So I'm over at the Raw Story website getting the latest news and I notice this ad. Now maybe I was in a bad mood to begin with but this struck me as rather bad taste. So, because I was already in a mood, I clicked on the ad and contacted him via email. He wrote me back! At first, I felt awful. This man lost his brother in 9/11!. I'd only watched the horror on TV, he'd been directly affected. But I've thought about it, discussed it with a few friends and now I still feel chagrined but I also still feel the ad is kinda tacky.
Here's the correspondence:
This is what I wrote to him:
Subject: Information Inquiry
You seem to be very qualified to run for office and I'm very glad you
are a Democrat, but I would hope you would reconsider the ad you are
posting on such sites as Raw Story. Identifying yourself as a "9/11
family member" in your ads reminds me of the way this Administration
repeatedly uses 9/11 whenever they need to bend us to their will.
Voters should vote on a candidate's abilities. Please don't use a
national tragedy as a qualifier.
This is Mr. Rice's reply:
Thanks for your opinion. You are correct that it is a sensitive message to
highlight how I was impacted by 9/11 in a political ad, although I do not
agree that it is "inappropriate", and I strongly disagree that it is even
remotely akin to how the Bush Administration has exploited the event that
killed my brother. I must say that I am offended that you compare this to
how they have dramatically exploited the deaths of 9/11, deaths they failed
It is highlighted in the blog ad. for 2 reasons:
1)- we made the ad the way we did to attract progressives from outside of
Oklahoma to be interested in a local race here, not unlike why people all
over the country we're interested in Paul Hackett's race in Ohio last month.
If it were just "Andrew Rice running for State Senate in Oklahoma" there
would be little to no interest. But to many progressives, 9/11 changed
politics and policy in this country, and they understandably would be
interested in a normal person affected by 9/11 who is reacting to it in a
way that is intended to better the system...similar to how people are pulled
toward Cindy Sheehan.
I do have some exposure to people outside of Oklahoma because of the work
I've been involved in around 9/11 national issues, particularly as a board
member of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Why is it ok for us Peaceful Tomorrows members to do advocacy work as 9/11
victims and not ok for me to run for office as a family member?
2)- my personal response to 9/11 and the political/policy impact it has had
on my life is a direct and personal reason why I now find myself running for
political office. The page on my site that we link to should make that
clear. It is very relevant to why I am running.
I am not a politician, I am a normal person who has been offended by how
this government has used 9/11 to dismantle constitutional rights and
disparage our reputation around the world. And that is the central reason I
am running. There is a congresswoman on Long Island who successfully ran for
Congress after he husband was shot to death on the Long Island Railroad
massacre in the 1990s, on a platform of gun control.....was she exploiting
gun control? Or her husband's death?
Democratic Candidate, Oklahoma State Senate