Barack Obama – A Guiding Star

It is difficult to know how to process the idea that a presidential candidate can fill a stadium to the same capacity as a rock star. But think about it, how does a rocker become a rock star? It’s all about the music. Before we see their faces, we hear their music – and if the music hits us in just that certain way, if it makes us feel something that other music does not make us feel – we become captivated. When we see the singer or group, we want to feel that we can believe that the music and the instrument are one. If they are, it brings us a sense of peace, if they are not, regardless of the music or the instrument that it comes from we feel a discord. We want our apples from an apple tree. We may love oak trees, but we will never trust an apple if it comes from one.

Barack Obama looks like a character out of a Norman Rockwell painting who overdosed on bronzers. He looks like Huckleberry Fin out in the sun too long. He just looks like an average American. From his first speech at the Democratic National Convention, his story sounds like a story out of the “American Dream Book”:

“My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin- roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.
But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that’s shown as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before him. While studying here my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor, my grandfather signed up for duty, joined Patton’s army, marched across Europe. Back home my grandmother raised a baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the GI Bill, bought a house through FHA and later moved west, all the way to Hawaii, in search of opportunity. And they too had big dreams for their daughter, a common dream born of two continents.
My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or “blessed,” believing that in a tolerant America, your name is no barrier to success.”

Black people say that he wouldn’t face the problems that he faces if he were White. White people say that he wouldn’t get the attention that he gets if he were White. There are Black people who don’t trust him because he is not Black enough. There are White people who don’t trust him because he is too Black. Still he packs them in from both races.

I worked in the Title Insurance industry it had functioned the same way for decades. Because it was different than other industries and very set in its ways of functioning, it almost always hired from within. When I first tried to get a job there at a company in that business I was told that it was just too costly to train someone from the outside. Years later I entered the industry as a temp and ended up making it a career. When my Boss was asked to open his own office, he put me in charge of staffing.

The majority of the staff that I hired were, like I was, from outside the industry. This was because I felt that the way the industry functioned was outdated and financially wasteful. I was not going to hire a staff from within the industry because it would be too costly to untrain them. Experience is just another word for habit. If someone is experienced in doing things in a system that is failing, it merely means that they are experienced at working within a failing system. Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”. No system can be changed by the same level of consciousness that created it either. If we want a change – we must look outside of the box. And you can’t get more outside of the box than Barak Obama And yet, at the same time he exemplifies the best of the box, he represents the purest form of the American Dream. He is not anti-war, not a peacenik. In that same speech in 2004, he said:

“I thought of the 900 men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors who won’t be returning to their own hometowns. I thought of the families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one’s full income or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or nerves shattered, but still lacked long-term health benefits because they were Reservists.
When we send our young men and women into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they are going, to care for their families while they’re gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return and to never, ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace and earn the respect of the world.
Now, let me be clear. Let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued. And they must be defeated.”

Yes, he is outside of the box, but think about it, isn’t the outside of the box supposed to let you know what is inside? How does he represent what is inside the box of the United States of America?
He says this:

“…If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child.
If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent.
If there’s an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.
It is that fundamental belief — it is that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sisters’ keeper — that makes this country work.
It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family: “E pluribus unum,” out of many, one.
Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.
Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.
There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.
The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.
We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the red states.
There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.
We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

…“I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.
Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope: In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation, a belief in things not seen, a belief that there are better days ahead.
I believe that we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity.
I believe we can provide jobs for the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair.
I believe that we have a righteous wind at our backs, and that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices and meet the challenges that face us.”

Those who fear the fact that this country is a melting pot fear Barack Obama – he is the product of our melting pot. But he is not a superstar. He is the appropriate voice for the message that our forefathers created 222 years ago when they met to define our country. He is not a superstar, we gather around the world to hear him speak, partly because his is a message that we, the people of the world, need desperately to believe in again. Yet, it is even more than that – more than anything it is because that little voice inside of each of us tells us that he believes his message. He believes that we can be more than the capital of Capitalism. He believes that we can be, once again, “One Nation, under God – Indivisible… with Liberty and Justice for All.” And most of all, he believes in us. We are in very dark times – we don’t need someone who does the same thing in a different way. We don’t need someone experienced in what it takes to get to where we are, because where we are is lost. We need someone inexperienced in the system that is faulty – we need someone who believes in the spirit of our country, and has the foresight to recreate the system so that it mirrors that spirit, uncorrupted by experts. We need a star to guide us out of the darkness of despair with his belief – his hope – his vision. Someone who believes that each and everyone of us are better than what we have been promised and even more than that – better than what we have been given.

The Sale of America, Piece by Piece

There was a time when this was a nation – not of states, but of tribes. The nation had a rich history that was known well by its proud Natives. I don’t even know what the nation was called because immigrants, some armed with guns, some armed with liquor, some armed with guns, destroyed the nation. They weakened the natives, robbed them of their food supplies, their livelihood and finally their homes.

The invading immigrants built a new nation, not out of tribes but out of states. Generations found the old nation vanishing along with its inhabitants. The remaining descendents of that nation and its tribes were relegated to small pockets across the land called reservations.

The new Nation, called the United States of America, then built itself into a powerful nation, inhabited by its own generations of proud natives. Until one day, immigrants, armed some with drugs and some with investment capital came along and weakened the natives, robbed them of their food supplies, their livelihood and finally their homes. Generations are finding this nation vanishing along with its once proud inhabitants. The new Nation, called the United Investment Holdings of the World, will build itself into a powerful fund for wealthy corporations around the globe. Its inhabitants, loyalists only to their home nations will also remain proud – but will never be natives.

If you think that it couldn’t happen to us – so did the original Native Americans. Perhaps it is the revenge of the Great Spirit, or the result of greed – or maybe just a cycle returning to its beginning point. Whatever it is, this country is losing itself. My father came to this country in 1918, like thousands of other immigrants, to leave behind old roots, old nationalities and become a part of the American Dream. He and countless others came here to plant the seeds of their dreams in new soil and to build a life as an American from the land that was America. They came here to melt into the melting pot – leave their old identities behind – to speak American, to dream American and to become American. They came, not only to pledge allegiance to the flag, but to pledge allegiance to fulfilling the promise of Democracy and of the Constitution of the United States. They came to be a part of that becoming.

Americans lost sight of their nation and its meaning, they lost sight of history. They saw only the gold. To Americans, the land did not represent its original principals, its original spirit, it represented booms, and rushes. There were gold rushes, silver rushes, oil rushes, and real estate booms. Immigrants began to come from other countries, not to become Americans, but only to off of America while remaining true to their homelands. Some, found that they could remain in their own countries and export their drugs to America – living better than most Americans, off of the weakness of Americans. They began killing Americans with their drugs, while buying American and Americans with their money – all the while never even crossing the border. Their effect on this nation is no different than the effect of the immigrants who came with small pox to give to the Native Americans. Others, have come armed with capital to invest, robbing the people of their incomes, their ability to feed themselves – while keeping all of the profits safe within their own native lands.

Perhaps this is what happens when you build a dream instead of a nation. When you build on what it has to sell rather than the people who make it a nation. I once thought that what was great about this country was that it was the only country founded on dreams and ideals. I realize that what made this country beautiful – the dreams – the ideals – were never planted into the soil of the nation which is its people. The funny thing is, that we miss this country, we know that it is slipping through our fingers, but we still don’t get why. We still don’t see, that like the American Indians, back when they were Indians and not Native Americans, our identity as a nation is intrinsically connected with the land that our nation inhabits. Our identity as a nation is intrinsically connected with the businesses that it builds and the people – the Americans – that they feed.

Again, it could just be karma. The nation was built on stolen land, perhaps that destines it to having the land stolen from it. Karma is only balance. The nation has a karma – not in deed – but in intention. Balancing karma does not require the impossible; it does not require undoing what cannot be undone. We can balance karma by realizing the error of what we have done and making a commitment never to do it again. Instead, what we did was commit to becoming a nation united in strength and action rather than tribes, divided and weak. And, as a nation united, we will not do what we did to obtain our land. However, rather than dividing into tribes, we have divided into mega-corporations, competing with each other for profits, just as the tribes competed with each other for land. The corporations have enough autonomous power to have aided in the weakening of the nation – no longer united as one people, but divided by the competing interests of different corporations. A corporation has not heart, no home, no loyalty other than to itself. Its home is where its profits are. Capitalism has reached the point where corporations not only control the goods and services of the nation, but they control the flow of information. Whosoever controls the flow of information controls the nation.

“Freedom of the press, or, to be more precise, the benefit of freedom of the press, belongs to everyone – to the citizen as well as the publisher… The crux is not the publisher’s ‘freedom to print’; it is, rather, the citizen’s ‘right to know.’ ” Arthur Sulzburger
1990 American newspaper publisher

The mainstream Media providing the most widely available information is privately owned. It is free under the first amendment to provide whatever information it chooses, even if that information is ultimately in its own best interest. It can choose, and often does, to serve the government which it was designed to censure. There is no branch of government that is not in some way indebted to one if not many major corporations. Capitalism has circumvented the Democracy that our forefathers attempted so desperately to ensure the people. We spend so much money and energy in an attempt to protect our shores from a foreign military invasion, that we have completely lost sight of the fact that there would be no need for any nation to spend money and lives attacking us when all they have to do is buy us, business by business, loan by loan, building by building. It may be a hostile takeover – but we invented them. However we look at it, we are being killed by our own poison.

Unlike the Native Americans of the past, we understand the value of union. We are in a position to take back our nation as a people and to put the rights and the freedom of the people before those of any entity be it the government, a corporation or a religious group. No organization should not have the rights of individuals, it should not under any circumstances have rights greater than those of an individual and it should never be allowed the freedom to act in any way that is contrary to the rights of each individual as defined in the constitution. The only organization granted rights in the bill of rights is the press. Not the press as a corporation but, the press as the bringers of information to the people. We can still save our country from being no more than a piece of valuable real estate, but to do this, we must remember what it meant to be an American before it was equated with being a capitalist. Capitalism is the monster that flourished from the seeds of Democracy, just as Communism was the monster that flourished from the seeds of socialism. When what is good for the whole, becomes less important than what is good for the few, the whole is destined to deteriorate regardless of the label given to the system that caused it.

We are in a bad state. And, as the one stock that most of the world’s investments are tied into, we will not go down alone. But we can change, even if the change is a slow one. Electing Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee tells the world that we are seeking change. Electing Obama President, will place us on the path of change. But only by becoming the United People of America, only by pulling in and giving back to this country and all of its people, all of its diversity, only by reinvesting our hearts into the spirit of the Constitution, can we hope to become the change that we seek. We may have financial problems, but as Americans we are rich in spirit. We have to stop this fire sale mentality that keeps the Carpetbaggers coming in. We must value ‘made in America’ above all else. Any entity that does not give more to the people of this country than it takes for itself is the meaning of un-American. This country needs every to build itself up from within, the educational system, employment, and healthcare must be repaired. It is time for those who have gained so much from this country to give as much back. We need a government that demands it, we need a government that puts the individual above all else. The whole that sees its parts as expendable will eventually expend itself. This country is being divided up and sold off. But we can stop the sale, we can reclaim what is ours, but only through union. So long as the parts are abandoning the whole, the whole has no chance. We need to come together as a nation and worry about our own soil, stop worrying about some terrorist group attacking us, we are selling ourselves off at way below cost.

We Must Actually Become The Shining Beacon Of Light, Justice and Hope To Survive The Times Ahead

A nation must be governed by conscience. For what is a nation, is it real estate; is it a land of squatters? No, a nation is people. Everyone in the United States of America is a member of a family whose last name is America. There are no servants in a nation, no servants in a family – each member has equal value, equal rights, and can and should have equal expectation of consideration, education, health care, education, and protection. Those members of the family chosen to head the family are chosen by each individual with the valid expectation that their needs, and their rights will be given no less consideration than those of anyone else. They have a right to believe that the size of the population will not in any way diminish the value of every single member. If a whole neglects its parts it will eventually become defective.

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Our future survival depends more on this than on any other single factor. Humanity has become marginalized. Human beings have been categorized as collateral damage, acceptable loss, consumers, the list goes on. A nation cannot be great if its people are suffering. A nation is not wealthy if its people are hungry. A nation becomes great when the health, education and well being of its people are its priority. A great nation is not a nation that excels in its ability to arm its forces or wage its wars. A nation is not great because it boasts the largest percentage of billionaires, but because it boasts the lowest percentage of poor.

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The United States becomes less and less united every day, and this is because our leadership lacks a connection with the humanity of the citizens whose rights, to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness it is pledged to represent. We send children off to fight a war. It does not matter anymore why we entered the war, it is of no importance whose fault it is anymore. What matters is that we understand the difference between supporting our children, our troops, our family members who are risking their lives at our behest, and supporting the war itself. Our sons and daughters sent over to Iraq face physical and emotional challenges that we do not even understand. They face medical and financial challenges that may last their entire lives. Their families, who also serve by sacrificing their husbands and fathers, also face endless emotional , and financial suffering. Why does this country respond so quickly and decisively when it needs young men to serve in its armed forces, and respond so slowly when those same young men need the country to help rebuild their lives? Why is their duty to serve their country unlimited, and our duty to repay their service so very very limited? What happened to a country for the people?

If we are to support our troops, we must hold the government accountable for how much of our tax dollars go to the continued support of the troops and their families, just as our tax dollars go to the continued support of those who serve in congress, the Supreme Court the white house. To serve the country as a lawmaker is no greater a sacrifice, or gift to the nation than that of serving in its defense. If we do not have enough money to honor and protect those who fight for the country in its armed forces, then we do not have enough money to wage a war. If we do not have enough money to afford them the unlimited access to those things that they need in order to enjoy the rights that they are risking their lives to defend – then we cannot afford to go to war. Our children cannot be cannon fodder. Our service men and woman cannot be considered less valuable, in anyway, because they do not have the ability to raise the capital to fund an election campaign.

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What does it mean, United we stand – divided we fall? Siblings fight, differences arise, it is up to a wise leadership to find a way to unite the divided. In a nation composed of people that requires conscience, and when conscience has been lost so is the ability to lead a people forward. We are divided in so many ways, between rich and poor, between races, between religions, between educated and non-educated, but the most dangerous division of all is the division between the head and the body. We have no need to fear outside enemies when the head has become alien to the body. We can do nothing in that state but fall upon ourselves.