Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Two Views of Obama

Obama's Super Tuesday night speech, part one. Part two is here.

My dad wrote last week about his reservations about Barack Obama:
As I listen to him I keep hearing an imbedded message (at least to my ears) "The government can solve all our problems - whether it's health care for everyone, full employment or retirement .. you name it." There doesn't seem to be a call for personal responsibility. It seems that lots of people are expressing an entitlement to solution without taking responsiblity for themselves and the Obama message, to me, seem to support that thinking.
I'm hearing almost exactly the opposite. I like Obama because he seems to me to be the only candidate challenging us to give more than a check and a vote. I hear him challenging parents to take control of what their kids watch on tv, instead of waiting for the government to step in. I read frank talk in his energy policy:
Over the longer term, we know that the amount of fuel we will use is directly related to our land use decisions and development patterns, much of which have been organized around the principle of cheap gasoline. Barack Obama believes that we must move beyond our simple fixation of investing so many of our transportation dollars in serving drivers and that we must make more investments that make it easier for us to walk, bicycle and access other transportation alternatives.
No other candidate has the guts to actually talk about parking our cars! Obama talks first had about his own experiences volunteering in his community, and he challenges us to take responsibility for our communities by becoming participants, not just cynical observers. He has described the call to public service like this:
I won't just ask for your vote as a candidate; I will ask for your service and your active citizenship when I am president of the United States. This will not be a call issued in one speech or program; this will be a cause of my presidency.”
Every time he speaks, Obama warns us that the change we seek will require sacrifices. Last night he echoed Gandhi's phrase "Be the change you wish to see in the world," with a tag line "We are the ones we've been waiting for."

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