And the Winner is …?

“Our society’s problems are not issues of the political Left or Right, but questions of right and wrong.”

– Guy Storms

obama-at-capital1

Now that he has officially won the presidential election, it’s tempting to jump on the Barack Obama bandwagon, along with the rest of his supporters. Their excitement is infectious. The President elect does possess a genuine charisma that has attracted voters, and campaign contributions, in record numbers. Obama appears to be an honestly likable man, as were Democratic Presidents Kennedy, Carter and Clinton in their time. His message, as theirs, sounds truly sincere and has inspired a new generation of voters. The world is also watching, and there is a general impression of hopeful optimism for the future success of this coming administration.

I thought that the media focus during this campaign was primarily on the candidates’ personalities and character. As in the past, very little attention was paid to their positions on the salient issues. Obama supporters I’ve talked to possess a faith in the man that assumes his convictions to be similar to their own, despite a lack of evidence to support their belief. Does Barack Obama believe in a woman’s unconditional right to have an abortion? Does he support Gay marriage? Does Obama have a plan to rewrite the laws regulating financial markets and corporate activity? Does he intend to introduce education reform or gun control? What will he do to stem the deterioration of the United States’ crumbling infrastructure, social security and health care? What are his thoughts on the environment and alternative energy sources? Is he sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians? Will he stop the carnage in Iraq, close any of America’s more than 700 military bases around the world, or reduce military spending?

I’m not really sure. I don’t really know what the Republican candidate John McCain’s beliefs were either. Both candidates were vague as to their intentions if elected. I also found media stories on their positions to be both ambiguous and contradictory, depending on when it was published or reported, and by whom. I do know the beliefs of presidential candidate Ralph Nader on the above issues, however, since he discussed them at length during his entire campaign.

I do know that I like Barack Obama.

obama-with-wife

Obfuscation is not unusual in politics; it’s the norm. A candidate must appeal to as many people as possible in order to be elected. Politicians risk alienating voters if they disagree with them on passionate and personal grounds. I think that most politicians try to be all things to all people whenever they can simply to be elected. This doesn’t make them bad people, or impugn their integrity necessarily, but it does make it virtually impossible for the electorate to make an informed decision when they vote, guarantying that the candidate will disappoint at least some supporters by not performing as expected.

obama-and-kennedy

As of January 20, 2009, the Democratic Party will control the Presidency, the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States of America. Members of the Democratic Party who hold elected office have been given a unique opportunity to validate the faith of their followers by putting into practice everything they claim to believe in – not just for the people of the United States, but for people everywhere who have a stake in the political and economic well being of America.

obama-and-clinton

Obstruction of legitimate reform can now only come from within the Democratic Party itself. There is no excuse for failure. If Barack Obama is to keep the confidence of the American people and institute real change, corporate manipulation of the legislative process must begin to be curtailed during this administration. Through its insidiously covert influence, Big Business has bastardized the American political system to the point where it is hardly recognizable as being democratic. The result has been an undermining of liberty and the pursuit of happiness at home, and a predatory foreign policy intended to exploit the weaknesses of other peoples solely for corporate profit. Avaricious executives and shareholders are not just killing democracy, they are killing the planet. The global ecosystem that sustains all life is being strained beyond its capacity to recover – all for a fist full of dollars.

obama-and-hillary

Social, economic and environmental concerns will not be effectively addressed if corporate profits continue to dictate the government’s legislative priorities. President Obama has been given a chance to salvage America’s constitutional democracy. At this juncture in history, another betrayal of the public’s trust could have a calamitous outcome lasting for generations to come. If he fails, there may never be another opportunity.

itstimeforchange1

If our water is undrinkable, the air toxic and the soil beyond cultivation, then the political state of the union will no longer matter. We will have failed as a species.

I don’t think that there’s much time left to salvage our situation. At this point in human history, the United States is the richest, most powerful nation on earth. These strengths make it the most influential agent available for effecting positive change in human affairs. As America goes, so goes the world. Having an American President whose skin is dark and whose name is not European in origin will help to dispel the prevalent distrust of America’s intentions throughout the world, but only a sincerely altruistic foreign policy will gain the support and cooperation of other nations in turning back the forces that are destroying us.

I want President Obama to succeed. I really do. I think he’s a good man and I fervently hope that he’ll be a great president. More importantly, the world needs him to be a great president.

obama-with-blue-stars

Now that would be real change.

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8 Responses to “And the Winner is …?”

  1. Geofftoons Says:

    Excellent post! I agree, we’re running out of time to change the culture in this country to be a more positive force in the the world. Greed has has it’s day, now it’s time for doing the right thing, and I believe Obama is a good start in that direction.

  2. Lynda Says:

    An excellent summary of things as they are now, in U.S.A. My only concern is this: have the major corporations now acquired so much power that no president, no matter how moral and intelligent, will be able to steer the country in a better direction?

  3. Dorothy Kew Says:

    Excellent post, Guy. Did you read Michael Valpy’s column on Obama in today’s Globe and Mail? He points out what you said — that Obama cannot be all things to all people, that expectations about his presidency have been raised to such a pitch that he may not be able to fulfil everyone’s hopes. I too hope that he succeeds.

  4. Judith Berlowitz Says:

    You express my concerns perfectly, Guy! Yes, we popped the champagne corks on Tuesday night, but with the thought that the struggle is now beginning. I am a Jewish woman active in Middle East Peace concerns, and was horrified at Obama’s pandering to AIPAC after recognizing that “nobody suffers more than the Palestinians.” His appointment of Rahm Emanuel is also very disturbing. Hope is the key word, but will ring empty unless backed by specific steps.

  5. Russ Storms Says:

    Guy;That was a well thought out post.I know you want Obama to be that president that is going to step in and save the planet.But before he can do that he has to save his own country from economic ruin.You mentioned “altruistic foreign policy”.Well,he needs to get the military out of Iraq and Afghanistan if he wants to show the rest of the world that he is serious about real change.But in order for him to help the American economy get back on its feet he will have to take drastic measures.He has to turn the country back into an export economy.The borders have to be closed to foreign imports of all kinds in order to force the country back into the manufacture of finished products regardless of the cost.The U.S.A. will have to go back to the “Monroe Doctrine”era in order to survive.The multinational corporations will hate him and want his head on a platter.You see,its cheaper for them to manufacture their goods in Mexico ,China or many other foreign countries.That means these same corporations would have to set up operations again in hometown USA.It will cost them a lot more but that is the only way to get Americans working again and buying the products that these corporations are selling.That also means that a lot of foreign countries will also want Obama`s head on a platter because they will lose serious business-especially China.Here is another problem with importing finished products from China;their standards are lower.They do not adhere to our regulations.How many baby toys have we imported from China that have lead based paint or other toxic subtsances?Or how about pharmeceuticals that have toxic substances?The lists of products goes on and on.They don`t care about us,they just want to make money.Are Obama`s hands tied when it comes to making real changes?I`m thinking maybe.If he wants to fix the USA`s economy he will make a lot of powerful countries angry-especially China.Like I said,I know you want Obama to be that president that will save the planet but can he save his own country first?

  6. Roberto (Gloria Mundi) Says:

    I think we all around the globe congratulate for the end of the Bushist Era. The problems ahead are enormous and Mr. Storms concerns are just a piece of the puzzle. Here in Argentina we also used to think in proteccionist solutions. But the truth is there are many interdependent ties. Our agriculture has been revolutionized by American corporartions (Monsanto and the like) who owe the transgenic seeds and the agrotoxics to manage a giant soybean bussiness of exports to China. In reverse China exports cheap goods in a classic capitalist development path.
    Now, Obama appears to be sensitive to American workers unions interests. So, it’s verosimil he’ll start to demand job regulations to places like Mexico and China and this will be of good effect to the workers of those places in the long run, but will rise prices of popular goods in the short one. The key move notwithstanding, will be his capability to regulate the crazy financial markets. If he do so, then there’ll be more cash to invert in new energy-saving and recycling technologies. This means to found a new model of capitalist development, one of less consum, less profit margins, but of a more solid basis. The opposite of the long Nixon-(Carter)-Reagan-Bush-(Clinton)-Bush Jr. Era.
    For an historical analogy, I see Obama like the Gracchi brothers reformism after the wealth follies that ensued the Punic wars. The enriched oligarchy confronted their reforms and the Imperial Republic entered a long Civil (social) War that just ended with the Caesarean Empire. Let hope there’ll be another end to the story this time.
    My best to you and to my talented colleague, Patricia.

  7. Paige Says:

    When I had seen Obama’s speech after the election had gone in his favor I kinda had tears in my eyes, because I felt the same way you did…who truly knows even AFTER the Debate when you watch 3 days of Mccain and Obama go at it, repeating their promises to the American people from the well versed to the racist hick?

    I find interest in the fact that we say the whole world is interested in this election because it’s true. Sad, but true…what the US does has a great ripple affect and it can reflect even on the politicians overseas. I see fear in the NWO and the political strength one could have if in control of a giant union of countries, yet we see the world being interested in one mans success in office. A great philosopher said, “Hope is the greatest sin” referring to Pandora’s box…I look there when I wonder about the future.

    I do see Obama as a great leader though, I want him to be. If he could shape up not only America but the World that would mark us all as victors, I’d imagine.

  8. Gerry Says:

    Sorry for the lateness of my comment….

    I remain optimistic and am full of hope (Perhaps that is “audacious” of me..) It was very much a relief to see Americans select Obama as their leader after that disastrous and vindictive campaign of McCain. If McCain had been elected I think America and the rest of the world would be looking at four more years of the same. We must also recognize just how significant this is historically, in fact it is a watershed moment in American history and politics that a black man is elected President of the U.S., and the most powerful man in the world. The significance of this can not be underestimated; for generations millions of disenfranchised people in America have felt that no one speaks for them, ad now one of their own race is elected as leader of the free world. This should have huge symbolic meaning for them.

    So Obama is burdened with enormous expectations, will he disappoint? I think certainly yes he will disappoint many. Lets face it, the election of Obama does not signify immediate radical social change. America is not ready for the kind of liberal society we experience, and perhaps take for granted inCanada..(this is evidenced by McCain receiving 48 % of the popular vote. There are still a lot of neo-cons out there) But Obama is the right leader for this time who can begin to undo some of the damage of eight years of Bush, and begin to steer the course in the right direction. His administration will present a new face on America to its own citizens and the rest of the world.

    Now hopefully he won’t seriously consider appointing Hillary as his Secretary of State….

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