A Letter to Jan

Black Women for Obama CommentaryBeloved BWFO Readers,

On Friday, May 20th, I received a response to a Craig’s List ad soliciting contributors for this blog.  The response came from a woman named Jan B. who is an apparent supporter of Herman Cain’s. I thought her email to me was fascinating, and my response to her even more fascinating (I kid), and both are included below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.


Jan’s Email:

Why are you supporting him, because he has African roots?  Please get educated on his policies and do a background check on his chosen czars.    I believe if you do this you might change your mind.  Study the health care bill.  Are there somethings you would not like to suffer or your love ones that could happen to you. How about going to jail if you don’t pay for your health insurance? Or, you have a major disease and the government will not pay for your illness because of expenses?  These are true facts. His policies and the corrupted individuals who co-side with  him are here to destroy the America you live in.
A better candidate for 2012 election is our own  Herman Cain  check him out. True Black America!

My Response:

Dear Jan,

I absolutely love it when total strangers email me making a bunch of assumptions about what I do or don’t know. I think one of my biggest problems with Conservatives (of all varieties) is the tendency some of you have to spout rhetorical nonsense about “Czars”, and the Government threatening to arrest people for not maintaining their health care for no other reason than to scare people. But you want to talk about health care? Let’s.

My mother lived with me for 5 years, after she lost her kidney function and was later diagnosed with breast cancer. After 60+ years of paying into the Medicare and Social Security systems as a contributing member of society, her medical bills were so high that she and I were both forced into bankruptcy. She was too sick to walk, but she had to suffer the humiliation of going to court to speak on her own behalf regarding her astronomical medical bills. It was horrible – we were defenseless against the high costs of her care, and powerless to do anything about the skyrocketing costs as they mounted.

The truly sad thing is, my mother’s is not the worst story I’ve heard regarding the state of health care in America. People are literally dying because they don’t have access to health care, in the RICHEST NATION IN THE WORLD! If you can’t see why that’s a problem, then you’re soul-less, and it’s a waste of time to debate you. I’m not saying that the Health Care bill is perfect – far from it. But beleaguering the fact that one might potentially be fined for not maintaining health coverage in a society where you can literally be jailed for not maintaining liability insurance on your CAR is a little silly.

You dilute your point by saying things like “His [Obama’s] policies and the corrupted individuals who co-side with  him are here to destroy the America you live in.” It makes you sound like a zealot intent on turning everyone you meet against Obama just because. And as for Herman Cain – I’m very familiar with Mr. Cain. I listened to his show here locally in Atlanta when he was still on the air. I respect him as a business man, and a fellow technologist, but he supports most of the same policies that nearly drove this country into a ditch over the last decade, so I can’t support him. I don’t care what his race is. And I think that’s the most offensive thing of all about your email.

You assume I support President Obama because of his race. That demeans me, and him. If you’d wandered across my blog back in 2007, you’d have found that in the beginning, I was quite torn between Obama and Clinton, and in fact, only made my decision to support Obama after researching his policies, reading his book, and a whole lot of soul searching, since even I back then didn’t hold out a lot of hope that he could win in this country. So, again – you minimize the effectiveness of your argument by making blanket assumptions – let’s debate the issues, not hurl baseless accusations. It doesn’t help the collective dialog.

Thanks for responding to my Craig’s List ad, though it certainly was not the kind of response I was after. It’s even more important now than ever that we have these conversations, but we also all must do what we can to make sure our conversations are productive and responsible. I hope you’ll join me in that. I await your response.

Patricia Wilson-Smith
Executive Director, Black Women for Obama

About Patricia Wilson-Smith

Patricia Wilson-Smith is a freelance writer and author of the romantic comedy "Duped By Love". She is a regular contributor to She Unlimited Magazine, and covers special events as a special on-air correspondent.
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3 Responses to A Letter to Jan

  1. Isis says:

    I do not agree with Jan B. I think what scares her the most is having a Black president in the white house. There was no mention of the mess President Bush placed us in once he left office. The unfair focus has been totally on the newly president elect who has been soooo busy putting fires out, it will make your head spin.

    I think it’s the same of old mindset….that says blacks cannot do anything effective WITHOUT a white person behind them instructing their every move. And that is absolutely WRONG. Folks better get ready cuz there are gonna be Presidents of color from now on. We may have our first Native American, Hispanic, Asian and a variety of others upcoming. It’s not what you look like that’s important, it’s what you can do. Many people forget that. But! I’m haven’t. The proof is in the pudding. And as long as we as black people have been in this country….history shows we have been more than just effective. Just look what we have done. So to me, Jan B. sounds simply racist. Bottom line. But! I’m just sayin

    • Patricia Wilson-Smith says:

      Amen, Isis!

      There’s no doubt in my mind that their will be people of color in the White House at every level from now on. And you’re absolutely right – history will show that even in the face of some of the most challenging crises in this nation’s history, Barack Obama has been an incredibly effective President! I look forward to hearing from you again soon!

  2. Yes, it’s quite entertaining to observe conservatives engage in scare tactics, red herrings, and forms of exaggeration when it comes to slandering the president.


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