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article imageOp-Ed: Growing Controversy in the Heartland over Barack Obama

By Mr Garibaldi     Jun 30, 2008 in World
It's fact versus fiction time in heartland America, and the topic of controversy is presumed Democratic nominee Barack Obama.
In his rapid ascent from being a basic unknown entity to his rock star rise and "Messianic" appeal garnering him the presumptive nomination at the Denver convention, there is still a great deal about Barack Obama that remains relatively unknown to most American voters.
There's a lot of information out there on Obama, depending on where you look and what you believe. There's the official Obama background, mixed race child born to a white mother and an African father in Hawaii, lived abroad as a child and came back to the States where he attended and graduated from both Columbia and Harvard Universities, worked as a community organizer and as a civil rights attorney, and taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School.
And then we have the skyrocketing political career.
Obama served in the Illinois State Senate from 1997 until 2004. After an unsuccessful bid for the House of Representatives in 2000. Scandal surrounding Jack Ryan forced his resignation from the 2004 Illinois Senate campaign, leading to the candidacy of Alan Keyes as the Republican opponent for Obama. Obama defeated Keyes 70% to 27%.
Obama has not yet completed one full term as a United States Senator. And now he is the leading Democrat as the November election cycle comes into play.
Perhaps this is where the confusion and speculation concerning Obama comes into play. This rapid rise to "stardom" has worked both to Obama's advantage, as the candidate of "change, hope, and unity," but it is also working to his detriment as small town America gossips about the "what if's" because of rumors that they have been privy to.
On his corner of College Street, Jim Peterman stares at the four American flags planted in his front lawn and rubs his forehead. Peterman, 74, is a retired worker at Cooper Tire, a father of two, an Air Force veteran and a self-described patriot. He took one trip to Washington in 1989 -- best vacation of his life -- and bought a statue of the Washington Monument that he still displays in a glass case in his living room.
He believes a smart vote is an American's greatest responsibility. Which is why his confusion about Barack Obama continues to eat at him.
On the television in his living room, Peterman has watched enough news and campaign advertisements to hear the truth: Sen. Barack Obama, born in Hawaii, is a Christian family man with a track record of public service. But on the Internet, in his grocery store, at his neighbor's house, at his son's auto shop, Peterman has also absorbed another version of the Democratic candidate's background, one that is entirely false: Barack Obama, born in Africa, is a possibly gay Muslim racist who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
"It's like you're hearing about two different men with nothing in common," Peterman said. "It makes it impossible to figure out what's true, or what you can believe."
A growing controversy surrounding the validity of Obama's birth certificate isn't helping to quell any of these rumors, and according to some, is nothing more than a rumor itself. The birth certificate isn't the only thing causing rumors and speculations: Obama's associations with certain individuals, including his pastor of 20 years, past connections to CAIR members, his Muslim heritage and Muslim relatives living abroad, all do nothing but lend fuel to the fire in the rumor mill.
Add to the mix Obama's recent reversals of his stands on the issues of the day, and the number of gaffes made by Obama and his camp, can you blame small town America for asking questions and wanting more information before making up their minds about a candidate?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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