Posts Tagged ‘obama’

At this moment Iran is erupting in waves of violence from protestors who support and oppose the declared victory of Ahmadinejad in this week’s Presidential election. Students at Tehran University are pleading with U.S. President Obama not to accept the election results and to stand with them.

Students rescue injured riot police officer

Students rescue injured riot police officer

I thought this photo was compelling. Students are rescuing an injured riot police officer who was attacked by protestors. This is the kind of action that will start a real revolution. Violence won’t. From Ghandi to Martin Luther King, Jr. to Jesus non-violent resistance and courageous acts of selfless love have turned the tides of history.

While Iran and the larger Middle East does not want to be Western nor should they, they do want to be free. There have long been stories about the changes among younger Iranians and the break with the powers that be. I’ve long thought that within my lifetime a revolution would ensue. Whether or not that revolution is crushed or turns the hearts and minds of all Iranians will depend on whether more students choose to emulate this act of selflessness or swing bats and burn buildings. Choose peace. Choose love. Start a fire that consumes hatred and oppression, and it will never burn out.

The Obamas between inaugural balls

The Obamas between inaugural balls

Someone observed that either these two are actually crazy about each other or some of best damn actors in politics. I don’t think you can fake this stuff. How different these next four years will be.

Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins’ sermon for the National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral on the first morning of President Obama’s administration, “Harmonies of Liberty.”

Transcript can be found here: “Harmonies of Liberty”

This morning I cast my vote for Barack Obama for President of the United States. It’s a beautiful fall day in Louisiana with a steady stream of locals at our small precinct located at the elementary school a block away from home. I let my 7 yr old push the buttons that I told him to. The two most significant buttons were Obama and Vote. I’ll remind him of that several years from now.

A couple years ago Louisiana upgraded to electronic voting machines which have seemed to work just fine in previous elections. At our precincts a sample ballot, as it appears on the machine, is posted outside and in several places inside the school. We had to wait in line no more than 5 minutes. A poll worker checks your driver’s license and looks your name up in the roll book. You sign in a blank next to your name. She initials next to your signature and spells your name out to two other poll workers who are handwriting two separate lists of voters. This insures you don’t vote twice, which wasn’t always the case in our colorful Louisiana history. My sister-in-law had to go to two different precincts to vote this morning because she had moved to a different parish (county) but was able to vote nonetheless. Other than that, I’ve heard of no problems at the polls.

Rachel Maddow on MSNBC said the other night that ridiculously long lines at polling places is a new kind of poll tax. I think she’s right. An hour is understandable in heavily populated areas. Never before in history have so many people voted in any election on a given day ever. There’s bound to be a wait, but six hours is absurd. How can people work and vote in those conditions? If 2000 focused the nation on hanging chads, 2008 should focus the nation on efficiency and competency at the polls. Sadly, the longest lines and the oldest voting machines are almost always found in the poorer black communities. That is inexcusable. I hope and am confident despite the outcome of today’s election that Democrats in Congress will hold hearings and hopefully press hard to resolve this problem for good.

If you haven’t voted yet, you still have time, even if you are voting for McCain. Good luck, America.

I don’t preach politics to anyone and respect other people’s opinions even if I disagree with them. I’ve been a news junkie since 1991 and voted Republican in every election since I graduated. No one has bought the line and supported the GOP agenda more than me, and it has gotten us in the ditch. We’ve been hearing about trickle down economics since Reagan and for 28 years it’s not trickling down. The gap between the top 2% and the rest of us is growing every year.

For the record I gave money to McCain in 2000 and voted for him over Bush in the primary, but this is not the same McCain he once was. He’s not supporting the same policies he did then. He’s pandering to the far right to get their vote. Sarah Palin may be a nice person but has no qualifications to be a 72 year old heartbeat away from the presidency.

I don’t like abortion. I don’t know anyone who does, but I’ve seen too much in the church, in the school system, and in life. It’s none of my business what someone else does with their body. There are some circumstances where it must at least be an option. Banning all abortion is not a fix to the problem. The problem is a lack of education, no parental involvement, and a disregard for the sacredness of sexuality. Obama has talked about addressing those problems and working to reduce the number of abortions overall, including banning partial birth abortion. A ban on all abortion only drives it underground and puts more women at risk. Abortion should be safe but rare, in my opinion.

I’m supporting Obama for the same reason I supported Bobby Jindal who was also young and different. They’re both very smart. They have a natural gift for leadership and the ability to inspire people. I believe both of them can bring people together and bring common sense to solving problems. They have some very different views on policies, but I believe Jindal was the right man for this time in our state government. I believe Obama is the right man for this time as well.

If for one minute, I had seen, read, or heard anything from Obama, his campaign, or his staff that raised one red flag about taking away our freedom, our guns, or our money, I promise you I would not be supporting him. Aside from taking assault rifles and automatic weapons out of the hands of criminals I have not heard even a hint of any policy or vote that he’s cast that would take anyone’s guns away.

This has been the worst financial year of my life. Things are not good. The bottom line is that McCain wants to give tax breaks to the wealthy. If you make less than $250,000, you’d get about $340 a year in tax cuts from McCain. You would get over $1,200 a year from Obama’s plan. Obama is not socialist. He’s only asking that the top 2.5% of tax payers fall back to the tax rates they were paying during the Clinton years. Exxon Mobil posted the highest quarterly profit in world history. McCain should explain to 97.5% of Americans why they need another tax break.

That’s my answer in a nutshell. I respect anyone who votes for McCain for any reason, but I have no respect for anyone who slanders Obama’s Christian faith by calling him a Muslim or questions his patriotism by saying he is a terrorist or a socialist. Those kinds of attacks are insulting to the entire country and make those who say them seem very desperate and very ignorant.

No hard feelings if McCain wins. Anyone would be better than Bush 🙂

Barack ObamaMy wife observed that I’ve been watching MSBNC and CNN more than Fox News lately. I used to only watch Fox. I told her Fox doesn’t even try to hide their bias anymore. I can’t take it. Apparently, my religious views aren’t the only thing that’s changed in the last few years. I have always been a Republican and have only voted for Democrats in local and state races where personal integrity was more important to me than political branding. For the record President Bush has been an enormous disappointment to me, although I believe he has been much better than the alternative of Al Gore or John Kerry. Aside from the early Bush tax cuts and the pastoral duties he pulled after 9/11, the rest of his administration has been a joke to me. It pisses me off that we could have a Ivy League graduate for president that can’t speak the English language. What? Did he cliff note his way through college? In hindsight we got more of the conservative agenda passed with Bill Clinton as president than we have with George W. Bush.

Having said that the field of Republican candidates has been a joke. Is this the best they can come up with? Early on I liked Thompson until he came out, if you will. Talk about a ‘thud.’ You have to wish someone would stick a live 110 volt wire up his ass just to see if he would jump while at the podium. Totally lifeless. Taking all the right positions in an campaign means nothing anymore. It’s just spin. G.W. did the same and look where it got us. He’s effectively destroyed the Republican party.

So, I liked Huckabee when I heard him. He’s smart and witty. He seems to make sense and be saying what a lot of normal people I know think. The whole pastoral thing didn’t bother me much because I followed him a little bit as Governor of Arkansas. I was really pulling for him until I saw him stumping from pulpits. Then he started saying wierd stuff about the ‘Word of God’ being more important than the Constitution and how the Constitution should be changed to line up with the ‘Word of God’ and not the other way around. Stop the presses! That’s a whole lot of fundamentalism coming from a supposedly populist/moderate candidate. Even if he’s just placating to the evangelical base, it still scares me. I’ve had more than enough of G.W.’s Christianity being espoused from the White House. He’s done as much damage to the image of Christ followers in the world as he has to Republicans. So, I think I’m done with Huckabee.

I never liked Guiliani despite his 9/11 rant and lead in national polls all of last year. He effectively imploded. You can blame his Florida-only strategy all you want. It was him that was the problem. Something just bugged me about him as a person, and no, it wasn’t his multiple marriages or social positions. Romney? I’ve got to be honest. I cannot get past the fact that he’s a Mormon. Most people in the South can’t either. I know it’s religious bigotry or something, but as hard as it has been for me to take evangelicals seriously since I’ve deconverted, it is impossible for me to take Mormons seriously in their magic underwear. On top of all the Jude0-Christian spin we’re supposed to take literally, Mormons believe Jesus showed up in America in the 1800’s, and golden plates descended from heaven to Joseph Smith with the book of Mormon on them? Can’t go there. I have a general knee-jerk reaction to anyone who wears their religion on their shirt sleeve. G.W. may have used the Texas Air National Guard to get out of Vietnam, but Romney was a Mormon missionary during that time! I’ve had enough of religious nuts in the White House. Sorry. Not to mention Romney looks as fake as a daytime soap star. He has changed his positions depending on whether he was trying to get elected the Governor of Massachusetts or POTUS. It’s just more spin.

Everyone wants to pay homage to McCain’s POW years and that’s respectable. I even gave money to him the first time he ran against G.W. in 2000, but this is not the same McCain. He’s waffled on so many things. He’s sold out the party on more than one occasion and now expects the party to fall in line behind him. He’s been playing to ‘his friends’ in the Senate for the last 8 years. Let them put him in the White House if they want to. I don’t like his temper. I agree with him on pork spending, but he wants to keep us in Iraq indefinately. What the hell? Time to pack up and hit the road.

I think the best thing for the Republican party is to lose. They can have a gut check and get with the program if they want to win again. Once they got power they did the same things the Democrats did. Spend, spend, spend, and increase the size and power of the federal government.

There is nothing in me that will allow me to pull a lever for Hillary. If Bill were running right now, I’d vote for him again in a heartbeat, but not her. Her claim to fame is that she is his wife. She’s been in the Senate for a term and a half. That’s it. No other elected office. I don’t like her personally or politically. Now, Obama. I really like him. It may be a generational thing, but he resonates with me. I can find plenty to pick apart with him on policies, but I think the country has swung way too far to the right. It’s past time for a correction. V for Vendetta illustrates well the extremes of the far right if left unchecked. It’s not really all fiction. Obama has tapped into the pulse of the country. I can’t really pick anything he’s said that I whole heartedly disagree with. Give driver’s licenses to illegals! I really don’t care. They’re driving anyway aren’t they? If people would just build a damn fence from Texas to California and deport any that commit crimes, I could care less if the rest of them stay here or not. Can you imagine the humanitarian crisis of a massive forced expulsion of millions of people? Could we possible retain our humanity and heard millions like cattle? I digress. I’ll be blogging more about Obama and the race later. Suffice it to say for now, that I have to pull the lever Saturday for a Republican because we have a closed primary system in Louisiana, so I’ll probably pull it for Huckabee because he’s not Romney and won’t win anyway. In the general election I’ll pull for Obama. If he’s not on the ballot, I’ll be ticked. If Hillary’s the nominee, I may have to pull for McCain and live with it. What a sad day it will be if we miss the opportunity to put Obama in the White House. I think John Mayer’s song “Waitin’ on the World to Change” embodies the sentiment of so many. Obama said that ‘we are the change that we’ve been waiting for.’ I believe that, and I hope he is too.

Former U.S. Sailors Shake Hands With Japanese Kamakazi (Reuters)

Sixty-two years ago they were bitter enemies — one a Japanese pilot trained to crash his plane into U.S. ships on a suicide mission, the other two survivors of a ship sunk by one of the pilot’s kamikaze comrades.

But on Friday the three now elderly men shook hands and blinked back tears during a meeting that the former U.S. servicemen said finally helped them come to terms with their traumatic past.

“You feel terrible towards the people who did this to you and as the years go on and we get older, it’s a terrible burden to carry,” said Fred Mitchell, an 81-year-old survivor of the U.S.S. Drexler, a destroyer sunk by kamikaze off Okinawa in 1945. “My dream has come true,” Mitchell said, his voice shaking. “When I go back I can live in peace for the rest of my life.” (read full article)

I was  a 14 year old American walking the streets of Obama, Japan late at night by myself without a fear in the world. Even as a kid the moment was surreal imagining how different it would have been to do so sixty years before. It was easy for me and my exchange student counterparts to become friends. We weren’t there; we only heard stories. It’s encouraging to see those most impacted by the war come to peace with themselves and their enemies. I wonder if it is possible that in my lifetime we will see Palestinians shake hands with Israelis? Will we see Sunni, Shi’ite, and Kurds sit down together in peace? Is it really too much to hope? 

John Mayer “Belief” – Live from Abbey Road, March 2007