You are being bamboozled this yearSteve Hammer

By this point in my life, my credentials as a hillbilly have been - or should be - well-established. That's what I am, and I'm proud of it. I'm a Hoosier hillbilly. My mom's family is from Rockville, Ind., and my dad's from Sheridan, Ind. If that doesn't scream redneck, I don't know what does. I have a big ol' beer gut, I've been known to drink Pabst Blue Ribbon on occasion and I love to watch NASCAR racing on TV and cheer for another Hoosier hillbilly, Tony Stewart.

I've got duct tape where one of my car windows got busted out two years ago. If I had enough money, I'd get a Ford pickup truck and put a #20 decal on the back window and a "Power of Pride" flag sticker on the bumper. That way my neck would be even redder.

Everyone is from somewhere. It was my blessing to be born and raised a Hoosier hillbilly and I'm not ever going to change. Don't want to, either. It's too late.

So, if the rest of the reading audience will forgive me, I want to speak directly to the other hillbillies out there, my fellow lower- to middle-class white people. I want to give my people some straight talk about the upcoming election.

You know how much you hate it when people talk down to you just because you don't have a Yale or Harvard education? Don't you hate it when companies take your money and call you a redneck while doing so?

Folks, that's exactly what's happening with this election. The Republicans are laughing at you while they're playing you for a sucker. Once again, we hillbillies are being bamboozled while someone else takes our money and gives us nothing in return.

The Republicans like to talk about issues hillbillies care about: guns, abortion, prayer and supporting our troops. They tell you just what you want to hear. They say that John Kerry is going to make your daughter get an abortion, that he'll take away your guns and that he'll get all of our brave soldiers killed.

They say Kerry is a flip-flopper, which is their code for saying he's weak.

Don't you believe it.

I've spent all my life fighting against the prejudice rednecks face in the world and I know when I'm being bullshitted. Bush is bullshitting you on this, hoping you're too stupid to know the difference.

George Bush is the all-time world record holder when it comes to flip-flopping. He can't decide why we went to war in Iraq. Was it the weapons of mass destruction, was it Saddam Hussein or was it al Qaeda?

He can't make up his mind.

Just because he's got Toby Keith and Dale Junior on his side doesn't make him right, you know. Even if he had all 43 NASCAR drivers, every country singer and every pretty blonde woman on his side, that still wouldn't make him right.

John Kerry and John Edwards love America just as much as you or I do. They love America as much as the president does, too. They're going to kill the terrorists and win the war. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Also, don't listen to those TV preachers this year. They have a financial stake in making sure Bush wins and so they're gonna bend the Scripture to fit their political positions.

Heck, even the Southern Baptist Convention, my church leaders, basically came out and said electing John Kerry would be like electing Satan.

They handed out buttons saying, "I'm a Values Voter," meaning that if you don't share their values - i.e., their position on the issues - then you have no values whatsoever.

You know what? I've looked all the way through my Bible and I can't find one single word Jesus had to say about the Patriot Act or Kerry's health care plan. Our Lord and Savior didn't tell Americans to vote Republican.

So what you have there is the interpretation of a couple of rich TV preachers that the Lord wants you to vote Republican, not the Lord's word. Here's what one of my buddies said about that: "I remember how I felt the first time I read the promise of the Scriptures and Isaiah, when God says to Isaiah, 'Fear not, for I have redeemed thee. I have called thee by thy name. Thou art mine.' I didn't dream that I had to join one party or another to get that promise."

What you are getting are false charges and people bearing false witness. Those so-called "Values Voters" only believe in nine commandments. They don't think it's a sin to bear false witness against the Democrats.

I've gotten a lot of e-mail and calls from Christians who disagree with me. That's fine. I will debate this all you want with you in person. Buy me a steak dinner and I'll sit there and debate this before, during and after the meal.

I got that piece of advice from a pastor I know. If you want to debate me, you're going to need to take me to a steakhouse. My time is too valuable otherwise.

Now, if you have enough guts to invite me to preach at your church some Sunday, I might come, but you're not gonna like a lot of what I say. A lot of your churches are afraid of the truth. That's fine.

People might start questioning how their churches are run if I show up and start talking. Nobody likes a troublemaker.

I'm just here to warn you that you are being laughed at and taken advantage of by rich people who don't think you know any better. They think you're a hillbilly and don't know any better.

Well, I'm a hillbilly, too, and I'm not laughing at you. I'm with you.

I'd just say, take a look at what John Kerry, John Edwards and the Democrats have to say about the issues you care about. They're going to help out the common man and make America stronger.

And the days when rich Republicans and TV preachers can boss us hillbillies around are coming to a close. The election is just 26 days away. Help is on the way.

Voters Guide

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