Obama For President
Many of you will be voting this week on who you want to be our next President. Seeing that I have already voted I thought I would share with you my decision on whom I feel can best lead this country and why. I spent a great deal of time doing my homework. I listened to commentators, political pundit, and hired guns. I read news articles, blogs, and books written about the candidates. I watched the debates, I visited the candidates’ websites, I took part in polls and I even engaged in political quizzes (I suggest two www.politicalquiz.net and www.franz.org/quiz.htm). I spoke with friends, political experts and that guy who hangs around the bus shelter (Hey you never know where the best opinions can be found). I finally engaged in a deep personal reflection and asked who I felt was best, not just for Reginald Milton, but for this country I love so much. In the end I decided to vote for Barack Obama.
In deciding on the candidate of my choice, I first reflected on what were MY key issues on concern. These five issues are in no particular order:
Health Care – I run a small nonprofit and it is impossible for me to afford health benefits for my employees. We as a nation must get a handle on health care for the poor and middle class. Last Wednesday the United Nations Children’s Fund reported that in regards to health and safety the United States is the worst country in the industrialized world in which to be a child. This was base, in part, on our failing health care system.
Africa – Hear what I am saying, in the decades to come, Africa will become the Iraq of today. If things continue as they have this continent will become the breeding ground for most future terrorist. The bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya, and Tanzania, the attempted assassination of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the growing number of terrorist training grounds in the Horn of Africa are only some of the warning signs. Also, as Russia and China start to flex they weight around many believe these two powers see Africa as the place to spread anti-American views in the hopes of securing oil reserves. From a humanitarian point-of-view we as citizens of the wealthiest nation on earth can not sit by as the Motherland of the World is raped of her natural resources, plagued by diseases, crippled by famine and torn apart from bloody tribal wars.
Inner City Blight – Not a popular topic on the campaign trail but ask any mayor from any major city and they will tell you of the suffering that is occurring in their urban communities. Not to mention that it is the sanctuary for gangs and drug distribution. Our urban communities have become a battle grounds with residents fighting for survival; leaving many in a state of hopelessness and apathy. Lyndon B. Johnson said, “Organized crime constitutes nothing less than a guerilla war against society." What was true then is still true today.
Education – A study done by the Organization for Cooperation and Development states that among adults age 25 to 34, the U.S. is ninth among industrialized nations in the share of its population that has at least a high school degree. In the same age group, the United States ranks seventh, with Belgium, in the share of people who hold a college degree. By both measures, the United States was first in the world as recently as 20 years ago. The U.S. is falling further and further behind other nations in the number of high school students graduating at a proficient level in math and science. This is a field we can not come in second, let along fifteenth.
Taxes – We must redesign our tax system. The working class is shouldering a higher rate of taxation while businesses and the wealth find an increasing number of exemptions. This is causing a widening in the economic disparity between the haves and have nots. If this social tension continues there will be a breaking point.
After deciding on the five most critical issues I weighed my choices. I am a proud Democrat. The ideology which this party follows on domestic issues falls closer to my views. I used to have a far more favorable opinion of the republicans on issues of international affairs, but under Bush, Jr. the neoconservatives have taken control and madness has run-a-muck. They have lost, possible forever, that cherished position.
I was leaning toward John Edwards. I felt he understood more than any of the other candidates the growing bifurcation in American of not only the rich and poor, but of those who believe in the American Dream and those who see it as a reoccurring nightmare. His speeches, which of course were not by accident, rekindled feelings of Robert Kennedy as he spoke of the poor in the South. When Edwards stepped down there was no doubt in my mind of the person I would choose, Senator Barack Obama.
As a Community Organizer I often see many of our challenges from the eyes of those who have been most marginalized. It is comforting to know that Senator Obama was once an organizer himself. You can’t hold such a position and not be profoundly moved by the lives of the people you serve. As well, Obama has made the medical crisis in our country a priority and actually utter those forbidden words, “Universal Healthcare.” Above all I must say I have been swept up in the call for change. I believe after two terms of Bush this Nation will need to take a hard look at itself. I believe this man can help us do just that.