Because of Today The Brass Ring Can Be Reached By All

The following poem is dedicated to three men who are not here to read it, but were it not for them, I would not be the person that I am today writing it.

It is dedicated to my father Aguinaldo, my brother Alfonso, and my surrogate father Al Wallach.  These three men refused to yield to what
they believed to be injustice.  They instilled in me the deep conviction, that if we try to hide from injustice, if we tolerate injustice, or even if we ignore injustice, we are destroying any hope that in this world, there will ever be justice.  They were not here to witness this day – but I think that they planned it that way so that
they would have the best seats in Heaven.


Today the World Changed

I did not receive a release of my debts

But still, a debt was paid this day to a people,

To my people

Today the world changed

For one moment

Those men who sat for days to build a foundation

Upon which a more perfect union could be built

And those slaves who gave their blood, sweat and tears

To lay the bricks and mortar that would secure that foundation

And the Red man, from whom all of this was taken

Rose in silent witness

All of those souls – joining hand, and heart

Standing side by side cried tears of Joy

For the resurrection of the Spirit of America


Today the world changed

Not with a bang – but with a whisper

A whisper that resounded throughout the world

And into the Heavens

The sky did not fall

Only that impenetrable ceiling upon which, the words,

“You may rise no further, this club is for “White Men Only”

Came tumbling down like the walls of Jericho.


Today the world changed

The last unyielding, inhumane, bloody chains of oppression gave way,

The spirits of my Hebrew ancestors who escaped Egypt

And had cried that they could not be really free until all mankind was free

Stand, arm in arm with the spirits of all of the slaves that toiled
to build this country as the they had once toiled to build the pyramids,

Together their tears of joy rain down on us,

For they are all finally free, and the yokes of slavery and fear

Are removed from their generation

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Today the world changed


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Millions gathered ,of all ages, races, religions, genders, gay and straight, from all nations and all political ideologies

And above this multitude of men, women and children

Unnoticed, inconspicuous

Flloated  a multitude of Angelic Beings

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All huddled together to bear witness to

the New World of Man,

the resurrection of Hope,

the resurrection of faith,

And the resurrection of Divine Love,

Today the world changed

The President of the most Powerful Nation in the world,

Was  raised up by the hands of the thousands of slaves who laid

The path that he walked , who built the stairs that he climbed,

And with pride and overflowing hearts they placed him in the highest seat.

They were able to work through the pain, the blood, and the exhaustion without giving up,

Without laying down to die,

Fueled and Driven by the faith that

One day, if they built it –

He would come

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and complete the circle.


Today the world change

Never again can a teacher tell a little black, Hispanic, or native American child,

“You cannot reach for that goal, why even try, just wash dishes, clean houses

Get those foolish notions out of your head”

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Never again, can a teen on the corner selling drugs to other teens

be able to say,

“The White man condemned me to this life, it is not my fault”

Never Again will the Black, Latino or Asian child be able to say that there is nothing more to aspire to

because they are Black, Latino, Chicano, or Asian

except to die in a gang.

Because – this day, if we look to our left, and we look to our right, there

Is the White man –

He is not in front

He is not in control,

He is one of us – Today, the united States of America had declared this from here on,

Open seating


Today the world changed

No more can a boy or girl, living in a blighted ghetto or an arid dying suburb say,

“I cannot become whatever I want”

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No one can ever, from this day forward say, I can’t.

No excuses left – no justifications left,

There is no greater or more meaningful role-model

Than the President Of The United States.

Today life’s struggles are still overwhelming us,

The tunnel which now darkly surrounds us

Has become neither shorter, nor easier,

And for so many of us – the light at the end of that tunnel,

Has grown no brighter.

Today the roof of my house shelters my family,

Tomorrow, it may be the roof of our car,

But if I have to struggle through the challenges of each day

This is the world that I want to struggle in.

Today the world changed

The dark and spiritless landscape that I stared out at yesterday

Has become a garden with the just  the tiniest buds of hope, of possibility, and of Light.

Whatever lies ahead for me, I have lived the best of my life.

My greatest fear was that my children would not have the chance to know

what the best might be.

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And I know that the best that lies before my children will be much different than mine –

For mine was not real, it was made of glittering dust and ashes of the material world –

like a star we see far off in the distance of the night sky – so beautiful, yet

As soon as we see it, it is dead –

As soon as we obtain that far off material goal – it too is dead,

Ashes to ashes – dust to dust -we search for the next one.

Today the world has changed

The world of my children will not glitter,

It will radiate.

They will remember what being drunk with the world destroyed,

And so they will seek joy – and not intoxication.

History will record that this date ushered in a New Age

This is a great man,

but a great man cannot climb great heights alone

A great man can only accomplish great things by standing on

the shoulders of ordinary men and women,

Today the world changed

It changed because of white, black yellow and red, Jew, Christian,
Muslim, Sufi, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindi, Mormon, Atheist,, Agnostic, and
all other faiths –

men and women, gay and straight,

and the littlest of children,

the tiniest of Angels,

all raised him up, with their voices, and their prayers

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pledged their toil, their struggles, their nickels, their dimes, their hopes and their dreams.

Because although this man is great

equally great are the people, the nation and  the world that would not let him down.


Today the world changed

Because one man claimed his place in history,

and showed us that we must claim our voices,

We must shout from the rooftops until we are heard,

And never, never be silent again.

He reminded us, and the world that this is our country –

and in the greatest sense – it is the country of the world –

there is no nation that does not have its own seeds planted in this garden.

And Today the World Is Proud to Be An American

And I am proud to have my country back

Today the world changed

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I have my Statue of Liberty back,

This Lady was given to us as a reminder of who we are,

and why we are,

As clearly etched eternally on her foundation:

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I have taken my faith back,

Knowing in my heart and soul that this moment has sealed it

forever.

Whatever happens, for better or for worse cannot erase,

cannot tarnish,

cannot touch in any way the undeniable fact,

That Today Happened

And it happened to every man woman and child in the world,

And with that faith – I have a reason to go on.

Today the world changed

The Last Great door opened wide today

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The Last “Whites Only” sign

Has come down,

And with it, the last excuse for not trying,

or forever yielding the fight Before it’s begun

The White Man has not surrendered –

better than this,

He has realized that we are all in it together

And to stand, we must stand together

Today the world changed

All because one man, foolhardy enough to think that he could,

Promised millions of people around the world, that,Yes We Can,”

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And yes, together we did,


Today The World Changed

This is for every little child of every race, religion, and national origin,

you can dream even bigger,  reach for that far off star

even farther,

And for every man or woman who sees -Nothing

Whose lost -Everything,

You!  Find that dream, dust it off,

And dream it like you’ve never dreamed before,

Search for that star

You long ago lost track of,

And MOVE!

RUN!

REACH !

Everything is possible so long as we

Can hold our dreams

and keep our eyes on our stars,

Today the world changed

Today, with brown hand placed on the Bible, this man said, “I accept”

swearing-in


And we heard his heart say to us,

I accept your trust, I accept your faith,

I accept your dreams and your hopes.

I accept your need to believe

and I will honor them,

and I will honor you

with every breath in every day.

Today the world changed

On this cold, clouded winter afternoon

We were warmed, united in sacred ceremony

That at last

Meant something

in a place within each of us that we no longer dared go,

Under a common shining light

As One Nation, under God, with Liberty and Justice For All

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It matters not what tomorrow brings –

whatever it brings will pass

Only this moment will shine forever

Through whatever darkness lies ahead

It will shine

It will shine until the last hungry child is fed,

It will shine until the last sick child is healed,

And it will shine until the last guns have been beaten into plowshares,

And until the missiles have been beaten into pruning hooks:

and nation no longer lifts up a sword against nation,

And  neither shall we learn war any more.

Today, The world changed

And nothing again as long as we live will ever be deemed, impossible.

Denise Gibel-Molini

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How Did We Get So Broken?

“Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of total spending in the economy. If the level of consumer spending is high, the economy will experience high levels of production and employment; the economy will be booming. On the other hand, if the level of consumer spending declines, the level of production and employment will decline; the economy will be in the doldrums. According to Keynesian theory, the most important determinant of consumer spending is the level of disposable income of households. Important non-income factors that affect consumer spending include consumer expectations, the level of consumer indebtedness, and the wealth of households.”

If we are a nation, and not just people living within close proximity to one another, then to me, that implies a certain amount of unity – a family in the loose sense.  The reason for government, it seems, would be to ensure that there is a system for all, and that the system works for the people – all of the people.

The situation that we are in today, is the result of an economic system.  I am assuming that ‘free enterprise’ is free within the boundaries of some general economic system in place to prevent the bankruptcy of the nation.  However, I have to say that I am absolutely amazed that no one involved in the ‘system’ that we have here in this country saw this coming.  I really mean amazed, shocked, astounded – because I can’t see how our ‘system’ as it is, could ever be expected to work.  It seems to me, that it doesn’t even work in theory.

It’s like a monopoly game where one player has managed to buy all of the hotels.  Now, since that player owns all of the hotels, he now decides to raise the rates to an exorbitant amount.  It doesn’t take very long before the only player with any money is the one who owns the hotels.  Unless he now plays with himself and pays himself to stay in his hotels – the game is over.

I remember after about the first year after we declared victory in Iraq I read an article  by a man who said that he witnessed the ‘war games’, that generally precede a war.  In these games he said that all different scenarios are usually played out in order to understand what we are getting into and how we will get out of it.  He said that the problem with these particular games was that there were no real scenarios played out.  All possible outcomes of each action were not played out.  In other words, we were unprepared because we were not willing to risk the possibility that this could not be a wise move.

So, I’m wondering, when all of this deregulation was pursued with such enthusiasm and gusto, and all of these protections were set in place to protect big business, did the heads of the government in charge of finances and whatever economic ‘system’ we have in place, map out the possible direction that these new ‘systems’ could take us?  Because it seems to me that this was much worse than looking at the patriotism, and self-restraint of corporate America through rose colored glasses.  It seems to me, that it was something like taking a bunch of junkies and letting them loose in a heroine den saying only, “We trust you to show restraint”.  Yeah, right, that works.   I don’t understand how a government that felt it necessary to create a ‘minimum wage’, however miniscule that minimum is, did so because it realized that greed could not be self-regulated.

Of course, being on the bottom end of the bottom that is falling out, this situation that we are in is a bit troubling to me.  Still, what I find the most difficult to understand is that it was allowed to happen.  If this is a consumer driven economy, it seems to me that until the consumers can find jobs, affordable healthcare, and then find their way out of debt, then, and only then – at some distant time in the future, one that seems far far away will we once again have the disposable income to again drive the economy.  I only hope that while most of us are too poor today to even drive our cars – let alone drive an economy, the government figures out that giving money to the companies whose addiction to wealth and power put us into this mess, expecting them to then turn around and make things all better is like giving a junkie the cash to repay the mortgage he took out to buy his drugs.

Sarah Palin – The Republican’s Magic Trick

Lately, as I listen to undecided voters speaking about how Senator McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin convinced them that they should vote McCain, I feel as though I am trapped by a magician in a magic show on the Twilight Zone.

There are voters who will vote party lines regardless of the candidate or the issues.  Then there are voters who will not vote for a Black man to be the President of the United States, regardless of the issues or the position and qualifications of the candidate.  These voters would publicly give politically correct reasons for not choosing Obama, but the bottom line would be race, plain and simple.  I don’t really know what percentage of voters these are, but my feeling is that the both of the above groups of voters are more Republican than Democrat. Then there are those voters who only care that the country continues its movement away from the First Amendment and towards a more Fundamentalist Christian rule; guiding the country back to Biblical Science and away from evolution while limiting our freedoms regarding homosexuality, religious practice, and the right to choose.  In this group too, the Republicans have an edge.  Then there are those voters who want to see a woman President regardless of what she stands for or what her vision of this country is.  And last, there is the group of voters who want more than anything for the country to be free of this war in Iraq, avoid any other unnecessary wars, and search for Osama Bin Laden where he has always been. This group is mostly Democratic but with a small number of Republicans who see the financial waste.  These are not the groups who will win the election.  These are the groups who are already, and have been from the beginning, reflected in the polls.

There are many young people not counted in the polls who will vote for a change, vote for an economy where they can find work and remain in this country, vote for a country where they will have an opportunity to find better or any health care for themselves and the children that they have or intend to have.  Many of these voters are rational thinkers and realize that if the Republicans were going to make any of the changes that they are promising today, some of them would have been reflected over the past eight years.  These voters are not listed in the undecided, they are decided, but just not counted, as in the many surprise primaries for Obama and Ron Paul, and they will show up at the polls and cast the vote that they have already decided upon.

The voters still to be convinced are the undecided.  Some are hesitant about Barack Obama because they believe that given the situation that the country is in here and abroad, perhaps more foreign policy experience would be of value, perhaps just more experience on the ticket.  If we are willing to face the elephant in the room (no pun intended), considering the issue of Obama’s race, and his very John F. Kennedy like vision for this country and its people – there is an underlying fear of assassination.  Many people fear that if he isn’t too good to be true, as some would like us to believe, then he is too good, for those whose power depends on exploitation, to be allowed to serve the people of this country.  In regards to the concern over experience, his running mate would either help satisfy the question of experience by adding that to the ticket, or, solidify the concern by choosing someone who is equally or less experienced that Obama.  The same would be an issue if the fear was of assassination.  The Vice President would have to share Obama’s vision of positive change for the majority of the people and at the same time satisfy the question of experience.  In these two areas Joe Biden was the most appropriate choice to assuage the doubts and satisfy many of the undecided voters.

Those who would want to consider John McCain but remain undecided feeling that his lack of economic experience and overall foreign policy and national security experience, beyond having served in a war, needed to be considered.  There is also the issue of mortality when the person running for President could be elected to his first term at the age of 72 with a history of Cancer and other health problems.  So, here too, the Vice President that he would choose would have to be more experienced in dealing with the economy foreign affairs and national security.  If we are going for a change in the running of the government, then it would have to be someone who did not vote with Bush 90% of the time but voted for the people.

The thing that utterly amazes me is that I am hearing people who say that they were undecided, now stating that after the choice of Sarah Palin as McCain’s Vice Presidential running mate, they have decided to vote for him.  If the prior hesitation was that he needed more experience in areas that would help our economy or foreign policy, what does she bring to the table that turns him into the perfect President for our country?  If it is a question of mortality, which in McCain’s case is much more viable a question than in Obama’s, what makes Sarah Palin the right candidate for the office of President of the United States?  Is this country really ready to go from President GW Bush to President Sarah Palin?  I don’t understand what, of the little that we know of her, could give people the sense that she would be so capable of leading the free world that without so much as a single debate or an unscripted reply to a single question, they were suddenly able to decide?  Was the hesitation that McCain was not a woman?  Was it that she is a mother who did not abandon her pregnant teenager?  Was it that she takes great joy in killing defenseless animals for sport and supports the NRA?  I am sure that McCain, if not an avid killer of animals, does at least support the NRA.  So I am at a loss to understand the logic behind the choice of a woman that we have yet to really know anything about, swaying the undecided now, before any debates, before any open interviews – before she is even permitted to answer questions from reporters.

What does this say about what this country stands for in the twenty-first century?  What does this say about this country and its place in the world?  As of today, with what we know about Joseph Biden, and Sarah Palin, I am at a totally unable to understand how anyone could be in doubt as to who would better represent the nation and its people in the world today.  I am not saying that there is something wrong with believing that Sarah Palin is the best candidate after knowing enough about her to be adequately informed as to her capabilities and her intentions as Vice President and President, should she have to step in and ascend to that Office.  At least, then, credit must be given for a choice made based on being adequately informed, and on the world’s stage in which we live, we can stand up for a decision made, whether we like it or not, that engaged the mind and heart.

But the truth is that all of the e-mails that I am receiving that push the Republican ticket because of Sarah Palin, either begin with, “She has truly been sent by God to the Kingdom”, or, “Finally a woman who is just like us.”  My first problem is with selling her as an average mother, many mothers with children who have disabilities do not have a choice between being there for their children, or working to support them.  The mothers that I know, who have the choice as she does, would overwhelmingly choose to be a mother first to a child with special needs, even if it meant temporarily putting ambition aside.  And as to God sending her to the Kingdom, I believe that God sends everything that happens and everyone who is born – to this kingdom.  The question which remains to be answered, in my very humble opinion, is whether or not this package from on High will have been sent to our nation as a reward, or as a lesson that we have yet, been unwilling to learn.

How We Won The War In Iraq and Can Not Win The Peace

Intolerance breeds injustice. Injustice invariably leads to rebellion and retaliation, and these will lead to escalation on the part of both making reconciliation almost impossible. It would appear that during times of stress, despair and frustration, people become increasingly irrational, and they do things which they never think they are capable of. And so we see hideous brutality perpetrated by the most gentle people.

Once started religious strife has a tendency to go on and on, to become permanent feuds. Today we see such intractable inter-religious wars in Northern Ireland, between Jews and Muslims and Christians in Palestine, Hindus and Muslims in South Asia and in many other places. Attempts to bring about peace have failed again and again. Always the extremist elements invoking past injustices, imagined or real, will succeed in torpedoing the peace efforts and bringing about another bout of hostility.” Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, addressing the World Evangelical Fellowship on 2001-MAY-4. 4(excerpts)

We live in a country that was founded on the desire for religious freedom. We have carried through, for this reason, the separation of church and state. The Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock came here from the same type of environment that exists in Africa and the Middle East today.

“The separation of church and state is a legal and political principle derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” The phrase “separation of church and state”, which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, where Jefferson spoke of the combined effect of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. It has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court.”…

“Early immigrants to the American colonies were there motivated largely by the desire to worship freely in their own fashion, particularly after the English Civil War, but also religious wars and disputes in France and Germany.[2] They included a large number of nonconformists such as the Puritans and the Pilgrims, as well as Catholics (in Baltimore). Despite a common background, the groups’ views on broader religious toleration were mixed. While some notable examples such as Roger Williams of Rhode Island and William Penn ensured the protection of religious minorities within their colonies, others such as the Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony had established churches. The Dutch colony of New Netherland had also established the Dutch Reformed Church and outlawed all other worship, although enforcement by the Dutch West India Company in the last years of the colony was sparse. Part of the reason for establishment was financial: the established Church was responsible for poor relief, and dissenting churches would therefore have a significant advantage.” – Wikipedia

Without an understanding of history and what this means, we cannot understand what is happening in Iraq. In actuality, we went to Iraq to defeat Saddam Hussein, operation Iraqi freedom was supposed to free the Iraqis from the oppressive rulership of Saddam. We won that war in 2003. The problem is that we did not, and do not understand the region and what happens to a region when Church equals State. Winning the war was easy what we are unable to win is the peace. Why is it that we cannot with the peace for the Iraqi people?

Imagine that instead of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, as political parties, we had Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Imagine too, that the Christians, are further divided between Roman Catholics and the various groups of Protestants. In this scenario our government is run by the Roman Catholic group of Christians. They declare Catholicism as the ruling religion of the country, banning the practice of any other religions. Now, Texas is predominately Baptist. Texas is an important region because of its oil fields. New York City, which is largely Jewish, is also important because of its financial institutions. The country is under oppressive Catholic rule, many who rebel against being forced to worship in Catholic Churches are being massacred. Now a third party, let’s imagine it is China with an economic stake in the stability of our country, and with no religious leanings, enters our country to free us from the oppressive Catholic rule and manages to defeat the strong-hold of the Catholic government. With the mighty Catholic military disbanded, the other Christian groups, begin to fight for power amongst themselves. At the same time, the Jews and Muslims begin to gather strength in their own states to gain religious control over our country for the sake of their own religions and our country becomes divided into religious territories.

In the midst of all this turmoil created by the dismantling of the strong Catholic Military, China decides to back a Muslim government. Backed by the Chinese military, the Muslim government begins to enter each state and take control. Jews, Baptist, and even Catholics rise up to prevent this from happening – China calls these religious groups, “insurgents” that must be put down. The only way is to cleanse the regions of each group, city by city. Feeling that if our country is taken over by the Chinese backed Muslims it will be the greatest offense against God, Jews, Christians, and Catholics come from all over the world to join in the fight against the Muslim government, seen by many as a puppet regime of the Chinese trying to control the worship of God in the US. The biggest battles are being waged in Texas, where the Baptist, many of them devout Christian Fundamentalists, refuse to allow the rich resources of their state to go to the benefit of the Chinese backed Muslim government. However, violent fighting among all of the religions ensues nationwide as each religion attempts to build a stronghold in a particular state. Money, guns, and ammunition are being smuggled into the country by Protestants, Jews and even Catholics from around the world to support the fight of their particular religion. All of the religious groups are united in their animosity towards China because each group sees that the only peace that China can bring to our country, will cost each religion their faith in God. This scenario is imaginary – only because of the First Amendment to The Constitution.

We have had four hundred years of desire and practice in the separation of church and state. We have had four hundred years of living side by side with so many religions that we forget the world before. We think of ourselves as a nation and its people, not of a religious faith and the affront to God of any other faith existing in the same territory.

The “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia was the Orthodox Christian Serbians “cleansing” the country of Muslims. The conflicts in Israel are not Arab vs. Israeli, they stem from the fact that Israel was established as and needs to remain a Jewish State. If the Palestinians, mostly Muslim and Christian were granted the same rights under the law as Jews, which would of course include full voting rights, Israel would soon cease to be a Jewish State, in effect, it would cease to be Israel. In India, the religious and political battle over rulership of the country was between the Hindus and the Muslims, it was only resolved by the formation of the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”.

Religion has no borders. Shiite Muslims will fight from all over the world with and for the Shiite Muslims in Iraq, Sunni’s will fight from all over the world with and for the Sunni Muslims in Iraq. The people of the United States are here because they have chosen to live or remain after birth in a country where one is first an American Citizen and then a Catholic, Baptist, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian or Jew. Because of the separation of church and state that we enjoy, loyalty to the country does not require loyalty to a particular form of worship. This is our Democracy. It is the Democracy, envisioned by our Constitution, which can only survive in a nation where there is an explicit separation of Church and State. Today there are 56 religious based “conflicts” including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Thailand, Uganda, Chechnya, the Philippines, Kurdistan, Nigeria, Sudan, the Middle East and Kosovo. The Problem with our intervention in any religious conflict, the problem with any outside intervention in any religious conflict is that whatever group we back, we are backing a religion. In removing one religion from power and replacing it with the only alternative, another religion, we simply buy a temporary cease fire. Soon enough the worshipers of the defeated faith, feeling repressed, afraid, and more determined than ever to fight in the name of God, will gather support from the unlimited well of followers devoted to their faith, and God and rise up, and continue the battle. It is not a battle that is won or lost on earth but in Heaven. It is not a battle for a place on earth but for a place in Heaven. If they lose their place on land by fighting and sacrificing their lives in the name of God, they guarantee their place in Heaven.

We have won the war in Iraq that we set out to win. We cannot win the peace, because we are fighting a battle over borders, and they are fighting a battle over love, honor and devotion to God. Where Church, Temple, Mosque, or Ashram, equals State, we can only make things worse.

If there is any lesson that we should learn from this, it is that what prevents us from becoming them, what prevents the United States from becoming Iraq, Serbia, or any of the other nations embroiled in religious wars, is the First Amendment. Those who would like to see it abolished, or even relaxed should pay close attention to what is happening in Africa, Asia and the middle east because the First Amendment is all that separates us from them.

We must Change the way we Choose to Change The Way we Live

The changes over the past eight years have made me consider for the first time, the meaning of being an American.  In the past, whenever I thought in terms of being an American , I thought about being born in the country governed by the Constitution, a document I still find to be awe inspiring.  But over the past eight years, being an American has come to mean something else.  It means being a part of a nation symbolized by George W. Bush.  In a very real way, his decisions have been a reflection of me, as an American, his beliefs have been a reflection of mine, as an American.  Because we, as Americans have placed him in the highest office, chosen him to be our face our thoughts, our decisions, and our voice, to ourselves, and to the world.  So, being an American over the past eight years has meant being Quick Draw McGraw, with little need or respect for education, history, those considered experts, or being held accountable for the result of my actions.

When we elect a President we are electing the symbol of who we are as a nation and as a people.  And even if we are not thinking about it at the time, somehow it just seems to happen that way.  Being a citizen of a nation has a different quality based upon that nations leadership at the time.  Being a citizen of the United States had a different quality during the time of slavery.  Being a citizen of Germany had a different quality during the time of Hitler.  Being a citizen of a nation is not about real estate, it is about the beliefs, values, and integrity of the leadership – especially in the case of elected leadership.  “You will know him by his works” – well, our works, in this case, are that ballots that we cast.  We can try to distance ourselves, we can point the finger, but  to paraphrase a statement made by someone in the Bush white house when asked about why they do not consider the overwhelming desire of the people to get out of Iraq,  the response was, “The people have one opportunity to make a decision, that is on election day every four years”.  That being the case, I think that it is time we seriously change the way that we decide.

Now, when George W was running for President, other than what turned out to be a Washington outbreak of sexual promiscuity, led by President Clinton and followed closely behind by most of the officials seeking his impeachment.  Other than that we were not really facing any major crises.  The only imagined threat at the time to the stability of our nation as a result of the attention paid to President Clinton’s infidelity, came from the Gay community seeking the same rights as all other human beings.  “Morality” being the only major issue facing our candidates – paved the way for the self-named moral majority to take over and elect the one person who was White, Male and embraced Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, even though he stumbled on two syllable words, failed in almost every business venture that he was involved in, did cocaine, had a major alcohol problem, fudged his service record and carried a six shooter.  In the country’s desperation to find a president as far from Bill Clinton as possible, we went from a Rhodes Scholar to George W.

George W ran a dirty mudslinging campaign; and his right to the office of President will forever be tainted by doubt.  There were not enough of us really looking at the man we were electing to symbolize and guide our country.

The President leads the country.  We do as he does.  During President Reagan’s administration, the country was one big Hollywood movie set, everything including shoulders were big.  During President Clinton’s administration there was a great number of people in the government, in the clergy and in the populace who were secretly using their dipsticks indiscriminately.  Sex became bigger than the shoulder pads on Dallas.  Now, during the Bush administration we took out our six shooters and waged war, greed went over the top, and education was given the same respect as he gave it, which meant that if the country did not have a huge gambling addiction and played lotto, most if not all of the nation’s public schools would be forced to shut down.  The war that we want out of, was supported by the majority of the people in the country – and we cared as little about getting more information before jumping in as the President did. President Bush has charged up a national debt of $9,571,086,623,544.22 – and he is looking to increase the nation’s credit limit by 3.1 trillion dollars.  So, since the country seems to follow its leader, and its leader spends, spends, spends and tells the people to spend, spend, and spend some more in order to boost the economy, we did, to the tune of approximately 2.5 trillion dollars in household debt.

Here we are again, approaching that one day every four years when we have the opportunity to participate in the future direction of our country and our lives.  We are faced with a war that Senator McCain said could last 100 years; a war, by the way, that we can’t afford to pay for.  So now we must choose the candidate who has the integrity, beliefs, values and concerns that we want to represent us for the next four to eight years.  The first and easiest way to judge a candidate is how he runs his race.  Remember the saying, “It’s not whether you win or lose that counts, it’s how you play the game.”  Is the campaign honest and above board, or does it throw honesty and integrity to the wind?  Does the candidate play fair or hit below the belt?  Will he win because he is the best man for the job, or because he used performance enhancing tactics instead of his own fitness to come in first?

When a candidate spends all of his time talking about what the other candidate did or didn’t do, will or will not do, that candidate is clearly not very strong on what he himself has done or will do.  We need to vote for the candidate with the best agenda and the realistic means of fulfilling it.  We need to choose a candidate because we are intelligently informed as to what the candidate plans to do about the many crises facing our nation and the world.  Our candidates need to convince us, not why we should not elect his opponent, but why we should  elect him.  They need to convince us that they have a well thought out plan, that their plan will work, and most importantly HOW their plan will work.

We need economic plans from the candidates that can be critiqued by experts as to their viability, and the cost to us in programs, or taxes, because we will pay somewhere.  I believe that we should know in advance before we vote, where the bill will have to be paid.

For our healthcare crisis, what are their plans and how will they work?  And for Iraq, if one candidate has a plan to pull out, how and what will we leave behind?  If the other candidate plans to stay until we win, what does winning the war in Iraq look like?  And how does winning the war in Iraq influence Islamic Jihad throughout the entire region?  How does an increase in troops create a meaningful lasting peace between warring religious factions?  And what about eliminating our dependency on oil, foreign or otherwise and replacing it with more eco friendly fuel sources?  What about the issue of global warming and the effect it is having on our economy and our food supplies.  We need the plan, we need the timetable, and we need to know that we have the time left to implement whatever it is.

Anyone old enough to vote, is old enough to understand the answers to these questions.  We need the answers to these questions.  We need to choose – not based upon who can sling the most mud the fastest – we need to vote for the candidate who, in our minds best represents us, and has the best agenda for the well being of the people of this country.  It is not an issue of experience, because – no one in history has faced so much before.  No one has the experience to handle all of the crises on our plate, but someone must have the wisdom and foresightedness to do so.

We don’t need one candidate to tell on the other like little children, he did this no he did that – we need men, who don’t need to point fingers to win, who can stand on their own two feet, with confidence in their own agenda’s and their own records and with these things, along with honor and integrity – face the nation as candidates worthy of being President of The United States.  And we, need to vote with our brains, for the man who best represents our needs – because we only get one chance to do the most important thing in our lives and the lives of our children once every four years.  This time, knowing how much can change in the blink of an eye, we need to demand to be informed.  We need to demand an honest election.  We need candidates who trust that we will make the right choice given the right information, just as they expect us to trust them with our nation and our lives.

Is Barack Obama a Super Star?

It is difficult to know how to process the idea that a presidential candidate can fill a stadium to the same capacity as a rock star. But think about it, how does a rocker become a rock star? It’s all about the music. Before we see their faces, we hear their music – and if the music hits us in just that certain way, if it makes us feel something that other music does not make us feel – we become captivated. When we see the singer or group, we want to feel that we can believe that the music and the instrument are one. If they are, it brings us a sense of peace, if they are not, regardless of the music or the instrument that it comes from we feel a discord. We want our apples from an apple tree. We may love oak trees, but we will never trust an apple if it comes from one.

Barack Obama looks like a character out of a Norman Rockwell painting who overdosed on bronzers. He looks like Huckleberry Fin out in the sun too long. He just looks like an average American. From his first speech at the Democratic National Convention, his story sounds like a story out of the “American Dream Book”:

“My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin- roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.
But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that’s shown as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before him. While studying here my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor, my grandfather signed up for duty, joined Patton’s army, marched across Europe. Back home my grandmother raised a baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the GI Bill, bought a house through FHA and later moved west, all the way to Hawaii, in search of opportunity. And they too had big dreams for their daughter, a common dream born of two continents. My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or “blessed,” believing that in a tolerant America, your name is no barrier to success.”

Black people say that he wouldn’t face the problems that he faces if he were White. White people say that he wouldn’t get the attention that he gets if he were White. There are Black people who don’t trust him because he is not Black enough. There are White people who don’t trust him because he is too Black. Still he packs them in from both races.

I worked in the Title Insurance industry it had functioned the same way for decades. Because it was different than other industries and very set in its ways of functioning, it almost always hired from within. When I first tried to get a job there at a company in that business I was told that it was just too costly to train someone from the outside. Years later I entered the industry as a temp and ended up making it a career. When my Boss was asked to open his own office, he put me in charge of staffing.

The majority of the staff that I hired were, like I was, from outside the industry. This was because I felt that the way the industry functioned was outdated and financially wasteful. I was not going to hire a staff from within the industry because it would be too costly to untrain them. Experience is just another word for habit. If someone is experienced in doing things in a system that is failing, it merely means that they are experienced at working within a failing system. Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”. No system can be changed by the same level of consciousness that created it either. If we want a change – we must look outside of the box. And you can’t get more outside of the box than Barak Obama And yet, at the same time he exemplifies the best of the box, he represents the purest form of the American Dream. He is not anti-war, not a peacenik. In that same speech in 2004, he said:

“I thought of the 900 men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors who won’t be returning to their own hometowns. I thought of the families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one’s full income or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or nerves shattered, but still lacked long-term health benefits because they were Reservists.
When we send our young men and women into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they are going, to care for their families while they’re gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return and to never, ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace and earn the respect of the world. Now, let me be clear. Let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued. And they must be defeated.”

Yes, he is outside of the box, but think about it, isn’t the outside of the box supposed to let you know what is inside? How does he represent what is inside the box of the United States of America?
He says this:

…If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child.
If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent.
If there’s an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.
It is that fundamental belief — it is that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sisters’ keeper — that makes this country work.
It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family: “E pluribus unum,” out of many, one.
Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.
Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.
There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.
The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.
We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the red states.
There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.
We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.
…“I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.
Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope: In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation, a belief in things not seen, a belief that there are better days ahead.
I believe that we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity.
I believe we can provide jobs for the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair.
I believe that we have a righteous wind at our backs, and that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices and meet the challenges that face us.”

Those who fear the fact that this country is a melting pot fear Barack Obama – he is the product of our melting pot. But he is not a superstar. He is the appropriate voice for the message that our forefathers created 222 years ago when they met to define our country. He is not a superstar, we gather around the world to hear him speak, partly because his is a message that we, the people of the world, need desperately to believe in again. Yet, it is even more than that – more than anything it is because that little voice inside of each of us tells us that he believes his message. He believes that we can be more than the capital of Capitalism. He believes that we can be, once again, “One Nation, under God – Indivisible… with Liberty and Justice for All.” And most of all, he believes in us.