Thursday, July 17, 2008

Senator Barack Obama for President

My Unabashed, Straight Ahead, No Holds Barred Explanation
Why Barrack Obama Must Be Our 44th President 42

For most of my life I have voted for Republican Presidents. I am old enough that I have seen a good number of Presidents and a good number of elections. Right now, though, I need to talk about why I am going to vote for Obama. I need to talk about exactly why I think he is going to be a great President.

That means, I have to say why I think he is a good choice, how he is going to be different from what we have now and how he is going to compare with some of the past Presidents I liked and didn’t like. I have to “size up” Obama on pretty much three important ideas. Those ideas are completely involved in campaign politics right now. They are:

National Security
and, Leadership.

I lived through what we called the “Cold War,” and that experience really made the National Security issue a big one for me. It was a frightening time, and while it was going on, it really had a lot to do with who we chose to be President. We were always looking for someone we could trust to tell us what was happening. The stakes were very high. We were continuously, day and night, ready to have a thermonuclear war with the Soviet Union. That went on for years.

But, during that time, Americans really did know quite a bit about our situation. We were included in the whole affair, and that meant that we had a good grip on what was going on. Our leaders didn’t always have good news for us, but we had the feeling that we could trust what they were saying and understand why our country was doing what it was doing.

This really changed during the Viet Nam war. During those times, much of what we were told was simply made up to make things appear to be something they weren’t. At first, we believed what we were told, but as time went on, it got so far out of hand that most Americans couldn’t believe it anymore. This happened during the term of both a Democratic and a Republican President, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. It got so that it didn’t seem to matter what we as citizens thought, that war just kept going and going for decades.

Now, we are having more wars and, one more time, we don’t really know what is happening. We were lied to to get us into Iraq. Our War on Terror is full of secret reasons and secret plans. We have been told over and over that we have to fight, but we haven’t been told much about how it’s going.

I don’t really have a good idea whether we are winning or losing. The government is not being open about these matters. They are keeping everything secret. I have to believe that the government doesn’t really trust us, the people. If it did, it could be much more open about what it was doing, figuring that we would agree with it and support it.

We may be doing very well with this “War on Terror,” but we also may not be doing very well at all. For example, we haven’t had another attack, but does that mean we have stopped all the attacks since then or does it simply mean that there haven’t been any attempted? What’s the big deal about telling us what is happening?

I like Barack Obama for President because I think he is much more open. I think he will be much more honest with us. There are plenty of Generals to take care of the war-fighting if that comes up, but we need to have a President who will take care of that job and that includes being much more open and honest with us. We must know what is happening so we can be included in the decisions.

As for the economy, I have lived long enough to experience both good and bad times. During the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s wages went up every year. By the way, there were both Republicans and Democrats running things. People paid their taxes and, as always, complained about it. Some people grew rich, but most people like us had money and pretty good lives.

Now, things seem suspiciously different. The average wage in the United States has actually fallen lately. The very richest people have gotten richer, but middle class people have gotten poorer. Prosperity at our level has been sacrificed so those at the very top could get even more.

So, does the President control all of this? Not entirely, but when the President’s incredibly rich friends just seem to always get richer and richer no matter what they do while we seem to not even be able to hold our own, I have to think that maybe who is President makes a difference. Quite a few of the rich friends of this President have, in fact, gotten richer and richer because of decisions he has made -- decisions that should have included us and our interests but didn’t.

In my memory, I have never seen incredibly rich people pay so little in taxes while folks like us, again, are having trouble holding our own. As has always been the case, everyone complains about taxes and government inefficiency, but our real complaint is about what is being done with our tax money. What we are buying for the whole country. Things like roads and bridges and dams and schools and hospitals. I have watched the current government spend roughly eight trillion dollars of borrowed money on something, but I can’t see anything they bought! All I see is rich people getting richer and the rest of us getting left out.

Part of that eight trillion dollars was spent in Iraq, part went directly to subsidize oil companies. Part went to greedy bankers who got caught in the mortgage crisis. Part went to war profiteers who are friends of the President and Vice President. The problem is that part of it didn’t go to us! Our part in this amounts to just having to pay it back in taxes for the rest of our lives. Our ideas about borrowing all this money and our ideas about what it was spent for didn’t make any difference. No one was listening to our common sense. We were not included and we damned sure weren’t respected.

Now, our gasoline costs four times more, our dollars are worth half of what they used to be worth, our houses, if we are fortunate enough to own one, are worth 80% of what we paid for them, the stock market is getting lower and lower every day and our pensions and 401K’s are going down with it, our health care is costing more and more and our wages are getting less and less. A big bunch of money seems to just be evaporating, but it is going somewhere! In the middle of all this, President Bush’s friends seem to just be getting richer and richer.

President Obama is going to include us and our interests in his Presidency. Things may not get better over night, but at least we will have someone in the White House who has actually lived like we live. He will know what things are like down here. He will understand what we face every month when we pay our bills. And our taxes.

President Bush is the son of a President and the grandson of a banker. John McCain is the son of an admiral and the grandson of an admiral. Neither of them has ever had to scrimp and budget to buy groceries or pay for a doctor. Barack Obama has. Maybe all the economic stuff going on now makes sense to someone like George Bush or John McCain. Neither one of them has ever had to pay off a student loan.

Senator Obama knows better. He just finished paying off his student loan.

That makes him a lot more like me, and I like that. That makes me trust him to be loyal to someone like me and my interests. George Bush has been very loyal to his rich oil friends for the last eight years. John McCain is already on the hook to be more loyal to his rich campaign contributors and the lobbyists running his campaign than loyal to someone like me. I don’t think I deserve to be left out. Quite frankly, I can’t afford to be left out like that for another four years of a McCain Presidency.

That goes for everyone I know, too.

The most important of the three things is leadership. Again, during the Cold War we really counted on Presidents like Eisenhower and JFK to lead us through it. We trusted them and they trusted us. We all knew that we were in that mess together and, that if we were going to get through it, we were going to do that together, too. Those weren’t times famous for “getting a good night's sleep,” but our worries weren’t about whether or not we could trust the President. Our worries were about the Russians and the missiles and the bombs.

Thank God, we had leaders we could trust. Whether we voted for them or not, we prayed for them and we loved them and we followed them and we supported them. That was our job as Americans. We could do that because, again, whether we voted for them or not, we trusted them to be loyal to us.

I can trust President Obama to be loyal to my country, to my safety and to my interests. I’m not completely sure why I trust him, but I do. In fact, my trust for him grows every time I hear him speak.

Trust in our leaders is a national value. With it we are richer, without it we are poorer. With it we are much stronger, without it we are much weaker. We are all going to decide who we can trust in November. I am placing my future in the hands of Barack Obama. That is not based solely on the incredible lack of trust I have for John McCain and everyone else who wants more of President Bush’s special favors, that is based on Barack Obama, the man. I trust him.

It is not political maneuvering that can put us back together as Americans. It is not going to be some sort of really clever trick of politics or policy. It will be trust. It will be about honor and loyalty. It will be about hope. Our path back to a strong, unified country is going to start with trust, honor, loyalty and hope. The Republicans can't say much about those things without lying.

You know. It is just going to start “feeling better.” It’s time.

It’s time for America to do better. It’s time for President Barack Obama.

We're Democrats. We live here!

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