Sunday, August 3, 2008

Obama IS America! Blog Purpose and Instructions

WELCOME to the Obama IS America! campaign blogspot.

 

The purpose of this blog is twofold.

  • We intend to start a movement of REDEFINITION. We want YOU, our readers, to redefine the meaning of the word ‘American’ based on YOUR OWN PERSONAL STORY. We believe that the American identity at heart has the potential to be inclusive of everybody and we want people to write to us and tell us in their own words what makes them American and what they think it means to be American today. While this blog is called Obama IS America! we accept stories from all people, regardless of your ethnicity, religion, where you are from, or your political views—as long as you keep your words clean and respectful.
  • We feel that in order for the United States to continue to progress and grow in a positive way, it is imperative that Obama win this upcoming presidential election. Thus, the second purpose of this blog is to show that Obama is the BEST candidate for presidency and will be the best representative of America as it is now and the best shaper of how it will be in the future. The rationale for this is made more clear in Part II of this blog entry.  

 

 NOTE: This blog is a communal work-in-progress, so if you have any questions, comments, concerns, complaints, feedback, additions you would like to make to a post that has already been written, or if you would like to add a posting of your own, please email:

 obama.is.america@gmail.com 

Thank you.







Part I: the blog.

As we have all probably noticed, 2008 is a year of change and shift all around the world. Domestically in the United States, we are currently embroiled in a political contest to see who is going to be the next President of the United States of America: leader of the “Free World”; leader of the most economically and militarily powerful nation; leader of one of the most influential countries in the world. Whoever becomes the next president of the US is going to be responsible for healing a wounded nation, taking responsibility for the ravages that the Iraq war has had abroad and at home, and for managing and healing the US’s tarnished international image. The next president will not only manage domestic affairs, but will also have a major impact on international economic, social and political integration. The organizers of Obama IS America! obviously feel that Barack Obama is the best candidate for the job, and have become impassioned enough by the strength of his message to try to make change ourselves by opening up a forum for positive discussion through the best tool at our disposal: the Internet.

We will first give you a brief explanation of what we want from you and of what we are trying to do. Below that you can find a more lengthy analysis of why we feel that Obama is a realistic representation of the American people as they are now and as they will be in the future.

First of all, we feel that there needs to be a redefinition of what is considered to be ‘American.’  From a legal perspective, ‘American’ can be considered as anyone who has US citizenship or is a legal permanent resident of this country. Realistically, there are many people who live in this country undocumented, who have overstayed their visas, or are outside of the above definition of ‘American’ in some other way, but who still contribute significantly to the American landscape, to the demographic, social, economic and political realities of this country, and who themselves absorb America into their lives on a daily basis as residents of this country. There are also many people—Native Americans and African Americans, for instance—who have been a part of ‘America’ from the very beginning (or for long before) this country’s existence and yet are not recognized to be a part of the ‘traditional’ definition of American. Yet at the end of the day, the historically undeniable truth is that the United States of America was born diverse, multicultural, and through the migration of people.  It has been this way since even before the USA even began its existence as a country. Until we openly recognize ourselves as living in and being a part of a cohesive society, there will always be certain groups in society who will remain without and who will continue to be denied the rights legally granted to them by the Constitution. We will continue to feel that there is not enough wealth or power to share with everyone in our borders, and we will continue to segregate and separate ourselves from each other.

The idea behind this blog is to show the American public and the world that ANYBODY can be an American. We seek to reclaim the word patriot as truly meaning those patriotic to the American dream, the American ideology, and the American spirit, which at heart seeks to provide freedom, fairness, justice and equality to ALL human beings. The Obama IS America! campaign seeks to create a space where the people themselves can redefine traditional concepts of what it is to be ‘American’ by telling their own stories of what makes them American. We at Obama IS America feel that Obama is a reflection of what it is to be American based on his family background and his passion for this country and its people.  We invite you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue with other readers of this blog and with American society as a whole.

If you would like to participate in this endeavor, please send your story to obama.is.america@gmail.com and we will post it up on the blog. You don’t have to be a writer or a scholar. It doesn't matter how long or short your contribution is. You just need to have an open and curious mind and have something to say that openly and honestly comes from your heart. If you are not an Obama supporter, but would still like to tell your story about how you came to be an American, you are more than welcome to send the story to the above address. We invite you to ask readers any questions you may have about Obama, his policies, his ideologies, etc. if you seek to further understand this candidate for the 2008 Presidential race.

 

So what are we looking for in these stories? We want you to talk about at least some of the following things:

 

How did you come to be an American? For example, were you born here? Is all of your family from here? Did your parents move from somewhere else but you were born here? Are you an immigrant who you grew up here? Something else perhaps?

What does it mean to you to be an American? Ok, so you have told us how you came to be an American, so what does it mean to YOU to be an American? What is your personal definition of this? Are you unsure and you want to ask blog readers about what they think?

What do you do in your daily life? Where do you work? What do you do for fun? How do you participate in the American economy and labor market? Are you socially or politically active? How do you contribute to American culture and American society?

How do you/Do you think Obama represents America? Politically, culturally, family history, etc. What would you feel about a McCain presidency?

How do you/Do you think Obama represents you as an American? What do you think will be the impact of an Obama presidency on you, your loved ones, and American society as a whole? What do you think would be the impact of a McCain presidency?

 

If you are interested in contributing or letting people know about this project, we would LOVE to read your submission! You can write whatever you want and in whatever format, as long as it is CLEAN AND RESPECTFUL.  This goes for all bloggers, regardless of political affiliation, whether you are a liberal or conservative, or anything else for that matter.  If you are not an Obama supporter or are not sure about your stance on Obama but see the value in this project, you are welcome to talk about your Obama doubts, ask questions, and see what kind of responses you get to your blog posting.

If you film any videos talking about how you feel that ‘Obama is America’ and want to upload them on youtube, send the link to obama.is.america@gmail.com and we will favorite them on our youtube username and post them up on the blog as well.


Thank you for your participation!








Part II: our logic for why we believe that OBAMA IS AMERICA!!!!!

Obama IS America. We have chosen to start this campaign because we and many others feel that Obama is a realistic reflection of the people of the United States on multiple levels.  His personal background reflects the ethnic, religious, political and historical demographics of this great nation. His political and ethical backgrounds reflect the beauty, depth and justice that the founding fathers attempted to instill in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Finally, we truly feel that an Obama presidency will be the great change and lungful of fresh air that this country and the whole world needs in order set us back on track on the path toward achieving peace in the future.

We will begin this conversation by discussing Obama’s family, considering that family is one of the most powerful determining factors of influence on a human being. As the son of a White American woman, whose parents were responsible for helping to raise him, and as the son of a Kenyan man, Obama represents both White America and Black America. He represents these identities separately as well as in unity—separately because his parents came from two different worlds in terms of culture, nationality, and ethnicity—in unity by the fact that Barack himself is a blend of both sides of his family as well as American culture as a whole.

Additionally, it is important to point out that considering that Obama’s father was an immigrant to this country, Barack’s family background is also reflective of the 11.1% (U.S. Census 2000) of people in this country that are immigrants. We here at Obama IS America! would like to emphasize that the term 'immigrant' does not only refer to someone that has just recently arrived on the shores of this country. The word ‘immigrant’ refers to all foreign nationals (foreign born people) who have chosen to make America their home during the course of their lifetime and does not in any way refer to status as legal or illegal under US federal law. The immigrants in the United States represent almost every country in the world—a fact that makes this country one of the grandest and most cosmopolitan countries in the world!

Religiously, Obama and his wife and kids are Christian, his sister is a Buddhist, his father at one point was a Muslim (which does not automatically make him a terrorist or someone who supports terrorist activity—in fact, the percentage of Muslims that engage in terrorist activities is minuscule compared to the percentage that is not, just as the percentage of fundamentalist members of any religion [including Christianity] that participate in terrorist activities is just a small fraction of that population as a whole). Obama’s encounters with and education in the many different faiths indicate his capacity to respect the logic and mentality of different expressions of religious and spiritual faith, even though he himself may be a Christian. This respect for diversity fosters character traits that are vitally important for the President of a country as internationally powerful and domestically diverse as the United States—characteristics such as tolerance, compassion, and understanding. Yet Obama is still a Christian, representing the faith of the majority of the American population.

In terms of his socioeconomic background, Obama was raised in the average middle income home and has lived in many different parts of this country, including Kansas, Hawaii, Washington D.C, and Illinois. Obama has also had experience living abroad when he moved to Indonesia for a few years with his mother.  Living in and experiencing the culture of another country, especially one as different from the US as Indonesia has no doubt contributed to making Obama a more well rounded and tolerant person. His wife Michelle’s origins are much more similar to those of most Americans, growing up in the same neighborhood and family home. However, both Michelle and Barack have achieved the levels of success visible to the public today because they both worked their way up through the educational and professional systems of this country to the top of the power hierarchy, paying for their college educations with student loans and scholarships (according to Michelle Obama in her speech at the DNC).

It is thus difficult to understand why people refer to the Obamas as elitist. Is it because of the 'articulate' way that Obama speaks? Is it because he and Michelle, after years of hard work and Ivy League training (which they actually worked for instead of having handed to them) are now themselves amongst the upper class? These people were not born wealthy and privileged (unlike our current President and unlike John McCain). An elitist is someone who is so steeped in his or her own wealth that he/she is unable to understand or relate to the average person because all he/she knows of the world is luxury and an affluent lifestyle. Obama and his family understand all levels of class in America because they have lived and experienced these themselves. In response to this, it must be mentioned that for better or worse, wealth in this country has become something necessary and normal for any and all politicians trying to make it at the highest levels of politics due to the outrageous expenses involved in running a campaign. Perhaps someone can elaborate more on these claims of the Obamas’ elitism by commenting on this blog, because as far as we’re concerned, these accusations seem to be entirely unjustifiable.

Obama is also a reflection of this country in terms of history. His mother's family is a White, all-American family. Those of us who read the play Death of a Salesman in high school will recall the book talking about the life of a salesman and the hardships he faced in this profession during the 1940’s. Obama's grandfather was a traveling salesman trying to make a living as well. He moved his family all around the country, at one point settling down in Hawaii where his daughter met her future husband who would be Barack’s father. Barack’s mother was also a reflection of the times around her—a freethinking, open-minded woman trying to learn how to navigate the new face of America. The America she grew up in was vastly different from the America of her parents.  The America she experienced in the 60’s and 70’s was newly without segregation laws (for the first time in American history) and was embroiled in the hugely unpopular Vietnam War. Obama’s mother was one of many people attempting to embrace the New in favor of the Same, and who made it a policy to do this throughout her life, just as she tried to challenge the times and herself to be a better, wiser person and to live a life different from that of her parents. It is just as important to note that Obama's father was a Kenyan--an immigrant to this country, but one who came because he was admitted to the University of Hawaii. Obama has been to Kenya several times to visit family, and thus has a sense of the interconnectedness of this world and its impact upon the United States. It is absolutely shocking to me that his recent trip to Europe and the crowd of 215,000 people that were there to cheer for him and wave American flags has received such harsh and negative criticism.  

People internationally hate President Bush and think that this country is full of idiots for having voted twice into office a President that has blatantly ignored international treaties and convention—including those of the United Nations in its opposition to the war on Iraq, which is an organization originally created by the United States after World War II. So, it is actually quite impressive and notable to see citizens of a major European power—one of the harshest critics of the Bush regime—come out in such large numbers to support an American politician.  Not only did they show their overwhelming support of Obama through their physical presences, but they were out waving American flags. Additionally, any and all references seeking to compare Obama to Hitler are completely sick and irrelevant, especially considering that Hitler was a psychopathic control freak butcher, who most likely would have been hateful about the mere thought of a person like Obama existing in the world.

In terms of party affiliation, Obama’s family is similar to every other family in this country, where the extended family contains people who are Republican and Democrat, who are conservative and liberal, who are passionate about politics and who just don't care for politics at all. All of these people together are responsible for shaping his worldview and ultimately his passion for this country. Also, prior to being elected to the Illinois State and US Senate as a member of the Democratic Party, Obama had significant experience working for political and social justice as an organizer in New York and Chicago, and as a lawyer. He taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School, which is one of the top law schools in the country. Obama’s personal and professional backgrounds demonstrate a long-term commitment to defending and protecting the rights of all American citizens independently of an affiliation with any partisan politics.

Symbolically, the election of Obama into office will have a power that McCain's election will never be able to match. The election of Obama into office may not automatically mean that race relations in the US are better—in fact, as the recent documentary Black in America exposes, the unequal distribution of power in this country is based on racial and class hierarchies in which Black and Brown people are primarily at the bottom of the ladder and White people are primarily at the top. It exposes the fact that there is still MUCH work to be done to make the US a truly equal and fair country, but that there are many likeminded people working and fighting for change. However, psychologically, the election of a Black president will push this country forward leaps and bounds in terms of showing that America is a country were equality and fairness are held in high esteem, where any person is capable of reaching the top, regardless of what the world’s recent history has dictated that their role in society should be. An Obama presidency will be empowering for Brown and Black people in the US as well as people from countries all around the world that continue to be affected by legacies of colonialism and slavery that skin color does not have to determine success and social standing. It will show Americans and people all over the world that America truly IS the land of the free and the home of the brave. Should McCain win, his policies will most likely continue to create economic, social and political policies similar to those of President Bush—policies which are having increasingly drastic impacts on this country.

Obama IS a patriot. No, he may not have fought in a war, and Yes he wants to bring a close to the current war we are in, but he undoubtedly defends the values and vision America is built on. He ultimatly wants the same goals for Iraq that McCain has asserted he wants. In a recent interview, McCain stated that the achievement of the following goals will symbolize to him that the war has come to an end.  These are: for Iraq to be a democratic country with a transparent political process (where politicians are held accountable for what they do in order to bring an end to corruption), to have economic stability and to have a population that is strong and committed enough to stand on its own feet such that it does not need or want insurgent terrorists to be any part of the landscape that makes up its cherished home.

Let us no long continue the bad habit of associating the military and support of war with patriotism.  If we as a society keep linking these things together, we will never attain peace. The vision of Iraq outlined above will not be attained through violence, aggression and war. It will happen through peaceful and open negotiations and by diplomatically working with the people and government of Iraq with the help and support of other countries in the world—something that the Iraqi people and government have made clear that they want. This, shockingly, is also the cheapest method of bringing peace and democracy to Iraq. We here at Obama IS America! feel that the time has come for America to finally invest its time, money and attention into THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA. Shifting billions upon billions of dollars into a war abroad is NOT going to make our home economy better. Ending the war and bringing this money and our troops HOME is will ultimately STRENGTHEN America.  Diverting those billions of dollars a day being spent on this war into our schools to educate and enlighten our population and into our public healthcare system to take care of our population, into our social security system to take care of the rapidly aging Baby Boomer population—these are the things that will make America stronger and will make our economy untouchable in the long run. McCain cannot say that Obama is not a patriot on the one hand, when it is McCain's warmongering that is the ultimate expression of un-Americanism and unpatriotic behavior. Staying in the war will have drastic consequences on the very people of this country that he claims to be working on behalf of. Violence only begets more violence and destruction, whereas peacefulness and openmindedness beget growth, logic, and progression into the future. This has been the message of ALL the great activists of peace and change such as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King and President Lincoln, just to name a few.

Finally, Obama has made his ethical stance on this country quite clear in his books. Obama loves the American people and the American value system, and is committed to the goals and ideologies of the founding fathers of this country. America is a just and free land and SHOULD BE for all people that live on it. Yes, at the time they wrote these laws preaching equality, the founding fathers had slaves to whom they denied these same rights, along with all women, and anybody who didn’t own property.  But if, for a moment, you strip away the individual identities and histories of the men that wrote those documents, the idea at the core of their work is that they wanted to create a space both physically and mentally where people from anywhere could just come and BE. The pilgrims first immigrated to America in order to get away from the repression, oppression, and religious persecution that they faced in England. The point is that in order for the modern American democratic system to work in its ideal form, every citizen must be committed to keeping the process fair and open. The founding fathers laid down a foundation that would allow the system to work for itself and stay flexible to changes in society while still maintaining a balance between the different branches of government. The vision at the heart of the founding father’s message was that all citizens of the United States of America should be allowed to FREELY be themselves while still being respectful of their neighbors.  This is a mentality that has been protected and upheld by the American legal and justice system, just as much as it has been upheld by the American people themselves. Although the system has flaws and the laws are not all perfect, the system itself was created to grow and change by and for the people. THIS is what is at the core of Obama’s message—just read his books if you have a doubt!

Obama IS reflective of America. YES there should be criticism of Obama and skepticism of what he has to say, just as there should be of any politician and any candidate for the presidency. But if Obama is going to be criticized, such criticism should be logical, well thought out and based on fact and reality. This statement applies to any criticism directed toward any politician, especially those running for office.

Thus, we conclude our thoughts on some of the ways in which Obama IS America!!

This blog is dedicated to combating all the lies and distractions that exist in the media and to showing that Obama is a true reflection of the United States as it is in this day and age, the year 2008, as well as how this country is going to be in the future. The Obama IS America! campaign welcomes any and all comments, whether or not you agree with us. This is a forum for intelligent, fair-minded discussion and debate. Please keep your comments clean and respectful of all, no matter what side you take in these debates. Thank you for your time and let the discussions begin!!  





*** All of the art used in this blog entry was found on the blog "Obama Art Report" except for the 'peace' image.  That is a print by Shepherd Fairey.   The "Obama Art Report" auctions art created for Obama or under the themes of 'hope' and 'change' and donates the proceeds to the Obama Campaign.  A link has been provided for you at the top right side of this page.  Thank you***







5 comments:

Marilyn said...

I am American because I was born in this country.I am therefore an American citizen which means that I should be able to go anywhere in this country that I please and work and sell and learn and love and pursue my dreams whatever they may be. Sound corny? It's just that simple. I work in a public school system. Obama represents the idea that life could be as a loving Father would deem so. And he speaks for me in that I too would like to see a country where it's people could pursue their dreams and be at peace.

Anonymous said...

Well, I did not believe it until I saw the banner. Then I typed in the address on the banner and well, check it yourself.

http://www.obamanigeria.org/

How much are you all going to let him get away with before his actions are brought to the front page?
OBAMA REPRESENTS OTHER CONTRIES, NOT AMERICA--WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE.

Anonymous said...

THIS IS WHAT HE WILL DO WITH YOUR TEACHERS SALARY. CHECK THE WEBPAGE AND THE LINKS IN IT. THIS IS HIS REDISTRIBUTION PLAN http://www.sodahead.com/question/172292/if-obama-is-elected-will-he-set-race-relations-back-decades/

Anonymous said...

LOOK AT A JOB HE DID IN CHICAGO:
The leadership in Chicago....all Democrats:

Sens. Barack Obama & Dick Durbin
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
Gov. Rod Blogojevich
House leader Mike Madigan
Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan (daughter of Mike)
Mayor Richard M. Daley (son of former Mayor Richard J.
Daley).....

Chicago is a combat zone. Of course they're all blaming each
other.

Can't blame Republicans; there aren't any!

(Look them up if you want).


State pension fund $44 Billion in debt, worst in country.

Cook County ( Chicago ) sales tax 10.25% highest in country.

Chicago school system, one of the worst in country.

This is the political culture that Obama comes from in
Illinois .

And he's gonna 'fix' Washington politics?!

AND IN SUCH A SHORT TIME.

Obama IS America! said...

Anonymous. Here is a response to your comment #3. The words of an investment banker on Republicans and the economy. And there are more posts coming soon.