Will Obama’s legacy be a disappointment?


I have been so disappointed over Obama and his Presidency.  I still like the man.  But I am angry at what has happened and what has NOT happened.  I have this sense of abandonment.  I feel like someone pulled the wool over my eyes.  I keep looking for reasons to NOT write him off.

But then I watched “By the People”, an HBO documentary about the election of Barack Obama.  I suddenly realized that if you listen to his early speeches on why he wanted to be President, he has not faltered from that.  He spoke of running this country without the fear tactics of the Bush Administration, he spoke about running this country without the distractions that are all too common in all Presidencies, and he spoke about correcting the image of America around the world and correcting the disastrous foreign policy of the Bush Administration that took America one giant step backward in the big game of political hopscotch.  I was ready to pick up my stone and my chalk and go home. 

“By the People” reminded me that Barack Obama’s launch into the political stratosphere was hard-fought and based on truth.  Modern political campaigns are long and exhausting.  What may start as a few simple ideas to define any candidate and his platform, end up with a mountain of campaign platform ideas.  The more the candidate fields questions from the incessant 24 hour press, the more his platform expands until every single backer of that politician can identify with several of the candidate’s “opinions” .  For example, Barack Obama did not promise an end to “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” early in his campaign.  That came about later when he was pressed for a position.  But now, the gay community is overwrought with anger and feelings of betrayal.  I’m sure Barack Obama believes in what he said – he wants to eliminate that policy.  But is it now or was it ever the bottom row of his political pyramid?  I don’t think so.  Health care reform, yes, gay rights, no.

So after taking a long, hard look at where Barack Obama is today, just 10 months into his Presidency, I don’t feel so let down.  Barack Obama has always wanted his Presidency to be about Us, not about him.  He has always wanted the American people, and by default our representation in Congress, to participate in this democracy.  It is not just Barack Obama and his own agenda that should lead the country, it should be the country that leads his agenda.

Yesterday, I listened to Barack Obama’s eulogy at the memorial services for the victims at Fort Hood.  Not only did this man meet with every family of the people who were killed, and not only did he meet with the individuals who survived but were injured, he was late in giving the eulogy because he refused to cut his visit with these victims and their families short.  He knew why he was there.  He was there to express grief and condolences on behalf of the people of the entire United States.  And when he finally did give his speech, he mentioned each of the victims by name, every single one of them.  He didn’t just say their names; he told us all a little bit about each one of them.

As I listened, I realized that this is what an American President is supposed to be.  Honorable, honest, caring, empathetic, and strong.  He proved to me in those moments that we can turn to him during difficult times and he will lead the way.

In reality, it is too soon to evaluate what Barack Obama’s presidential legacy will be.  I was fearful that in my own disappointment, I would jump on the bandwagon and become an Obama detractor.  While I don’t agree with everything he has done, or NOT done, I still support this man and trust that he will bring America out of the cold, dark place we are in; and lead us into the light.  No President, and no Presidency is perfect.  I think that all we can hope for in a President is honesty, intelligence, hard work, and compassion.  I’m glad we have that.

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The Birthers – most not born in the U.S.


Who knows where all the Birthers were born.  Does it matter?  We’ll just make shit up.  It seems to work for them.

If case you don’t know what a Birther is (meaning you live under a rock and don’t partipate in society),  a Birther is someone who believes Barack Obama was not born in the United States (yes, Hawaii is a state) and therefore, has no legal right to be President.

If during George W. Bush’s Presidency, you know, those god-awful years between 2001 and 2008 when the world hated us and still does, someone had told me W. wasn’t born in this country and therefore was not legally the President, would I have believed them? You bet your ass I would.

I despised Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove, the whole ugly bunch.  I would have looked for any reason to start a movement to get rid of any one of them.  So in some ways I understand why the radical right wing conservative movement in this country is perpetuating the idea that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., is not a U.S. Citizen, and therefore, not legally the President of the United States.  It is brilliantly simply.  If you are not a natural U.S. citizen, you can’t be President.

Let’s not get too confused about this, however.  The Obama Birther movement was born out of extreme hatred which is based on extreme racism.  There is some scary kind of hatred involved in this.  The birther movement is a cover for racism.  Birthers hate Barack Obama and is blackness so much that they will scratch the bottom of any barrel to get rid of him.

I felt the same way about the Bush Administration; not the racism part, but the willingness to do anything necessary to get rid them.

However, if someone on the Democrat, or Liberal, or Progressive side of the map who I trusted or believed said to me “Hey, don’t be an idiot.  As much as we want to believe this stuff, it is simply not true”.  I would have had no choice to throw my hands in the air and give up the fight.  I would have tried other tactics but why spend so much time dealing in lies.

So why is it that few, if any, radical conservatives can’t utter the words “Hey folks, it’s just not true”.  From Limbaugh to Glenn Beck to the halls of Congress, these people and their “believers” can’t bring themselves to say “This is stupid and it’s not true”.  Even when they pretend to debunk the myth, they say things like “Barack Obama is a citizen” but won’t actually say the words “he was born in this country” leaving a sliver of room to back out and re-interpret what they said at a later date.

On the surface the Birther movement appears almost harmless because it is so ridiculous.  The following is what they want you to believe:  In 1961 Barack Obama was born in Kenya and secretly shipped on a cargo tanker (I guess) to Honolulu, Hawaii where someone who knew that he would run for and win the Presidency some day, planted a birth announcement in the Honolulu newspaper all so that in 2009, a forged birth certificate could be disproved by said newspaper announcement.   Hmm.  Sounds plausible to me; you?

Chris Matthews on MSNBC the most trustworthy G. Gordon Liddy (ahem!) as a guest,  so that Matthews could show Liddy all of the facts and copies of the paperwork first hand proving Obama’s birth and citizenship.  Matthews hoped that the irrefutable evidence would convince Liddy to go back to the listeners of his radio show and say “OK guys, I know we want this to be true, but it simply isn’t; Enough is Enough”.  However, Liddy stared at the evidence in what can only be described as an Alzheimer Haze, twitching and mumbling something about wanting to see originals and some woman in Kenya and an affidavit about seeing Obama being born in Kenya and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  It would have been funny if it wasn’t one of the saddest things I’ve even seen on Television.  Search for the video on Google, it’s easy to find.  I do question Chris Matthew’s motives in bringing on one of the most famous liars in the world in an effort to reform him on conspiracies.  But I guess Matthews was trying to start with someone on the radio who had a following.  Liddy was probably the only conservative talk radio host who would accept an invitation from Mr. Matthews.

Some believe that the birther movement is harmless.  But if you undersand that the people involved in the movement are using it as a cover to hide (and not so well) their extreme racism and hatred of Black America then you won’t think it’s so harmless anymore.

It is time now for those of us who are adults with working brain stems to call our Senators and House Representatives demanding that they speak out on this issue and put the Birthers in their place.  Force your legislators to have a spine by speaking out against the fringe right wing.  I’m all for freedom on speech, but when you are inciting riotous and violent acts based on your speech or actions, i believe you forfeit some of those rights.  The Birthers are full of hatred and are trying to spread it around.  That’s just plain wrong.  Nobody should have the freedom to do that.

There are two trains of thought on debunking lies.  First is to never address is; therefore not giving the idea any traction.  You don’t dignify the accusation by responding to it.  The second method is to nip it in the bud.  You run the risk of drawing out the amount of attention the lie gets but you look strong in your defiance.

The Democrats, and in fact the White House itself, have chosen option one.  Ignore the accusation and you won’t give it any traction.  Let’s see.  How did that work our for John Kerry and the Swift Boaters?

Right America Feeling Wronged


In Alexandra Pelosi’s new documentary “Right America Feeling Wronged” she does to radical, right-wing, evangelical America what family and friends would do to an addict at an intervention; she holds a symbolic mirror up to their faces and asks them to take a good, hard look at themselves. 

Like all interventions, if things go well, the addict will see the error of their ways, begin to take responsibility for their actions, and begin down the road of recovery, all with the support of those who intervened in the first place.  If things don’t go well, the the addict will continue to lie, cheat, steal, and fool themselves into thinking they are OK and not doing anything wrong.  Meanwhile, the addict spirals out of control once again.

Below is an exceprt from “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC where Rachel is interviewed filmaker Alexandra Pelosi and show some brief clips from the documentary.  While these two liberals don’t always have the same views on “middle America”, the certainly agree about shedding some much needed light on some real problems.

 I will admit right here, right now.  I recorded this documentary on my DVR and when I sat down to watch it, I had to turn it off after about 5 minutes.  Why?  Because I was truly freightened.  Some of this clips that I found freightening are those included in the very brief film trailer leading into the MSNBC interview.

As I switched channels and sat back for a bit watching something else, I just had to do it.  I turned it back on.  Once I again I wretched in disbelief and had to turn it off.  To me it was like watching a grotesque surgical operation.  You are curious and want to see it, but you sort of look through your fingers that are half-covering your face.  And when the really bad parts come, you look away and say “OOOH, GEEEEEEZ!!!

As I watched “Right America Feeling Wronged” a few thoughts came to mind.  First, it seemed to me that every person showcased in this movie had a glazed-over, blank-but-hate-filled look in their eyes.  Or maybe it was blank with fear.  Or both.

I encourage everyone who’s interested in what the Evangelical crowd is doing and thinking to see this documentary.  This is not a narrated documentary where you might be led down a certain path of opinion based on what the filmaker dictates.  This movie leaves the character development up to the characters themselves.  They reveal a great deal about themselves on their own without prodding from anyone.

While I know that the hatred exposed in this film is real and still exists, I can’t help but think what would have happened if McCain got elected.  What I saw in this film was what I have always seen in Republicans; they don’t tell you what they are “for” but hey will certainly tell you what they are “against”.  In fact at one point a woman was asked what all McCain supporters have in common and she said “We don’t want Obama to win”.  To this radical group the 2008 Presidential Election wasn’t about standing behind a candidate, it was about standing in front of an adversary.   To them Barack Obama became the enemy; out of fear, ignorance, hate, misinformation, and and outright lies by the Right Wing conservatives of the party.

I hope you watch the interview above but hope even more that you watch the entire documentary.  If you do watch to film and don’t see why Barack Obama should fear for his life, then you weren’t listening; play it again.

Why Obama is the right person, right now


We know the economy is a mess.  In a way I feel lucky because I lost my job in April of 2007, lost everything, was out of work of 18 months, without any programs to help me.  I’m now back to work making half of what I did before.  I am still struggling to stay afloat after those 18 months, for most of which I did not receive unemployment compensation.  And while I am working now, it is for a small business with 13 employees.  So I can’t count on anything going forward.

Lucky?  You ask quizzically.  Yes, because I already went through what many people are going through now and will continue to go through.  I don’t have a car payment anymore because I lost my car to the repo man.  I don’t have a mortgage because even before all this happened I didn’t make enough to own a home.  Some would say I did.  Many tried to convince me that a single person like me making the kind of money I made, should be investing in a home.  I’m glad I didn’t.  Rent is just fine with me.  And while I almost lost my apartment, the kindness of friends, family, and an understanding landlord have helped me hang on.

I watched President Obama (I still love writing that) last night in his non-State of the Union Address.  Have you ever in your life heard a President be so bold to tell the truth?  He told the truth about the current condition of our country and gave us hope that we can get through it.  There is an awful lot to be said for having the right attitude.  And Barack Obama has it.  I get the sense he truly does believe we can turn this situation around. 

The President is not letting the “party of NO” stop him from going forward.  The American public spoke.  They spoke in November of 2006 and in November of 2008.  One party is in charge right now for a reason.   Can you really imagine John McCain being the President right now.  Really?!  For Christ’s sake he’d still be talking about “the surge”.  And while I have learned a new respect for Hillary Clinton, I don’t think she would have the same oratory skills required for the job.  Not to mention that Bill Clinton would be an incredible distraction.  The Clinton’s would have been skewered by the neo-cons and so much distraction and shell-gaming would be going on that the country wouldn’t have a chance.

When they call the GOP the “party of NO” they mean it.  Republicans are so out of touch with the pulse of America right now that they should all be sued for malpractice”.  And soon-to-be former-presidential-candidate Bobby Jindal with his insinuations last night that Barack Obama’s message included something about America ‘s best days are behind her.  What is that all about?  Did you, or he, hear something I didn’t?  I watched the President and listened to what he said.  THAT, my dear Jindal, is NOT what he said.

What I am about to write is not an original idea but it keeps popping into my head.  Democrats will tell you what the are FOR, and Republicans will tell you what they are AGAINST.  That is one of the major differences between the two parties right now.  The GOP has no leaders, no platform, and has lost the trust of the American people.  Average Americans are not even listening to what Republicans have to say, because all that comes out of their mouths is blame, finger pointing, the word “NO”, or nothing at all.

There’s no question that I am a Barack Obama supporter.  I don’t agree with many things he has said or done.  The one thing I have to hold on to is that I trust him.  Unlike the Bush Administration,  Barack Obama is in this for the American people, the Americahe loves.  The Bush Administration was in it for their own egos, their own power, and in many cases, their own pocket books.  (Can you say “Halliburton”?).

And one last thing.  Karl Rove didn’t show up AGAIN for his testimony to Congress.  It’s time to hold him in contempt and throw in him jail.  That’s what we do to criminals, don’t we.  Barack Obama said last night, unequivocally, “The United States does not torture”.  But if Rove doesn’t want to play by our rules, let’s play by his.  Anybody have an extra water board lying around?

So back to my original premise. Barack Obama is the right man for the job.  There’s another Democrat (and certainly not a Republican) who has the balls to do what he is doing right now.  And as for these Republican Governors who lambaste the stimulus package and then want some of the money, you can’t have it both ways.  Grow a backbone already.  And if you don’t know how, ask Obama.

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,

It’s time to get back to politics


Today is December 29, 2008, only 29 days until Barack Obama will take the oath of office and become the 44th President of the United States.  I just finished watching “60 Minutes” from last night.  I had it on my DVR which is set up to tape new episodes of “60 Minutes”.  I just forgot about it until I went through my list of things taped, but unwatched.

“60 Minutes” did a retrospective of Barack Obama’s rise to political power from the day before he announced his candidacy back in February of 2007.  I forgot how long ago that was.  “60 Minutes” told the whole story.  About his start in politics, issues of race, Reverend Wright, the Muslim smear attacks, the DNC, the night of his historic win, and everything in between.

I forgot about those agonizing days and months when I was keeping up with all things Obama.  I forgot my frustration over the lies and right-wing smear campaigns.  I forgot about election day and waiting hour by hour, watching the return come in.  I was watching MSNBC and this part I did not forget  There is some question as to who made the announcement on MSNBC.  But it was Keith Olbermann, another hero of mine, who said those fateful words “Barack Obama is projected to be the next President of the United States.”  I could hear the shaking in his voice.  I begin to sob.  I could not believe it was finally over.  If you want to see and hear it again, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1HSnnDfCks. It is so difficult for me to watch this piece of video and not have tears come to my eyes.  Have we forgotten already?

There were so many emotions going on that night.  I know how hard Keith worked on behalf of Obama.  He was the one clear, strong voice in the Media who never faltered from his mission.  Now, I know that journalists are supposed to remain neutral.  But much like Edward R. Murrow, one of the most famous and respected Journalists ever to grace the television screen, Olbermann stuck up for his own personal beliefs; sometimes crossing the line between Journalism and Opinion, just as Murrow did against Senator Joseph McCarthy and McCarthy’s witch hunt against communists.  Sometimes, wrong is wrong, and a journalist who knows the truth must simply speak it.

I believe that both Olbermann and Rachel Maddow had a profound influence in the 2008 Presidential Election.  And good for them.  It is a pleasure to see the year-end lists that every media outlet does for bests and worsts of 2008.  The pleasure stems from how long we have waited to chastise these people publicly.  People like Bush, Cheney, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sarah Palin, and all of the other right-wing crazies whose time has come after 8 long years, to bury themselves back under the rock from which they came.  They fooled enough Americans for long enough to get eight years out of of George W. Bush, but no more.  We simply aren’t going to take it any more.

As I sit tonight looking forward and back, I find myself only wanting to look forward.  I don’t want to forget the past, I just want to put it where it belongs, in the past.  Barack Obama has worked hard at choosing an eclectic and amazingly smart group of people to join him in his cabinet.  I look forward to whatever Obama has (maybe up his sleeve) to offer us.  I believe it will happen quickly.  A lot of changes will take place early on so that Obama can set himself up to move forward and get this country back on its feet.

I hope for transparency but also understand that some things simply can not be transparent.  I believe that if Obama exposed all of the morally wrong and simply evil deeds of the Bush Administration, America might not believe we can get ourselves out of it and may loose hope.  Right now he needs America to be strong, to stand behind him, and be ready to offer their assistance and sacrifice anywhere the President asks for it.  The next few years will be amazing and I am glad I am here to witness all of it.

I’m happy that the President Elect is taking some time off with his family in Hawaii.  He was probably suffering from almost complete exhaustion.  When is the last time you think he might have gotten a good 8 hours of sleep to recharge over night.  I want my President rested, strong, and confident; with a clear head to make the right decisions.

What makes makes a good President?  Many things, but here’s how I see it.  There are things that Barack Obama has said and done that I don’t agree with.  But I trust him enough to lead us down the right path.  I don’t have to agree with everything he says or does, I just need to believe in him and trust him.

We will get there.  Wherever “there” is to you.  We’re not used to trusting our elected officials. It’s a new concept, or at least a lost,concept.  Barack Obama’s priorities are to bring back trust to America and bring back the respect America has around the world.  What will American Politics look like in four years?  Let’s hope we’ll be in the midst of a new era; an era where we can’t believe how far we’ve come because it seemed so out of reach back in 2008.

Who’s the real Lame Duck?


Have you been watching the political shows?  They are pontificating, assuming, blaming, yelling, planning, scheming, concluding, choosing, arguing, whining, over-analyzing, and all kinds of other “ings” and none of them good.

The election was a scant two weeks ago and everyone from Pat Buchanan to Jon King are talking about the Obama “leaks” and how Obama has “lost control of his people”.  They are talking about how “change” isn’t change because there aren’t a lot of new faces in THEIR proposed cabinet.

Obama isn’t leaking anything, he just has less control over those outside his circle that are.  As for change?  There was only one successful Democratic administration in the last half century and that was Bill Clinton’s.  Everyone who was a democrat worked for his administration so anyone with any experience, which is what Obama is looking for, worked for Clinton’s administration.  How do the pundits think that Obama is going to fill the untold number of cabinet positions and support positions, from Monster.com?

So in an effort to fill the unfillable, that being 24 hours a day of news, the cable news shows trot every politician, political analyst, political consultant, and in some cases their own version of Joe the Plumber to rattle on and on about what’s going wrong so far.   So far??  It’s been 17 days and he’s not even the President yet.  They are blaming him for the bail out of wall street and the lack of one for the car companies.  He’s not the President yet.

Now would be a perfect time for all of the cable news programs to go on vacation. It’s been a long election season, you earned it.  Now go.  An don’t come back until there is some real news.

Cool to be American?


I know that I shouldn’t be concerned with what others think or say about me, and I’m not.

I know that I should never listen to a piece of “journalism” from “The Today Show”, but I did.

Lester Holt introduced a piece called “It’s cool to be American” on Saturday morning.  It should have said “Again”.  While I don’t care what people think or say about me, I do care what the world thinks and says about America.

When world leaders are beating down our doors saying “Now that you’ve smartened up and elected a real President, we’re willing to work with you”, it has an impact on us and them.

When the Iraqi Parliament says “Now that you have elected a real President, we trust you and want to sign a continuance agreement with you”, that is saying a lot.

In the end it doesn’t matter what the world thinks about us as a country, but it helps.  And it doesn’t matter what they think about the American people, but it helps. 

We were always taught, from grade school on, that America is a beacon of hope and the gold standard for a good life.  It is the standard that countries all over this planet aspire to achieve.

It took eight long, eight very, very long years, for some Americans to finally admit that George W. Bush, his criminal activities, his desire for war, his lies, his ignorance of the Constitution of the United States, has turned this country upside down.  We don’t even recognize America anymore.  Or at least we didn’t, until we decided, we ALL decided that enough is enough.  We’re more afraid of what the world will do to us if we keep the Republicans in power than we are of terrorism itself.  I don’t know what it was that made America wake up.  Bush as elected (sort of) twice, and John McCain WAS a third Bush term, I don’t care what you say.

But I digress (as usual).

The world thinks America is cool and Americans are cool (unless of course you are still a Republican).  My hope is that the country finally understands the both Democrats and Republicans have good ideas, they just need to be melded together correctly.  That’s what Obama can do and what Bush could never do, and what McCain had no interest in doing.

So go travel the world again, when you have enough money again, and don’t be afraid to say you are American. 

Hint:  If you find yourself in a dicey neighborhood in the world somewhere, I’d still go with Canadian.

Obama Wins and it’s a new game in town


I know I should be a gracious winner.  As gracious and incsive as Barack Obama was in his victory speech and as gracious as John McCain tried to be in is concession speech.  I say “tried” because he still refused to stop the booing when he mentioned Obama’s win.   McCain couldn’t muster up the decency to tell the crowd that booing is not acceptable.

But there is a part of me that needs to vent.  I just need to say:

So long Hannity and O’Reilly and the rest of the knuckleheads at Fox.  You make me sick and your team LOST.  You are irrelevant.

So long to Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sarah Palin.  Your talking points memos have no place in this world except maybe to line bird cages.  You are both irrelevant.

And to the blow hard, politically abusive Rush Limbaugh, your tactics didn’t work, your lies didn’t work, you are irrelevant.

To people like Mary Matalin, Mitt Romney, Rudy “9/11” Giuliani, and Tucker Bounds, it’s time for you to just SHUT UP and I would prefer also that you GO AWAY.  You are irrelevant.

And especially to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney whom I believe should rot in hell for the crimes they have committed against the American people and against the U.S. Constitution; you and your cronies are irrelevant.

All of the people mentioned above will pay the price.  Looking back, these people could not think of one nice thing to say about Barack Obama, who is, by any measure, an intelligent, thoughtful, inclusive man deserving of at minimum an inferred compliment.  But no, they just couldn’t bring yourselves to do it.  And so they will pay the price by being considered “out of the loop”, and “on the wrong track” and nobody will want to hear your opinion anymore.  Not even the new Republican Party that will emerge from the muck as something new and different; or perhaps old and familiar, back to their roots, so to speak.

The Presidential Election of 2008 was not just an election and was not just about politics.  The Obama campaign was a movement.  As defined by Random House a “movement” in this context means: “a diffusely organized or heterogeneous group of people or organizations tending toward or favoring a generalized common goal”.  That is exactly what President Elect Obama tied to do through his entire campaign.  And he stayed on topic for almost 2 years.  None of the people mentioned above in this post, and many, many people not mentioned in this post, ever recognized the difference between an election campaign and a movement.  They missed the boat and missed the historical significance of what happened on November 4th2008.  Americans stoop up to be counted and stood up to say “We’re not going to take it anymore”.  The Republican tactics of fear don’t work and were not appreciated by the electorate based on exit polls.  Every negative ad, every mangling of the truth, or outright lie convinced a few more Independents and Republicans to vote Democrat

I’m sure you saw the people around this country who gathered in predetermined locations to await and then celebrate the victory of Barack Obama.  But did you see the hoards of Americans who gathered spontaneously in town squares to do the same thing.  You probably caught this phenomenon on television but did you also notice people from countries all over the WORLD who gather to celebrate America’s huge step forward.  The American Dream is an experiment that has so far lasted 232 years.  And when times are tough, like they are now, Americans can unite for the greater good.  And Americans can think for themselves independently, they can analyze the conditions set before them, and they have the ability to think and look forward instead of backwards to what used to be.  I don’t care how it sounds but for the first time in my life I am truly proud to be American.  That doesn’t mean I wasn’t proud before; it means I am MORE proud.

So when have Americans ever poured into the streets to celebrate and support the newly elected President of the United States.  For that matter when have Americans ever done this to celebrate anything, political or otherwise.  One on-air personality from a cable TV show said that it was possible that the first moon landing/walk may be the only other event in history that created this level of pride and exuberance.  I don’t know because I was too young to remember, but that sounds accurate to me.  And we’re talking about GOOD NEWS celebrations not bad news vigils.

The political torch is being passed to a new generation and a new philosophy.  I am at the cusp (the older side, unfortunately) of a generation who doesn’t see color, religion, sexual orientation, and more as divisive issues.  We doesn’t see differences, but rather similarities.

The right-wing cancer on the American phsyche is finally in remission.  Those of us with clearer, more mature heads have been waiting for this day since it all went wrong when Ronald Reagan took office in January of 1981.  Since that time we have been on a course, either stemming from the President himself or the Republican-controlled Congress, that grew progressively more extreme in its Evangelical values.  For whatever reason, a large group still believes in this philosophy; they believe in subscribing to culture wars.  They believe in “us versus them”.  They believe in exclusion over inclusion.  If you ever watched the critically acclaimed televisionshow called “Jericho” which was about the aftermath of a large scale terrorist attach on the United States, you would have seen the not-so-subtle overtones of what it is like under the Bush Administration or under Republican rule in general.  Americans pitted against Americans instead of Americans helping other Americans.  We are nothing if not generous with our time, money, and support of those in trouble or less fortunate than ourselves.  But the fundamental idea of America’s generosity was swept out when Reagan was swept into power in 1981.  I am overjoyed that America’s self-esteem and its zest for inclusion has returned with gusto.

As for Barack Obama I hear people, including myself, refer to him (before today) as “Senator Obama”, “Barack Obama”, or “Mr. Obama”, or just plain “Obama”.  He has earned the right to be called “President Elect” and/or “President”.  But for some reason, my admiration for him and the fact that he makes me feel included, makes we want to call him “Barack”.  Just plain Barack.  He is the only political figure in my life that I have ever wanted to meet and the only one with whom I ever wanted to sit down and have a chat.

In closing I want to say that I have only recently involved myself in politics.  Barack’s speech at the DNC in 2004 started it all for me and then I began my own personal grass roots movement through communicating with friends and family, acquaintances, and visitors to my Blog.  Prior to this election I voted in every election for President, Governor, and/or Senator.  However, this is the first time I truly “fell” for a candidate.  If it is possible to love somebody that you have never met, then that’s what happened to me.  Love comes in many forms.  In my case my love for Barack comes in the form of respect and admiration.  He makes me want to be a better person; a better American.

I look forward to the future of America and the World.  Maybe someday I’ll forgive myself for not being as gracious as I could have been.

How to decide – Obama or McCain


I am trying, very, very hard NOT to write any more until after the election.  I really want to just let everything sit and simmer; to not think about, talk about it, or write about it anymore.  But I can’t.

How do you decide for whom to vote for President?

First, if you are a political junkie and you are voracious in your appetite for all things politics, of all persuasions, including the web, newspapers, magazines, and television, then you are probably well versed and informed and have already made your decision.  Other than that, I believe there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.

What do you know about each candidate and from where did I learn it?  Was it a friend or family member.  Was it one particular medium that you gravitate towards?  For example, if you only watch Fox News or if you only watch MSNBC, then your viewpoint is going to be skewed, assuming you believe everything you have heard.  Maybe there is a particular blog like the Huffington Post or The Drudge Report; same thing there, these are one-sided opinion mediums the often skew the facts in a certain direction.

Have you ever taken one particular news item that is pro or con for a candidate and conducted your own investigation to see if it was true or not.  If not, then you haven’t done your homework.

I believe that each of us has a responsibility to be our own private investigators.  We need to stop listening solely to Sean Hannity or CNN.  Go to reliable, nonpartisan sources.  They are out there; go find them.

Next, check your gut.  See what makes sense.  For example, does it really make sense that someone running for President is a terrorist, or is secretly hiding his religious beliefs.  Chances are if you heard an outrageous claim about a candidate, that claim has either stretched the facts beyond all recognition or is a complete fabrication.  Watch the candidates themselves.  Take note of how they conduct themselves, how the speak, their body language.  You can tell a lot about a person by simply picking up on clues.

Also, keep an eye on political tactics and weigh what their impact is.  Barack Obama said he would talk to John McCain about using public financing for his campaign and come to an agreement.  He never did.  On the other hand, bogus fliers were distributed (by McCain supports) to college campuses in Pennsylvania and Virginia saying that the State recognized there would be such a high turnout for Election day that they split it into two days; Republicans should vote on November 4th, and Democrats on November 5th.  This was all on State letterhead, and it was all a fake.  Voter suppression tactics from the Republicans are not new.

So which one is worse in your mind.

What does each candidate really stand for.  What is his platform?  If, god forbid, he died on day one, who would fill his shoes?  It is maudlin to say the least to think about the President’s death but at some point you need to be realistic.

As much as I don’t want to give my own opinion to anyone reading this on how to decide who to pick for President, I will say this.  John McCain, like most republicans, will spend a lot of time telling you what’s wrong with the other candidate and will tell you what they are against.  However, how often do you hear them talk what’s right about themselves and what they are for.

It is a simple equation, really.  Do I want someone who is AGAINST things, or do I want someone who is FOR things?  Do I want a President who I can have a beer with, or a President that is WAY smarter than I am?  Do I want a President who really cares about our standing in the world and intends to correct it?  Or do I want President with a bully attitude and doesn’t care what the rest of the world thinks about us?

What exactly is your candidate FOR?  And into which candidates face can you look and see the quiet, calm passion that pushes him to lead this country to better places?  Which candidate did not squander the time he has to convince America to elect him trying to convince YOU what was wrong with the other guy, rather than what was RIGHT about himself.

Do your homework, do your research, make smart, well-informed decisions.  And thanks again, for stopping by.  Hopefully, I can keep my mouth (and my keyboard quiet) until we get the results on November 4th.