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Current Events/Engaged Buddhism

10-25-08 - Kelly Chadwick writes

To My Conservative Brothers and Sisters

"My friends" "Let me make this perfectly clear"

Just kidding.

This is my case for Obama. There is no expectation of your changing your mind, but a desire to reach out from my heart. Maybe this is similar to the motivations of missionaries which I find horribly presumptuous. None the less, here goes.

 The more I spoke to you all, the more issues boiled down to core elements of ones perception of reality. It became clear that exchanging facts wouldn't bring us together as there are valid points to any argument and the truth can get lost in the details. Ultimately, we as a society are stuck in an unproductive polarized struggle until we find a way to change the two party system. The answer is issues over parties. If you are conservative and gay, you have to elect leaders who believe being gay is a sin. If you are conservative with environmental concerns, you are stuck with a president who has virtually halted listing endangered species. If you are Christian Conservative who believes in Christ's teaching of peace, you are looking at an exceedingly hawkish candidate with McCain. 

 But until we grow out of the two party system, I ask for you to vote for Obama. Here are my top ten reasons (apologies for the use of some "facts" after what I just said), not in order:


1.     Tax cut. Almost everyone receiving this e-mail will receive a significantly greater tax cut under Obama's plan (up to $111,000 in taxable income). Only those making over a half million annually would see an increase. The countries with the healthiest economies have strong middle classes who spend the most and create stimulus.

2.     Obama admits his humanness. He continues to deliver refreshingly honest comments, "the point was to inhale". Republican's on the Harvard Law review praise him for being an "honest broker" and refusing to put ideologies ahead of their mission. We need to look deeper at which candidate actually reflects beliefs we admire. Obama turned down the expected lucrative position to work as a community organizer and civil rights attorney, strongly believes in his faith, and has been happily married for 16 years.

3.      Smaller government. Over the last 39 years (since Johnson) spending has increased at twice the rate under Republican Presidents. Reagan was way over Ford and Carter and slightly over Clinton and Bush 1. Bush 2 was way up again. I only say this to dispel the "big government" slander toward the Democratic Party. It's just a different set of priorities. Under the republican Congress and Whitehouse we have seen a doubling of earmarks, a giant deficit, the largest attack on personal rights in our countries history, a previously unseen level of secrecy, and a consolidating of power in the executive branch. There isn't a viable party yet which is truly dedicated to smaller government. So until then, look past this rhetoric and vote other issues.

4.     We can't afford to continue fearing change and keep a party in office which ignores 96% of climatologists (and the Pentagon) on global warming, or who systematically censors the work of our top scientist when their findings are not convenient, or who pushes abstinence-only in the schools over informative sex education, against all empirical data. We need to move on to the important issues and stop wasting our time on things like fighting gay rights. Gays are gay. You can't "pray them away" as Palin's church preaches.

5.     We need to fix our global image. After Bush's small minded approach to international diplomacy and the high level of discontent amongst our allies, we need a president who can relate to a larger world. Obama is an inclusive well spoken man. The world wants him because they want the America that inspired democracy.  Obama would be our first non white-male president in a time when our global presence and respect is of the utmost importance. We can't pontificate on being the "greatest nation in the world" to the exclusion of actually trying to be it.

6.     Energy. Obama has the most comprehensive energy plan of any presidential candidate in history and represents the party who has been fighting for energy independence and supporting alternative sources of energy, over subsidizing oil, since the Carter administration, and often ridiculed for it. Remember when Reagan had the solar panels removed from the Whitehouse shortly after taking office and terminated tax cuts for solar?

7.     We need capatilism with a conscience. The religious worship of laissez fair economics will continue to lead to national crisis like the savings and loan scandal, Enron, and the mortgage collapse. If you factor in loophooles and off shore accounts, US corporations pay the lowest taxes in the industrialized world. Pharmeceuticals, Oil, Tobacco, Alcohol, chemical, military contractors and resource dependent industries have consistantly and effectively supported republican presidents because the companies won't be held accountable for indescretions in marketing, pollution, and collusion.

8.     I want to vote for hope and vision, not fear and greed.  On policy, not character assassination. For inspiration over anger. One can be tough without being mean—it's called maturity.   As Colin Powell says of Obama, "He's displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge and an approach to looking at problems." Since when is it a weakness to be eloquent and inspiring? Isn't that called presidential?

9.     We are a parasite on this planet, populating exponentially, beginning to face major water, food, and oil shortages, killing off species at 45 times previous extinction rates. We need to change the terminal direction of humanity. Obama voted 86% for environment, McCain 24%

10. Less cronyism in Appointments. We need top minds at the helm, not the lobbyists, special interests, golfing buddies, and ideologues who are currently holding powerful and complex positions in our nation.

There may be a couple mistakes in here, but don't let that distract from the message. Obama will be fallible, as we all are, but I ask you to make a leap of faith for a forward thinking agenda.

With respect,


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