Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obama: Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

McCain calls it socialism; I call it opportunity, and there's nothing more American than that.--Senator Barack Obama, Raleigh, NC, October 29, 2008

Today I feel as if I've been to the promised land. I was one of 25,000 people who stood on Halifax Mall, the roof of a parking deck in the downtown Raleigh, North Carolina legislative complex, and listened to Senator Barack Obama talk about hope, change, and what we can do as a nation.

There were a lot of parents with children in the crowd. I asked a ten-year-old girl standing next to me why she was there. As her mother proudly beamed, she replied, "Because I want to see history being made and I like Mr. Obama."

Yesterday, the local news stations reported that the Obama campaign had indicated it was expecting a crowd of around 25,000. The State Highway Patrol stated that a more realistic expectation was 10,000. It is the State Highway Patrol that reported today's final number as 25,000.

I'm still on a high. There was electricity in the air. At one point the crowd broke into a chant of Obama's name. I found myself chanting and swaying with the group. But the people in this crowd are not mindless followers, not members of the cult of Obama as McCain and Palin have tried to portray us. We believe, but not in Obama; we believe in ourselves.

Senator Obama has been very clear since the beginning; he is not a solo act. His message is straightforward--We can, not I can or you can, but We Can. He reiterated that message today stating, "Government can't solve all of our problems, but it can ensure that each of us has a shot at success." According to Obama, the American way means that you "...should be able to make it if you try." No handouts; no taking money from one person to hand over to another, but a government that ensures that every person has an opportunity to access those inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Much ado has been made by the McCain/Palin camp about Obama's economic policies and he addressed their criticism directly, speaking of his plans for creating jobs, decreasing taxes on the middle class, and returning the wealthiest 5% to the tax brackets that they were in before the George W. Bush tax cuts, back to a time when there was a federal budget surplus instead of an ever growing federal budget deficit. (If you are interested in the difference between the national debt and the federal budget, please check out an old post on that topic by clicking here.) His plans include tax credits for American businesses that actually do business in the U.S. and create jobs in the U.S., reinstating many of the regulations tossed out during the Reagan years to forestall any more missteps by Wall Street necessitating taxpayer bailouts, and eliminating capital gains taxes for small businesses.

Among my favorite moments was Sen. Obama's addressing of the McCain/Palin's scare tactics regarding his plans for the wealthiest 5% to pay their fair share of taxes. The McCain/Plain folks run around like Chicken Little shouting about the unfairness of not rewarding the wealthy for their hard work. The logic appears to be that if you work hard then you're entitled to your money. I don't have a problem with that and neither does Sen. Obama. However, he does question whether it's in our best interests to have a system that only rewards the holders of the wealth or to have one that also "...rewards workers who contribute to creating that wealth." 

Think about it. Suppose that tomorrow the CEO of every car manufacturing company disappeared. There certainly would be some confusion and discussion of what needs to be done, but the assembly lines would still be able to run because the rank and file who actually do the day to day work would still be in place. No doubt, someone from lower management would step into the CEO positions and production would continue. Now, let's imagine that all of the workers disappeared and all that was left were the CEOs. Can we say, work stoppage, boys and girls? Don't get me wrong, leadership is important but so are workers, the people who actually get their hands dirty, who have the skills to create the product. Those workers deserve a living wage and Sen. Obama wants to ensure that they receive it.

Today was an extraordinary day for me. I am high on hope. My only regret is that I couldn't call my mother and share my day with her, but I think that she knows all about it.

I do have a confession to make. I am not in the 5%; are you? If you are, I understand why McCain's plans may be more attractive to you. If not, well mama never liked it when I was rude, so I'll hold my tongue, but you know what I'm thinking.

The rally ended with the song, Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours) by Stevie Wonder. What would I do without YouTube? Turn it up and dance around the room.


Robin said...

Isn't seeing him in person, live, like nothing else? Inspiring, and believing, in what WE can ALL do, together. I still feel awed to have pulled my daughter from school this past Spring, a surprise for her, to see him at Univeristy of Maryland, College Park. I'm so glad you, and the thousands of others, also got to see him, hear him, speak. Yes, signed, sealed, let's deliver that home on Tuesday, y'all......

The Urban Perspective said...

I can almost feel your energy. This is the first time EVER that I have actually gone out and heard a Presidential candidate speak. I went to a rally in Philadelphia a couple weeks ago, and even earlier in the year I attended a rally BEFORE he was even nominated, just to see and hear with my own ears his message of hope and change. One things for sure, he's inspired many of us to be more active in the political process. I normally vote anyways in ALL elections, but this particular election has a more profound meaning for me, and I'm sure for others as well. Glad you came away from the rally you attended on a natural high :)

Marc said...

You're not in the top 5%? You mean all this time I've been pretending to be your friend for NOTHING? Oh wait a sec, I get it. You're actually in the top 1% and you're just being a stickler for accuracy! Oh boy, just wait till Obama hits you up and gives all your money to ME!

Dannelle said...

Happy dancing! At the other end
(5%)!!! Dannelle

sean coon said...

this year, i've been lucky enough (lucky = hard work + opportunity) to land in that 5% bracket and i couldn't imagine voting for john mccain because of a 3% tax hike.

it sickens me when i hear people who are making similar money rally around protecting their earnings while simultaneously chanting USA! USA! re: the war.

patriotism can be measured by serving this country, but service also includes being productive and contributing to a tax base that helps right the terrible deficit we're in.

6 days left...

Beth said...

Sheria, I am absolutely delighted for you!! It sounds like it was a special moment, and I'm so glad you were able to be there. (And a little envious!)

I think you summed up Obama's appeal to me when you wrote that his message is, and always has been, that yes...WE can. He has never NEVER been about handouts, but believes that with hard work on everyone's part, we can achieve greatness, whether personally or as a nation.

And isn't THAT the American dream?

Love ya (and love your Meez!),

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

How cool you went to see him in person. I too like your Meez.

We are not in the 5% either, and on a percentage basis, they can handle it more than others. We might be in the 10%, and if it came to that, we would tighten our belts a bit and do our share if it was going to help with the deficit and such :o)

Yasmin said...

It must have quite a moment to see Obama.

I know very little about US politics, however reading what you have written so passionately for the last year or so that even I across the pond, can feel his message, thank you for that.
It's a new dawn and the wind of change is coming at last.


Indigo said...

I think your mom already knows about the high your feeling. She might even have an insider rumor on how it's going to turn out *winks*...I'm no where close to that 5% yet I would gladly help another if they needed it. I hope thats the message that is coming out. To help your fellow man, woman, child. To build us all up and build this country back to what it used to be.

I'm so delighted you had a chance to experience this rally firsthand dear friend. (Hugs)Indigo

Leigh said...

What a wonderful experience for you! I can imagine the energy there.
We don't have the opportunity to vote early, I know there'll be a line for me to stand in. Good thing I live in a small town!
Your mom was right there with you the whole time.
:) Leigh

Gerry said...

I find your prose describing such an inspiring event for you lucid and moving. I could just feel the effects from reading. I find Obama moving because he does not try to strike at our emotions. I think his instincts are right on about 'drama.' He is being wise. Gerry

Saltydawg said...

I wait with baited breath for the outcome. Your insights ito what's going on fill me with excitement. I have to say, that I have always believed that our beloved BBC in the UK, is never biased, but there is a definate slant toward Obama. I just love the BBC ;-)
Gaz xxx

Alan said...

He is very inspiring! I watched his "speech" last night, and quite enjoyed it. It was an interesting contrast to John McCain's rant with Larry King that followed. I still don't really believe Obama can get done all he wants to. The bureaucratic inertia that exists in Washington will eventually wear him down. He's got my vote because he seems to be the best option we have in a bad system, but I don't hold much hope. I'm also worried that most of the programs he has proposed are just a retooling of programs that have been tried and over the past 50 years. If they worked, we wouldn't need them now.

Now enough of my pessimism. It is exciting to see someone fire up the general public. It is inspiring to hear him talk passionately about ideas for the future. Maybe we will get lucky and it will work.

PS I left a couple comments on that conversation we started. When you get time come back and see what you think.

~Rebecca Anne~ said...

Anyone who is still undecided should come visit your journal and read your words......
I think it's wonderful that you got to see and hear him in person, I can only imagine the 'high' that could produce.
A few more days....a few more days.....

warrior scout said...

your words reflect a much less dark perspective. this is a very good thing for me to picture.

you might like the pic i have posted saturday. ur such a big fan... (ME TOO)

jack-of-all-thumbs said...

Thank you for your hard work. I'll be working the polls at 6:30, but mostly just to thnak people for voting.

And this time Lucy won't pull the football away from Charlie Brown.

See the sun just coming up?

Breathe deeply.

Des's big daddy said...

What a great moment for you. My wife was on a Southwest flight to St. Louis with Obama back in 2005, and she just happened to have the recent issue of Chicago magazine (he was on the cover) with her. She worked up the nerve to approach him in the airport and ask him to sign it. Needless to say, that is now one of her prized possessions.

Cathy said...

Of COURSE government can't solve all our problems, government IS our problem. What's wrong with socialism anyway? All for all. You eat in proportion to your work. If you can't work, your neighbors help you along. All for all, it's simpler than most realize. The communal good, not the individual riches. Btw, did that little girl happen to say exactly WHAT history was being made? I can guess her answer and I'm sick of hearing it. You elect a man not a black man. All this should've happened decades ago, now it's taken on it's own elan and that's unfortunate. We're SO far behind - right now the best person to hold office would be a wealthy businessman - Donald Trump comes to mind. The country's slipping into a depression and we're crying about how dreamy this all is. Sorry but it's infuriating and the shame is, I like Mr. O and 50 years ago he would've made a fairly good president - but not now, we're in big trouble and no time to play catch-up. Let's hope he surrounds himself with people who understand economy, fiat currency, and debt creation.