No big surprise, eh? I'm a (Buddhist) white guy from New York City with a beard... who the hell else was I gonna vote for? Simple.. no one. He was the only choice.
I've only voted one time in my life. I was 27 years old at the time and I didn't believe in the system. Politics was just some game that rich people played to make themselves feel important. My gut told me that "voting" was just a bone that our government threw us common folk to make us feel like we had a say over who ran our country. Then came Obama - a kinda black guy who seemed different then the rest. A guy who had something to prove to the world. I got sucked in.
I watched the debates, read the articles, and found myself getting lost listening to that calm voice telling me that America was finally going to be a place that I could be proud of. I remember walking into the booth like it was yesterday. I was nervous as I pulled the curtain closed. This was a momentous occasion! I saw his name on a little white card and I knew that once I pulled the lever, I was taking part in history.
It's hard being the president. I understand that. But I have trouble reconciling the fact that there are certain fundamental responsibilities that our leaders are neglecting. When you examine the situation closely, there really are only a few major issues that Obama needed to work on. If I remember correctly, he even "promised" us the kind of change that would directly address these issues when he said "YES WE CAN!"
So what the fuck?
I can imagine the amount of stress he must be feeling right now. His approval rating is at an all time low and I don't think there's a chance in hell that he's going to be re-elected. I would even go as far as to say that when Mr. Obama lays his head down on the pillow at night he must wish that someone would tell him how to fix the mess he's gotten himself into. So, ladies and gentleman, I'm going to do just that right here! (Mr. Obama, if you're reading this... just follow my advice and everything will be okay.)
It's a short list... but I think if he can accomplish these five things, he'll be able to rest easy and we can all feel happy to be Americans.
1. Fix education! Wake up and realize that No Child Left Behind really means: No White Upper-Middle Class Child Left Behind. Realize that all children can't be held to the same standards unless they all are given the same opportunities and resources. Realize that college was never meant to be a one-size-fits-all requirement that has the potential to run people into bankruptcy.
2. End the war(s)! We have no fucking business meddling in the business of others and sacrificing young men and women based on decisions made by rich people sitting in comfortable offices. If I remember correctly, human sacrifice ended with the Aztecs, right?
3. Get your head out of Wall Street's ass! The world of finance is so royally screwed up at this point, that I say we just end it all and start from scratch. I don't know a single person that even really understands our economy well enough to diagnose the problems we are having... that includes the people in charge. HELLO! NO ONE IS AT THE WHEEL ANYMORE! If we keep on going, then we're all going to be screwed... rich and poor alike.
4. Give all people adequate health care! Is that really too much to ask? Can't you just make it so that if we're sick, we can go to the doctor without signing over our entire paycheck? I know it's a complex system... but really when you think about it, isn't it just that simple? We just want to know that we can get medicine if we need it. If you can spend 32 million dollars on a helicopter that ends up in flames in Afghanistan, can't you spring for chemotherapy drugs if I get cancer?
5. Dissolve the two-party system of politics! Where does it say in the Constitution that the government should spend 90% of its time arguing over whether it's better to be a Republican or a Democrat? I'm pretty sure that the government is supposed to care for the needs of the PEOPLE. Does it really matter if you're a member of the Tea Party or the Asshole Party? No... it matters if people have enough food and a roof over their heads!
Please forgive the simplicity of my list. I know that complex forces are at work here... but I think we can all agree that it's time for our president to make good on some of his promises, right?
I fear that worse than the fact that he won't be re-elected, he'll just go down in history as a kinda black guy who made it to the White House, which is all well and good... but when I pulled that lever, I was hoping for something more.
(I know this post had nothing to do with Buddhism... but hey, if you think about it... it kinda did.)