It's all about perspective

Posts tagged ‘president’

The Speech

On September 8, 2009 President Obama will give this speech to schools around the U. S. This speech is designed to:

Help get America’s students engaged! On Tuesday, September 8 — the first day of school for many students — the President will talk directly to students across the country on the importance of taking responsibility for their education, challenging them to set goals and do everything they can to succeed.

Ever since the announcement there have been people screaming about how it is illegal, immoral, and just propaganda. This, coupled with the Right’s attempt to paint President Obama’s health care initiative in a similar light, just goes to show how far they have actually fallen.

Let me assure you, it is not illegal. The President is not setting curriculum. To do that he would have to say something to the effect of “Today all science classes will now teach Intelligent Design.” This is not something he’s doing, nor will he ever. The President is not changing all schools over to the metric system. He is giving a speech. About personal responsibility. Something that I will agree should be taught by the children’s parents, but a concerned country and member of this society can only blame the parents for so long until action must be taken.

For that reason alone, it is not immoral either. The right wing, and many others, in this country want the government out of their lives. I can understand that and can even sympathize with that. I want corporate control out of my life and feel that’s a much bigger issue than government, but that’s an issue for another time. However, personal responsibility, a skill that very few members of my generation learned and thus, were not able to pass on to their children, is something that must be taught. If we did not learn it from our parents and we did not learn it from school, where were we supposed to learn it? So as a concerned citizen and leader of a society President Obama is stepping up to address the challenge of that very question. He’s not trying to supplant parents, nor is he trying to supplant schools, he is merely challenging the youth and future of our nation to do better than the generation before them. What loftier goal is there?

As far as propaganda is concerned, yes it is a bit of propaganda, but so is education. In fact, every educational system on the planet is designed to lay out the propaganda of that society. “U.S.A. is #1!” The pledge of allegiance and all that jazz. Yet President Obama is not putting a left spin or a right spin on the speech. He is trying to use his own experiences and the experiences of others like him to motivate our children to do better. Not because they’re failing and not because they’re lazy, but because as a parent he knows, just like every parent out there knows, that our children can do better.

It is a speech to our kids about something important that the vast majority of you never would have even hinted at to you own children, but because someone else is doing it, you have to scream and whine and moan about “parent’s rights” and “government influence.” Get real and wake up. There are far worse influences than the government speaking to our children every day.

As a final note, I would like to challenge everyone out there who is a member of the “screaming me-me’s” to tell everyone else where they were when President Bush did the same thing? Where were you when any President addressed the nation like this? I’ll tell you where you were. You were safe at home, or at your jobs, or at your bars not worrying once about it because that time it was “no big deal.” That President was just “one of the boys” what harm could he do?

Yes we did

As the world well knows, on November 4, 2008, the United States voted to elect Barack Hussein Obama to be it’s 44th president.

I volunteered for the Obama campaign that day. I was asked to drive out to Republic, a short 15 miles from Springfield, because they needed more help than any of the Springfield offices did. It was a small office in the corner of a shopping center; decorated with every bit of campaign paraphernalia they could find. We were going out to canvass neighborhoods to ensure Obama supporters knew where their polling place was and that they actually got out to vote.

I was astounded to learn that I would be one of three team “captains” because I could drive and I knew the area. They needed people like that because, unbeknown to me, the Obama campaign had bussed almost 50 volunteers from Texas to Missouri. Not just for the 4th either; they had been in Missouri since Saturday. I was amazed, touched, and embarrassed all at the same time and all for the same reason; these people spent their time and energy to volunteer in a place they had never been before, to help people they had never seen before, to help a candidate they believed in, but I only had time for a single day.

I have always said that the faith most important to me is the faith I have in human potential. I will always remember November 4, 2008 as the day that faith was proven to be fact. There is no limit to what humans can do when we work together.

And did we work. I drove and we walked and the hours just slipped through our fingers as we knocked on door after door. After six very long hours the whole of Republic was finally canvassed. Then they sent me and six other out-of-town volunteers to a southern district in Springfield where a very large section of democrat-friendly voters had not been canvassed. Out we went again at 4:30. For the next two hours we rushed to talk to as many people as we could.

We were given two packets consisting of 8 streets each. I had been given two people. I gave them a street to walk and I took a street to drive. Thankfully the alignment in my car is still spot on. As I approached one of the houses on the list I would hop out of my car, let it continue rolling, talk to the person at the house, and then jump back in the car before it rolled away from their property. Dangerous, yes, but it allowed me to cover the same amount of ground as two people on foot.

It was 6:20, the sun had gone down, and the street lights were of no help in finding the addresses on our list, but I was able to talk to one last person. His garage door was open and I found him sitting outside enjoying a cigarette. I introduced myself, told him I was with the Obama campaign, and asked if he had voted yet. He told me he hadn’t and that he wasn’t sure if he was registered. I was kind of stunned. I said “sir, you’re registered to vote. And if you’re sure you are registered to vote, but your polling place doesn’t have your name on the rolls, they have to give you something called a provisional ballot. It’s only 6:25, your polling place is not that far from here, and if you are in line by 7pm they have to let you vote. This is possibly the most important election you will ever have the change to take part in. Don’t pass this up.”

He looked at me for a second, glanced at the ground, and then looked at the clock hanging on the wall in his garage. “You know what? Fuck it” he exclaimed as he dashed over the get the helmet for his scooter. “I’ve still got time right? And they have to let me vote right?”

“Yes sir they do. Thank you sir!” My heart was pounding as he drove his scooter off into the night.

I don’t know whether he was able to vote or not, but I am so excited he tried.

It was projected that Greene county only needed to have 42% of the vote for Obama to take the state. We capped out at 41%. Our efforts made this state undecided even three days after the fact. 5859 votes separate the two candidates.

That night, as I sat with a few friends watching the results at a downtown restaurant, I was speechless as I watched Senator McCain stroll out onto that stage and concede the race. The place erupted in deafening applause. A hard-fought campaign season was finally over. We could all rest, if only for a moment, and enjoy our victory. Now the hard work begins.

Yes we did.

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