Monday, February 18, 2008

Back to Writing

Are you writing?

So am I. Silence is shaping up. This book is taking longer than any other and I hope that means it will be better. Of course, that remains to be seen.

Oops, was I plagiarizing? I'm thankful writers aren't held to the same standards as politicians because there really is nothing new under the sun (oops, I did it again!).

Monday, February 04, 2008

Choosing Wisely

I've decided to depart from my usual discussion of reading and writing. There is a book review, sort of, in my message today. But my concentration is on the man who wrote the book.

Tomorrow millions of Americans will go to the polls or caucuses and vote for a Democratic presidential candidate. Unfortunately I won't be among them--our primary isn't held until May--but I will be watching closely to see what happens, especially in my home state of Missouri.

I'm doing what I can to make sure voters know about Barack Obama. He's more than a few nice slogans and campaign rallies. Much more.

I just finished reading Obama's first book, Dreams From My Father. He wrote that book when he was in his 30s and already by then he had vast experiences that prepared him for leadership.

Most people know that Obama attended school in Indonesia when he was young. I've always laughed at the concerns about the 'madrassah'--the main reason being that Indonesia is very secular and even their Islamic schools would be considered liberal compared to Islamic schools elsewhere. I've been to Indonesia and visited Islamic schools.What Obama did learn was that people can live vastly different lives and still have the same basic concerns. That lesson was reinforced by the time he's spent in Kenya with his relatives. Unlike other politicians, Barack Obama didn't travel to Indonesia and Kenya as a foreign dignitary, being greeted by the leaders in ritual ceremony. He lived among the people. He knows how people live in different parts of the world.

After eight years of "with us or against us," don't you think it's time for a leader who seeks negotiation over confrontation, someone who understands that people are people whether they live in brick mansions or grass huts?

And don't you think it's time for a leader who reaches across boundary lines of race, ethnicity, and party politics? We've had enough division in this country these last few years. How much more partisanship can we sustain?

I've read Senator Obama's policy statements and listened closely as he's outlined his positions in speeches. He provides a balanced approach--health care that is provided but not mandated, international relations that start with negotiation while leaving force as an option, economic solutions that start from the bottom down instead of the top up. (We've done that for 28 years and it still hasn't worked.)

Yes, he provides excitement and that's great. As a former social studies teacher I think it's wonderful that young people are buying back into the democratic process. He also provides hope. Most importantly, he will come to the White House with well-developed plans to raise this nation from the depths and help us reach our potential.

For all these reasons and more, I hope and pray that Barack Obama is the next president of the United States.