Sunday, July 30, 2006

More Adventures in Letter-Writing (now with personal attacks and flat-out lies)

by Kyle Michaelis
Continuing from yesterday's post, let's see how the discussion about my Letter to the Editor asking for an apology by Congressman Jeff Fortenberry has "progressed" at the Lincoln Journal-Star's website:
Anthony wrote: "I believe Congressman Osborne voted as did Congressman Fortenberry. It's interesting that Democrat blog regulars (which Mr. Michaelis is, I just Googled his name) don't accuse Congressman Osborne of exploiting black children. Ah, but this isn't about the rights of's about putting Democrats in office. A group of young, talented, exciting, entertaining musicians choose to perform with Congressman Fortenberry's entourage, and the Democrat operatives turn it into a race war. This is yet another indication of the utter lack of respect for minorities demonstrated by many in the Democrat Party. This is bad for the country, and America is SICK of it. I am thankful to the Congressman for extending an open hand to these young people."

Anthony really should find a better use of Google - mainly, educating himself on issues rather than speaking out with nothing but reactionary ignorance imagining that whatever he wants to believe is reality. The fact is that Congressman Tom Osborne did not vote with Fortenberry on ANY of the Amendments to the VRA. The audacity that it takes to suggest otherwise, attacking my credibility without any regard for the truth, is really a sad testament to the depraved mentality of the Republican noise machine with its primary interest of silencing dissent by intimidation and insinuation.

But, hey, at least he didn't stoop to playground bully tactics like calling me Kylie. I have to give him credit for that.
Barry wrote: "Kyle Michaelis's propaganda attack on Fortenberry is one befitting the pages of the Democrat blogsites he frequents, not the Lincoln Journal Star. If Michaelis knew anything of the amendments he mentions, he'd know that they, like Mr. Harbison points out, would discontinue the use of multilingual ballots and require that our common language be the one we cast votes in. Is this an insult to the black community? I think not. If Democrats are going to continue playing the race card, they should at least have their facts straight."

Wow, look at that noise machine kick into high gear. Now, my letter was propaganda. But, wait, hows this for propaganda? Only one of the Amendments Fortenberry voted for had anything to do with multilingual ballots (and pandering to anti-immigration activists). Fortenberry also voted to shorten the extension of the VRA from 25 years to 10 and to weaken the Justice Department's hand in enforcing the provisions of the Act. And, you're damn right these Amendments are insulting to the black community and to every leader who gave his or her sweat and blood to see the VRA become law.

My God, can you imagine speaking out of such total ignorance and with such disdain for the truth? Right here, this is what we're up against, folks. I don't know if these responses are coordinated or not, but they are clearly intended to undermine my credibility - as a lowly citizen writing a humble Letter to the Editor - while saying absolutely anything that would be convenient for their otherwise non-existent arguments.

Of course, it is nice to see that I'm not alone in this fight. Three posters - No More Fort, TH, and A.S. - have responded to the personal attacks against myself, while also standing-up for the principles on which the Voting Rights Act were founded. A.S provides a particularly poignant response, writing:
"The proposed amendment to eliminate the requirement of printing out multilingual ballots in communities with large ethnic populations does not affect blacks in Nebraska. It does however affect the spirit of the struggle they went through for equal rights and many died for in the process. It is an insult to the civil rights act. That is why Congressman Fortenberry owes an apology to not only the black community but all ethnic minorities who are citizens of this country. It is a disgrace. Any weakening of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is regressive and [a] step in the wrong direction...."

Well, this has been fun, and I want it to serve as a reminder to all readers to get out their and speak your mind. Be informed. Be engaged. Be proud of who you are and what you believe. I'm not going to tell anyone that writing a letter is going to change the world, but it will reverberate and touch others' lives - challenging them to think, while reminding others that they are not alone and that they have a voice as well.

That's true even if the newspaper runs your letter on Saturday, the least read day of the week - the day on which, for whatever reason, the last three Letters I've written ran in the Omaha World-Herald or the Journal-Star. Just poor timing, I suppose. Just poor timing, indeed!


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