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8/20/2004


Meeting Alan Keyes - Part 1

I got to meet Alan Keyes today. A couple weeks ago I learned that he was going to be speaking near where I work and being that I’m a political junky weblogger, I couldn’t (wouldn’t) pass up the chance to meet him.

Then a few days ago he came out in favor of “reparations”, which changed the reason why I wanted to see him. I wanted to get clarification on his position and ask him why the apparent change in mind. I was also intrigued to see if I could actually gain his attention during a day where I know every minute is used. I mentally prepared myself to chase after him if I had to in order get my questions answered. There would be no need to do that.

I decided to leave work at 10:00 in order to get the best seat in the house for a 12:00 speech. My thought was that I needed to pick a spot that was as close to him as possible. Yet in a place where I could follow him after his speech to see if I could solicit some answers. I totally misread what today was going to be like. This was a short notice function and there was virtually zero advertisement for it. No local radio stations announced him speaking and no churches announced it last Sunday. The result of an unadvertised showing is a small turnout. When I walked into the auditorium there were maybe 200 to 300 seats set up. I had imagined the entire gymnasium packed for his speech. I was a bit off.

I knew there was a luncheon to be had between 11:00 and 12:00 where Dr. Keyes would be speaking to local pastors. It was in the same building and it was RSVP only. I am neither a pastor, nor did I RSVP. But that didn’t stop me. I decided to be forward and ask the coordinator of the event if every seat would be filled in the luncheon. He was skeptical so I asked him if it would be alright if I could take a seat and crash the party. He was cool with that. I sat myself front table center aisle, as close the podium as possible. The luncheon had about 20 to 30 individuals in attendance. Dr Keyes was about 10 minutes late due to traffic and construction.

As he walked into the room I followed him over to where he was placing his coat, shook his hand and introduced myself, then asked if after his speech I could ask him a few questions. He was kind and said that would be okay. We then ate lunch. After quickly eating his box lunch, he spoke for about 20 minutes on the separation of church and state, and the defense of marriage. He did a masterful job in my opinion.

I sat within less than an arms reach of where he spoke. Had I wanted to I could have reached for his cell phone hanging on his belt loop, he was that close to me. He did not use the podium I thought he would use. I’m glad he didn’t. At one point during the speech he even gave me a very light slug on the shoulder to drive his point home to me and the rest. That was cool. If you know what I look like (think giant teddy bear football player) you would know why he felt comfortable doing that.

After his speech was delivered, and the pastors were let go into the auditorium, there was an allotment of 10 minutes given to local news radio media to ask questions of Dr Keyes. I followed right behind Dr. Keyes from where he stood during his speech back to where he previously ate his lunch. I then asked him again if it would be okay if I asked him some questions. He said yes, but in a minute, he had to use the washroom. He came back into the room at high noon and made a b-line right for me, which surprised the heck out of the guys with the big microphones. At first they thought maybe I was standard media too, but then they saw my crappy voice recorder and their attitude began to change. I ended up using 6 of the 10 scheduled minutes. By the 3rd minute the radio guys started to whisper between each other. After that their apparent dislike of me was clear. It didn’t bother me. I thought it was kind of cool.

I asked Dr. Keyes these questions of which I will paraphrase in order to save my hands from typing more than I have to.

1. I seems as though you changed your mind on reparations. Why?

Not quite 2. After restating his position on the matter, I tried to interrupt and ask him what the total population percentage wise would be included in slavery reparations. I didn’t get to ask that question. But I believe that if there is suddenly a great number of people living tax free, that would create a loss of revenue for the federal government, for which they would probably raise taxes to cover for the loss. Then again, how many actually pay taxes now, due to the earned income tax credit? Again, I did not get to follow this line of questioning with him.

3. If someone lives tax free for 40 to 80 years what will their reaction be once they have to start paying taxes again?

4. Did the GOP know his position on this issue before they petitioned him to enter into the Illinois Senate race.

I will post audio of this later this weekend. Let me know what you think. More to come between now and late Sunday evening.

posted by: Brian Scott


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