Thank you for visiting our website

Featuring breaking political news and commentary on local, state, and national issues.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Why I Support Barack Obama

Ken Kerr Bio

In Sunday's "Frederick News Post" a conservative letter writer attempted to explain why liberals (I think he means me) hate Sarah Palin. In typical Republican fashion, he begs the question by creating a fiction that liberals hate her and then proceeds to tell us why we are wrong.

In fact, I don't hate her; I actually kind of like her. There is much to admire about her. She's clever, confident, assertive, organized, and apparently fearless. I just don't agree with her. And I don't support her or John McCain.

What I hate is the McCain campaign playing fast and loose with US security by suggesting that this otherwise fine woman is a good choice to lead this nation in the event that an elderly man with a history of health issues should be unable to complete his term as president. I hope that is the last I will write about John McCain's choice.

The point of today's column is why I support Barack Obama.

Obama is a servant leader. Robert K. Greenleaf first described the Servant Leader in an essay published in 1970. In that essay, he said, "The servant-leader is servant first . . . It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first; perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions . . . The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types."

John McCain, in contrast, is a leader first. A leader in the military tradition where one seeks leadership and expects obedience from subordinates who do not necessarily grow under leadership as much as survive to achieve an objective.

Greenleaf goes on to describe, "The difference [between leader-first and the servant-first]manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people's highest priority needs are being served.

Obama's policies have our priorities in mind. They seek to provide health care for all Americans as a basic human right. To educate children, not just test them. To secure a source of energy that looks to the future and new technologies rather than to cling to a finite, fading resource.

To determine if a leader is leader-first or servant-first, Greenleaf suggests, "The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?"

I am always puzzled why the least privileged in our nations so often vote against their own self interest. The Bush tax cuts, once rejected but now supported by McCain, did not help the least among us—yet many of them support these cuts. Equally baffling is the widespread support of the elimination of the inheritance tax—cleverly renamed "death tax" that allows someone to leave to his heirs, tax-free, up to $2 million in 2006-2008 and to $3.5 million in 2009. Seriously, how many people who support this nonsense will ever inherit anywhere near this sum? To swindle gullible Americans and trick them into supporting something that actually hurts them is not servant leadership—it's a con game. It does not help them grow; it holds them down.

Barack Obama has the potential to make a fortune, yet he chooses public service. Republicans are quick to spew, "But he's a millionaire!" Technically, yes. The Obama's have a net worth of $1.3 million, mostly from the royalties on his book and his wife's income as a corporate lawyer. That's not even the $5 million McCain says would make him wealthy.

My point is, Obama didn't cash in—he pitched in.

Barack Obama is one of the smartest people to ever seek the office of the presidency. We should be pleased by that—not suspicious. He has steadily taken on new challenges and the causes of others. Obama has held elective office for 10 years. He has taught constitutional law at one of the top law schools in the country. He has experience politics and government from the ground up as a community organizer.

There is no real way of knowing if someone is qualified to be president. But I am confident Obama is. Let's take a look at his qualification.

He earned a B.A. in Political Science from Columbia University where his major was International Relations. His senior thesis topic was "Soviet nuclear disarmament."

At Harvard Law School he earned J.D. and was magna cum laude. He was also elected president of the Harvard Law Review. For those who don't know what that is--it's a really big deal.

From 1983-1988 he was Director of the Developing Communities Project.

He is a scholar of U. S. Constitutional law, and, from 1993-2004, he was a Senior Lecturer in Constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School

He served as an Illinois Senator from 1996-2004 where he was chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee

Obama has been a United States Senator since 2004, where he has been a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs

He has served on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Senate Committee on Veterans' Affair

As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Obama has made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.

I am not going to compare John McCain's career here. I am weary of disparaging the opponents. With 42 days until the election, I hope we can look for reason why we should vote for our candidate—not against the other. The American mood seems to be that we are looking for a president with vision, integrity, wisdom, courage and a record of good judgment, cool temperament, and the ability to make us all better people.

That is why I support Barack Obama.

No comments: