Eugene Cho

presidential safety

It’s hard to articulate with words but it’s very clear that there’s something significant going on with the presidential elections.  As I’ve shared before:  Never in my thoughts did I imagine that in my lifetime, I would experience the legitimate candidacy of the following three individuals:  a candidate [John McCain] at the age of 72 [if voted] and 80 if he completes 2 terms; a woman [Hilary Clinton], and an African-American [Barack Obama].  But there’s something deeper going on and perhaps, some of it is can be broadly encapsulated with that buzzword: change. 

For example, at one of the caucuses hosted at Q Cafe last Saturday, they shared that about 150 folks showed up 4 years ago.  This past Saturday, crowds of up to 500 supposedly came to participate in the caucus. 

So, how would you articulate what’s going on? 

While ‘change’ can be a good thing, it can also be dangerous, painful and revolutionary.  With both Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama, their literal candidacies represent change – particularly Obama.  And because of his increasing visibility, I continue to grow fearful for his life.  I hate to say it but I just do which is the reason why I wasn’t surprised to read this.  It may have caused a mini-uproar but it makes sense to me.  It’s not an indictment on the American people but a reminder that there are “some” stupid cuckoo idiots out there.

British Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing caused uproar last night by predicting the assassination of Barack Obama if he becomes the first black U.S. president.

The 88-year-old novelist’s remarks came as the Democratic candidate toasted the most successful day in his White House campaign.

Mr Obama, the 46-year-old son of a black Kenyan man and a white American, dismissed Mrs Lessing’s comments.

Miss Lessing said: “He would probably not last long, a black man in the position of president. They would kill him.” [read full article]

Today, a friend here in Seattle sent me a text message reporting a sighting of a “Kill Obama” graffiti on the side of a public bus.  Crazy.

As the presidential elections plays itself out, I find myself regularly praying for the safety of the respective candidates – especially Obama. 

Filed under: politics, , , ,

18 Responses

  1. Ryan says:

    Yeah, it’s sad but true. I’ve certainly thought about this – I found myself saying a prayer for the safety of Obama and his family while sitting in Key Arena last Friday. I haven’t heard him address it much. But he did talk about it with Tavis Smiley – it was interesting as it was in the context of listening to an audio clip of Martin Luther King Jr. talk about his own experience with threats – you can YouTube “obaama on tavis smiley” to watch it. I don’t know about others’ experience, but when I’ve raised this with friends, many have been surprised that I would think this.

  2. Matt EHH says:

    To me, one of the significant motivators for the increase voting turn out is that for the first time, the executive office might actually represent a familiarty for a lot of Americans. For me, growing up in Hawaii, being the great grandson of non-caucasion immigrants shaped me into a sort of fringe American. Structures like the presidency reminded me that at certain levels (including the highest) of American society was reserved for the rich/white/male inner circle of Americans. I’m not Kenyan or white or female, but when I think about the possibilty of the democratic candidates, who coincidentally argue for things important to me (education, health care, the poor and vulnerable members of the nation) I can envision a way that I could relate to the president of this country in ways I never have before.

    I think for the FIRST time, the election is NOT about race or gender.

  3. Matt EHH says:

    I think what is behind the (legitmate) fear about Obama (or Hillary for that matter) being killed is the question of “who’s America is it really?”

  4. underdog says:

    err.. um… gee.. uh…. golly….

    But all those fine folks spewing anti-obama hatred – waving flags and supporting the troops surely …. surely would not resort to “terrorism”

    After all…. we have another 100 years of victory, yes victory in Iraq. Mission accomplished.. x 100.

    Remember.. we are fighting the “terrorists” over there so we do not have to fight them here.

    Remember we are fighting to ensure democracy, that all votes are counted, that the voice of the people will always be heard

    that government of the people by the people and for the people will not parish from the earth.

    so I really wouldnt worry too much

  5. DK says:

    Underdog, I have no idea what you were spewing about. This isn’t about those who oppose Obama but rather the few who are crazy or deluded enough that they would do something like this. I’d be curious for both Clinton and Obama how much money they need to spend to ensure their personal safety and their family.

  6. Ryan says:

    DK, I’m not totally sure, but I believe that candidates are responsible for their own security (i.e. they aren’t given secret service) until they get their parties nomination. Then I believe they are given secret service. At least this is what it was in the past. Hillary, as a former first lady, may have secret service. In the Tavis Smiley interview, he seems to be saying that because Obama has received so many threats, he has already been assigned secret service.
    Obama talks about, specifically, black voters expressing concern for his safety and thus fearful to vote for him. I thought his response was profound (even to a white one)- something to the effect that “we’ve” (African-Americans) cannot fear what we don’t know, and that everything “we’ve” accomplished has come in spite of great odds and threat.

  7. Ryan says:

    Matt – can you say more about:

    “I think what is behind the (legitmate) fear about Obama (or Hillary for that matter) being killed is the question of “who’s America is it really?””

    Do you mean this is the fear in the minds of those who would try and assassinate either of them? Or this is what’s in the minds of those of us who fear for their safety?

  8. Matt EHH says:


    I think its both.

    We live in a nation where we accept the color lines as so deeply rooted in the culture, that we almost expect the worst if a black man gets elected. Race is like the elephant filling the room. I was just saying we have issues.

  9. David says:

    I know that there are crazy people out there, but I don’t buy into the idea that Obama is at increased risk of being assainated because he is black. All presidents are at risk of assasination which is why they have secret service protection. There was an attempt made on Reagans’s life as well. Maybe if this was the 1960s and there was tremendous overt racism still present I’d be more concerned. I think its mainly the strong cultural impression formed by the clustering of deaths of the Kennedys and MLK that cause us to be fearful. I found Ms. Lessing’s comments quite offensive and baseless.

  10. John says:

    Interesting thought, David. Obama might be at risk more in our heads because of the images from prior assasinations. At the same time, I’d agree with Matt in that we still have issues to deal with; the fact that we even think it’s possible that Obama could be killed is evidence enough that racism, though not overt, still impacts us at some level.

  11. Yeah, I agree with John… our fear of Obama’s assassination is evidence enough that racism still lurks…

  12. Ryan says:

    I think the risk for Obama stems from his race AND his progressive politics. Historically, it seems there’s a progressive “surge” about every 30 years. The sad truth is that many leaders within these surges have been assassinated – both Kennedys, MLK Jr – even back to Lincoln.

  13. me says:

    david, i’m not sure who lessing was referring to when she said “they.” i think this country is demonstrating how much we’ve come… just look at hilary and barack and the support they are getting from all pockets of demographics. but, i think we’re crazy if we don’t think that there are folks out there who are crazy enough to carry out a dumb action. is race a factor? i do… but how can you quanify that. i just do.

    and speaking of painful assassinations, a leader of the Karen community, pado mahn sarh, [burma/myanmar] was shot down yesterday in mae sot. a tragic event for the karen community.

  14. Chris Rock had the joke that the way Hillary Clinton could ensure she wouldn’t get assassinated was by selecting a black vice president.

    I’ve seen comments on the blogosphere of people wanting to harm Hillary Clinton. I know she has plenty of obsessive enemies that just for some reason really hate her. Pray that all the candidates will be kept safe from any crazy Lee Harvey Oswalds, James Earl Rays and Sirhan Sirhans.

  15. Renate says:

    To me it’s not Obama’s race, or Hillary’s gender or McCain’s age that matters. Change-such a word. Change to what? Giving more power to Government? I don’t want government as my Master. I want government to stay out of my life as much as possible. Where in the Constitution does it say that Health care should be provided for all its citizens? Get government out of healthcare! Education should be a local, state issue, not a federal issue. My father is white and from Europe. Yet he was penniless when he came to America with his wife and 5 children. He learned how to speak English and got a decent job (tool&die maker) making very little money for 4 years as an apprentice. But he stuck with it and eventually made a good living. Unless one is disabled and unable to to work, there is no reason to hand out money to anyone. Years ago, it was family, and churches that helped the poor. Now we want government to take over and do that bit of charity for us. Handing out money to people does not solve poverty. Why should I work hard only to have it taken from me to be used in a way that is morally repugnant to me? Obama, and Hillary are marxists/ socialists and if you all haven’t read Michele Obama’s speeches telling us what we will and cannot do under an Obama presidency, you should . What she says should give you pause. This government is a Republic, not a democracy. I hope it stays that way-but it won’t if we have 3 candidates that hate business, or “big oil” and want to tax them to death, or penalize them for making a profit. Of course businesses want to make a profit! what is so wrong with this? . Businesses provide tax revenue, and jobs for Americans. If you tax them to death, they cannot hire more people, and they will leave the area they are in and go where it is tax friendly. Hillary is NY’s senator. Have you checked out the state lately. It’s dying. Yeah, I want her for president so she can do the same thing to the rest of the country. McCain is no better. So what kind of change are we talking about? Are they telling us? Yes they are. It will be a change to more taxes, more spending, government being your nanny, retreating in Iraq and Afghanistan and losing the war against Islamojihad. If we retreat, we will not be the victor, but the loser. Rampant illegal immigration, return to the fairness doctrine where government mandates who gets to speak across the airwaves, because they will mandate “fairness”, Supreme court judges that make laws, instead of interpret them, and new definitions for words like “is” . If Obama had more than 3-1/2 years of experience behind him, and if he were for less spending, lowering taxes, empowering me as an individual to make my own choices and not have government breathing down my neck, I might vote for him. But he is a total Marxist, and the only thing that makes him different from Hillary is that he’s a male. i resent the fact that my not wanting to vote for him gets me accused of being racist due to his color. such propoganda!

  16. Matt EHH says:


    wow. tell us really how you feel.

    props to you for sharing your heart.

  17. […] US.  Then after thinking, I got really scared.  Really scared for his life and I shared about it here and […]

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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.


my tweets

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease… || 1 day ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 1 day ago
  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 4 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 4 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 4 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 6 days ago