Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why Barack Obama?

I'm going to do my best to address the question directly and not go off on McCain or Palin.

That would be a fun separate entry though...hm.

Over the past year or so, I've received e-mails regarding the frightening entity that is Barack Obama. He's a radical Muslim (false), he attended a radical Muslim school known as a "madrassa" (false), his middle name is Hussein (true - but c'mon, are we really going there? let's grasp at another straw, shall we?), his stepfather, Lolo Soetero is a radical Muslim (false)

etc. etc. etc. Check out Snopes.com, people. Even if the email you receive says Snopes has already been checked, do it yourself. The authors of these emails hope you're just stupid enough to trust what they say. Don't let them call you stupid.

I've looked all of this up. I've been looking at Mr. Obama for quite some time - I'd even say a few years, now. At first, I wasn't thrilled with a few of his stances, like those wedge issues (Roe v. Wade, etc), but upon exhaustive introspection, I find I feel the same way. Read the previous entry and its comments to understand why.

Really, though, these issues distract from what would be true substance. I like Barack for a number of reasons:

1) He won't be intimidated.
I'm going to say this once, because I know everyone's heard it so often our ears flinch: he was against the Iraq war on the onset and spoke out against it. I heard that speech, and it took guts.

Not only that, though, but when Bush wanted yet more funds to support this war last fall, Barack spoke out against it when many were afraid to. Bush likes to put the fear of God into people by warning of the world crumbling to bits if we don't do what he says. Barack didn't take the bait and stuck by his principles. His quote:

I will not support funding for a failed policy. It is long past time for the Republicans to stop filibustering a responsible removal of our troops from Iraq, and for the President to stop threatening to veto anything that is not a blank check for his failed strategy.

Our troops must not bear the burden for the failure of Iraq's leaders to reconcile, nor should they be kept in Iraq to counter Iran.

For his entire statement, visit the page at Project Vote Smart

2) One of the greatest characteristics of this country is that you can succeed, even when working from the ground up. Obama has done this.
A major part of what pulls so many to America is that it is known as "the land of opportunity." Anyone, if they work hard enough, can accomplish whatever it is they want to here.

By basic definition, Barack came from a broken family. He never knew his father. His grandparents raised him for some time. He rebelled. He struggled. He had ill and confused feelings toward many things.


He overcame. This man went to Harvard, became the first African-American Harvard Law Review president. He's practiced as a civil rights lawyer and taught Constitutional Law in Chicago, IL.

This man has tenacity and is unafraid (many have expressed their discomfort at having a President who very well may be the victim of an assasination - Barack is undoubtedly aware of this danger, but he presses forward).

Either way, he's a wonderful example to disadvantaged and otherwise advantaged youth alike. I'm going to speak to any Christian people reading right now and say that Barack's time in Chicago is more Christ-like than anything I've seen in other politicians.

3) He cares about the "little" people.
He put law school and corporate life on hold to work with a church in Chicago, IL to better the lives and living conditions in poor Chicago neighborhoods. When he concluded he could do more for them if he held office, he went into politics.

If he cares about them, to the tune of living in poverty himself to do it, then he'll remember the poor when he is in office. I'm tired of hearing about the rich getting richer. I understand the Republican doctrine of helping corporations to have more money so they can create more jobs, etc, but that just isn't happening. Everyone else is being forgotten. (I'll get more into this later).

4) He hasn't forgotten where he came from.
Granted, he was not born in Illinois, but that's where he put so much of his efforts. After he earned his Harvard degree, he returned to Chicago. Not many decide to take their education back to their neighborhoods - instead, many may decide to swim in their own newfound riches and intelligence. Academic learning does not intelligence make (have you heard Bush speak?), but this kind of compassion is what is needed in our country, if nothing else but for an example.

Barack also intends to make it easier for many to attend college, but if they are to receive a financial "free ride," he wants them to agree to 100 hours of community service.

Makes sense to me.

5) He didn't wear the lapel pin.
This was, by far, the stupidest thing I'd ever heard...well, maybe a close second to the Republicans' insistence to remind everyone what his middle name is. Seriously though? We're really going to question a man's patriotism because he chose to not wear a pin?

Peer pressure, anyone?

On a humorous note, this always reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Cosmo Kramer wouldn't "wear the ribbon" in a race for a cure...can't remember which one, but the point stands.

Come on.

6) Tax cuts people.
I know, I know - tax cuts when the economy is flushing? We'll have to see what we're able to do, here, but if Barack can't cut taxes, McCain won't either. This may be beyond any good intentions and promises each candidate may make.

However, I do like what he wants to do. He wants to give tax credits to companies that maintain or exceed the number of employees in America relative to employees working internationally, maintain American headquarters, pay well, support their military employees, provide decent health insurance, and prepare workers for retirement.

And as far as this crap about him raising taxes on everyone: FALSE.

I get my information from sources such as Fact Check and Project Vote Smart, by the way.

Fact Check states that two conditions have to be present if your taxes will be raised under an Obama Administration:

1) You make more than $200k single/$250k family


2) You receive dividend and capital gains income.

Now, it is true that under an Obama Administration the national debt will rise. I won't lie and say I don't know if it'll go down in time, if these are just initial operating costs, but lets also consider this:

Under an Obama Administration, the national debt will rise to $5.9 trillion dollars over the next ten years.

Under a McCain Administration, the national debt will rise to $7.4 trillion over the next ten years.

Both suck, but at this point I don't know what can be done. 5.9 sounds better than 7.4, though.

7) He didn't choose Hillary.
I'm not saying this because I'm anti-Hillary. What I am saying is that he didn't give into the vice-like pressure to ask this woman to be his running mate. Instead, he went for old white guy Joe Biden. That says volumes to me. He could've asked another African American, an African-American woman, or a woman/person of any minority ethnicity.

Instead, he chose based on merits and the person. Think what you will of Biden, but he's not afraid to speak his mind either.

8) Will not resort to scare tactics.
Every time something happens, Bush gets on the TV and describes with great urgency how this world will come to a crashing end if we don't do what he says.

Each time, he's been wrong - most recently on this bail out plan. Congress passed it, and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) continues to plummet.

9) I like his optimism
We could really use some anymore. Call it unrealistic, whatever, anyone who can rally us together, who can inspire us is someone we need right now. He's, as they say, "cool, calm, and collected."

I also like that he's thoughtful and for the most part (I hesitate to use an absolute here as I haven't watched everything), he's prepared.

10) He wants to modify No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Speak with any teacher - my husband is one, my FIL is another, and they will tell you NCLB is a joke. Teaching to the tests doesn't accomplish near what it should.

As for FMLA, Barack wants to modify that to allow family leave for employees who need to care for their elderly relatives, attend their children's events, and allow time for victims of domestic violence.

11) I like what he wants to do for the elderly.
Barack wants to eliminate taxes for any elderly people making less than $50,000 a year.

For more on this, see Barack's Seniors and Social Security page.

12) He's not war hungry, and he wants to talk.
*gasp* I know. Talk? To...the Iranian president? Awful people like that?

Yeah. Why not?

Not talking to them is doing us soooo good right now, isn't it?

That said, our military is overstretched right now. To even hint at a war with a place like Iran is extremely irresponsible. We also have Russia preening their feathers right now. We have to be careful, we have to be thoughtful, and leave war as a last resort.

13) Universal Health Care

We need it, and Barack wants us to have it. This isn't beyond our ability to solve, here, everyone. Too many people either think it is or don't think we need it, that people without health insurance somehow deserve it.

That's a narrow-minded conclusion to come to. My family was without insurance for just a month when he switched jobs (from grocery store clerk to middle school math teacher), and it was honestly a frightening month.

*adding this topic to list of issues to tackle* I won't bore you any further, but this is sorely needed.

And I like his plan. Call me a Socialist if you want to (it seems to be the insult du jour) but his plan resounds with me. It may not be perfect, but he's got the right idea. Just remember that we need Congress, too. The President isn't the end all be all, folks.

For a short list, though, and you can read more about his plans at his official website, here is what we're looking at with Obama as quoted on his site:

  • Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions so all Americans regardless of their health status or history can get comprehensive benefits at fair and stable premiums.
  • Create a new Small Business Health Tax Credit to help small businesses provide affordable health insurance to their employees.
  • Lower costs for businesses by covering a portion of the catastrophic health costs they pay in return for lower premiums for employees.
  • Prevent insurers from overcharging doctors for their malpractice insurance and invest in proven strategies to reduce preventable medical errors.
  • Make employer contributions more fair by requiring large employers that do not offer coverage or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of their employees health care.
  • Establish a National Health Insurance Exchange with a range of private insurance options as well as a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage.
  • Ensure everyone who needs it will receive a tax credit for their premiums.
  • Reduce Costs and Save a Typical American Family up to $2,500 as reforms phase

I know Barack isn't perfect. He's not a messiah as so many like to joke. I do think he's exactly what this country needs right now. I also realize Barack makes promises upon promises upon promises, but I don't mind. I know that he won't be able to fulfill all them, perhaps even most of them. I'll be happy if he's able to follow through on just a few.

Just before anyone assumes anything (by the way, we all know what happens when we assume, right?) I don't agree or like everything Barack stands for or says.

But what I do like overrides the things I don't like.

And in the end, I trust him. I don't trust McCain.

(Sources not cited here: CNN.com)


Amanda Roby said...

Lisa, will you marry me? Or at least advise me on every presidential election from now on? You rock, girl! You make sense, and you've researched, and you've put everything down eloquently. Well done.


Lisa Jenkins said...


Glad you liked it. It's a bit intimidating to put it out like this. I'm always afraid I'm going to trip up somewhere.

Thank you :)
*going to your blogs now* I didn't know you had one..er, two!

Ralene said...

Very well said, Lisa. Personally, I don't like either...but it seems like Obama has a good head on his shoulders, so maybe if he takes over for awhile the US won't tumble into flames. lol... I hate politics. Did I ever tell you that? I do. I say we all write in Lisa Jenkins. Hahaha

Lisa Jenkins said...

Don't you dare!!


Politics is a pain in the ass. That's a given. But I still think it's fun. I don't know why, but I do. It's important stuff, at least.

Heather said...

I appreciate you writing this blog, I understand better why you are voting for him. I will say that I think I disagree with almost everything on here, universal health care is not all it's cracked up to be, and I don't believe for one second that either Obama or McCain care about the "little" people. To be brutally honest both candidates scare me, I don't trust either of them. I wish I had more time to outline as you have done why I will not be voting for either candidate but my kids are already terrorizing the bathroom so I'll have to come back and do that when my hubby is not in Maryland for a week. Thanks Lisa for expressing your opinions and not just bashing the other guy, goodness knows there is much material to use for that on both sides! Well done! Very articulate and well thought out!!

Lisa said...

Thank you!

I'd love to read your take on this should you get the chance - I know what it's like to have two little ones terrorizing the place while you're pregnant and hubby is gone.

Let me know if I can help. Really. I'll even take the girls off your hands (if you're comfortable with that - the girls may not be. but the offer is there)

coolwebsites said...

Obama's not perfect, but he's so much better than McCain, it's not even a close race in my mind. Too bad we don't live in the Netherlands or Germany or any of the 17 nations where a Readers Digest poll showed Obama would win with stunning victories. The race here is still too close. Makes me nervous, but I'm crossing my fingers.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. There are a lot of things going for Obama. Living in California, our votes really don't matter that much in the presidential race. Just like when I lived in Utah, my vote is either part of the overwhelming majority or in the very minor minority.

My personal hope is that either of these scenarios take place:

Obama wins (no changes to the supreme court, we don't need another Ruthy), repubs take over congress

McCain wins (indifferent to SC changes as repubs tend to appoint moderates), dems keep control of congress.

My personal opinion is that the government works better when those branches are in opposition.

Lisa said...

"My personal opinion is that the government works better when those branches are in opposition."

Agreed. This was a HUGE revelation to me when the power within Congress shifted to the Democrats.

Unfortunately it's not nearly enough for me to put a fill in the bubble next to "John McCain." Maybe a couple of years ago when he was different. I liked the McCain of 2000.

I really can't stand him anymore.

(and I hear you about the majority issue - you'd be hard pressed to convince me that my vote really matters here. I get that.)