Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Vision Thing

In the last year, I have written 27, now to be 28 blogs on the topic of Obama. From the beginning, until his recent trip to the Middle East and Europe, he has time and again verified my original feeling he was the right one for today. In those blogs, I went into his background, experience, and the skills that I believe he possesses and that would benefit this country in 2009 if he is elected president. I am not repeating all that (check labels for list) but now I want to write about what I believe are his most important gifts-- his sense of purpose and the rhetorical skills to convey that.

Republicans and earlier Hillary have blasted him for being a gifted speaker. So in the America of 2008, it's bad to be able to write or speak inspirational words? It wasn't always.

"Four Score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Abraham Lincoln

"When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature's God entitled them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." Thomas Jefferson


"We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans - born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage - and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world." John F. Kennedy

When did the necessity to talk down to Americans, to not respect their ability to grasp what is going on, become the rule of this land? When did being fun at a barbecue matter more than someone's intelligence and education? Since when did speeches that demand nothing from us become the ones to value? All this talk about elitism being a problem, how about just picking the president by lottery since his skills aren't a factor if we want him to be just like us?

When did this nation reach a point where the kind of rhetoric we wanted in our leaders involved little words and suggested going shopping was our highest duty to our nation? Can you imagine such a suggestion as WWII was getting started, and we had to rebuild almost our entire Navy.

What happened from our proud beginning, from the nation building that demanded sweat, blood and tears, what has happened to dumb us down and leave us victim to men who call on the worst of us and not the best?

One of the biggest criticisms that the Republican party can throw against Obama (when they aren't suggesting he's a traitor or terrorist himself) is to say he is too intellectual, too smart and his rhetoric is too soaring. This is the one that can stick because he obviously is a gifted speaker.

When they say he's inexperienced, the argument can be rebutted by his years in state legislature, teaching, community organizing, his proven good judgment on one issue after another, and now in the US Senate. Of course, some won't bother to do that research (maybe can't) And there are those who trust someone like a Rush Limbaugh to tell them what to think. Limbaugh might say in satire that his listeners don't need to go anywhere else for their information, but how many believe him and don't bother to check anything for themselves?

One of the things that has most impressed me about Obama, besides his obvious common sense and widespread knowledge, has been that he has a goal that you can hear in all of his speeches. The goal is that we are going to change things and we can rise above how things have been.

Obama inspires us to think we can get past things like torture. We can put an end to the trashing of the Constitution. We can stop those who are profiting on the backs of the poorest or from wars they engineered us into. We can find an answer to basic health care for all. In social issues (no, he hasn't said this but it's on my list) we can finally look at homosexuality as just a condition of life like heterosexuality and give those who are different full rights.

We have seen our educational system dumbed down to the point where the people who speak the loudest against Barack Obama, who are most frightened of him, can't spell or even read well enough to know what he actually is saying.

If you don't think we are dumbed down, take a look at this test which I saw a year or so ago on Life After Nexcom: Could you pass the 8th Grade Exam of 1895?.

Do NOT tell me this dumbing down of America is the fault of liberals. This is about a whole nation that hasn't valued education enough and the end result is becoming more and more obvious. Schools should teach basic skills, the kinds of things that that 8th Grade Exam measured. Ethics are taught as a part of the educational program, not in classes themselves but in how the teachers and system behave and expect the students to also.

If Obama can speak in such a way as to inspire citizens to see there are better ways to do things, this can be a beginning of the change we need. When he doesn't talk down to his listeners but rather up, is that not a good thing? Do we become more by someone treating us like a child or an adult? If he can inspire people to vote who never have, if he can do that with words and a dream, tell me again why that's bad?

A few years ago I listened to a tape about the Age of Aquarius, a new age and new way of living, and how people become so entrenched in their ideas that they will reject any change. It spoke of ideas like Galileo's and how it required a generation to die to finally make change happen. It does not have to be that way. We, who are elders, don't have to be obstructionists. Yes, we could allow our culture to deteriorate in waiting for a new generation to come along who can finally see that it's not working, but it's a choice. We can also be part of making things better.

A leader like Barack Obama does not come along all the time. He has a rare set of gifts, a practical side and an idealistic one, an ability to inspire others, a background of multiculturalism that gives him a very different perspective.

This is also a rare time with our country ripe for change after years of mistakes and a president who has warped the very values under which we were formed. We face economic and possibly climactic changes that will require a wise leader to help navigate our way through-- an inspirational leader and someone who is not locked into how it has been. Someone who can see how it might be, not just how it has been.

The United States is still a strong country. We can improve our educational system, maybe even revamp how it operates, we can make our health care work for all citizens, get back our ethics on the highest and lowest levels, stop abusing war prisoners in the supposed name of safety, see ourselves as part of a world community, and only enter into wars we really must fight-- then fight them with everything we have as Churchill said when Britain entered the battle against Nazi Germany.

To succeed will take pulling our heads out of the sand, a willingness to risk change, to work, to not expect someone else to do it for us, to not buy meaningless promises that we can have it all with no cost, and not passing up a real leader.

Obama said it in Berlin. This is our time. We can make it be so.


Parapluie said...

wow! wow! WOW! This is the most inspiring of your blogs on Obama.

Darlene said...

I am part of the choir that you are preaching to, Rain.

I do wish those elders who want to keep the status quo could read your posts. It is so depressing to find that polls show that elders favor McCain over Obama. Haven't they learned anything in their 50, 60, 70 80+ years?

Sylvia K said...

I totally agree with parapluie! It is your most inspiring blog on Obama! And every word is so true, I get so discouraged with so many of the older people I run into that think McCain is the only way to go because "he's old enough to know"! He's also old enough to be losing it!

Greybeard said...

One caution Rain... and you can take this with a grain of salt because I will vote "None of the above" in the coming election...
But Obama's "community organizing" in Chicago was a failure. The projects he "organized" languished and failed shortly after he entered National politics.
His time spent in the State Legislature was mentored by one of the most corrupt of Illinois politicians, Emil Jones. (This coming from an IL resident.)
Be very careful what you wish for, dear. And be sure you are aware of all the facts before writing such praise.

Joared said...

It is refreshing to hear hope offered by a candidate who espouses offering ways in which lives for ALL citizens might be improved. You certainly raise some thought provoking points. I can only hope some undecideds read what you've written. Besides, for the doubters, consider the serious implications for our country and us with the other option.

Rain said...

Hey greybeard, welcome and i hope you post your opinions here. I have always felt it's good to have diverse opinions. I do understand that Obama is not a messiah nor is he perfect. What we will believe about him or hear is going to vary depending on our sources. I looked up what you referred to and got some links that are the 'other' side of what you expressed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emil_Jones


The thing is that what is truth is hard to be sure of. I know that many politicians have disappointed me but McCain is so much worse than anything Obama might be that it's not even a contest in my mind.

Your viewpoint of Obama would naturally be different coming from the right. That's the problem today and why our country is so divided.. but you are welcome to come here and voice your opinion, especially when you do it so nicely :) Ingineer posts often on the other side and he and I stay friends

Rain said...

One more thing that I have said earlier is that no leader can do it. If Obama's programs fell apart when he left, which I don't know about, then it meant people expected him to do it. WE have to do it. It's not going to happen with any one leader making it all right. It's up to people to do it.

Okay, two more things :) It means a lot to me to hear from you who see it as I do because it reassures me about our country and that there is hope. I believe there is but we do have very different ideas on what is right to do. That's a passionate nation. Hopefully those who feel differently but still desire the best for the country can find some common ground and fix a lot of things that are badly broken. That's what I hope and it sure won't happen under McCain. Something is very wrong there.

Greybeard said...

Thanks Rain.
We can be diametrically opposed with our views, but still be civil.
(I have to admit being nauseated by some of the things lefty bloggers said about Tony Snow, Jesse Helms, and William Buckley after their deaths though. Shameful!)

We all want a better world. How we get there is the question, isn't it?
I'm continually amazed at intelligent people who have forgotten the basics...
So long ago, I learned in Psych and Soc 101 classes that we get more of what we reward and less of what we negatively reinforce. In my job I'm constantly exposed to folks taking advantage of "the system" we have established in health care. Yet here we are, talking about reinforcing that negative behavior by going to a Socialist health care system! What happened to what we learned in Psy. and Soc. 101? Did we conveniently forget, or is there money to be made by the "elites" from the system being proposed?

You mentioned Rupert Murdoch in your comment at my Blog...
Your suggestion was that he was/is a right winger. You do remember who he supported in the primary, don't you?!!

Of the top 10 richest Senators, at my last check, 8 were democrats. I'm not saying just because you're rich you are evil, but I am saying having more money than God can allow you to leave a young girl behind after you've run your car off a bridge into a stream and allow her to drown, then not face a single day in jail because you are immune to our judicial system.

You and I can disagree about Obama, and I promise to be civil. But if you cannot see that most of the major media sources are trying to cast him, and the democrat party as a whole, in the best light possible, you are being naive. (John Edwards present problem with Rielle Hunter is a great example, don't you think?)

25 million people in the Mid East now have the chance to take a deep breath and experience life without tyranny for the first time in decades. This election will determine whether those millions continue to breathe free, or experience the boot of a dictatorial government once again. Let's pray our leaders, whoever they may be, are foresighted enough to realize in order to avoid having to commit more troops in that part of the world again and again, we must make the most of the successes we are presently realizing there.

Thanks for the chance to sound off.
Be safe and well... you and all your readers.
(And don't forget the truths of Soc. and Psy 101!)

Greybeard said...

Oh, and one more thing, Rain...
Be careful using Wikipedia as a source. The are part of the media whitewashing" I referred to.

Rain said...

Wikipedia is a people's encyclopedia and it can be distorted by left or right to fit the predetermined agenda. My point in that link and the other one is that there are two sides to how people see things. That is the problem with the internet. Some people consider anything they read to be gospel there IF it suits what they already want to believe. I try to get my information from assorted newspapers online which include right wing leaning like Washington Times to extreme right wing like WorldNet Daily. To me, it's obvious that the mainstream media right now favors McCain now is that to keep it a horse race which benefits them? Probably. They also are probably more comfortable with McCain or so they indicate than what they label the elitist Obama and that was the same thing with Kerry and Bush where they overlooked a lot of things about Bush that were inconvenient. We do not have a good media system right now. I have urged checking the things the different candidates say, not some talking head like Chris Matthews telling what it should mean-- go for the words.

As for media bias, you probably have seen the study that George Mason University did (not exactly a bastion of liberalism considering it has Dr. Walter Williams as one of its professors. And it showed that the coverage might be extensive of Obama but it's extensively negative-- http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-onthemedia27-2008jul27,0,6802141.story

I have heard them say it again and again how Obama is an elitist and people don't like that. They are the main ones who labeled him that. An elitist to many people is anybody who did take Soc 401 (don't really know there is such a class but you know what I mean.)

I have friends in Canada who love their health care-- well as much as we do anyway. Nothing is perfect. The problem with health care is until we find a way to bring the costs down, any system will go broke paying for the coverage.

I know there are good people who see what needs to be done in this country as being very different than I do. There is no way that McCain or none of the above will get me what I want in government and I hope that Obama will. I have said it before that we don't know until someone gets in there how they will be-- although with McCain it's pretty apparent...

Rain said...

study on media bias

Rain said...

oops one more thing. I have thought about writing about the comparison between the coverage of Edwards and Craig. The coverage has not been right and I don't disagree. I was not a fan of Edwards and wrote about it when the primaries were on. If I write about the issue here, which I might, it would be that it's not right to cover up one and chortle over the other.

I am more a liberal in how I see this subject in that I wouldn't not vote for someone based on their having affairs nor vote for them based on them being sexually moral. There are many ways to 'screw' the American people and I personally prefer the Democrat way *s*. Given that and sympathy for Elizabeth Edwards, Edwards has been a hypocrite and I never admire that in anybody.

Greybeard said...

I indicated previously I am not happy with our Presidential choices this cycle. Like last election, I seem to have a choice between "Bad" and "Horrible". My vote will be wasted in Illinois this year because the State will obviously go for the candidate raised within, and mentored by the horribly corrupt Chicago political machine. (Chicago just raised their taxes again and are now the highest taxed city in the United States.)
There's nothing I can do about that, but it does free me to express my displeasure at the system we face. I hope lots of folks finding themselves in my position will vote "None of the above", and I hope someone with a megaphone notices that dissatisfaction.

We cannot hope for "Change" unless we vote for "Change". Electing either of these bozos ain't gonna get us there. The idea of electing a Candidate who is now endorsing more "Chicago machine" candidates sickens and disheartens me. There will be no "Change" so long as we keep electing these phonies.

I yearn for government that makes it advantageous for others to reach their full potential, rather than educating them to be modern-day-slaves by "gaming" our health care, welfare, and other government subsidized systems. Neither of these candidates will do that, I realize. But I know from experience which of them is most likely to change a system that is irretrievably broken. He's not a Chicagoan, and he doesn't have a "D" behind his title.

Rain said...

I have learned when commenting that when all has been said, it's best to leave that topic and go on to another one as it doesn't gain anything to keep repeating the same things. I am glad you are posting and respect your right to see it differently. I hope you stay open to who Obama is and watch the debates just in case you might've been prejudging him based on your political bent. McCain will not lead to change but it's worse than that as he seems oblivious to what is going on around him. I am not sure if that goes with his personality or whether he is losing it mentally. Not having known enough about him years ago, I am not sure what is going on.

Brooks wrote something good about Obama awhile back and it was that he's tougher and rougher than people think given the system he has learned from. That will be good for someone who approves of his goals and not so good for those who don't.

My blog is not just about politics; so I hope you check out the other topics as they come along. As I said, thinking dissent is always good for encouraging people to think deeper themselves.

Greybeard said...

Agreed, Rain.
I am SO looking forward to the debates...
The necessity to speak without the aid of a teleprompter and a carefully prepared speech...
Where life-experiences and knowledge of the job will be obvious...
And those folks trying to indicate McCain's age/mental acuity is a problem may be surprised to find he is sharper than his opponent...
(57 States? On the Senate Banking committee? Oh my!)

You and I can agree on one thing, I think-
The democrat convention is gonna be an amazing, entertaining thing to behold!

Rain said...

Yes, but did you really think he thought there were 57 states? You know he didn't. With McCain's goofs, they are relating to issues that maybe he does not fully understand which is much scarier in a president not to mention his temper that he has to keep under control now but won't have to then... But as you said, we shall see. I don't remotely think that Obama has a walk on this and any polls now are totally meaningless.

Greybeard said...

No Rain, I didn't think he actually meant there were 57 States. I'm talking about his ability to think clearly while tired and stressed, similar to John McCain.

Be fair now.

Greybeard said...

One more thing and I'm truly giving up on the subject...
You are absolutely right about Obama not having a "walk-on" in this election. I firmly believe he has a problem with the "Bradley effect", and I think that is shameful.
Still, he'll have to deal with it.

Then there are the "PUMA'S".
How many of Hillary's supporters feel abandoned and will either sit on their voting hand or vote for the crazy old white guy?

And the thing I'm REALLY looking forward to-
The folks in Florida and Michigan that were disenfranchised by the democrat party...
Do you think they're finished expressing their displeasure?
None of this works to Obama's advantage.
Man... where's my popcorn?

Rain said...

one other thing. I likely won't watch either convention. I don't like speeches or shows. I am hoping to be on a river in Montana when one of them goes on if I am lucky anyway :) Sometimes I have listened to their last night speeches on the radio but not always.

I can't be fair about McCain. His mistakes would have doomed Obama's candidacy if he'd made any of them. There is an assumption that McCain really does get it even if he doesn't. I think we don't know McCain any better than we have Obama. We have known an image that has been presented but the real person, what he'd be as a leader, which he hasn't been, who knows. If he wins, which he well might, I hope I am wrong about him. If I am right, he's a very frightening man to have that close to so much power. He might be worse than Bush and that'll be hard to top. *s*

I think IF Obama gets in, he won't be what a lot of people expect. All along, he's been more in the middle than many have wanted to think. He won't please me on everything and some things he might do that I would like will have side effects I won't like. It's hard when you get into the condition we are and so many unknowns in the world still to possibly happen from climate changes to economic shifts to the power of Russia and China being question marks for what they will mean to the world. If either become aggressive, given how we have blown our wad on Iraq, will the American people face up to the real cost of deal with it?

Rain said...

read your last comment and yes, I think a lot of people vote to damage themselves out of revenge thinking. It's how it has always been. Logic in voting is not as common as emotion unfortunately.

Of course, my logic is not the same as someone else's. If I have learned nothing else in my nearly 65 years, it's that. Good thing to have a good sense of humor also which you apparently have. Sometimes it's all that gets us through.

Rain said...

For anyone who has followed the comments this far down, you might find this article of interest about McCain's right hand man economically Foreclosure Phil If you trust McCain's judgment, read the article, check the facts; then think about Phil Gramm ending up as Secretary of Treasury, something quite likely under McCain.

Darlene said...

I guess I have to get in this discussion for one point. Greybeard pointed out Obama's faux pas in citing 57 states. Is he aware that McCain has made so many mistakes that it's hard to keep track of them? A few are 1) Mentioning the border between Pakistan and Iraq (There is none). 2) Giving credit to the surge for the success in Anwar.(It actually happened months before the surge) 3) Having to be corrected by Lieberman for his mistake on calling the wrong group Iranians?
The media have, for the most part, given him a pass on all of those, but Obama is dissected for motives and style constantly. If there is media bias it is toward McCain. And, to me, the worst thing about McCain is his dishonesty in his accusations against Obama. He crossed the line when he made that absurd statement that Obama would rather lose the war than the election. McCain's voting record has consistently been AGAINST the veterans and to question Obama's not visiting the injured distorted the real reason Obama did not go to the hospital. Obama did visit the troops and McCain's implication that he did not was a dishonest slur.

Rain said...

Thanks for adding to the discussion, Darlene and you are right on as I see it. The media is very disappointing to me and it's part of why I watch a lot less news right now. I can't stand how they distort things. I want to go up to the TV and ask for a place to put a comment :)

TorAa said...

You write something important here.
I'm a Norwegian beeing very aware of the importance of who is President in US. Impacts the whole world.

By the way:
Been to Oregon. Love the region.
And coming over the Pond very soon.
To visit a son of mine in SW MI, then a 3rd cousin and his wife in Minnesota and then (?)

Greybeard said...

Thanks Darlene for the chance to
"say what I need to say"!

Before you point out the splinter in my eye, remove the 2X4 from your own.

I'll ask, as does this blog...
"How long before we can call Obama stupid?"

Greybeard said...

And Darlene, while I have your attention-
You're 83?
Are you proud of yourself?
I wish others in your generation had your spunk and "explorer" attitude gal!
We may disagree politically, but at least you're not "out of the game".
Good for you!