Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Great Obamanation

Today I must begin with a disclaimer... I do not know if this is true. I do not know the source. It is something that has been passed along in a number of email funnies. I know I've seen it pass through my inbox more than a few times over the past several years.

Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher in Southern California, was doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered Harry Reid's great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. Both Judy and Harry share this common ancestor.

The only known photograph of Remus Reid shows him standing on the gallows in Montana territory. On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is this inscription: 'Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton Detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.

So Judy emailed Congressman Reid for information about their great-great uncle. Believe it or not, Harry Reid's staff sent back the following biographical sketch for her genealogy research: 'Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad industry. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.'

I share the observation in the last email of this story I received just last week. 'Now THAT is how it is done, folks! That's real SPIN.' It is deception at its most artful. There is nothing about the second description of events that is technically incorrect. It's in the connotation that it succeeds in its deceptiveness. And the most dangerous thing about deception is that is seductive. It makes you want to believe.

At a former job in the banking industry I witnessed many of the officers, especially those charged with creating and maintaining customer relationships, called into weekly meetings to learn the 'art of spin.' The thought was they could then take some negative thing that had happened in the customer's life or bank account or in the banking industry or the economy or whatever and play it as a positive thing that the bank was there to service, explain and protect. Was it successful? Frequently. Was the customer taken advantage of? I'd estimate they got about the same deal as they would have at any other large bank. Was it an honest way to do business? All I can say is, the information presented wasn't technically incorrect.

A couple of Book of Mormon scriptures come to mind as being especially significant to this discussion. 2 Nephi 9:28 says, "O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish." And Alma 46:10 tells us "Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous sake."

The key phrase here, to me, is "destroy the foundation of liberty." We are a nation who has forgotten God. We've pushed Him out of government functions, out of schools, out of our business dealings, out of our very lives to a large extent. Many think and say that the Constitution makes no religion a basic human right. But read it closely and you'll find that's not what it says. It says "freedom of religion" not freedom from religion. We need God more now than ever! Our lives, our liberty, our families... our very way of life is under attack.

I believe America is a blessed nation. One that God has granted the blessing of liberty so long as we remember Him and do His work. I pray that under this new Presidential administration we will wake up and find our way back and, both collectively and personally, to God. Good luck Barack Obama, may God inpsire you!

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