Upholds Bush's No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which requires public school students to pass standardized tests for the schools to get additional federal funding. Plans to enlarge a program offering school vouchers to families with an average household income of $23,000. Supports virtual schools (online education) and will invest $500 million to support virtual schools. Plans to make college more affordable by increasing federal funding on need-based grants and low-interest loans.
Critical of NCLB. Plans to reform law by funding it and tracking school progress. Plans to focus on combating high high school dropout rates by implementing mentoring and extracurricular programs. Wants to create a tax credit that will make the first $4,000 of college free--covering two-thirds of the average public college tuition. Plans to make community college free.
|Will provide a $2,500 refundable tax credit for individuals and a $5,000 credit for families. Wants to increase the number of walk-in clinics nationwide.||Wants a national health plan to help citizens buy affordable health insurance. Will allow people to choose between the national health plan and private one. Will raise the age limit for children to be covered under their parents' plans to 25.|
|STIMULATING THE ECONOMY||Wants to drop the corporate tax from 35% to 25%. Opposes federal control of the minimum wage. Proposes to double the personal exemption from $3,500 to $7,000 for every dependent. Supports decreased spending except for job training and national security.||Will inject $75 billion into the economy by cutting taxes for the middle class and providing workers with a tax credit. Will implement a higher payroll tax for those making more than $250,000 per year (5% of the U.S population make more than $250,000 annually). Plans to raise the minimum wage. Plans to provide $50 million to employment programs for groups facing employment difficulties, such as homeless veterans and children aging out of foster care.|
|WAR IN IRAQ||Hopes to release troops from Iraq by 2013. Disagrees with a withdrawal before Al-Qaeda is defeated, arguing that our troops must stay to prevent another terrorist attack.||Will implement a phased withdrawal of one to two brigades per month to get our troops out of Iraq within 16 months. Proposes to keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats, but is opposed to having a permanent presence there. Thinks that we need to re-focus our efforts on Afghanistan.|
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Getting My Groove Back
A colleague asked if I had watched the most recent Obama/McCain debate. I said that I had. She volunteered that she continued to be "concerned" about Obama and what he stood for. The ensuing discussion turned out to be the best conversation that I have had in weeks. For twenty minutes, I didn't grieve for my mother. I became caught up in presenting to this single mother of two why Obama's policies on the economy, health care, and the war in Iraq would benefit her and her children much more than McCain's policies on those matters. I don't think that I persuaded her of anything. She is lying, not as much to me as to herself. She isn't undecided; she plans to vote for McCain. She is just uncomfortable admitting that to me. I'll get to the reasons why in a minute, but first I do want to thank her. My discussion with her pushed me a little more back on the path of being me before I lost mama.
Mama was a woman of strong opinion and I certainly inherited that character trait from her. She was a great fan of Senator Obama. On the Friday before she died, I visited her in Wilson and we watched the evening news together. There was much about the elections and we discussed all the ins and outs of both campaigns.
I've been unable to find the motivation to write anything of substance since Mama passed away on September 15. I'm still an Obama supporter, but the only reality for me has been that my mother is dead; everything else has seemed surreal, a waking dream, and I've just been going through the motions. That is, until my co-worker expressed her inability to trust Obama and her fear of what he might do to this country should he be elected. I shrugged off the lethargy that has enveloped me of late, and I gave her all the reasons why in supporting Obama, she would be supporting her own interests.
My efforts to sway her were pointless; in spite of her protests to the contrary, her reasons for not voting for Obama weren't about his policies but about his race. With fewer than three weeks to go until election day, I really think that it's time that we spoke with some honesty about the role that race has and is playing in this presidential campaign. I've never heard so many people speak of any candidate as being someone of whom they are afraid, don't know what he might do to the country, that he may be working with terrorists etc., as I've heard regarding Sen. Obama. Then there's the fixation on his religion--he's a Muslim; he sat in Rev. Wright's church for 20 years (that must have been his non-Muslim period) and listened to reverse racism; and my personal favorite, he's a sleeper agent for Al-Qaeda.
I don't intend to address these claims; they are ludicrous and based in nothing but fear mongering. Anyone who believes this crap is going to be just like my colleague, totally content in clinging to their ignorance. Don't get your panties in a wad, I didn't say that everyone who supports McCain is ignorant. What I'm saying is that if the reason that you support McCain is because you believe that Obama is an Al-Qaeda supporting, Muslim terrorist, racist hater of white people out to destroy the United States, you are ignorant. If you also still believe that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and/or that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11, you are also working hard to receive a blue ribbon in ignorance. Keep in mind, ignorance can be cured; the antidote is knowledge.
Fortunately for my peace of mind, there are a great many people who actually care about the issues and are basing their choice of a candidate on his stance on those issues. For those people, I've created a little issues chart presenting McCain and Obama's basic positions on education, health care, stimulating the economy, and the war in Iraq. Check out their respective campaign websites for more details on their response to the issues.