Saturday, September 13, 2008

Obama: Five E's

"Give me five reasons why you are voting for Obama." A friend of mine said that she had been asked that question and had to stop and think about the answer. Why think when one simply knows? Given the choice of Obama-Biden or McCain-Palin it is a no brainer. Nonetheless, it someone asked me, I'd give them 5-E's.

ETHICS No time during my adult life have I watched a more corrupt and secretive government that that of the past 8 years. The Republicans in Congress have waged a mean-spirited and mostly effective campaign to block attempts at reform and real oversight of the Government. Additionally, the Bush/Cheney Administration is totally inept and corrupt with secret agendas, lies, half-truths, innuendo as well as the expansion of the Executive Branch as the sole source of governance of this nation. John McCain is tightly tied to all of this corruption and has participated in the same divisive tactics as other Republicans in the Senate and House.

Barack Obama is a breath of fresh air. Clearly, as a politician, he is not without stain, yet he offers a clear vision of open governance that has been absent in this democracy. He will bring in fresh faces and competent individuals to run this government. One can see his enthusiasm for change and one can sense his honesty. My intuition says he's the right man for this moment.

ECONOMY Our economy is in the death-throes. People are afraid of using the word, recession believing that if they don't say it that it isn't a reality. It is. For the past 8 years, the deregulation of markets, banks, and financial institutions has allowed a massive transfer of wealth upwards from the middle-class to the very wealthy. The data is out there. Middle-class America is on the brink of extinction such that we may already have a 2-class nation. Corporations have been permitted to have their way with the American worker and the American consumer. Outsourcing of jobs, the NAFTA Treaty signed by Clinton, and enormous tax-give aways to the oil, coal and gas industries have left the American worker in a state of constant upheaval, hoping that they, too, are not outsourced.

Barack Obama offers hope for the middle class, a group that has been largely taken for granted by the Republicans and John McCain. Take the newest tax-rebates that both men offer: Obama offers 3 times the middle class rebate than McCain. McCain offers huge rebates to the quarter-million and up crowd, some as much as 7% of their income. He offers the middle-class, median income worker six-tenths of one percent. Lobbyists run the McCain campaign' one can easily assume that they represent that top-level tax bracket, the CEO's , the corporate heads. And why shouldn't middle class America expect the same from McCain as from Bush? There is little difference shown or promised. Although tax-cuts are clearly not the answer to the crisis, they indicate the direction that the candidates wish to take this nation.

Obama promises to bring in a fresh and smart economic team, one that can fairly access the problems of the economy and offer long-term solutions- solutions for the middle class, the backbone of this nation. A fresh look at the economy, new vision, and new ideas are sorely needed at this time.

ENERGY Today Hurricane Ike is ravaging the oil facilities in Galveston Harbor and gas prices at pumps all over America have risen as a consequence. This should not be. Of course, two oil executives running the Executive Branch for the past eight years, hence our slavish dependence on oil. McCain's 'solution' is drill, drill, drill. That's feeding the disastrous addiction. Rather than investing in solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy sources, McCain offers more of the same oil-driven energy plan, keeping this nation hostage to foreign oil interests.

Barack Obama backs a comprehensive revision of our energy needs, promoting the new, clean and renewable sources of energy already being used in many parts of the world. These new 'green' technologies offer great potential for job-creation right here in America, not to be out-sourced overseas. The solar market is just waiting to burst forth onto this continent and onto our rooftops. Right here in Northwest Ohio, FirstSolar is running at full-capacity with over-seas orders for their solar panels. This concept can be duplicated throughout this nation and it its not tied to any geographic resource. Wind energy is just now awakening here in the States, although Canada has been using this cheap electricity for years.

The American auto industry, so devastated in the past few years, has a golden opportunity to manufacture top-of-the-line energy efficient cars if they are given a fighting chance and the opportunities to do so. Right here in Toledo, the short-sighted Chrysler corporation built a plant a few years ago to produce that gas-guzzling Dodge Nitro and Jeep Liberty. A few weeks ago, thousands of workers here were laid-off due to slumping sales. How stupid. These plants can be retooled to begin to manufacture cars that American needs- fuel-efficient, clean vehicles that solve our energy needs and free us from the hostage of Arabian and Venezuelan oil dictators. Obama sees this and has no ties to big oil or big energy. He will make this a top priority of his administration.

ENVIRONMENT Tightly tied to energy is our environment. The Bush/Cheney Administration has put the care of our environment into the hands of the energy and land giants. They have watched over the systematic rape of our environment, turning their backs on the citizens. They have appointed political novices to important watchdog positions, allowing industry and land speculators to have their way with our precious lands, water, and air. I have seen no outcries from John McCain during these past 8 years.He, unlike Bush and Cheney, actually mouths the term, global warming, although his running mate, Sarah Palin, doubts that it is man-made. Allis not well with McCain: the League of Conservation Voters, a group that monitors Congress’ environmental records, gave him a score of 0 percent in 2007 and 24 percent life time. Obama scored 67% in 2007 and 86% lifetime. There is the hope for a brighter [literally] tomorrow. McCain, a conservative by choice, naturally disdains government intervention that would impede business expansion and profits. His 'drilling' obsession indicates his disregard for environmental safety over business profit.

To me, the choice here is clear: Obama is the more environmentally-oriented as well as environmentally-friendly choice. John McCain cannot escape the reality that the hard core opposition to enhanced environmental protection and renewable energy comes from the conservative wing of the his own Republican Party.

EDUCATION Our children have been left behind no matter what the glitzy banners say. That faux-education fix, No Child Left Behind, was more about image than substance. It covered the sins of incompetence of governance by the Bush/Cheney Administration. McCain's plan differs little from that mess. McCain’s main focus has been on 'school choice' and competition, which he says will bring about genuine accountability for our schools. By 'choice' he means opting out of public schools, taking public school money to charter schools. He says schools should be allowed to compete for the most effective teachers, and if schools fail to meet needs parents should be given the choice to send kids to another school. Of course, this plan appeals to those who don't fully understand this scam. What he and the GOP have been trying to do for years is to dismantle the Department of Education and the public school system of America altogether. The right-wing of his party, especially the fundamentalist Christians residing there, dislike many of the programs that the public schools teach and wish to 'christianize' the schools, adding their own set of quirky ideals to the curriculum.

Barack Obama wishes to strengthen the public schools of America, not destroy them. One of the weaknesses that he will address is early childhood education. He wants to put billions of dollars into early childhood education, believing that kids need a good start [Head Start] at the beginning of school if they are to succeed later on. The GOP often likes to cut such programs, castigating them as 'unnecessary and wasteful' of their precious tax dollars. At the other end of the education continuum, Obama wants to give $4,000 college tuition for 100 hours' public service a year. He realizes that college tuition is getting out of reach for many middle class students and he wants to give them a hand if they do the same. Service: quite a family value.


I could say more about each of these 'E' issues but I don't have the time. If interested, the reader can find more in-depth information at the Obama website.

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