Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What I Find Renewed in Obama's Views

Barrack Obama has my attention. To me he is someone who, like Hillary Clinton, has a platform I like, advocating reform in our American policies, but who has more: the ability to inspire Americans to change our thinking, as John Kennedy did for us in 1961. JFK got us into physical fitness and sent us to the moon and more. In 1961, I was 18 and had to take PE in college. Having never thrown a ball or run a race I hated the physical fitness, but now only a fool would disparage physical fitness. At first reluctant, I eventually watched with my family and friends every move of the astronauts, thrilled at every stage of discovery. President Kennedy's ideas affected us on a very personal level. He inspired us and changed our thinking. In two plus years, he churned things up. He and Jackie gave our emerging media based culture something to look at. Nothing wrong with that—we had a soothing role model for classy behavior. Perhaps with some limits in our understanding and his intent, we woke up a little, remembering.....we the people....

The stuck, depressing 50's became the turbulent 60's. We continued to look at things differently. Historians say JFK was not unflawed in his policies. To me, at his best, he got us interested in politics, the first step to social progress. That is what I hope Obama can help us do. He speaks of our constitutional rights as protection for our hard won freedoms. My understanding of freedom is I make decisions about my life, not a King. Now freedom is what corporations have, for they determine our actions. Many of us have been beaten down to hopelessness about political change concerning health care, education, and the environment. Could that change? I want to hear more from Obama on the definitions of freedom and democracy. What I am so very encouraged to observe is that he seems to understand the powerful human need for contribution, which, recognized and encouraged, gets problems solved so that human progress can inch forward. I am excited to think of the possibilities arising from this new viewpoint!

I know there's never anything new under the sun, and the situation is complex, more than I can address in 4 paragraphs. But here's my take: I have a sense that the message of other politicians is: let me help you get what YOU want. For YOU. And let's beat those other guys. Obama's ideas seem to come from a different place—a place of collaboration and contribution, with a focus on democracy to make the politician the employee of the voter, not the other way around. He said he will rely on the people best able to help make decisions.

Obama speaks firmly in support of the US Constitution. I agree that democracy is not perfect, but is a highly evolved social effort, its principles protecting individual rights. World views change—this is not 1961 and the challenges are new, but I look with hope to Obama for taking us to the next level of our education--he's already started. Heck, after listening for just a couple of months, he got me puzzling out my ideas in this blog. Although my heart skips a beat in considering I may have to change some core beliefs---I got through PE....will I have to stop using plastic or attend political rallies or study more simply?---so be it. I want to support him as he challenges our thinking, in his hero’s journey.

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