I am still too much in shock from what the Republicans have done to America and to the world to so blindly jump on another bandwagon and espouse the Democrats’ philosophy so completely. I may never recover from what George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and others have done, I feel I have lost all faith and “hope” in any government, in any politician. I am totally disillusioned with the world of politics.
I am now considering wild ideas to reform everything, take a huge step back and think how we could change the whole political system overnight. I find it so hard to support any politician these days, if I could vote to get them all exterminated and start anew, believe me, I would.
So, when they presented me this new politician called Barack Hussein Obama II, branding him as the new modern and young President of tomorrow who will save us all, you bet I had my doubts. So I decided to read his book “The Audacity of Hope”. I thought, he will most probably be the next American President, I might as well find out what he is about.
Then after reading the prologue and the first chapter, and yawning out of control, I realized that it was a lot of talk and wind, just like many other politicians, with no firm commitment. So I did a bit of research and read instead his blueprint for change, his plan for America, which you can find on his website. I thought, this is where I will see if there is substance behind the great speeches.
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Here is the PDF, you should read it
How are we supposed to find the time to read all these things? Sometimes I understand why most people don’t bother reading anything about who they will vote for, and then, I understand how people like George W. Bush become President. I will read all of this even if it kills me in the end, after all, it is my duty as an ordinary citizen, it is all our duty to know who we vote for.
It is 64 pages long and it took me one afternoon to read. Well, it was worth reading, even though I’m still wondering if this is just political propaganda in order to get elected, or if this will seriously become an elaborate strategy for the next presidency.
It is clear indeed that the man identified many problems in American politics and society, it suggests he might actually do something about it, since it is part of his big political plan. He does not talk about religion, I suppose it means it is not one of his priorities, thank God! He does not mention gay issues either, hopefully it does not mean that secretly he is very much against the idea of gay marriages or even gay relationships (we won’t talk about gay sex, of course).
Reading his blueprint, I have to say, I am impressed by what Obama says he intends to do once in the oval office. He used to be a political blogger, and he speaks like one. He gives the impression of having read most of them, it must have helped him no end to develop his blueprint, as it seems to me that he says everything we want to hear, almost. Is it too good to be true or should we be weary?
You know, I wonder if all Presidents who enter their office start with so much idealism and convictions, and that ultimately the system fails them and nothing they intended to do gets done. Obama does kind of say in his book that no Democrat government would be able to achieve these grand schemes unless Republicans also wish to see America get out of the mud and sort itself out.
If truly Obama will go out of his way to end this corporate lobbying getting all that they want and controlling everything in Washington by financing political campaigns, if truly he will bring about transparency and end the abuse of the last administration, and invest so much on all sorts of social securities, maybe he could restore my faith in the Democrats. Well, if they are all mostly asleep, at least I know the President will not be.
Is this what people supporting Obama have been reading, his blueprint for change? No wonder Hillary Clinton was beaten. Sounds like a utopia, but that’s what we need right now, any kind of crazy idea, anything but Bush and the Republicans.
There are so many “Obama will do this”, and “Obama will do that”, or try to anyway, that one wonders where he will find the money for all his reforms and social securities.
Silly me, if we were able to spend so many billions on those wars in the Middle East, I guess if we were to stop them, Obama will have enough money for all his reforms, and more. I suppose also that the end of tax breaks to large corporations alone, will bring enough billions to build the new health care program and educational reforms he is hoping for, that we are all hoping for.
About his new energy policy though, vowing to renewable fuels and ethanol, I would think he should be aware by now that the food crisis is due mostly to that, the use of land for fuel instead of growing food. Which highlights his serious omission of anything about the worldwide food crisis in his plan.
It is true that people in America are not starving that much compared to the rest of the world, and maybe it was not such a burning issue for Obama and the Americans. Still, it is a bit shortsighted if Obama’s politics will not be as self-centered toward Americans as Bush’s policies have been. And what about investing heavily on nuclear energy? Is this still part of the plan?
When I lived in Los Angeles for almost a year, a few years ago, I identified many areas which were problematic in my new job for a small company. I have written a book about it called “Corporate America, Hell on Earth”, available on my website for free:
I was astonished by how merciless America could be in the work environment and how little security was provided to anyone. In fact, within nine months, half the company had been sacked on the spot without pay, the other half was living in fear of the same thing happening to them, and others were mercilessly demoted, humiliated and hurt emotionally beyond salvation. I thought no one could work under those conditions.
What I witnessed was far from being the land of the free. We were treated like prisoners chained to our desks, with dire consequences if we could not produce miracle results. I think I succeeded in walking on water once or twice, as this is what was expected of me, whilst I worked over 80 hours a week through all my holidays, and yet, it was never enough to satisfy their greed.
Obama seems to have identified many of those corporate problems, mostly for women, and I hope he will go further. I wish he will deliver on these points which may not seem that important, but in fact are more important than anything else for our own personal happiness. Overall, our own existence is very much what we spend most of our time doing, our daily job. I don’t care being poor, at least I wish to be happy, not suicidal as I was then in America.
When you work in a horrible corporate environment, fearing for your security, under emotional distress, you quickly reach breaking point and depression. For me, these issues are as important as health care: providing security and happiness at work, not a stressful environment where making money becomes so important, if you do not perform 200%, and make the company at least a million dollar in the first six months, you are fired without financial support or safety net to fall back on. And bye bye health insurance.
Obama is also trying to fix the health care system, when in fact, it is flawed at the core and salvaging it is simply impossible. It may prove useless in the end the way he wishes to go about it. He should scrap the whole health care industry and system, and get inspiration from countries like Canada, France, Germany and the rest of Europe. Even Poland has an excellent health care system for everyone, better than the British one, I have been told.
You cannot have a health system based on capitalism, that is the obvious flaw, is it not? Corporations should have nothing to do with paying health insurances for their employees. Health insurance should have nothing to do with getting a job good enough in order to get access to such insurance or being able to afford one.
The government should pay for everything for everyone through general taxes, as simple as that. Why complicate your life with all these health insurances that are all different from insurance company to insurance company, from corporation to corporation, from State to State?
Eliminating all this bureaucracy and this health privatization, would save a lot of money and headaches, and would insure that every single American gets the exact same treatment nationwide whether they are rich or poor, whether they are working or not, whether they have a great job or a dead end one, whether they are living in California or Alaska, whatever their skin color, whatever if they are illegal immigrants or not.
By the way, I am aware of many Americans crossing the border to Quebec in order to benefit from free health care, and I am not bothered by it in the slightest. We can afford it, we all can afford universal health care, and we should offer it to everyone. It is one of the most basic human rights. Or else, we play God by deciding who has the right to live and who should die. We all deserve to live, don’t we? We are all equals, don’t we?
Some countries have solved these problems a long time ago, is it that difficult for politicians to look at what is happening elsewhere and draw some inspiration from it? It is time for radical thinking and radical change. There is no better time than now.
About immigration, I am a bit afraid of what Obama said. It seems he wants to build a Wall of China all around America, and uncover every single illegal worker in existence. He also wishes to let in only the cream of the crop, inviting a brain drain from the rest of the world.
At least he did say that he would like to facilitate the twelve million supposed illegal immigrants to gain citizenship, and that would be about time. They are after all the new American slaves sustaining the economy, no government can deny that. Which is precisely why Great Britain was one of three countries within the European Union to allow any Polish immigrant to come in and work in the U.K. We still need our slaves.
As an immigrant myself, I suffered the whole brunt of what it means to be an undesirable. Even though I am a Canadian immigrant, that I have a Masters degree, that I can contribute to society and that I am here legally. Gosh, I suffered greatly and I am still suffering. I don’t have my British citizenship yet after 15 years in the country, I simply cannot afford it, now that I am allowed to request it. It only took me 14 years to get that right (I am gay, living in a 15 year old relationship).
On the subject of not being able to afford the essential, Obama points out that 37 million Americans live in poverty. There are more Americans living under the poverty line, than there are Canadians in this world (I think there are 27 million Canadians now). Imagine, a whole population, larger by ten million than the whole Canadian population, living in poverty within the United States of America. I am unable to conceptualize this fact.
It makes you think twice about helping the poor in other countries, or launching costly wars on the other side of the planet, when at home you have that serious a crisis. If all 27 million Canadians were poor, we could not even afford a military, help anyone or dictate anything in the whole world. No way would we have such a percentage of our population being so poor, or would we leave them in such dire straight. Is there any compassion out here, or just selfishness, just pure capitalism?
And I am one of them. As a civil servant in England, I cannot see how I could possibly ever buy a car, let alone a house, and I don’t understand how people can afford to have kids, I can’t even feed my parrot. There is a God, as I will not have to pay for his education, which let’s face it, should be free for everyone. Or else, here comes the elitist society where discrimination is the law. Don’t tell me we cannot afford it, as I know better. I have seen where we are spending all our money, I know it would be better spent elsewhere. Responsible spending is one of Obama’s main points.
True, I am in England now, where everything is much more expensive. However, I found that when I was living in the United States, it was quickly becoming just the same. Fifteen years ago, we used to pay twice more for anything we wanted, but not now, you pay as much as we do. That pair of shoes costs you exactly the same, and beyond shoes, it may even cost you more. Standard of living is dropping rapidly worldwide, it is called humanity’s evolution.
About Civil Rights, I think Obama is not going far enough. Bill of Rights is mentioned three times in his political plan, in the context of “credit cards’ bill of rights”. The word Constitution is mentioned once, and it is about Iraq’s Constitution.
I understand that Black and Hispanic Americans (and women and gays) suffer a lot about their civil rights in America, or lack thereof, however, at this crucial time, the Patriot Act and other laws from Bush are more worrying for the population as a whole.
How can you have a whole blueprint of what you would do once in power at this time, without stating that you will restore the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as they were before George W. Bush came to power? How can you not even mention anything about those unwarranted spying laws, the lost of privacy, the lost civil rights of every American? After all, most political blogs talk only of that.
Should we assume then that Barack Obama has no intention of reversing those unpatriotic laws that the Republicans pushed into Congress? Because then, no matter what Obama intends to do in order to help the Black (and the Hispanic) community, it will prove totally useless. I’m sure they will be the first ones who will suffer the most from this new abuse of power that the police, the prosecution and the spying agencies have gained under Bush.
Obama might have talked about this in other speeches, I don’t know. However, it should be in his blueprint, so we can hold him accountable. Civil rights right now, is no small political issue. We need clear assurance that the Democrats will redress the situation, or else it might be worth voting independent, any independent candidate.
And dear me, don’t talk to me about reforming the broken death penalty system right before stating that torture is not acceptable. Death penalty should be banned altogether from any civilized society, especially when one understands how the whole criminal system works nowadays. Another important political issue not mentioned. As far as we know, under Bush, we are all criminals at the moment.
About Obama foreign policy’s ideas, it sounds easy and wonderful, but a bit vague. How he intends to achieve what he proposes, I don’t know. Nevertheless, he favors diplomacy with everyone; he wants to get out of Iraq within 16 months; he does not wish to attack Iran; and he wants to work towards a Palestinian State. So I feel this is a good beginning for some sort of worldwide peace, so we could finally concentrate on what’s going on at home.
He could have mentioned working with the United Nations though, he does sound like he will lead an international coalition and that he intends everyone to respond and rally behind American leadership. Well, I’m sorry, but diplomacy is everyone working together, not America dictating once again what should be done, and then go on to buy out everyone else into believing that this is the right course of action. And if that does not work, do it the Bush way and go about it alone, breaking all international laws.
On building a 21st Century Military, Obama believes we need more soldiers and more Marines, and better military equipment. I can’t really say anything on these points, I have no clue if this is necessary in America right now, since there is no transparency about what is really going on.
All I know is that whenever someone says we need more policemen and policewomen on the streets, I shiver, and wonder, do we? It seems to me that we will all be their next target, whether we deserve it or not.
The only reason I am now actually just reticent, instead of being scandalized at the idea that we need to invest more in the military, is because I just watched two documentaries about the Falklands War. If it was just for defense purposes, then yes, we need to insure that we can defend ourselves against anything. If it is for attack, pre-emptive strikes and policing the world, just like under the Bush/Cheney’s regime, no, we do not need to invest one more cent into the military. What we need, is to spend much less on military and reallocate this money to social securities and eliminating poverty within America.
Unless they could train those soldiers to help communities, build things instead of destroying them, it is not worth considering spending any more on an already out of control military budget, which has recently brought the nation near bankruptcy, in financing these unnecessary pre-emptive strikes in the Middle East.
As to this whole last chapter about helping the Veterans’ Affairs, me, who is so against over militarization, find it hard to see the need to turn this into a political presidential election issue. I suppose it is important to care for Veterans, as it is so traumatizing to go to war and to get back to some sort of normal civil life afterwards. We are all now suffering from post-war syndrome, we could all benefit from that money.
But the real problem is not that we need to invest so much more in Veterans’ Affairs, the real problem is that we should never have gone to war in the first place unless it was for defense purposes. But now that we did go to war for no reason, as usual, I guess we might as well pay for it, again and again, forever. And perhaps insure that we don’t in the future put citizens in such position to mentally wreck their lives needlessly, so no one will ever become that dysfunctional.
And while we are at it, if our own veterans are so traumatized by what they did in those countries, we might wish to reconsider what it is that they do in those countries. And to also help the chaos and psychological collective nightmare they must have caused in those other civilian communities. I bet they are as distressed as our veterans, the ones who survived at least.
Overall, Barack Obama’s blueprint for change is inspiring, and if somehow he is capable of achieving half of that in his first mandate, I think he might turn out to be the most successful American President in recent times (which, let’s be honest, cannot be that difficult). His plan shows many links to past achievements in Illinois whilst in the Senate, which prove that this is just not words, but there is substance to the man.
Which reminds me, I have not started yet investigating all the negative ads the Republicans are putting out on him, with all their millions and billions they spend on their political campaign… got to do that soon.
I don’t really wish to support the Democrats, neither the Republicans, but you know, I would not mind to see Barack Obama as the next American President. Something exciting might happen and we might witness some real needed change. I hope history will not prove me wrong in saying so.
Promises, promises… will one ever finally deliver on those promises? Will that be Barack Obama?
Obama wants feedback on his blueprint, a copy of this article has been sent to him. Please, do the same, send him your own feedback here: http://my.barackobama.com/page/s/contact2
He is more likely going to listen to you before the elections, than after. We are all well aware of that now, after George W. Bush, who never listened to the voice of the people he was supposed to represent.
Before and after an election, are two whole different worlds. There is no reason to make it easy for anyone to get to power and to suddenly start dictating our destiny out of our control. Enjoy the little control you have right now, before the elections are over.
This article is an excerpt of the book Destructivism, The Path to Self-Destruction, written by Roland Michel Tremblay. It is available online for free on his website:
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