Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address Rocks | They Deserve a Vote

Congratulations once again President Obama on giving a great heartfelt speech. In much of it he addressed the economy in need of repair. He stressed closing the loop holes that people of wealth and power tend to use to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. In much of it he talked about investing in America; in providing pre-school education to all kids across America as well as to offer joint high school and business sponsored technical training, to prepare kids who have received a high school diploma to join the work force. He spoke a lot about rebuilding America, incorporating the same type of public works (WPA) which Roosevelt employed which I alluded to in my blog about Obamaworks Notch Up the Government’s Role with “ObamaWorks” | A Version of Roosevelt’s WPA | to bring the country out of recession and ensure a stronger economy, by rebuilding the infrastructure to attract companies here. He spoke again of offering tax incentives to companies to keep their plants here on U.S. soil, to employ Americans; saying that for the first time Apple will be building its products here in the United States.

Barack Obama as usual, gave a flawless speech; fluid and candid. If he does use a teleprompter, I never see his eyes flickering to read from it. He definitely has a strong intellect and integrity of word. I simply ‘believe him’.

His reasoning was sound, if you invest in education and the infrastructure to lay a foundation for bringing more opportunities, then the children growing up here will make more educated and intelligent choices, resulting in fewer teen pregnancies and less violence (stemming from the rift between the haves and the have nots). He talked about more transparency in general. And of reforming the U.S. voting procedure; starting with a bi-partisan group to oversee this, so that people (like the 102 year old woman from Florida sitting in his audience) won’t have to wait for 6 hours in line to vote, as she had done in order to ensure that her voice would be heard.

Finally, he ushered in the topic of gun violence; regarding increasing the back ground checks, limiting the amount of assault weapons and ammunition magazines. President Obama had a number of people in the audience who were direct and indirect victims of this violence. He ended his speech with the powerful and emotional words imploring both parties to vote on this issue, echoing the words ‘they deserve a vote’. In fact, much of his speech talked about the importance of thinking beyond one’s own immediate, personal wants and needs; thinking of the larger picture and doing things for the benefit of the whole.

Gabrielle (Gabby) Giffords, a U.S. Representative, attended the event with her husband. She was among eighteen other shooting victims at a public political event in which six people died. A mentally ill individual whose aim was to assassinate Giffords, shot her at close range in the head, managed to acquire a weapon.
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Amy Goodman of Democracy Now interviews Cathy Cohen, founder of the Black Youth Project in Chicago, regarding gun violence.

Hadiya Pendleton was shot in a park in Chicago, a victim of a stray bullet by gang gun violence. She had performed as a majorette with her group for Obama’s 2nd Inauguration just a week before her death.
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Blown Away by Kindness and Love, Rather than Fear and Hatred | Military Suicides |

Since the last massacre, while Obama talks of setting up legislation to somehow deal with the gun lobby and the NRA’s strangle hold on the U.S. Government, in the meantime, a massive amount of gun sales have been taking place all over the country. Those people who think that they need to preserve their right to have arms to protect themselves against criminals and the US Govt., are buying up every single weapon that they can get their hands on.

On December 21st, I hitchhiked to New York city to spend the day celebrating the winter solstice with other people in Make Music New York – taking place on each solstice. One of the people who gave me a ride, was a man who had just returned from Iraq the day before. He woke up at 5 in the morning, and decided to come to this massive ‘outdoor retailer’ with the intention of buying a weapon. He talked briefly on his cell phone with a friend, to whom he explained that ‘the shelves were almost empty’, so many people had been doing the same thing as he, going out to buy a weapon before his right to do so would be taken away.

Though I didn’t feel unsafe riding with this person, the fact that he had a weapon in his trunk, didn’t exactly make me feel secure. He wasn’t able to go under the river and through the tunnel into NYC, because of this weapon. He had to drop me off outside of it. The next driver who did take me through the tunnel was a taxi driver, who I explained as I waved that I’m hitching, not wanting to pay a cab fee. He said okay, said he’d drop me off as soon as we got into Manhattan. But before he let me out of the car, he insisted that I participate in a prayer with him. He said that he had previously had someone hold a gun on him and shoot him, and he survived, obviously. He explained that he had been blessed by accepting Jesus Christ into his heart. He wanted to ‘pay it forward’ and made me repeat after him, a prayer to acknowledge my sins and to accept Christ into my life as someone who had died for my sins. His intention was to protect me.

It brought tears to my eyes. This very dark skinned man from somewhere in Africa, truly moved me with his words and gestures of kindness; not only towards me, but towards every other individual with whom he had contact- a friend on the phone, people he paid the toll to, some other stranger who he interacted with. He showed so much kindness and respect. I was really somewhat blown away…fortunately not by bullets coming from fear or hatred, but by his love.

Yesterday a 5 second sound bite on the national news (they may have given the subject 10 seconds) mentioned that more U.S. soldiers have died from suicide in the last year, than combat.

Notch Up the Government’s Role with “ObamaWorks” | A Version of Roosevelt’s WPA |

Prior to Obama’s win of the 2012 presidential nomination, on the 5th of October I submitted this query to a dozen American magazine publications, and waited for a response. I received only one, a rejection from The Nation. I continued to wait to see if anyone would wish to publish my ideas, which would preclude putting the information onto my blog, for free viewing. Presuming that none will respond, here it is:

Though Obama supporters surely commemorate his intention to employ the federal government to serve the American public, he could even crank it up a bit, by reenacting Franklin D. Roosevelt’s WPA – Works Progress Administration – under the guise of ObamaWorks. “Renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration; the WPA was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. In a much smaller project, Federal Project Number One, the WPA employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.” Wow, is THAT ever fantastic to hear about! The recognition that the arts and literature are all about inspiring and creating the theatre for human evolution! What is that saying? ‘History repeats itself for those who are doomed to forget.’ A mere google away: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana)

In 1933, as the 32nd president of the United States, FDR orchestrated the “New Deal” in his first 100 days of office. His purpose was to transform a shattered economy, following the 1929 stock market crash. This consisted of a series of economic programs to establish “Relief”, “Recovery” and “Reform”, of which the WPA was a substantial mechanism; operating its own projects in cooperation with state and local governments. In the inception of his second term, Obama could emphatically authorize a series of programs needed to make improvements across America; delineating the jobs required to implement them, and build our economy and morale in the process, as had been achieved through Roosevelt’s WPA. The circumstances surrounding each of their administrations are parallel; both enmeshed in war and coming into power following a Wall Street engendered economic collapse. Whereas Obama’s 44th presidency coincided with a recession, FDR’s corresponded with the Great Depression. Since Obama has already demonstrated his audacity in confronting Wall Street with the Dodd-Frank Act, why not engage in another executive order or two, as were prerequisite for FDR to carry out his Works. Now is the critical time to launch an indispensable ObamaWorks plan; to facilitate the investment in a much needed overhaul throughout the country, prioritized according to national as well as regional and community needs.
 
Though it may seem implausible, given that we’re ensconced in an imbalanced Democracy in which Plutocratic powers often determine what the executive branch may or may not do, this is precisely the recipe to revitalize America! The WPA was one bold aspect of the New Deal, which Roosevelt legislated to put millions of unskilled Americans back to work, including the construction of buildings and roads. “Happy Days could be Here Again”, if instead of side-stepping issues, tip-toeing around egregious lobby groups and getting stalled in bipartisan gridlocks, Obama would simply administer a number of definitive projects, ObamaWorks, and set them into motion. These programs would respond to our need for energy independence, and result in the subsequent investment in renewable energy enterprises and environmentally sound ‘green’ building. America has been lagging in developing clean and efficient transportation infrastructures, as well as in education and efficient communication networks. We need to make decisions that will reflect viable options for the generations to come, without obliterating our environment and the delicate balance of the global ecosystem and economic interdependency. In our quest to achieve international standards in education, we have inadvertently started to impinge on creative teaching methods and the hands-on approach in our classrooms. Yet because Americans are innovative and industrious, as we pull our resources together and share our ‘best practices’, we can resolve road-blocks and work through ever evolving solutions to our problems. As ObamaCare can continually be adjusted according to new insights, so can we all work together, community by community, fused by the U.S. Government’s vision and financial backing; prioritizing our most needed investments and emboldening our spirits.