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August 7, 2008

Obama vs. McCain

Patricia A. Kelly


I read and I listen. Answers are elusive, dandelion fluff on a summer breeze. One says the other said…the other says he didn’t, but that the other did….There are funny ads, outrageous ads. Always, politics, when something closer to the truth is so needed.


Internationally, it’s been a rough eight years for the United States. I’ve always said that our system of checks and balances provided protection against extreme action by any branch of government. I was wrong.


Whatever political side you’re on, our country has lost a lot in the court of world opinion. It makes me sad.


President George W. Bush needed the likes of John Ashcroft and Donald Rumsfeld like he needed a bad case of mumps. He didn’t need radical, right-wing, fundamentalist “righteousness” either, good-hearted guy that I think he is.


There are many cultures and religions in the world, and all law-abiding ones have their place, and deserve respect and inclusion.


Since Barack Obama went to Europe and received his hero’s welcome, I’ve been wondering even more. Who is this guy? Is it his destiny, and the world’s, that he become our next leader?


Did Europe fall at his feet because he’s the Brittney Spears of politics, or because they respect America, and are eager for us to return to former glory? Do they want change for the United States because they like us, or because they like him?


I don’t believe Barack Obama is Muslim. Is he Christ returning?  Is he the anti-Christ? Is he delusional to think he is integral to the destiny of the world? Or is he the right guy at the right time?


If we do elect a black man with an Arabic name, our status in much of the world will increase automatically on Day One. And I can see why it should, as evidence of our honoring diversity. Does he have what it takes to be a good leader for us? Will he lead us down a path to a new world order that’s not what we want?


I just received a missive from “English First” asking for an emergency donation in response to Senator Obama’s assertion that we in the United States need to teach our children Spanish.


Is the world inevitably moving toward world government, world economy and an officially multi-lingual United States?


I’m afraid that Republicans, nominally in favor of individual rights, have often shown themselves more in favor of individual power. Think of outsourcing and the corporate veil. Think of officially sanctioned torture from the people known to give out chocolate in Europe after World War II.


John McCain was the outsider. He was reputed to have a mind of his own. He has integrity. He made some mistakes years ago in the Keating Savings and Loan scandal, and learned from them. That’s a good thing. Now he’s portrayed as the insider, old and boring.


On the issues, they differ as only liberals and conservatives can. Senator Obama wants health care to be available to all. He plans to build on our present system, adding a new government program, requiring that employers contribute to one. He plans to mandate health care for children and expand Medicare and Medicaid as needed. He says he will pay for it with fiscal discipline, prioritizing spending based on funds available.


John McCain says that our personal freedom is involved, and that we should keep our present program, with some improvement, that choice should be up to individuals.


Mr. Obama wants to allow our temporary tax cuts to expire in 2011. Senator McCain wants to make them permanent.


Senator Obama is pro choice. Mr. McCain is pro life.


They both believe that human activity is involved in global warming. They both want to fix it.


Senator McCain talks a lot about protecting the individual. Senator Obama talks about protecting the needy and creating systems that meet people’s needs, for quality education, for example.


As for their priorities, per The Washington Post’s issues list, John McCain’s primary one is to win the war against Islamic fundamentalists. Second is the reform of government. He’ll reduce the influence of special interests. He’ll work to modernize Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. He’ll address health care in America without sacrificing quality.


Barack Obama’s top priority is ending the war in Iraq. He will work to keep our country safe from terrorists and to restore American credibility. He’ll provide universal health care, combat global warming and put our country on the path to energy independence. He will reform our education system and fight poverty.


It’s quite a choice.


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