Be Careful Who You Hang Around With
By Greg Quinn
December 31, 2008
When I was growing up, I was given all sorts of wise counsel from older family members. I should have listened more intently, and heeded this counsel with more dedication. This advice, if taken, would have kept me from making some mistakes early in my adolescent and young adult life. But, like most of us, we fail to listen to those wise adults in our childhood until many years later when life teaches us the value of their instruction.
Among many who have imparted within me tremendous instruction that I have now come to hold as some of the best counsel a young boy could have received, perhaps the one that was the closest to me, and among the wisest, was my maternal grandmother. Mama Kent, as we called her, was one of the kindest elderly ladies I have ever met, and upon reflection, one of the wisest. I never had to doubt Mama Kent’s love for me. She was the ultimate picture of a loving grandmother. I, as a very rambunctious young boy, was always getting into trouble. Mama Kent was always there to help me learn from my errors, and even when correction was necessary, did it with love and wisdom that could only have come from God above. Among a handful of the most influential people that have helped shape my life, Mama Kent was certainly one of the most significant.
I have forgotten, I am sure, much of the wise counsel received in my formative years. If only I could remember it all! But, many things I do remember. Among one of the best lessons given me, espoused regularly from my mother, from Mama Kent, and from one of my favorite aunts, Aunt Rita, were these words, “be careful who you hang around with”. Often learning the hard way, I did finally learn that “association” was extremely important to what I would become growing up. “Who you hang around with” is a concept that I have both failed to adhere to and therefore learned from the pain, and utilized effectively to move forward in my life. Association with people that have a positive influence could bring great joy into my life. Association with people that have a negative influence could bring great hardship. I’ve learned from both instances. And, of all the many lessons taught me as a child, this lesson of “be careful who you hang around with” is probably one of the most significant. I am so thankful for Mama Kent and others who cared enough to teach me this important lesson.
I wish Barack Hussein Obama had a Mama Kent.
President-elect Obama is in another disturbing circumstance from some that he has chosen to associate with politically. While it appears the issue of Obama’s birth certificate has been put to rest, not from proving its authenticity, but through a “leave it alone” mentality from those in charge, we now move to another problem for the Obama presidency. Again, an issue of poor choices related to association.
There was much concern among conservatives during the campaign, and even discussed during debates between Senator John McCain and Senator Obama, related to the past political relationships of Obama. There still exists concern by many in regard to the ties that Obama has with a guy that openly supports terrorism, who committed terrorist acts, and who refuses to refute those acts to this day. There are other liaisons in Obama’s past that have reason to give one pause if the allegations are in fact correct. Now, here is another relationship that Obama is doing his best to distance himself from, and wisely so, but it suggests again concern over political figures that Obama has supported and from whom Obama has drawn support and has held as a close associate.
Rod Blagojevich is in the news for attempting to sell Obama’s vacant US Senate seat to the highest bidder. This is one of several complaints filed against the Illinois Governor, a known associate of Obama. The actual FBI complaint is indicated herein: http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/WSJ-20081209-blagojevichcomplaint.pdf
After these allegations hit the media, Obama promptly claimed that he has not communicated with Blagojevich regarding his vacant US Senate seat. On November 23rd, however, David Axelrod, Obama’s senior advisor, appeared on Fox News and said that Obama had communicated with Blagojevich regarding a potential replacement for Obama’s senate seat.
Additionally, Obama actively endorsed Blagojevich for Governor during the Blagojevich campaign, and Blagojevich endorsed Obama for President and was heavily engaged in the process to help Obama become President-elect. Obama endorsed Blagojevich in 2002 and in 2006, and was an advisor to Blagojevich during his first run in 2002.
This association brings questions again to those that Obama has chosen to hang around with. Blagojevich has many problems now, and according to the way things are shaping up, will most likely do jail time. The attempted sale of Obama’s senate seat is only one of the complaints filed by the FBI against him and his chief of staff. And, these problems will most likely cast a cloud again upon Obama, for still another associate who has worked with actions that conflict with our notions of integrity.
We will soon have a President who has a many known close associates who are dangerous to these notions of integrity that the majority of Americans hold dear, and that helped Obama ascend to "The Office of the President-Elect". What will come from this Blagojevich relationship as it continues? How will this bring some of the other questionable Obama relationships to light? Does this lack of wisdom in selecting friends and associates go further than poor judgment, and cast doubt upon Obama’s integrity as well? I guess we will wait and see, but I'm betting that precisely nothing will come of it..at least nothing that sticks to Obama.
I sincerely want Obama to be successful as President. We need a good President with sound judgment at this critical time in our nation’s history. We have witnessed for months now time after time again how past and current associations of Obama have been questionable at best. This, for me anyway, certainly puts his judgment in question.
I sincerely wish that Obama had learned from the lesson probably taught him from his grandmother as well, but that apparently didn’t stick: the lesson “be careful who you hang around with”.