Tag Archives: Barack Obama

The Elephant in the Nation: Why People Are Not Voting for Barack Obama

30 Oct

Many people will not vote for Barack Obama because he is black.  This was true in 2008 and it feels even more salient this year.  Perusing social media and noting the various reactions to the campaign make it clear that Mr. Obama faces challenges that should not even be at issue. He cannot help the color of his skin.

The fact that people are still questioning whether the President was born in the United States is unfathomable; no President has ever been under such scrutiny before. I have already said it, but will say it once more – it is only due to the fact that Barack Hussein Obama is black.

Never mind the fact that Mr. Obama champions the rights of women, minorities, and the LGBTQ community. Let us all focus on the fact that he is simply a few shades darker than his opponent, the shockingly incompetent Mitt Romney.

If any individual capable of critical thinking watched the three Presidential and only Vice Presidential debates, one thing should be terrifyingly clear: Mitt Romney does not have a plan. Romney has very little concern for issues related to women’s reproductive rights, the right for all people to marry whomever they love, the right to an affordable education. Romney’s stance on foreign policy, which appeared to impress many Republicans, was at best an attempt to simply repeat Mr. Obama’s answers while inverting particular words, all the while attempting to steer the topic back toward the economy.  And never mind healthcare – Mr. Romney thinks that an emergency room is the best place to go when you fall ill. This disgusting, out-of-touch and elitist attitude is being licked up like the nectar of Dionysus by many Americans.  This is terrifying. As an American, woman, and Latina, my heart weighs heavy with the thought of a Romney presidency. November 7th will either be a great day for America or one of the worst in history.

What is it that so many Americans claim to dislike about our President? Is it his policies or simply his background? As far as policies, Obama faces the most criticism for his desire to enact universal healthcare for all Americans.  Obamacare, as it is called, is the new red herring of our time.  Senator Joseph McCarthy would be having a field day if he lived in these times, surely calling every politician in favor of universal healthcare a Communist Pinko. However, universal healthcare is a standard in most other leading nations in the world, including Canada, England, France, Spain, and Argentina, among many more.  Otto von Bismarck, the first Chancellor of the German Empire, is credited with establishing a universal healthcare system in Germany in 1883 with the passage of the Health Insurance Bill. For those unfamiliar with German history, Adolf Hitler is often incorrectly pointed to as the source of such programs by the GOP, simply because he was a fascist. And let us not forget how the Republicans adore comparing Democrats (incorrectly, natch) to fascists. How simple it is for them.

Perhaps if education were up to appropriate standards, defining communism would not be difficult for many Americans.  Let us not forget that the United States ranks 31st in the world in K-12 education, 31st in mathematics, and 23rd in science. China is first in both science and mathematics.  For people who seem so concerned with the encroaching power of China, this country continually lacks the interest in upping the standards for education, and funding for schools and the salaries of teachers continues to vaporize. Currently, Great Britain, Japan, and Germany are the top-ranked nations in the world for education. Is it not fascinating how the country we once rebelled against continues to outperform us in this way? Barack Obama believes in the power of education to allow any American to achieve great things. Mr. Obama supports the continuation of Pell grants (Mr. Romney does not), which allow for the poorest students to receive education funding, the continuation of low-interest Federal student loans for millions of students who need them, and increasing standards in all American classrooms.  Mr. Obama is a product of what a good education can do for any American.  What is truly sad is when people like Donald Trump demand to see Mr. Obama’s college transcripts.  Not only would this prove that Mr. Obama was an excellent scholar, but it would also show the stupidity leading the GOP. I am sure if Mr. Obama’s transcripts revealed an “A” in a topic like World History that he’d be deemed a communist for even knowing about other countries. This is a society where ignorance is a celebrated quality and intellectuals face criticism for beng “elitists”.

What of women and their rights? Mitt Romney guarantees that he will dismantle Planned Parenthood. Millions of women depend on Planned Parenthood not only for reproductive health, but for basic healthcare needs.  Women without insurance are able to go to Planned Parenthood for physicals and checkups if need be. And what of the right to an abortion, especially in cases of rape? Essentially, if the Romney/Ryan ticket wins, women will face the dangers of Roe v. Wade being overturned by the Supreme Court.  Romney and Ryan have been consistently inconsistent with their opinions on the reproductive rights of women, and the fact that some Republican politicians are even questioning how one defines rape is disgusting. As President Obama accurately and admirably stated, rape is rape. Women have fought for years in this nation for valuable rights that could disappear in an instant next week. If you are a woman, your vote will count toward your physical autonomy and well-being – please choose wisely. Women should also consider the magnitude of President Obama signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law in 2009.  This historic act shows President Obama’s interest in the plight of women in the U.S. Mr. Obama will continue to place the interests of women in a high spot. Do not discount this when you step into the voting booth.

Also keep in mind that Mr. Obama is in support of the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which currently defines marriage as an institution that takes place between one man and one woman. Instead, Mr. Obama supports the Respect for Marriage Act, which would recognize the legality of same-sex marriages. Naturally, the GOP cannot stand for this, and in their eyes, Mr. Obama must be stopped. It is amazing how our nation is in conflict regarding basic civil rights that are recognized by many other nations. Mr. Obama’s forward-thinking attitude and willingness to fight for the defenseless is highly admirable.

Finally, there is the issue of the economy.  Mr. Obama inherited an economy ravaged by policies passed by the GOP. If any President can be held accountable for the economy, it is George W. Bush, who enacted numerous tax cuts that benefitted all Americans yet inflated the national debt by $4.08 trillion, or approximately 40.8% from the years 2001 through 2007.  Naturally, Republican supporters thought nothing of these precarious tax cuts when they continued to receive their child tax credits or other tax credits that kept them afloat in these years.  However, now that the distrustful Kenyan is in office, it is all his fault that the ravaged economy is not magically fixed in four short years.  In spite of inheriting one of the worst economic landscapes of all time, Mr. Obama has kept the economy afloat.  In remembering that Mr. Bush advocated an Ownership Society, in which home ownership was the cornerstone for the entirety of the 2000s, one may note that the essential failure of the economy was the failure of sub-prime mortgages and the inability of the Bush administration to regulate the companies who were lending them to most everyone. These facts are conveniently lost to history, and Mr. Obama continues to bear the brunt of the blame for the flailing economy.  President Obama wishes to raise taxes on the wealthy and keep them the same for the middle and lower classes, something that has never crossed the mind of Romney, whose tax policy, which has no named numbers, resembles something of Reagan’s trickle-down policies that were in effect during the Cold War. Trickle-down economics is the practice of lowering taxes for the wealthy with the belief that it will benefit poor members of society. Simply put, it does not work.  Mr. Romney, who apparently paid only a paltry 13.9% in taxes on his income of $20.9 million, seems to think otherwise. This is less than the tax rate of the middle class, with those making between $36,000 and $86,000 paying 25% in taxes. How is that even legal? This fact is a major red flag that many are choosing to ignore simply due to a lack of support for Mr. Obama because he people view him as “un-American,” “communist”, and “socialist”.

What I believe truly bothers many Americans (at least those with half a brain), is how President Barack Obama stands for the interests of  what is often termed the other in many a liberal arts settings; this otherness is represented in the form of loving someone of your same-sex, possessing a uterus, or appearing ethnic in any way.  The problem is that what the Republicans still consider the other, is now the mainstream.  The United States is diversifying at a rapid pace, and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have no use for women, homosexuals, blacks, or Latinos, among others.  They do not care if you vote for them. Why? Because they possess the audacity to believe that an election may be purchased.

Do not give them the pleasure of thinking that a suitcase full of money can buy the highest office in the land; Romney and Ryan are holding a gun to the temple of Lady Liberty and threatening to pull the trigger. Do not become one of their fatalities.  Why is no one questioning the supposed amazing “arithmetic” of their economic plans? Why is no one asking about their real plans for Social Security, Medicare, and countless other essential government programs? Why is no one questioning the fact that Mr. Romney appears to have no real grasp on foreign policy issues pertinent to these volatile times?

Who are Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and what do they stand for? Well, they’re just educated, upper-class, Christian, American white men. What harm could they do? Certainly no more than the formerly middle class, educated, Christian, American black man whom we call Mr. President. Racism is alive in well in America; do not let it win on November 6th.

The author of Fixed Air officially endorses Barack Obama for reelection.

Oxymorons in the Year 2012: “Young Republican”

25 Aug

Ah, election year! That scent is in the air once more! What is it, do you ask? Oh that’s right, it’s the smell of horse shit, wafting directly from computer screens across America! Lovely!

What is it about Facebook that makes people want to get political? After all, is it not possible that there are people who do not want to read/see/hear/”like” your opinion? It’s not an anonymous forum, and many people should really consider what they post on Facebook if they want to keep their personal and private lives separate. With that being said, I fell obligated to respond to a post made by a former high school classmate a few evenings ago on Facebook. We shall call her Ms. Smith.

Here is a screenshot of the post, with name and photograph redacted for privacy:

I believe Ms. Smith is referring to the Dream Act, which allows young immigrants, most of whom came to the U.S. as children, to obtain work permits and continue their education by remaining in the country. The Dream Act, while controversial, is simply extending benefits to those young people who came to this country not by their own choice, but by that of their parents. Why shouldn’t these young immigrants have a chance at success? If one is capable of completing college, but does not have the opportunity due to place of birth, then many other complications may arise.  Nothing is worse than unrealized potential. There are plenty of young people native to this country who do not take advantage of the educational system here.  I would also say that many young Americans feel entitled to have things with little to no work – a college degree, that dream job that pays six figures, home ownership, and a collection of diamond grills. Our forefathers based this country’s legislation on the premise of equal opportunity for all – not to mention the fact that we are all descended from immigrants (not counting those who are Native American). What is the real issue here?

At first I felt very angry about what she said, but now, after digesting it a bit, I feel very sorry for her. Not only is she dismissing these so-called “illegals” who are apparently impeding on her life, but she also goes on to accuse them of attempting to “utilize our education system, use our medical care and now take our jobs” in a subsequent comment.  Good god, they’re going to take my job!!!

First off, what amazing education system are they taking advantage of? The educational system in this country is broken, and going to college is nothing but  a faraway dream for a growing number of Americans. The real issue that needs to be discussed during this election year is the growing student loan debt bubble, which many economists will be next to burst following the housing market that imploded in 2008. Another thing that concerns many is Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s proposal to slash Pell Grants.  For those of you with too much privilege to Google, Pell Grants are rewarded to those students with the smallest of incomes, and often to the poorest families in America. Without this funding, great minds may be destined to languish.  There is, after all, great potential within children of every social class.  Unfortunately, our higher educational system is designed to benefit the rich.  Elite private colleges cost upwards of $60,000 per year to attend. This is out of reach for most people, and especially for the middle class.  The rich want to keep opportunity to themselves, and that is what is really at issue in the tone of Ms. Smith’s post.

Second, jobs. What sorts of jobs do many illegals perform? I’ll give you a hint. Most of them do not require letters after your name. Illegals perform many of the lowest jobs that most Americans would likely never take. Some examples: dishwasher, strawberry picker, sketchy construction jobs that often involve waiting on the side of a road for someone to pick them up for a day of work, laundry worker, etc. Most Americans would find this work “insulting” and “beneath them”. However, many of these jobs entail hard, honest work. The concept of working hard is being lost on young Americans at a rapid pace.

Immigrants are not COMPETING with me or Ms. Smith. They are trying to survive, and trying to have something that the ancestors of all Americans fought for in the past.  Many illegals are escaping horrible conditions and the possibility of a violent death.

What is the source of immigrant hate? The simple answer is racism, but I will not seek to make such a blanket statement. Another reasonable explanation, in my mind, is that very few people know what real struggle is. Until you’ve known what it’s like to wonder if you’ll have electricity, running water, or a decent meal, you likely have no right to judge people who legitimately benefit from social programs like food stamps, welfare, and unemployment benefits.

How did Ms. Smith’s Facebook adventure end the other night? Let’s have a look!

Ms. Smith’s response to one of her friends is the bottom portion of this screen shot. After the friend tried to talk some sense into her, she went on to say that she supports repealing an unemployment benefits extension. Blech. She then says, “Let’s get out (sic) people working, and get then (sic) working as soon as possible!” Oh my! Is it that simple? Where are these jobs? Let’s send all the 12.8 million unemployed Americans to these amazing jobs!!! Where are they?

Hey Paul Ryan, what do you think? Can we get these people to work?

Republicans Still Hate Gays, Everyone

3 Feb

I just saw an unbelievable poll on MSNBC. 73% of polled Republicans think that gay teachers should not be allowed to teach in public school. What a shocking figure! This number manages to cause nausea as well as enrage me. It is yet another example of the ignorance and hatred being paraded in the Republican Party as standard.

Another figure indicated that 63% of those polled thought that Barack Obama was a socialist, while only 42% of those polled believed that Obama was born in the United States!

Source: David Shuster, MSNBC, Feb. 3, 2010

The Average American?

23 Jan
President Barack Obama

I am writing today in response to a question put forth by Jarred Rego, host of “The Jarred Rego Show” on Colorado Springs 740 KVOR.  Today Jarred asked his listeners whether they felt that Barack Obama could relate to the “average American”.  I called in with a bevy of facts and quotes at the ready. However, my call was not answered in time and I remained on hold for upwards of twelve minutes. Due to this mishap that I suspect could be a mishandling of calls, I will reassemble my argument here. 

 Jarred, what exactly constitutes the “average” American?  On your show today you implied that Barack Obama is an elitist simply due to the location of his upbringing: Hawaii. You asked, “I’ve never been to Hawaii. Have you guys ever been to Hawaii?”  By portraying the state of Hawaii as an exotic vacation destination (which to only a certain extent, it is), you are completely marginalizing facts about Hawaii that the “average” American will remain unaware of. I feel that your argument boils down to the claim that Barack Obama is an elitist who was fed liberal-Marxist propaganda due to his educational background.  

Do you want to know about the public education system in Hawaii? Only 21% of 8th grade students are proficient in math; a similar 20% figure accounts for proficiency in reading. In 2003, Hawaii’s public elementary schools ranked 44th out of 50 states on the Nation’s Report Card. In 2009, the Hawai’i Department of Education slashed the yearly number of instructional days from 180 to 163, which is the least amount of instructional days anywhere in the U.S. You may also want to note that the poverty rate in Hawaii is 10.4%, which places the state as 27th in poverty rankings.  The per capita income of Hawaii ranks 40th in the U.S. Hawaii is not a state composed of only the wealthy.  It is also vital to note that 73% of Hawaii’s population is non-white, and many of these persons are of indigenous origin to the Hawaiian islands.  

Students in Hawaii are not receiving the best education they can, but Barack Obama had the support of a family who wished for him to succeed. He attended a private preparatory college in Hawaii.  This is the key to Barack Obama’s success. We live in a country in which your education will either lead to amazing opportunity or massive failure. Even though there are many people who are successful without a college education, the idea that a college education is integral to success in America is poisoning mainstream ideals. Barack Obama chose success.  

I feel that I can comfortably state that I can relate to the “average” American. I can also relate to Barack Obama. My maternal grandparents arrived in the U.S. in the 1930’s as children from Cuba and Puerto Rico. By no means do I come from a lengthy line of wealthy people; my grandfather worked as a longshoreman on the docks of the East River and my grandmother worked as a cleaning woman.  

I know that the success I have had so far in life is due to the sacrifice of my grandparents and parents. My father grew up in an impoverished segment of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, while my mother lived in the projects of the Bronx.  My mother dropped out of college in the 1970’s to pay for an operation that my older brother desperately needed.  

However, each of my parents performed very well in school and were able to recognize that the best future for both myself and my sister was not in the New York City public school system. I know what it feels like to have to see your parents choose between which bills to pay for the month. I know what struggling truly is. I also recognize the great fortune that has been bestowed upon me in this life. Not only do I hold two degrees from one of the greatest universities in the world, but I also have the opportunity to achieve whatever it is I choose. There are people in America who will never dream of the things I have achieved in only a short 22 years. Is my success due to my racial background? (I am 1/8th African-American, if you must know.) Is my success due to my having a uterus? Is my success due to being raised in Colorado? There is not one factor that can be pinpointed as the source of my achievement. Do not single out Barack Obama’s home state of Hawaii as the source of his success. Most importantly, do not patronize Barack Obama for being a good student.  

As Nathaniel Hawthorne once scribed, “families are always rising and falling in America.” Barack Obama happened to catch a large tide. Do not assume anything about an individual’s background or upbringing.  

I ask you this question: Do you relate to the “average” American? And who is the “average” American?

UPDATE: Jarred Rego responded in the comments below but failed to answer any of my posed questions. How convenient of him.