Friday, October 23, 2009

The Persona of Alan Keyes

Dear friends in Christ,

A fellow blogger and creater of the blog Fallible Blogma has started a "Catholic Speaker" month, in which we support and learn about famous Catholic speakers, while at the same time supporting them by writing about them on their respective blogs. When I saw Alan Keyes on the list, I decided to apply to write on him. Click here for that specific list of speakers on Fallible Blogma. Of all the people on the list, I learned about him first, years ago when he ran for President of the United States in 2000. I was impressed by the fact that he was an African American, who was a Republican. At that point, being in high school, I was not aware of any other African American Republicans, so I took immediate interest in him. I even supported his campaign by putting, in my bedroom window, a sticker that said "Alan Keyes for president".

Now, nine years later, I continue to be impressed by the person of Alan Keyes. He made headlines several years ago when he ran against Barack Obama in the Illinois Senate Race. He stepped in at the last minute after Republican Senator Jack Ryan withdrew his name from the race because of a scandal. He made headlines this Spring when he was arrested on the campus of the University of Notre Dame for praying the Rosary for the unborn, as part of a demonstration against Barack Obama giving the commencement speech and being given an honorary degree.

In Keyes's early life, he was in a military family, with his father being in the army. During his childhood, he lived in six different states, including Maryland. He attended Cornell University, where he studied political philosophy under the auspices of Alan Bloom. Having gone to school during the Vietnam War era, he received death threats when he opposed a Vietnam Era protest against the war. These protesters had seized a campus building. He left the Cornell Campus, and he spent a year in Paris under a Cornell study abroad program. He then continued his studies at Harvard University. In 1972 he completed a BA in Government Affairs. In 1979, he complete his Ph.D in government affairs. His dissertation was on Alexander Hamilton.

After graduating from graduate school, Keyes entered the diplomatic corps, having posts in Africa. This is where he met his wife, Jocelyn Marcel (Keyes). They have three children. Keyes had in the 1980s a flourishing diplomatic career, where he was appointed a diplomat to the United Nations, and then appointed Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations. After his diplomatic career under President Reagan, he turned to run for US Senate in the state of Maryland. He ran against both Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski, losing both times. He then decided to run for president, doing so in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 (in 2008 as a member of the Constitution Party). He did so as a way to thrust the abortion issue into the spotlight. In the 2000 election, he did particularly well in the Iowa primary, receiving 14%. In Utah, he gained 20%, so he struck a chord with the American people. It should be noted that he is quite down to earth and a fun guy: he jumped into a mosh pit while on the campaign trail, at one of his stops (something I remember watching on TV when he did it).

In addition to his political career, Keyes is a prolific writer, as he writes on the blog "Loyal to Liberty", a blog that looks at politics with a critical eye, and one that explores the relationship between faith and politics. He also created the popular online newspaper "Renew America". Renew America is now a fully functioning online conservative website that includes a lot of commentary into modern day politics and matters of Faith. He has had several TV shows, including one on MSNBC called "Alan Keyes is Making Sense". He has come to defend several high profile court cases in the United States, including ones regarding the "Ten Commandments" being displayed in court rooms, and the Terri Schiavo case, in which a woman in a persistent vegetative state was denied food and water until she died (she starved for 13 days until she died).

In the Spring, he was arrested on the campus of the University of Notre Dame for praying the Rosary for the unborn and in prayerful protest to Notre Dame's decision to give President Barack Obama an honorary degree at the commencement, and allowing him to speak. See the video below. You can see his Rosary dangling from his hands while he is being led away by the police.

All in all, Alan Keyes is a very engaging and energetic speaker, challenging the American public to stand up and fight for what they believe in. He challenges us to have faith, and to fight for the moral fabric of our society. He believes what he says. He is a witness, And that is why I support Alan Keyes on this blog. May his message, rooted in Christ, be proclaimed to the nations.

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