Maine gets Gay Marriage just right


When I listened to Governor John Baldacci of Maine give his speech following his signing of the of the Gay Marriage Bill  just a few short hours after receiving the bill, all I could think of was “He got it right”.

I watched and listened to what he said, not as a gay man,  but as a citizen of Maine, and the United States.  Even though I am gay I have not always agreed with the arguments FOR or AGAINST gay marriage. 

It wasn’t until I heard the Governor explain that the new law is about affording equal rights to all Maine citizens as outlined in Maine’s Constitution that it all made sense to me.  The Constitution’s first Article states “All people are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.”

Baldacci used this first and most important Article to first understand for himself that allowing Gay Marriage in Maine is not about granting the same rights to gay people that are affording to heterosexual people.  He said we are all equal and all deserve the same rights and when he looked at the issue from that perspective, he could not come up with any reasons not to allow Gay Marriage.

 He went on further to say that that no religion will be required to conduct same-sex marriages, or even recognize same-sex marriages within the realm of their own belief system because Maine has strict policies about the division of church and State.  And Maine whole-heartedly abides by the Church/State tenet.

These are ideas that I had never heard anyone express in this specific manner before; the idea that the State will allow gay civil marriages but it won’t force any church to recognize them.  So if, for example, the Catholic Church doesn’t want to recognize gay marriage because it goes against their belief system, they don’t have to.  But the Catholic Church can’t tell a gay couple what civil rights they can or cannot have.  The same applies to any other religion.  On the flip side, a gay couple cannot force a religious organization to perform or recognize their marriage and cannot claim discrimination if that church will not recognize their marriage or perform their marriage ceremony.  Under these circumstances, anybody against same-sex marriage CAN hide behind their religion, and take comfort there.  But they can not deny rights to others.

I believe that this is as close as anybody is going to get to writing a law that makes sense when defining gay marriage.  It covers all the bases.  Nobody is forcing anyone to “believe” in anything and those who call themselves “believers” can’t squelch equality and civil rights by hiding behind their religion.  So, like the U.S. Constitution has done so many times, it was Maine’s constitution that acted as the final document to guide us through this divisive issue. 

Governor Baldacci was never comfortable with the gay marriage issue.  But, he found it in himself to understand that legislators, or politicians if you wish, need to take a stand and can not continually defer to public opinion.  All of the far lefties, and far righties have had more than enough time to express their viewpoints on this issue, and they have.  Neither is a shy group. 

The Governor said that he realizes this will not be the last word on the issue.  In my opinion, it should be, but it won’t be.  Instead of worrying about real problems, the whack jobs are going to come crawling out of the woodwork.  

The Maine Legislature and the Governor have laid down the gauntlet.  There are no “reasonable” arguments against this law as it was written.  First, anybody who protests this law must first say to themselves, and then the public, “I intend to take away the civil rights of others”.   Secondly, anybody who intends to use the Bible or their religion as an argument can stop right there.  The law clearly states that you don’t have to religiously recognize gay marriage or perform gay marriage if you don’t want to.  So what’s left?

Well, there’s the “I simply think it is wrong” argument.   Hmmm?  Are they also against heterosexual couples who get married and never intend to have children, or those who get married for convenience, or those who get married to obtain property, money, or social status (you know, the reason marriage was invented in the first place).  What one “thinks” or “believes” is wrong is immaterial.  Because under the Constitution of the State of Maine, all citizens have equal rights and included in that is their right to marry whom they choose as long as it is not breaking any other laws (like the minimum age for marriage or harm to animals). 

There is only one argument against Maine’s Gay Marriage law and it’s a faux-argument called “hate, fear, and ignorance” none of which are viable arguments against ANY law.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean some people in Maine won’t mind standing up and saying “I hate, I fear, and I am ignorant” to try and get their way.

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The Bush Presidency for Dummies – 8 years in 8 minutes


On the eve of the Inauguration of Barack Obama it is natural to reflect upon from where we have come and how we got to this one moment in history.  We can all sit around and argue about what went right or wrong with the Bush Administration but to do so the opposite side would have to admit that indeed Bush made mistakes.  They must admit there is a possibility that he lied, or worse, committed crimes.  That in and of itself is a tough thing to find.  Even today with Bush’s approval rating at 18%, it is still the voices on Fox News who refuse to admit the truth and the voices on CNN who don’t want to admit that there is a reason to reflect.  They simply want to move forward. 

Keith Olbermann put things in perspective by encapsulating Bush’s 8 years into 8 minutes; a time frame of the mistakes and lies.  It is worth a watch.  And if you combine what he says (video highlight below) with his “Special Comment” today (you can easily find that on MSNBC (countdown.msnbc.com), how we need to move forward is clear.   Start here, just take a listen:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/vp/28699663#28699663

For those with a slower computer be patient.  It has to load and the player will show a short commerical; but it’s well worth the wait.  You can just copy/paste the URL above into your broser as well.  While you’re there check out “Special Comments” about prosecuting torture.

Thanks,

Judgement at Washington-berg


For the first time, I saw the 1961 movie called “Judgment at Nuremberg”.  Spencer Tracy played Judge Dan Haywood who presided over the 3 Judge Tribunal who were given the task of hearing the cases of 4 German Judges charged with war crimes while under Hitler’s rule.

The defense of 3 of the 4 judges on trial was that they had no idea that Hitler had gone to such lengths with Concentrations Camps and that everything they did in their roles as judges was for the their country, their precious, righteous Germany.  The fourth judge on trial, Ernst Janning, admitted that there was no way that he, nor the others on trial, could not have known about the mass killing of millions in their own back yard.  He admitted to sentencing Jews to go to the concentration camps, admitted to false allegations, sterilization of Jews, torture, murder, you name it, these judges were involved in it.  Janning went on further to say that a man can not hide behind his patriotism to commit such atrocities.  Janning was most ashamed of himself because he was one of the most respected judges in the country, a man who had written several books on the rule of law and justice itself.

Some of the actors in this movie were quite astonishing.  A young Maximilian Schell played the part of the defense lawyer with incredible passion and credibility.  His character spoke to tribunal judge Haywood in Haywood’s chambers arguing that Germans were so eager to forget the past and so eager to live in denial of what had really happened under Hitler, that whatever judgement Haywood passed down would be overturned on appeal so that the Germans never had to admit to it in their own minds.

In the end each judge on trial received a life sentence.  BUT, within 10 years each judge that was on trial (and many others not depicted in the movie) were out of jail, free, and in many cases living in other countries.  As for the Germans, they then had to deal with communism and the bisection of their country, all the while still hating America for attempting to make them see the truth of the Third Reich.

This brings me to the war crimes of the Bush Administration.  Were they any better, were they any different than the judges on trial at Nuremberg?  The Bush Administration condoned and actively participated in torture and rendition.  They did it all in the name of their country, their patriotism and loyalty to the United States.  Is Guantanamo Bay really that much different from a concentration camp?  I don’t want to belittle what happened at a concentration camp.  The murder of 6 million people can not be compared directly to holding suspected insurgents against their will for 7 years.  But does it matter how bad a war crime is on a scale of one to ten?  A crime is a crime.

Barack Obama said he wants to look forward.  On the 1/11/09 edition of “This Week” on ABC, Obama said that the new Attorney General is the “lawyer for the people” of the United States.  So I can see that he doesn’t want to be directly involved in prosecuting George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the many minions, because the country is hurting.  There are so many things on which he needs to concentrate and act quickly.  But if you read between the lines he is saying that if the Attorney General, this “lawyer of the people”, is directed by those people to take action against Americans who committed war crimes then so be it.  And I say, let the criminals pay.

Some will say it is simply not true; no war crime were committed.  They will call us crazy.  They will call us “liberals”.  They will call us call kinds of things.  But many Americans, and in fact many people from around the world, do believe that the Bush Administration committed crimes of torture.  For the sake of our sanity, for the sake of our reputation around the world, and for the sake of justice itself, we need to investigate and prosecute anybody, regardless of their position, who committed war crimes; crimes against the Geneva Conventions.   And what better way to show the world that we are ready to take our place as a beacon of hope and change, and all that is right in the world, than to show George W. Bush and/or Dick Cheney being escorted to their prison cell for the rest of his life.

We can not allow ourselves to be like Germany after World War II.  We can not stick our heads in the sand. We can not live in denial.  Would it be easier to just look forward, never look back, and pretend that none of it happened?  Yes it would.  But since when do we as Americans take the easy way out.  If we wanted to do that we would have left Europe to its own devices during World War I and World War II.  We would have let Saddam Hussein invade Kuwait.  And we would never answer the call from anywhere in the world that truly needed our help due to natural disaster or evil invader.

America is an experiment.  We are a young country, comparatively, only a few hundred years old.  When compared to most of the other super powers of the world whose history goes back centuries, we are in our infancy.  America is an experiment in democracy.  Our ideals and our freedoms are the reason why so many have come here, and why another so many hate us.  But we can not stop being the shining city on the hill, even if we have to expose our raw nerves, expose the underbelly of our society, the ones that commit war crimes, and we need to punish them to the fullest extent of American and International Law.

When will it be our turn for “Judgment in Washington”?

All Christmas Shoppers have Blood on their hands


You’ve heard the stories.  Three people were actually trampled to death, killed, murdered in the doorway of a mall or big box store on Black Friday.  One pregnant woman made it out alive but when all was said and done, she could not say the same for her yet unborn child. 

I know you saw this on this news.  I am sure you watched in horror as it was read to you while the video of throngs of manic Christmas shoppers played in the background.

As far as I’m concerned – each and every one of you “Christmas Shoppers” is responsible for these deaths.  Do you think that because it didn’t happen where you were shopping, or in the crowd in which you stood, that you are innocent.  You are not. 

You have all fed the fires of Christmas shopping hell by demanding and participating in Black Friday “deals”.  These so called deals, in many cases, have been marked up, only to be marked back down to something reasonable, all in the name of Christmas; all in the name of squealing, stampeding shoppers who did everything from punch each other out, to actually shoot each other with handguns, inside a store, to get a DVD player. 

Store clerks were mowed down while trying to help customers escape the melee. 

It is my opinion that you should all be ashamed of yourselves for allowing these things to happen.  None of you deserve a happy Christmas.  You have turned this sacred holiday into a pagan ritual fueled by greed, and guilt, and gluttony and I find it disgusting, immoral, and unforgivable.

Christmas is a holiday (once pronounced “holy day”) to celebrate the birth of the Messiah, a Christian being who is believed to have come to save the world from its own sins.  If you are not celebrating that specific idea, then why the hell are you at Best Buy, elbowing strangers to get a flat screen TV.

You were born and raised in the most greedy, self-centered period in American history.  And because you didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas when you were six years old, you are now trying to make up for it by piling on the presents to your own children.  You are perpetuating the myth that Santa Claus exists and that more presents equals more love.

It’s time to GET A GRIP.  When is it enough?  When people are dying because of this ridiculousness?  Well, now they are dying.  But are you ready yet to give up this nonsense and give to each other what really matters:  human kindness, affection, your time, and gestures of real love that don’t involve price tags.

What really gets to me is the Pro life crowd who wants to protect the lives of the unborn, all in the name of God.  But when a woman loses her child as she is trampled by Christmas shoppers, these same people are too busy to notice or care, and are fighting over the newest and coolest cell phone to give their twelve year old for Christmas.

How about this year for Christmas, instead of watching the news with feigned horror that someone died being trampled at a shopping mall, you go somewhere to simply help someone else pick themselves up instead of pushing them out of the way.  That, my friends, is a real Christmas gift.

California Proposition 8 – the “anti-love” law


Whenever somebody sits down to write a law, or propose an amendment, or legislate anything at all,  the first thing he or she should do is put away the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, “Dianetics” by L. Ron Hubbard, or any other book that skews basic human rights based on somebody elses interpretation.  The reason is that in this country, America, we have what is called a separation of church and state as outlined in the U.S. Constitution.  And religious arguments against same-sex marriages just don’t hold any ground if you consider conflicting scriptural passages like “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  But nobody can explain it with the passion and fervor that Keith Olbermann did on last night’s “Countdown” through a Special Comment.

Known for his “Special Comments”, Olbermann put into words the things many of us think about but can’t seem to verbalize or put into cohesive buckets.  Olbermann, last night, was at his best explaining why nobody should be denied the legal right to love another person and cement that love through marriage.  I watched the video below live, as it happened, and could not hold back the tears.  This from a man who is not gay, comes from the sports broadcasting world, and said he struggled to find someone in his own extended family who was gay for whom he could speak.  He could not find one but that did not temper his firey and poignant diatribe that, in my opinion, everyone should hear before they pass judgement on gay marriage or any other kind of discrimination.

Racism in the 2008 Election


The latest statistics I’ve heard indicate that 15% of voters admit that race will still play a role in their decision for President.  The statistics don’t say whether or not it will be a positive role or a negative role, just that 15% will take race into consideration.  I was not raised to consider race in anything, so it is something I don’t understand.  I didn’t know what racism was until at least high school and even then I didn’t hang around with a crowd that was racist so it wasn’t something I thought about.

In the early 1970’s I was in grammar school at Verplank Elementary School in Manchester, Connecticut. I learned how to jump rope, Double Dutch style, from my friends Janet Cooper and Audrey Gaines.  I got so good at Double Dutch that I was better than they were.  But they weren’t mad.  The were proud of me.  We were friends.  I knew that they came to school every day on a bus.  I knew that they lived in Hartford and that is where the buses took them home to every night.  But I didn’t know why, or think about why.  I didn’t care why, I didn’t even question why.   I think I just assumed that there weren’t enough schools in Hartford.  It certainly wasn’t something that I thought was out of the ordinary.  In fact, I was jealous that they got to ride the bus (until I got older and actually rode a bus to school every day).  My parents never mentioned anything about busing and it wasn’t talked about in school.  It wasn’t until many, many years later when busing kids from the inner city out to the suburbs became an issue again sometime in the 1990’s that I even realized that my grammar school was part of desegregation.

My 3 older brothers went to a vocational technical school in Manchester as well.   My oldest brother had a best friend named Eric Coke.   They were much older than I was back then.  My oldest brother and I are only 6 years apart but back then it seemed like generations.  Eric lived in Hartford.  Eric would often stay at our house on weeknights when they boys had a night game or something and it was just easier for Eric to stay with us rather than have his parents or mine drive back and forth to Hartford.  He would come to our house for things like Halloween and dress up with all of us.  We used to laugh because back then with the Polaroid instant cameras, the quality was so bad, and Eric had such a dark, very dark, complexion, he would disappear in the picture unless he smiled.  It wasn’t something racist to us, it was just a funny matter of fact.  We laughed, he laughed, we went trick-or-treating, and that was just another normal day at our house.  I was the youngest of 6 and we’re all about a year apart.  So having one more, or two more people around wasn’t unusual.

Many years after my father died in 1984, my mother and I met for lunch somewhere.  We got to talking about the old days.  I was still in my “I’m going to write a novel” phase.  So I started asking a lot of questions about my father, his past, his upbringing, etc.  My mother told me a story about how my Dad helped the one and only black family in our neighborhood get a mortgage.  He spent weeks going from bank to bank with this man until somebody would give him a mortage.   I didn’t know any of this.  And I certainly didn’t know that banks could be so blatantly racist as to not give a black man a mortgage for a house in a white suburb.  Of course it happened right before I was born.  But it wasn’t something my father bragged about and it wasn’t part of our family story.  It was just something my father did because that’s the kind of man my father was.  He didn’t brag about it because he didn’t want to teach his children that people were different and those differences led to people being treated differently.  I think he wanted to shield us from the evils of life as long as he could.

I am somewhat of a loner.  I don’t like people all that much.  I have always hand-picked the people who are an integral part of my life.  There are a lot of reasons to hate people.  They are crazy.  They are selfish. They are self-centered.  They are dumb, racist, bigoted, loud, misinformed, uncaring, childish.  The list goes on an on.  I can’t image that of all the reasons there are to hate people, someone is going to go with color????  I was raised better than that.

I did not have the best of childhoods and I never really identified with my parents.  They never truly understood me and I did not understand them.  I don’t recall them being very affectionate and loving and I don’t recall really loving them all that much.  Of course that has changed and I have re-evaluated many things over the years.  I learned to understand my mother better and I learned that I am so much like my father that it’s scary.  The big difference between me and him is I don’t have a problem telling people how I really feel.  But when I look back and think about all the things my parents did, and didn’t do, I thank them because I was not raised to hate anybody.  I was not raised to hate those who were different; different from me, or different from the norm, or different from what society said they should be.

I know I am probably living in a fantasy world about the subject of racism.  When I first heard Barack Obama give a speech at the 2004 DNC, I was in awe of him.  I thought, “what a great President he would be”.  And I never even gave race a minute of thought.  I just thought to myself, “Finally, someone who is smart and can inspire me and others to be proud Americans”.

So to me, even if one person refused to vote for a man or woman for President simply because of skin color, that’s one too many.

Please help support Senate Bill 1738 – Protect our children


Joe Biden introduced a bill back in July that increases the funding for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of child predators, also knows as child molesters, child pornographers, child rapists, child predators, just pick one.  According to the Congressional web site, the bill summary is as follows:

A bill to establish a Special Counsel for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction within the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, to improve the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, to increase resources for regional computer forensic labs, and to make other improvements to increase the ability law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute predators.

There are nineteen other co-sponsors of this bill, among them Barack Obama, Orrin Hatch, and Kay Bailey Hutchinson; so this is not a partisan bill and it SHOULD NOT BE a partisan bill.  You can’t apply a parties political platform to child molestation.

Please contact your representatives, find out how they are voting, and if they are not voting for this bill, ask them to vote for it and ask why they wouldn’t vote for it.  Their response may tell you a lot about who they really are and what they stand for.  If you need help finding your congressional representatives try Congresspedia at the following address: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Portal:Congresspedia.

We can not afford to allow the continuation of the most disgusting and damaging crimes against human beings that you could ever imagine.  We’re talking about destroying children, young children, even infants.

Thank you and please do what you can to help.

My personal thoughts on September 11th


I was working as a temporary employee at an insurance company that day.  I was trying to make my mark by out-performing everybody else so that hopefully I would get hired permanently.  I had just moved to Maine from Connecticut to be closer to my family.  After a year and a half of looking, I took the insurance company job just so that I could finally get to Maine.

On that morning, I was working away at a million miles an hour.  It was 10:00 or 10:30 before I even realized what had happened because my face was buried in my computer screen.  When I went downstairs for a break I noticed that everybody was in the computer room around a large television screen.  There had to be several dozen people from my small office in that room.  The horror that unfolded was followed by tears of disbelief.  An announcement came over the P.A. system of our building saying that if we felt the need to leave and go be with our families that we could do that.  I went back to my desk to work.  

There was a woman down the hall whose son worked in WTC One.  It was a few days later before we found out he was not in the tower that day but for those first few hours and days it was very difficult.  I went home, listening to AM Radio for the entire 45 minute trip; and then sat in my house that day glued to the TV.  

It was my birthday, that day.  My best friend called and asked if I wanted to go to dinner.  She is a hair stylist and the salon where she worked knew little to nothing about what was going on at that time of the day.  They were busy too, doing their work, trying to make their clients pretty.

When I explained to her everything that was going on, she understood why I did not want to go out to dinner that day.  She was then in shock and called me several times to compare notes since the salon had turned on the small TV they had.   I didn’t want to go to dinner that day, the next day, or the next week.  It took me a while to realize it but from that moment on the morning of September 11, 2001, my birthday would forever become meaningless; it would always be “September 11th”

I am not a person that celebrates Christmas, or Valentines Day, or Easter, or any other Hallmark, obligatory holiday.  I always thought that somebody’s birthday was really special because it is just about them.  In my whole life I never had a birthday party.  As a kid I was the youngest of 6.  So in our family we were allowed to have our favorite dinner.  And, there was the obligatory birthday cake and a few presents from the family right after we finished eating and it all took place at the dinner table in record time because people had things to do.  So when 9/11 happened, I was 37 years old and had never had a birthday party; a real birthday party where I was surprised and surrounded by friends.  I knew from that point forward I would never have a party for my birthday.  Who is going to give someone a birthday party on September 11th.  I don’t even want a birthday party on September 11th.

That sounds selfish and self-centered but think about it.  For someone who never had a birthday party and has waited all their life for one, probably shouldn’t expect one if your birthday is on September 11th.  I have found out about a lot of people whose birthday is September 11th.  It seems like once a week I have to show my license of someone asks me my birthday and the response is always the same:  “Oh gee, your birthday is 9/11?  That’s too bad, huh?”.  It just never goes away.

I don’t make it about me.  I spend my birthday by myself, reflecting about that day.  I cried for days after it happened.  I had very, very good friends of mine who worked for all different airlines.  It took me days to figure out if they were OK.  Luckily they were.  But I remember the terror.  I remember not sleeping; not able to get those visions out of my head.  The remembrance memorials need to happen but they are two sided in the way we honor people, and then the terrible memories they all bring back.

I don’t ever want anybody to forget that day.  I’ve thought about moving my birthday to September 15, or something like that, but when I really think about it I just can’t.  That is my birthday.  Someday I will figure out a way to live with September 11, 2001 and September 11, 1964 at the same time.  Until then, it is a solemn day that my friends and family need to understand is a difficult day for me and I may want to put off that dinner until tomorrow or the next day.  You can’t force someone to celebrate.

My thoughts today are with the families and loved ones of all the people affected by the events of 9/11.  Maybe someday, we will get our revenge against those who did it.   I don’t believe until that day, that 9/11 will ever be a day of healing and until that day, it will never really be my birthday.  And to my brethren with 9/11 birthdays, my best to you on however you choose to deal with it.

Democrats on Abortion


Politics is a complicated business.  None of us will ever agree on everything.  Even among people in the same political party.  And as much as right wing conservatives and neo-cons try to make the world believe that all democrats are radical pro-choice maniacs, it’s just not true.

I am as liberal they come, for the most part.  But I don’t think that my views on abortion are much different from most moderate democrats, or moderate republicans for that matter.

The right wingers like to make it sound like abortion is such a big political issue.  First of all, I don’t know one person in my life right now who is struggling with the decision of having an abortion.  I also don’t know one person in my life who has struggled with this issue within the past 10 years.  I have known women personally who have had to ponder this question at some point; but, it was an excruciating decision.

Even a woman who is radically pro-choice, a woman who would march on Washington, speak at a pro-choice rally, or back a pro-choice candidate, would  wallow in the gut-wrenching, emotional pain involved in deciding to actually have an abortion.  It is an awful thing even if you believe you should have the right to do it.

So let’s get some things perfectly clear.  It is individuals who support the right to choose, not political parties.  Abortion is not something that people must deal with on a daily basis.  And even if you decide that abortion is your only option for your particular situation, it will probably be the most difficult thing you will ever have to deal with in your life.  You may be haunted by the memories of it forever.

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Women, Hillary, Obama, and McCain


As an Obama supporter, I would have been extremely disappointed, even mad, if he did not get the nomination for Democratic Presidential Candidate.   There was a time when things looked bleak and I said to myself that I would vote for ANYBODY rather than Hillary Clinton.  So I understand what Hillary supporters are feeling.  I watched the Rules and Bylaws Committee Meeting aftermath and the women who were so angry; they were yelling and screaming and crying.  Their emotions were overflowing and they felt betrayed by somebody.

In trying to keep this in perspective, I tried to put myself in their shoes.  How would I have felt if it were Obama who was “robbed”?  Who would I lash out at on my blog or elsewhere?

After much thought, I came to some conclusions.  Barack Obama himself was not the reason that Hillary Clinton did not win the nomination.  He did not decide how the Bylaw Committee would vote.  He did not say anything even remotely misogynistic about Hillary Clinton or any other woman.  He has no control over how the press decides to cover Hillary and her campaign.  Yet these fervent Hillary supporters, with all of their displaced anger, are willing to punish Barack Obama by not supporting him, or voting for him.  I understand that they may want to punish the Press, or even specific pundits or on-air journalists.  I understand that they may be enraged at publications like the New York Times, or the Washington Post, a specific Blog or Blogger.  But to punish Barack Obama and cause such polarization within the Democratic party because of things beyond the candidate’s control seems misguided.

The same would be true if roles were reversed.  I could not blame Hillary Clinton herself if Barack Obama did not win the nomination.  She would have had nothing to do with it, other than run her campaign as best she could.  She has no control over what the Press says, what bloggers say, or how people vote, etc.

I find it hard to believe that any voting Democrat would punish the other candidate and vote for John McCain.  If they did cast their vote for McCain, or refuse to vote at all, they would realistically only be punishing themselves.

We all know the differences between the platforms of Obama and Clinton are few and far between.  However, if you compare the collective platforms of Obama and Clinton as “Democrats”, to those of the Republicans and John McCain, you will see the polar opposites. 

McCain can bellow as loud as he wants that he is not a continuation of the Bush presidency.  But the basic tenets of McCain and the Republican agenda are the same as George W. Bush.  There may be some minor differences, but if McCain were to take office today, you would not notice a difference in our Foreign Policy, our Economy, our Health Care System, or anything else that makes a difference to each of us as Americans.  In fact, unless someone told us that McCain took over, we would never notice.

For Democrats, this election is NOT about Barack Obama, and I think Barack himself would agree.  This election is about us; each and every one of us as individuals.  It is our responsibility to get the word out about Barack Obama as our vehicle for the kind of change this country needs.  He is our vehicle to restore our place in the world as the best country in the world, to inspire us to be the best we can be, to solve huge problems like the Iraq War, ignoring Afghanistan, high gas prices, the economy in general, education, and health care.  It is our responsibility as Democrats to talk to Independents and Republicans and try to convince those on the fence that Obama is the right choice for this country.   There are those in the Republican base whose mind you will never change so don’t waste your time there.

I do not tend to stand on my soapbox and herald the Democratic Party.  I am not even registered as a Democrat; I am unaffiliated.  I wasn’t even “political” until Bush’s second term.  I was absolutely blown away, depressed, angry, sad, and bewildered that he was elected to a second term.  And I blame every person who cast his or her ballot for George W. Bush for the condition in which we find our country today.  That’s a lot of anger and baggage to carry around and I am trying to let it go.  But I feel if I don’t speak out, and speak out loud and early, that it might happen again.  I can’t imaging how I would feel on November 4th, or 5th depending, if McCain is elected as the 44th President of the United States.  We will pay for it in cash, tears, and blood.  The middle class will disappear, and we will never restore our place in the world as a beacon of hope.  The Iraq War will trudge onward and Al Queda in Afghanistan, where the real war should be, will continue to be ignored.

Now is the time, and I challenge each of your who truly wants the right kind of change in this country, to go out and do something about it.  Help restore the United States of America to its former glory.  I don’t want to sound corny or poetic, but it is time for America to rise like a phoenix to a place high enough that the rest of the world can see the light.