondered; is that not why Sean began his business.
Sean Michael Fairbanks built his life and career on instruction. He hoped and helped to ensure the younger generation would have quality schools in their neighborhoods. Edification is his priority, just as, in recent decades it has become Bill Ayers main concern. Yet, there he is; Sean the critic of a person who could have been considered his cohort.
Each had a history of radical activism. Sean could be considered as Bill Ayers is. A Republican, an entrepreneur, and a John McCain/Sarah Palin supporter who is a detractor of an esteemed educator who has a background similar to his own. Barry was stunned. He pondered; who might the President of his company, Sean Fairbanks be? For so long Mister Gregory had an impression of the man who sat in corporate office. Sean was a mogul, his mentor, and the man who taught him of the business world. He never imagined that Sean was once liberal or liable to be among a radical group of antiwar protestors. An association with the Weather Underground? Sean's may be stronger than Barack Obama's ever was.
As the two corporate cronies talked, they realized the question might not be "Who is Barack Obama?" Possibly, each might inquire, "Who is this man I thought I knew?" Who is Sean Michael Fairbanks and who might Barry Gregory be? Americans may wish to ask themselves, not the query Sarah Palin and John McCain scream at every opportunity. Citizens of this country might wonder who are we all, and what might any of us have done in our past.
Perhaps we might ponder; long before Barack Obama ever thought he might actually pursue the presidency, he wrote an autobiography. His openness was stark. The publication was praised for its transparency. What a wondrous world it might be if lucidity was the law. Might the electorate recall among the Bills Barack Obama introduced was an initiative that would Strengthen Transparency and Accountability. Might the people wonder who will vote for such a measure. Will John McCain? Does the American public authentically know who John Sidney McCain is?
Sources that reveal what was never a secret . . .