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I was raised in a politically active Alabama family and have seen first hand how dirty tricks and morally corrupt campaign practices have fooled many for the benefit of the few. I did not have long to guess how the Republicans were going to counter their most recent "OBAMACARE" Supreme Court defeat. The "It's really a tax" whining was expected. What I did not expect, but I should have, was the quick racist element that was so rapidly mobilized in this area, and I am sure throughout the South.

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Last week, several statewide "informational" meetings were held to discuss the "nuts and bolts" of OBAMACARE. The lies, distortions, and fear they spread can also be found on the internet. These people have perfected this method through decades of practice i.e. give the audience some element of truth while getting your partisan point across via outrageous lies.

For example, concerned audiences were shown over 12,000 pages of documents. Who is going to read all that? No one.Instead, the marks were shown selective pages as page 420 of the OBAMACARE national health plan which allegedly indicates that ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) has the power to oversee "all" financial and personnel records to implement individual and family health coverages.

Yes, this sounds crazy; but this is how that plays here in Dixie -- Obama is black; ACORN is an "illegal black Chicago thug organization" that now has legal access to "your" bank, financial, personnel records to insure national health care compliance. Additionally, page 425, your individual will, power of attorney, and estate is now subject to the whims of this criminal (black) organization, ACORN!

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Additional provisions of OBAMACARE, according to the concerned (white) Republicans: a special tax on wheelchairs; ACORN will be allowed to decide the personal medical treatment you receive; all illegal immigrants will receive 100% medical coverage; medical premiums will subsidize union pensions; and just like "666" from the Bible everyone in the United States must carry a national health insurance card before any medical treatment is authorized.

As insane as this sounds, this tactic is working, and from what I see here on the ground in Alabama, working effectively! The Republicans have time and again proved themselves to be a legitimate hate organization; but, now they have become a national terrorist organization preying off the fears and prejudices of the elderly and working poor whites.

The Republicans have effectively marketed themselves as "true Christians" and champions of the "American way of life," a life that reverts back to the time of 12 Oaks Plantation where blacks were slaves and women could not vote! Ah, the "good ole days!"

As this nation celebrates the 4th of July, we should ponder in our hearts the meaning of FREEDOM and identify those that would strip it from us: not the Communists, not the Socialists, not the Democrats, not the Greens, not black people, not gay people, not women, but the present-day Republican party! Next month I will once again be back in Hanoi, Vietnam. Those people could teach Americans a thing or two about FREEDOM and tolerance. Those who cannot understand that will probably make incorrect assumptions about me and Vietnam. All I ask is those people remember I am a combat veteran who once did hold political office as a Republican....

jim rhodes

James Rhodes