Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why Obama

A comment on my blog from Michael asks why don't I blog about why I think Obama is the right choice for our next president. My only problem with doing that is that I can't hope to have enough time to be complete in my post, so if you'll forgive me for missing important points:

(1) America vs. the rest of the world
How do we in America want to play on the world scene? I believe that Barack Obama is America's best chance to re-engage as a partner in solving the world's many problems. During the last eight years we have become an arrogant unilateral military force unwilling to cooperate to solve the world's pressing energy, security, economic and environmental issues. We need a President, and I believe Obama is the one, who can entirely change that equation and demonstrate to the world that we are willing to be a peer and collaborate on solutions.

(2) The War on Terror
I do not agree with the language and the policies of America's unilateral "war on terror" -- I believe that our policies have made us less safe in the world, not more. We need to partner with the rest of the developed world to build up the economies and the opportunities of the poorest people. Social equity and economic opportunity is the best solution to the threat of terrorism. It is a people who have nothing to lose that will throw their lives away against those that they perceive to be tyrants. So help them have something they are afraid to lose. Build up their economies and their lives. Obama offers policies of economic and social engagement with the poorest parts of the world -- and a message of reconciliation and hope that I believe, coming from him, that they will hear.

(3) The growing disparity in wealth here in America
The best America, the strongest America, is the one which has a strong and healthy middle class. Obama is committed to increasing economic and social equality here in the US. I believe that innovation is the key to solving the world's problems and that we need a tax system which encourages and rewards innovation. But we can achieve this goal without gutting the middle class and forcing more and more of our population into the desperation of poverty. In fact, we cannot have a system which encourages and rewards innovation if we end up with a population of haves and have-nots. The greatest strength of our democracy and our economy is the well-educated middle class with disposable income. Obama's policies on taxes, education, and healthcare will reverse the current frightening trends to create a small population of super rich surrounded by a nation of the very poor.

(4) Technology and innovation
More than any candidate Obama understands the importance of technology and innovation - whether it is his support for NASA and manned space missions, his focus on increased competitiveness in telecommunications, his understanding that we must make massive investments in energy innovation, or his recognition that fundamental research in the sciences must not be bogged down by religious bickering - Obama is the one candidate ready to make innovation the centerpiece of the next great age of our nation.

(5) Tolerance of Diversity
Both as a symbol and through the government he will lead, Obama will lead our nation in embracing the most important values that have made us successful over the past 200+ years -- embracing diversity and equality of all people regardless of their beliefs, their gender, their color, or any other way in which we are different.

Like I said, this isn't exhaustive. But I think the two candidates - John McCain and Barack Obama - are as different as can be on the issues that I consider to be the most important facing America and the world -- environment, society, economy, global relations, innovation and technology -- I simply do not understand what causes thoughtful Americans to support John McCain. I know that they do, and I seek to understand. But from my perspective, John represents a set of dead-ends that have been fully played out by the Bush administration. We can all see where these policies lead - and it is not good for ANY American in the long run. Nor for anyone in the world.

We have a responsibility as a wealthy nation to think about the whole planet. Vote for Barack Obama so that there is a tomorrow for us, for our children, and for all of those that will come beyond.

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