Judged By the Company You Keep

For about a week now, I have been thinking about how the concept of being judged by the company you keep is so applicable to Barack Obama. I decided to finally sit down and write about it tonight. But first, I thought I’d check my feed reader.

Wouldn’t you know it–my mother decided to go and steal my thunder.

We haven’t even been talking about this, so I was definitely surprised to see some of my exact thoughts spelled out in front of me. Go there. Read it. She spells out some stuff that I am now going to assume that you know because you have read it there first.

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Last week, I was intrigued by several videos posted by various bloggers pointing out some of the scarier subtexts in pro-Obama propaganda. Everything from children singing hymns of praise to their (parents’) great leader, to militant chanting about what teens will be able to do “because of Obama” (Hello? Whatever you accomplish will be because of YOU and your own efforts!), to Michelle Obama’s socialist blathering about redistribution of pie.

All of these videos were met with comments from Obama supporters pointing out that HE wasn’t the one doing and saying these things. True enough (well, except for the case of his wife–you have to assume that he knows and agrees with her talking points if he is allowing her to campaign for him). The thing that scared me, though, is that I grew up believing that you are judged by the company you keep. And while these people (except his wife) may not actually know Barack Obama, they are drawn to him. And someone who inspires this kind of blind adoration (hymns and military chants, people!) scares me. Especially when he is talking about mandatory “volunteer” service and civilian police forces.

This past week, the McCain/Palin campaign has started (finally!) asking some of the tough character questions that some conservative pundits and many Americans have been talking about for awhile now. And while Obama and his supporters frantically try to drown the inconvenient facts out with shouts of, “It’s only about the economy, stupid” (ignoring the fact that McCain and Palin are talking about that, too), even the mainstream media is having to acknowledge that there is substance to the questions about Obama’s associations.

While those who rely solely on the mainstream media may just now be learning about Ayers and ACORN (and Rezko, and Wright, and Soros…) the discussion has been going on for awhile now. Obama and his supports have chosen to plead ignorance. He really wasn’t that close with Ayers–they just lived in the same neighborhood and crossed paths a few times (like in Ayers home, when Obama was having his political coming out party). He never heard Jeremiah Wright say those horrible things in the 20 years he attended his church (did you catch in the video–from CNN!–how Obama and Ayers worked together on a project that benefited Wright?). He is now trying to distance himself from ACORN (you know, the one that Obama did his work as a community organizer for that qualifies him to be the President of the United States) since ACORN seems to shoulder some blame for the current financial crisis and also admitted today to voter fraud within their organization (did you know that the Dallas Cowboys live in Las Vegas?).

Here’s the deal: Either Obama knew about the characters of the people he has been surrounding himself with for decades or he didn’t. He’s either lying, or he was truly oblivious. As incomprehensible as it may be to me, I know that there are a lot of people out there who are willing to give him the benefit of the (extreme) doubt and not judge him by the company he has kept. That’s their prerogative. I just have one one question for them.

Do you really trust someone with such a complete lack of character judgement to lead the free world?

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14 Comments

Filed under I think my head might explode, politics

14 responses to “Judged By the Company You Keep

  1. Nancy

    I have another question. If you take him at his word that he didn’t know about Jeremiah Wright’s virulent sermons, Bill Ayers’ bomber history, Tony Rezko’s complete corruption, etc. etc., what does that say? Do you want someone who is that dense, that oblivious, that blind, that out of touch with reality, to be president of the United States?

    I don’t think this election will be won or lost on this issue, though. Those who support him won’t believe it and/or won’t care. Just like they won’t believe or care that the Democrats own the majority of responsibility for the current financial mess (Community Reinvestment Act, ACORN, refusal to tighten regulation of Fannie and Freddie, Barney Frank voting to loosen regulation of Fannie and Freddie while his live-in-lover was one of their top executives, boatloads of campaign donations from Wall Street firms and executives, etc.)

    Now Obama is out-spending McCain 3-1 on TV ads. Of course, the media gives him free advertising all the time anyway.

    It’s not over though. I just can’t believe there will be that many Americans checking their brains at the door to the voting booth.

  2. Oh, I haven’t told you–Satellite TV has an Obama channel right now. Yep. He has bought an entire channel to play his political infomercial 24/7.

  3. Thankfully there’s a large part of the free world who don’t have to be subject to America’s President. I for example lived in England for 21 years and was sheltered from all of this “politicking”. Life there seemed a lot simpler and in England, citizens look out for each other. I’ve never seen such a class system as I have experienced here and as for all the character assassination that has been going on during the election process????? Perhaps we should not worry so much about who candidates have previously associated with. I would consider myself independent and so the only criteria I choose to go on is what state the country finds itself in today. Who can we look to as the responsible party but the government? The Capitalist mentality that drives so many in this country seems to have led us into untold problems.

  4. Nancy

    Sarah –
    I hear they’re working like crazy to save the Bank of England now, too.

    Voting only on what state the country finds itself in today, without studying to find out how and why it got there, is not responsible voting. Hope and Change can be put on a bumper sticker, explanations of economic and national security issues require lengthy discussions.

    “Capitalism is the worst system, except for all the others.” Winston Churchill

    Oh, and I didn’t find the author of that quote through Google or Windows Live Search. I used dogpile.com, where it showed up on the first page.

  5. Amen to your post, and to #1. I’m seriously having an anxiety attack over here that I’m afraid won’t go away until after the election. Or four years from now, depending on the results of the election.

  6. Christina

    You know I agree. And frankly, I think character counts for more than anything the candidates are promising. Because campaign promises come and go, but character lasts forever. (Most of the things they promise they can’t actually do, they need congress to pass things, and we’ve all seen how effective congress is!) As to the Ayers thing… even if we believe the newest line that he’s repentent, I’m still concerned about the work that OBAMA did with Ayers on that education committee… the radicalizing of education. Frankly if Obama is elected and does thing one towards education, I’ll be giving serious thought to pulling all my kids from public school ASAP.

  7. I think it’s impossible to judge the character of any politician from where we stand. If that’s the only criteria left to me to make a decision on then I find that very alarming. The only reliable course to me is to decide based on their polical philosophy and how they would conduct the running of the country. At this point the only way we as church members would be completely happy would be if Jesus Christ returned to take up the reins so in the meantime I would like to see some specific things that would improve life for normal everyday people here in the country. In the end, there’s two parties in government so I don’t think “the radicalizing of education” is actually going to happen. It would just be nice if all the mud slinging would stop. I don’t think it’s at all relevant to the issues that are very pertinent right now. England most certainly isn’t exempt either from financial stupidity but it’s certainly not to the the same extent as in this country. And I know for a fact that elections aren’t filled with ugly attack ads.

  8. Sarah,

    Now that I’m done with school for the day, I have a chance to answer some of what you said. It is true that I have never been to England to experience their political system first hand. All I have ever seen of it when they broadcast Parliament on C-SPAN and the two parties practically come to blows as they scream at each other and call their opponents nasty names. It hasn’t left me with the most warm and cheery impression of British politics (I will acknowledge that that is the leaders, not the every day citizen). I also have a hard time computing you comments on separation of the classes in comparison to a country where they will put you in a castle with jewels on you head for no greater acomplishment than coming out of the right womb.

    Certainly, class inequalities happen througout the world, and the US in not exempt. But to accuse it of being one of the worst? This isn’t India, with its caste system. Nor is it any of the communist coutries (although some seem to want to take it in that direction) where you are either in the government, in the military, or no one. The US is known for the fact that anyone can become anything if they work hard enough. This country is full of rags to riches stories that you just don’t find other places.

    If we were deciding whether or not to reelect Bush, I would understand your stance about just looking at where things are today (I would still disagree with it, but I would understand). The fact is, things aren’t where they are based on one person. And many of the people who are responsible for this mess are closely involved with Obama. We shouldn’t be voting based on what we may perceive as the failing of one man’s presidency. We should be voting on the histories of the two candidates (admittedly, a bit more difficult with Obama since he hasn’t been in national politics long and has chosen to not take a stand on many votes so no one can hold his positions against him), and on where they want to take this country (back to that redistribution of pie).

    If you really investigate where the origins of this financial crisis lie, you will find that capitalism is not to blame. It has been caused by those who are pushing Socialist agendas similar to Obama’s.

    Finally, the religion thing. I wasn’t going to go there, and I don’t want to take it past this comment since the majority of my readers are not LDS. But, can you not think of several examples of times when societies have risen and fallen based on the character of their leaders? Or of times when leaders have secretly combined their efforts with wicked men to destroy the righteous influences in a society?

    Without character, what does a person have?

    (You know I love you, but I really disagree with you on this one.)

  9. Nicole

    Wow, thought-provoking post. I agree with you on every point. I just wanted to point out that the bible even says that we are judged by the company we keep… “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” (Psalm 1:1)

  10. I believe that character is everything but how can we believe what a political opponent says about their rival? I simply meant that you cannot decide your vote based on what you think their character is, as defined by the person who wants to beat them in an election. Afterall we do not actually know them. If I were to judge Sarah Palin’s character for example I would characterize her as someone who doesn’t care about her children. She continued working and flying when she was nine months pregnant with her special needs child. But what really motivates her? Is that who she really is?
    And the social divide in this country is one of the first things that stood out to me when I moved here. I’m just saying what I observed and have no ulterior motive. In the end we can take politics too seriously. It’s not as if any of the candidates are going to join the Gadianton Robbers. That’s why we have more than one point of view in our Government. And it’s okay to disagree although I’m not sure we really do. I’m sure we both want to see a better country and strong leaders with integrity.

  11. I have to make a few comments about the true nature of things and the true cause of things. Our society is leaning toward moving our social/economic principles towards socialism, or a form thereof. What a backwards step this would be. Ezra Taft Benson, Eisenhower’s Secretary of Agriculture, made several comments about the proper role of government. He stated that We, the people, were created by God and given certain rights. We, the people, then created government to ensure that these rights are upheld. We, the people, are far superior than any government that we create. Just as individuals are not given the right to take wealth from another, governments do not have this right either since they were created by the people themselves. Government also cannot force people to do acts of charity…this violates the mere definition of charity.

    With the above foundation, I would like to respond to a few comments. Capitalism has NOT led us to the current economic situation. There is blame on many different levels but much of the blame can be placed on democratic leaders and socialist sympathizers. With the freedom of capitalism, we live through great times and down times but this situation was caused by a few leaders that insisted that homeownership was a right and not a privilege. This was done at the expense of other taxpayers (bailout).

    We are a great nation, with great people. England may look after their own and that is great. But in the US people not only look out for each other, but the US is by far the biggest contributor of money and other forms of charity in the world. Things are simpler in England. Their decision making rights have been taken away from them to an extent. But is this really a good thing? Without the ability to make your own decision, you cannot receive a reward for the correct decision. Are we really that stupid economically as a country? Traditionally, capitalism in this country alone has increased the production of the world. Do people realize that just one of our states (CA) has a larger GDP than England? All countries have ups and downs. Even in England it was decided by the two parties years ago to join the EEC, because their economy was not doing well. English economists even suggest that England will be in a recession by the end of the year. Capitalism is not bad and is not the cause of the current situation.

    Finally, if we are to liken the scriptures unto ourselves, then who are the Gadianton Robbers of modern times? This answer can be answered by citing many of the easy to see groups such as gangs etc. Could they also be governments that heavily tax their subordinates and attempt to create a socialistic society? This theory keeps people from growing and becoming exceptional people. There are great people in the world that deserve to have the ability to become what they can. Personal responsibility and decision making is key.

    I apologize if I sound defensive but I love this country and its values. We are not a perfect nation but we are a good nation.

  12. Sarah,

    The thing is, all of the stuff I’m talking about isn’t just stuff that McCain is saying about Obama. These aren’t baseless accusations. These are dishonest and illegal things that can be proven through public records. There are no questions about the facts here–just about how they are spun (and the only options are to make Obama look complicit, or to make him look oblivious).

    I said I didn’t want to take the religion thing further, but after your response and Scott’s very thoughtful comment, I am going to say one more thing and hope that the rest of my readers don’t glaze over. Gadianton robbers were specific to one time period, but the concept of secret combinations is not. Yes, I believe that they exist in politics (in all parties). Heck, go to any BYU BoM class and you will basically be taught as much (I did–I was). Sticking with Ezra Taft Benson, he said that “Pride results in secret combinations which are built up to get power, gain, and glory of the world” (May Ensign). If that statement can’t be applied to politics, I don’t know what can. And the more I read and watch, and the more dots I see connected between all of these people, the more suspicious I become of their relationships and motives.

  13. Absolutely, character matters. Absolutely.

    I have a long list of reasons why I cannot support Obama. I’ll only mention two. (If I go on further than that right now, I will lose the relative calm I am fighting to maintain while I watch my country self-destruct.)

    First, a sort-of silly reason: All those crazy, low-morals, think-they-know-everything-about-politics-just-because-they-are-famous Hollywood people support him! Seriously, the mere fact that Madonna likes Obama is a big enough clue to me that he’s NOT “the one” to lead our country.

    And second, a very serious reason: Obama supports abortion. (Even to the point that he would not vote for legislation to protect babies born alive during botched abortions.) Even if I agreed with him on everything else (which I don’t), I cannot and will not support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the teachings of Jesus Christ. Bottom line.

  14. I chose to become an American citizen of my own free will and to relinquish my British citizenship. I am just trying to navigate my way through the minefield that is before me. I only have one other system with which to compare but I do have a comparison. I can speak from actual first hand experience that when it comes down to England it’s citizens have as much choice and freedom as American citizens. If a person would rather get their own private health insurance then they can. And no one is forced to be charitable. And the Prime Minister is voted into power by the people. There is no such thing as the electoral college who can disregard the opinions of the people if they so choose. In the end, we can’t move out of the country if the “wrong” person gets elected President. And none of the candidates are in line with the teachings of Jesus. If you want that in a government you are going to have to wait for Jesus himself to return. Until then you’re going to have to suck it up. Obama may well be the devil incarnate and I may vote for Ralph Nader. As for this debate I think I’m going to redirect my energy to something more worthwhile. You Republicans can close ranks in an instant. McCain couldn’t ask for better cheerleaders! (Said with affection!)

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