Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Obama Gets It...

Our next President will likely be Barack Obama, so for those who don't like/trust him, please start reading his books (The Audacity of Hope and Dreams from My Father), and Biden's (Promises to Keep), and in very little time I think you'll begin to both like and trust these two fellows, which is important, especially as we face potentially dire economic times.

Obama and Biden are visionary leaders who will stand up (and have stood up) for those of us who have been relegated as "second-class citizens" by the uber rich -- those in the ivory towers who think we didn't get rich because we didn't work hard enough, try hard enough, or just weren't up to snuff enough to trample anyone standing in our way. (I know, not all rich people are like this. I know a lot of rich people and many of them are TERRIFIC -- they give money to causes, help others out, and treat everyone with kindness, compassion and respect, from corporate CEOs to the hard-working janitors and trash collectors who clean up after us and haul our trash.) But far too many rich people got there on the backs of the middle and lower classes. In fact, we all got where we are on the sweat, blood and tears of others, many of whom have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet. In a society that exists because of division of labor and specialization, we can't afford to look the other way when people who support us struggle. Even if we were still hunters and gatherers, we would depend on others for our survival. This is all too easy to forget, living in fenced and gated communities where we hardly know our neighbors, let alone the folks living across the tracks or across the waters.

I want to begin, in this blog, to bring people together who feel their candidate didn't win the top spot. Because whoever our next President is, we'll need to get behind him and listen carefully, see what he suggests we can do to help get out from under the accumulated crises facing our nation and the world, and do what we can, within each of our means, to be a part of the solution.

Neither of the candidates are "bad" people. That's my first point. We just disagree on policy, and on who we want as our next leader. When the candidates smear each other (which happens a lot more on the GOP side than it does on the DEM side, because Rove/Schulz tactics are being employed with fervor...), it serves no positive purpose at all. The world needs to start regarding America, again, as a place worthy of the respect that it has earned across two hundred years and thirty two years of its existence. We have a real chance to recapture the good feelings of allies, and the true respect of the others now, but as long as pundits point out zits, callouses and creases ad nauseum, they just give more ammunition to the America-averse (including our allies) everywhere. It's time to grow up and behave like adults again.

To that end, I think Obama was the better "adult" in the debate last night. McCain called Obama "that one" at one point and did not seem to know how to treat his opponent as anything other than an enemy. Obama is not an enemy. He's another job applicant, explaining his philosophy and showing his temperament. If you were in the position to hire one of these two fellows (and you are!) for your own purposes, which would you choose, based on the way he treats others with whom he disagrees? Forcefulness is one thing; disrespect and mud-slinging without real facts to back yourself up is quite another.

Their philosophies of government differ greatly -- so as their employers, each of us needs to decide whether Obama or McCain are going to serve our purposes. That's why we have Presidential contests! Issues ARE important, and a contender's ability to project confidence without bravado, bluster and ballyhoo is also important.

I look at the two, side by side, and it seems so OBVIOUS who the better visionary and leader is. Your perspective may well be entirely different. If you vote for the other guy, I'm okay with that -- as long as you're as absolutely certain, as I am about my team, that your team is the best, based on all the actual, time-consuming research you have done on them. Don't leave it up to the pundits, news folks, and others: It's YOUR decision. This race will likely be close, as much as I wish Obama-Biden would run away with it, and as much as I wish we'd all get on board the same train for the first time in many decades.

Go to the candidates websites and click on ISSUES and see where they stand on the matters that will affect you and your families for the next decade. Vote for the better team, knowing that both of these candidates have a target on their backs -- McCain with age and cancer, Obama because a whole lot of unhinged racists believe, and have stated, that "no way, no how, not on my watch!" will a black man ever serve out his full term as President of these United States."

The threats to these two candidates and their families are real. They exist. No one wants to talk about it in the open, but I will because we need to pray for both teams. I pray for both of them every morning and every evening, because I know the risks they are taking to stand before us and ask us to support them...

It comes down to this: This is perhaps the most important choice we will ever have to make as voters. It isn't like tossing a coin and accepting whichever side turns up. Not this time. (It never was.)

Process the candidates like you've never processed them before. The whole world is holding its collective breath to see who we will place before ourselves and them as the next leaders of the free world.

It's a responsibility, and should not be an afterthought.

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