Friday, March 7, 2008

But Seriously, Can't We Talk About the Issues, Part Deux.

Here's one for the "what's good for one, should be good for another" file.

I wrote earlier about how I was impressed with Abdul Shabazz taking on the undercurrent of talk in the blogoshpere regarding CD 07 contestants Jon Elrod's marital status and Andre Carson's religious affiliations. " ... Class-up the debate by actually discussing issues? Novel idea ..." I wrote.

Like I said then, I don't know the guy. I don't listen to his radio program, no malice - the broadcast signal just doesn't reach out to my house and I can't pick it up at work either.

But I got this message from one of my devoted readers and I thought it deserved some comment. Apparently, she does listen to Abdul.

(Relevant portions reprinted with the permission of the author)

Normally, I don't bother responding to all the half-truths and lies that are spread around during election years as that is the way of politics but this one was so blatantly nasty, I felt I had to say something.

I am referring to Abdul (of Abdul in the Morning) and company's comments about Dan Burton and his new wife.

They made comments about Dan Burton marrying the nurse who took care of his dying wife, inferring she was carrying on with Dan, and how could he sit in judgment of someone else having done that.

I am going to tell you the true story and I should know because I am his daughter, Kelly.

I have known Dan for 44 years and would say that I know him better than any living person. My late mother was probably the only person who knew him better. My dad did marry the woman who took care of my mother during her illness. That part is true. Her name is Samia and she was not my mother's nurse. She was her physician. She is a very caring and very excellent board-certified internal medicine physician. My mother had stage four cancer and there was no cure. Samia helped make my mother's last days as comfortable as possible and was more than willing to spend extra time with her to listen when she needed to talk. Samia and my dad had NO personal relationship at that time. Samia was also my sister's physician. Three years or so after my mother passed, my sister went to the doctor and heard that Samia was now divorced. She had always liked Samia and told dad that "he should call her and ask her out." Dad took Danielle's advice and called her. They began dating and it eventually led to marriage. There was nothing illicit or improper about their relationship. It began well after my mother had passed away.

Abdul and company's implication that they carried on during my mother's illness is not only revolting but bad journalism. Abdul and others should stick to the issues instead of saying things that terribly hurt family members instead of the politician they are going after. Their comments were disrespectful of my mother and her memory and have no place on the radio or in politics.

Kelly (Burton) Smith
Fishers, Indiana.

That was painful for me to read. Sometimes, no, all the time, we need to remember that the things we say (especially on public airwaves) and write in these spaces have consequences.

Abdul, if you ever read this, please accept it in the spirit intended. I believe you should be consistent at least. If keeping people's personal lives out of the discussion is important in the CD 07 race, it should be important in all the races. Trashing a family member that you apparently do not know is beneath a credible commentator, blogger, and political activist, like yourself.

Nobody loves to poke fun at politics more than I do. Even the "hard and fast rule" about not taking cheap personal shots at individuals on these pages gets pushed to the very edge almost daily. But I hope we all remember where that line is and can keep from crossing it.

Read Abdul's article on CD 07 race here:
Josh Gillespie at Hoosier Access weighs in here:


Jacob Perry said...

Though, for the life of me I can't seem to find any mention about this on Abdul's blog, I'd strongly agree that any insinuation regarding Samia and Dan's relationship is cheap and dirty.

Dr. Burton strikes me as a classy lady, and she certainly deserves much better. Kudos to Dan's daughter for clarifying things.

Gonzo Defenestrater said...


The comments about Dr. Burton were apparently made on his radio program. Her response to me was on my comments about the blog post Abdul did on the Carson/Elrod race. I guess I should have made that more clear.

My point was that I thought the comments he made in the blog post about the Carson/Elrod innuendo/whisper campaign were dead on. I thought it was about time to be adult about a crucial election.

Then I heard about the comments on the radio, which were apparently pretty disgusting. I didn't hear the program, I got it second hand. I was taking somebody else's word for it so I didn't post anything about it then. But, when I got Mrs. Smith's email, I thought it was good enough information to post on. If both the first source and she felt like it was out of bounds, it seems to me that it was worth commenting on.

It's one thing to be sarcastic, even sardonic, if that's what you want to be. I just don't think gratuitiously attacking innocent people, especially family members, is beneath any serious commentator - whether on the radio or in a blog - and we should try to keep from crossing that line.

Thanks for pointing it out and letting me clarify ...