Obama for change and a chance
The next president will face more challenges than solutions.
In only a few days we will elect the next president of the U.S. Whoever he is he will be presented with challenges that he will have to be beyond human to withstand and overcome. However, that will be his job, in conjunction with our soon- to- be elected new Congress.
Before our next President takes office, we, the American people, also have a job to perform: to elect the best candidate to fill these mega shoes. Thus, this is a political column, born not from any desire to even think of politics or choose sides but rather as a reaction to how politics is ruining our country and a desire and prayer to see America restored to what we have always known it to be: a country of goodness, opportunity and worldwide respect.
As you go to the polls to vote (and please do not vote if you are not a U.S. citizen because you will be perpetually barred from future U.S. citizenship and potentially deported) you do so with the knowledge that the vote that you cast will ultimately result in one of the most important decisions in the last 50 years that Americans have been called on to make: who will represent America here and abroad.
For all too long we have listened to lies from our political leaders: the market would regulate itself, cut taxes for the wealthy and it will dribble down to everyone else, Al Qaeda is in Iraq (it wasn’t then but it is now) and we must get rid of Sadaam Hussein to protect security within the U.S. and U.S. interests abroad.
None of the above statements were or are true. What is true, however, is that in following our leaders blindly, we have tarnished not only our own self-image within our very borders but our image abroad. While many still want to and dream of coming to America, for an equally large amount of the world America is a country without principles, thought or concern for anyone but itself. In effect, in the eyes of others, we have become the evil Empire, worst than the “terrible 26”, the label with which the Bush administration branded countries in the Middle East which were known to back terrorism.
Realistically, neither Obama nor McCain is capable of waving a magic wand and making the last 8 years of poor governance and horrendous foreign policy disappear overnight. Realistically, neither can nor will reduce taxes. In fact, they are both lying: how can we possibly pay our overdue and enormous bills, continue with bailouts and all government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid or social security without an infusion of cash, which taxes provide? We know or should know that as Americans will need to work hard to restore our country to economic security and prosperity, to create jobs in a global economy. So, you ask, why Obama for a chance?
It is because the old ways of McCain and his generation have not worked and it is time to try something new. It is because the concept of shooting into Pakistan and Syria, the countries of our allies, doesn’t work and/or send the right message to either the Pakistani or Syrian people. It is because we need to try something different: to show that we in America are not so arrogant, so confident that we are always right but instead are willing to take into account the political “feelings” and needs of foreign governments and their people. Obama is prepared to try something “new”, to throw away the old ways and to engage in diplomacy before firing and only if that fails to turn to force (which he may very well ultimately need to use).
Several years ago, right after the bombing of the train station in Madrid and our re-election of President Bush, I was speaking to a cabdriver on the way to my hotel in Madrid. He started out on a friendly note but once he heard my husband address me in English, his friendliness turned to hostility. He asked: “Your president lied to you about Iraq, as did ours. We threw ours out but you re-elected yours. What is wrong with you Americans?” I quickly responded that neither I nor my husband had voted for Bush and the cabdriver returned to a friendly mode.
This election year of 2008 is an opportunity to send a message to that cabdriver and to the world: Americans have been offered a chance for change with Obama and they have chosen wisely.