In My Opinion                             Caroline Porter


Friendship trumps politics, and lots of other things


People trying to convince us they are intellectuals are always sticking their noses in the air and saying, ÒI never watch TV,Ó or ÒI never watch TV in the daytime.Ó  I have news for you. Today I watched a speech on the subject of race by presidential candidate Barack Obama that will go down in the history books. After that I listened to an audio on C-Span of oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court on a case involving the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, (the right to bear arms). A man from Washington DC is objecting to a local ban on hand guns in the District of Columbia. It was fascinating to hear the judges argue with and question the attorneys on both sides of the issue and most of the discussion was comprehensible to a layperson. So, daytime television is not all soap operas and game shows. It can be most educational.

Now to the speech of Barack Obama. I wonÕt pretend to detail all the points of his speech, but what prompted it was the flap about inflammatory snippets of sermons of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the former minister of ObamaÕs Chicago church, his mentor and dear friend for at least 20 years, that have been played all over televisionÕs 24/7 stations and the Internet. First of all, itÕs not important what bigots think about Barack Obama. They are going to say he is a Muslim and will have racist attitudes towards him no matter what he says or does. Today he acknowledged this in his calm and intelligent discussion of race relations.

He emphasized that Reverend Wright is another generation and comes from another place than he. Frankly, I didnÕt disagree with many of Reverend WrightÕs remarks. This country has a rotten history when it comes to race relations, and the disenfranchisement and mistreatment of minorities, and itÕs not un-American to say so. There are lots of people in this country who believe our foreign policy in the Middle East has fueled the hatred many citizens of those countries have for America and Americans. To want to make ourselves and our government accountable and demand equal rights and treatment for all is in the best interests of this country.

But most of all, I liked the fact that although Senator Obama disapproved of Reverend WrightÕs remarks shown in the edited snippets on TV, he remained loyal to his friend. Good grief, donÕt we all have friends and family who donÕt agree with us on politics and other subjects close to our hearts? If our friends and family are important to us, we either stay off certain subjects or argue respectfully with each other. I know I have friends who disapprove of my political affiliation, some of my writings and political actions, but they remain my friends. All I ask is their respect, and I certainly offer mine. Obama said the Golden Rule is practiced by most major religions, and a darn good one it is.

My good friend Marcia Johnson took the photo above in 2004. IÕve known her and Craig since 1971 and we are the best of friends. Craig supported President Bush, but both of them consented to have my county board sign in their yard. The photo speaks volumes. The Johnsons have always supported me in my political runs because they are loyal friends. IÕm assuming they also think IÕm competent, but I wouldnÕt want to press the issue.

As an often-controversial political figure, I particularly appreciate the loyal support of my friends. They respect my freedom to speak my mind and stand up for my beliefs. ThatÕs what Obama was doing for his long-time friend and mentor, Reverend Wright. True friendship is a treasure and trumps politics, thatÕs for sure.


Caroline Porter is a freelance writer and has been a political activist for 50 years. She can be reached at