On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, my dad, an Army captain, was in uniform and at Sunday mass. It was a fine, quiet morning on the island of Oahu.
At first, when the floor began to tremble and the explosions rumbled over the island from the bombs going off at Pearl Harbor, he and most of the congregation thought it was Navy target practice. Then they madly scrambled for their guns.
Dad fought with the armies of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, through New Guinea and the Philippines. He wore his country's uniform proudly for six years and didn't make it home, for good, until 1945. When he died, a few years ago, the American flag was draped upon his casket.
He is not here to do it, so allow me to refute the suggestion made by the McCain campaign and its surrogates that the Farrells, and Americans like us, are "anti-American" or not from the "real America" or "Communists" because we don't come from the mythical small town of Palinville, where good Christian families, who do the work and fight our country's wars, vote only for white Republicans.
My dad grew up on the streets of New York City. He attended Jamaica High School, borough of Queens, state of New York. He'd have given his life for his country on any day of those six long years in the Pacific theater. He was a patriot.
Tough city kid that he was, he'd have scoffed—laughed aloud—at the frightened knuckleheads who need a con man like Rush Limbaugh or a silly politician like Sarah Palin to tell them that they are special, and unfairly treated by the mean ol' world, and to reinforce their puny grievances.
And as someone whose life spanned the Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and the 9/11 attack upon his hometown (Were not those New Yorkers who died in the twin towers "real" Americans?), my father would have recognized that now is a time when our leaders should call on our strength and unity, not disseminate fear and division.
There are a lot of reasons to vote Democratic in this election. The smug Republican lie that you're not a "real American" if you do is one of the best.