This isn't a surprise, I admit, but this is an enthusiastic endorsement for a candidate who will be a great president and a decent world leader. Of course I understand that, as a the only nationally-elected leader, he has to govern a very diverse country that is more conservative than the progressives. He has to speak to the minds and hearts of people who believe in American exceptionalism and in a God that blesses the US and decides about the lives of everyone. But, in a democratic country, the people have the right to elect leaders who espouse the sentiment of the majority.
On the other hand, I think this country has a majority that is closer to liberal ideals than the regressive conservatism; we just have to do a better job in framing the issues. Another very encouraging trend is that the younger generations don't have the same gender and racial biases. And, they seeem to be more engaged (and voting) than previous generations of the same age group.
This election may answer the question about the role of the government--an issue that divides the two major political parties. If BO and the Dems trounce the GOP, then it'll be their chance to show that re-arranging our priorities (less war, for example), being pro-active & smarter, we can have a state that delivers for the middle class and the poor. It's no surprise that vast majorities in other democracies support a social safety net that makes people happier and live longer! Even the Swiss now highly approve of the universal health care they enjoy--and it took political courage and a few hundred extra votes to initially pass this reform.
We've engaged in debates of all sorts about the qualifications of a the major candidates, but the bottom line is a core of issues most likely dictates how people vote. We progressives have to remember to bring the conversation "back to the basics" and be proud for what we believe in. The worst thing to do is to be Republican-light. No, this election will hopefully deliver a repudiation to a party that has embraced extremists and ignorance.
We don't have to surrender the word liberal. All democracies today are liberal democracies, whereas human & civil rights, privacy, tolerance, the scientific method, access to opportunity, social safety net, education, and all those other goodies that makes you want to live in such a society instead of another.
Over the last 4 years since this blog was born, I've written extensively on the issues, how to frame them, and why an enlightened human being is a progressive person. Here are some of the important issues to ponder and which presidential candidate has a progressive stance:
- Health care. Right or a privilege?
- Education. I'm only going to say, more educated people are good for a country.
- The Economy. Self-regulating unbridled capitalism leads to its own demise. Somebody has to be at the wheel watching the road.
- Religion. The religious conservatives and any fanatic can continue to believe whatever they want. They just can't impose their superstition and suspension of reason on the rest of us.
- Race. No further explanation needed.
- SEX! Enough of the conservative stupidity & discrimination. And, yes, a modern society provides its young with appropriate sex education and reproductive choices.
- Patriotism. Who's a true patriot? It's the one that uplifts his/her country, makes it safer, speaks up when necessary, and improves the conditions of freedom & welfare of the commonwealth.
- Poverty. I suppose it's OK for millions of children to go to bed starving every night; or, that poor people are always responsible for their predicament.... Com'on now. Let's be real, and humane!
- Foreign Policy. Is the US safer today? What is our standing in the world, and does this have an implications on our national security? If I hear another, we're fighting them over there, so we don't have to fight them here, I'm going to become violent and hit hard whomever doesn't get my point! Unwise use of force works! No?
- Taxes. If you buy the GOP's allegation that BO is a socialist or that redistributing the wealth in un-American, you've got to open up a dictionary asap; then, if you still don't get it, go live in the vacuum of space, because all liberal & capitalist democracies engage in redistribution of wealth. The more you have the more you pay in taxes, and the less you have the less you pay. Adam Smith said so! Progressive taxation in our constitution... though, we all know what Bush & his cohorts have done to the constitution!
- Environment. Unless you (like too many Americans) believe that this is the end of times, protecting & improving the environment is a good thing for us and our children.
- SCIENCE. Since Newtonian science took roots (at least in the places in did), humanity advanced by leaps and bounds. The physical world could be explained without the need for the supernatural, and, get this, human life improved and life expectancy doubled within just one century. The scientific method is the best tool we have for understanding the world around us and for improving the quality of our life. Here's an endorsement of Obama by a scientific community:
"Science is a way of governing, not just something to be governed. Science offers a methodology and philosophy rooted in evidence, kept in check by persistent inquiry, and bounded by the constraints of a self-critical and rigorous method. Science is a lens through which we can and should visualize and solve complex problems, organize government and multilateral bodies, establish international alliances, inspire national pride, restore positive feelings about America around the globe, embolden democracy, and ultimately, lead the world. More than anything, what this lens offers the next administration is a limitless capacity to handle all that comes its way, no matter how complex or unanticipated." Seed Magazine
Finally, you know it, we have no margin for serious errors any more. We need a captain that will steer the US in the right direction, elevate our national dialogue, and inspire the nation to do its best in this new century. Thankfully, we do have a great choice this year, and it's Barack Obama.
UPDATE, Nov. 2nd
Instead of opening a new thread, I'll add some thoughts here. In our excitement--especially if BO wins--we may take our eyes off the ball, but we have to remain vigilant and demand more answers of what happened during the Bush years. It's not vengeance but those who broke the law must be brought to justice.
As the incompetent and corrupt regime is nearing its final 2.5 months in office, there's a parade of industry executives and lobbyists in the White House asking for further deregulation on--get this--consumer protection and the environment! BushCo have nothing to lose and they can further inflict damage on our country.
First I laughed, then I got irritated, and then I realized that the Republicans are laying the ground for de-legitimizing the next (BO) Dem president by their personal attacks against Obama! They question Obama's loyalty to the United States! He's not a "true Christian," cohorts with terrorists, and his "socialism" is un-American, they say! They did it to Clinton in 1992 and kept attacking him personally. Unless we're aggressive in defeating such tactics, they'll do the same for the next four years. I'm tired of having the conservatives wasting the nation's time, money, and energy on frivolous topics that only distracts us from the real issues.
I hope BO really trounces Mac and that the GOP suffers one of its worst defeats ever, and that the new president can claim a true mandate from the American people, unlike Dubya who... (well, you know how he got in).
Elections do matter. Elections have consequences! Ballots can change history, sometimes in more profound ways than bullets can. We have a responsibility as citizens in a democratic country to take the time & effort to educate ourselves about the major issues and render a thoughtful decision through our votes.
Liberal democracy was a radical concept, and emerged in a world whereas the ruling classes did not want the common people to be educated and making decisions--including redistribution of wealth! Self-government relies on sensible, mature citizens. Let's show that we are indeed grown-ups!