Obama's First Week

I will tell you, I am impressed. There has been a lot of signing this last week. Now some will say that a lot of what President Barack Obama has done this first week is all show, but I entirely disagree. And some will not like some of the things he has signed, such as the closing of Guantanamo, but again I disagree. I cannot remember a president who has taken such strides within his first week of taking office.

This nation, and in fact the world, needs to see clear and decisive signs that there is change. The change that was promised in the election and the change that will refuel our economy, our spirit, and our reputation. Every thing that President Obama has done so far goes directly to those goals. From unequivocally outlawing torture to pushing through the economic stimulus plans, these are things that should not involve waffling or debate. We know how we, the US people, feel about these things and they should be acted on promptly.

I will also tell you this – I feel a change in people’s attitudes. Maybe it is just me or maybe I am just looking for it, but people seem to be encouraged even in this time of economic turmoil. There is a politeness and respect in the air that I haven’t seen since the days after 9/11. Someone suggested that this is also helped along by the good news from the Hudson River where all passengers walked away from that US Air flight. (A flight I have taken more than once, I might add.) But, whatever the reason, there is a welcome change in the air.

It is only the end of the first week though. There is still a long way to go. There are a lot of problems and a lot of hard decisions. Let’s hope we can all stick together, work hard, and put everyone back on the right track. The free bumper stickers, buttons and posters were great, but they will not get the work done. It is up to us, at the grass roots level to make sure that promises are kept and old school, good-old-boy politics does not creep in.

Top 5 Reasons To Vote In South Carolina

Just received this in my email at work, and while I hate being spammed I thought the message was pretty good. So, here it is for your consideration.

You don’t live in Ohio. You don’t live in Florida. The chance is pretty small that South Carolina will decide the presidential election. So: Why vote?

Here’s why. This list is important—so please read it, and then pass it along. And remember: To find out where to vote, what you need to bring, or when the polls close, click here: www.voteforchange.com.

The Top 5 Reasons To Vote In South Carolina
Or: Why It Still Means A Thing Even If It Ain’t Got That Swing

 

  1. Big margin = big mandate. The popular vote doesn’t put anyone in the White House, but it affects what presidents can do when they get there. Want Obama to be able to actually do the stuff he’s been talking about? Pass universal health care? End the war? Then we need a landslide.
  2. The other things on the ballot matter! For example: Congress. Plus, there are other important local races and ballot questions in some places.
  3. If you don’t vote, everyone can find out. Voting records are public. (Not who you voted for, just whether you voted.) Pretty soon, finding out whether you voted could be as easy as Googling you.
  4. Help make history. You could cast one of the votes that elect the first African-American president. If we win, we’ll tell our grandchildren about this election, and they’ll tell their grandchildren. Do you really want to have to explain to your great-great-grandchildren that you were just too busy to vote in the most important election in your lifetime?
  5. People died so you’d have the right to vote. Self-government—voting to choose our own leaders—is the original American dream. We are heir to a centuries-long struggle for freedom: the American revolution, and the battles to extend the franchise to those without property, to women, to people of color, and to young people. This year, many will still be denied their right to vote. For those of us who have that right, it’s precious. If we waste it, we dishonor those who fought for it and those who fight still.

 

Live your values. Love your country. Vote.

Click here for information about where to vote, what to bring, and when polls close:

http://www.voteforchange.com

The Race For Stability and Civility

I have to admit it; I am ready for this election to be over. As I sat down this evening to write this new blog entry, I was trying to think of what to write about. Some ideas came to mind, but they all revolved around the candidates, the issues, trust, mistrust, lies, being two-faced, and fear. I am sorry, but I am just getting tired of it all.

I am tired of the fear and the distrust from both sides. I am tired of the lies being told and the falsehoods being circulated. I am tired of the racist jokes and the sexist images. But most of all I am tired of the way I find myself getting carried away on this blog, in email, on twitter, and in person. I know I have turned some people off – not by my views or who I support, but by how vehemently I have pushed those views on others.

This extends beyond me too. Things are becoming very, very split around the nation. People who are normally friendly towards one another are turning away. The American people, who are normally a pretty good lot, are saying some awfully nasty things at rallies. Even just driving down the road people are getting honked at and flipped off because of the bumper stickers on their cars. Why should you display open aggression to someone you don’t know just because they display of support for their chosen candidates – be they McCain and Palin, Obama and Biden, or even Hillary Clinton or John Edwards?

And finally I am tired of the uncertainty. I do not think that the markets and other financial indicators will settle down until this race is over. Hopefully all it will take is the election, but it may take until the actual inauguration before some stability takes over. Now I know that everything won’t just suddenly turn around and the markets become a happy place full of clover and butterflies, but at least they should even out. When the election is over we will all have an idea of what direction the next four years are going to take, and that will help a lot.

So what do you think? Is this election making things better or worse? I know we will hopefully be better off with a new President, but is the election itself causing separation, class or race warfare, or other damage to our democracy?

The Civility Backlash

According to the evening news, it looks like the civility backlash in the election is finally starting to take effect. The news showed scenes from a couple of McCain’s rallies where the people were just fearful and hateful about Obama. It was truthfully a horrifying site and even John McCain seemed taken aback. Now the McCain / Palin campaign is in the unenviable position of trying to back up a bit and let it be known that Obama is not the anti-Christ. I see McCain doing this, but somehow I just can’t see the governor of Alaska backing down any.

The real danger of what has been going on is not just that it demonizes a good man like Barack Obama, but that it really increases the rifts in this country. Those rifts may be between black and white, or between Republican and Democrat, between rich and middle-class, or between urban and suburban. No matter what the difference, as both candidates are saying now, we need to remember that we can disagree while still respecting the other side.

If we are ever going to bring this country together and fix what ails it, from the economy to health care, we have to stop vilifying those who do not agree with us. We are going to have to sit down at the same table with each other and reach a consensus. How can you expect to be able to do that if you have just painted the other person as evil?

Intro to Faith Of Obama

A new book by Stephen Mansfield has just been published entitled The Faith Of Barack Obama. I guess the title pretty much says it all, and I don’t need to tell you what it is about. My review copy should be arriving in a few days, and I will post a full review at that time. Oh, and by the way, the introduction is by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The Faith Of Barack ObamaA work like this is extremely important right now, and not just because of the upcoming election itself. It is important because it is time for the liberals to take back some of the religious momentum from the conservatives and really start talking about religion, faith, and matters of the spirit. For too long the Democrats and other liberal parties have not even raised a voice as the Republicans and religious conservatives controlled the religious discussion and made it appear as if they were the only ones in the pews. Barack Obama has made his faith and values a center point of his campaign and is forcing, in a good way I believe, the liberal left to confront the Republicans in what they feel is their strong hold. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of The Faith Of Barack Obama so I can get a better idea of where Senator Obama stands in this all important struggle.

Until then, the publisher was kind enough to send me the first 48 pages in pdf format and allow me to post them here. Please take a look, give it a read, and let me know what you think. And, as I said, as soon as I get the book I will be posting a full review.