Category Archives: elections

When will massacres matter enough to cause change?

“These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children.” President Obama in statement made following the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre killing 20 children and 6 adults in the school.

Where do Americans stand on gun laws? Gun control?

In a pew poll taken after the assassination attempt on Congresswomen Gabriella “Gabby” Giffords, the country was divided. 49% said it was “more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns” and 46% said it was “more important to control gun ownership.”

After the shooting in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, 76% said, “There should be some restriction on owning guns,” according to a CNN/ORC poll.

At present time, roughly half of American states allow gun owners to carry their weapon openly into public places.

Also, making more news recently is the “Stand Your Ground” law. This law really came into the public eye during the Trayvon Martin case in Florida.

There are a host of other states with very similar laws.

Florida, as well as others in this list do not have a “duty to retreat” clause which means if you can get away without harm or deadly force but shoot anyway, you can be prosecuted. Most of the states with the “Stand Your Ground” law do not have the “duty to retreat” clause. Many of these laws are written in a vague way leaving the law to be used as a “blanket way out” for many shootings.

These laws were often introduced as a way to help “victims” in cases such as domestic violence where victims often felt blocked and unable to flee or ended up shooting their attackers (which happened to be their domestic partner) and found it near impossible to defend themselves in court. When was it okay to kill someone under your own roof?

But, the law has left it open for arguments leading escalating, turning into assaults and then murder to be defended under the “Stand Your Ground” law. What would have been different if a person hadn’t had a firearm on them? What if they didn’t feel it was okay to cry “self-defense” in what would typically end up in an assault and battery case but instead, someone is dead. Has the law been a positive or a negative? Who has it actually helped more?

Guns and politics have become so entwined as the NRA has become more involved through the years with politics, legislation and politicians.

The NRA runs ads campaigning for those who promote their cause and against those standing in the way of their proposed changes in existing laws or future goals.

By funding politicians, their campaigns and having their own people in Washington, the NRA is assured of having a way to get current policies changed or new legislation passed, changed or set aside. The problem is much of this happens without knowledge of the general public both through state government and federal government.

NRA does not run the US government and does not make the choices for what is good for America. That is done through the voters. We vote who we want at both the state level and the national level. Are we listening to what these politicians are standing for and against? Who is supporting them and funding their campaigns? What are their intentions?

Ask yourself why the NRA has had nothing to say since this most recent massacre? Statements have come out from all over the world. World leaders are offering condolences. Many actors and actresses are coming forward and saying things should be done with violence in movies and TV may need to be looked at. Networks rearranged TV schedules following the massacre due to programming that may have been viewed as showing things in bad taste.

Sunday morning talk shows have done numerous interviews and Meet the Press asked any of 31 pro-gun senators to appear but none responded. Silence speaks volumes.

Using the words “gun control” is beginning to sound UN-American. I think doing nothing as we are seeing more massacres, people crying in disbelief as their loved ones are being identified, going through autopsies and realizing their last conversation was their LAST conversation… that is UN-American.

Personally, I can’t participate in ignoring an issue that is continuously being swept under the rug by groups that argue for their freedoms while others are losing their loved ones, their lives and their future or their sense of security. What about their freedom, our freedom?

Weapons used for hunting and sporting do not call for assault weapons or weapons with large magazines that can gun down numerous people (or animals) in just seconds or minutes.

Many assault weapons are not for either of these uses and are only used to promote keeping an argument going instead of coming to an agreement.

Responsible and legitimate gun owners, politicians and people across America need to give pause to this, put politics aside and be able to really look at this very serious issue, discuss it (peacefully) and deal with it.

Yes, there should be limits, laws, background checks and training required. Yes, there should be renewed proof of this at the time of license renewals for each weapon. A responsible gun owner would understand the need for this because they would only want other responsible and trained, regularly licensed gun owners having other weapons as well.

A major argument is that responsible gun owners and legally purchased guns are not the problem.

My first response is I find it amazing that each “responsible gun owner” can speak for all the other “responsible gun owners” as though they meet all the time and know each other very well.

My second response is that is not true. Legally purchased guns end up in the wrong hands more often than these “responsible gun owners” must realize. The ability to purchase guns is far too easy in far too many places. There needs to be universal laws when it comes to background checks, waiting periods, guns and ammo purchases and an assault weapon ban.

My third response is this. ”Responsible gun owners” do not come with a magic chip in them saying they are responsible, will keep their weapons locked up properly, only use their weapon in the absolute necessity that it is needed and will be in 100% tip top emotional and mental condition for the rest of their life. They also don’t have the promise no one in their family won’t get to their weapons or someone breaking into their home won’t be able to do the same. There are no guarantees.

The NRA makes it seem as though guns are the answer to protection and the government and its laws are trying to take that away from people.

For those trying to hide behind the 2nd amendment, they aren’t the ones who control this discussion. The idea however of more guns being the answer has proven to be wrong, dead wrong.

This is a must read article by:  Mother Jones, “More guns, more mass shootings – coincidence?” Their team put together a lot of facts about guns, violent crimes, laws and changes through a lot of investigating on their part. I urge you to look at the numbers.

Also, looking at some graphs put together by Simon Rogers with the Guardian, America is well armed compared to other societies around the world (88 per 100) and our gun violence speaks for approximately 60% of all homicides.

Another argument is not only guns take lives.

True. It isn’t just a weapon that ends a life. It is a person who believes they have a justified reason to do so.

As humans we react many times out of emotion. In many of these cases, there are feelings of anger, hate, revenge, defeat, entrapment and many times nobody knows what set a person off to commit such violent crimes.

The right thing to do, if a person is thinking rationally is to walk away, take some time to think things over, seek some advice or maybe get more details. A lot of times people are going through situations where counseling is needed and has been needed but either they didn’t know it, didn’t seek it or it wasn’t available.

Too often, a gun is too easily available to pick up, steal or purchase.

Not everyone committing these horrible murders/suicides, massacres and violent crimes were “monsters” before these acts. Many times, no one noticed any signs of behavior change, isolation, depression or signs of mental illness. Other times, it was noticed but they were unable to get help or convince the person to get help.

Does that mean people with emotional or mental illnesses are “monsters”? No. It means people with problems need to be able to seek help, get the proper diagnosis, counseling, medications and not be labeled with a stigma as being “crazy”.

If a person in need of help seeks help and receives help, this is definitely not “crazy”. That is the right thing to do and it should definitely be available to anyone in need of these services.

Many people with emotional and mental illnesses can live fulfilling lives alongside everyone else if they are able to get the medical and emotional help necessary. This important issue in our society cannot continue to be ignored. This is a huge gap in our healthcare system leading to economic and many other life issues. It is easier for Americans to access guns than mental health care. Without truly dealing with this, we can’t move forward on dealing with these murder/suicides, massacres and violent crimes.

There are two sides to be focused on immediately without involving political favors, campaigning, lobbyist and self-promotions.

1)      Too many weapons without just purpose or place in our society (other than within our military)

2)      Not enough available care and treatments for those with emotional and mental needs and disabilities.

For those who can’t clearly see these needs, they aren’t focusing on the real problems. They are standing in the way of what needs to lead to a drastic change.

We can’t just cover the cracks or kick the can down the road.

Our biggest war is going on here at home and our children and loved ones are the victims.

What is the difference between these recent massacres and 9/11? We are part of the blame. We vote. We have voices and if the issue isn’t being addressed, keep pursuing the issues.

These victims didn’t have a choice and now their voices have been silenced.

20 children silenced (ages 6 – 7) and 6 adults (their principal, school psychologist, two teachers, and teaching assistants)

This is our country, our communities and our neighborhoods. Those teachers are our teachers and those children are our children.

Speak up.

UPDATE: President Obama speaks at Newtown High School

Must see video below:

Video Tribute “Lives cut short by school shooting” – by: Anderson Cooper and the AC360 Team

 

Add on: “Balloons released to Heaven Among the Stars” Remembering Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown, CT.

With love, 

Tribute to Sandy Hook, Newtown CT December 14, 2012

President Obama – Leading with Values

President Barack Obama in Tampa October 25, 2012

Personally, I feel there is more to a President of the United States than just being the leader of the land-of-the-free, the Commander-in-Chief of the greatest military in the world and a person who makes decisions each day that not only affects hundreds of millions of people in our nation but has affects around the world for many generations to come.

That is just a fraction of who our President is and therefore, I like to know a person is open and honest about their beliefs, their views on humanity, women, marriage, world aide, our troops and veterans, education, healthcare, the economy and what has led them to be the person they have become.

I personally was raised with a Republican background, registered as Republican and voted as a Republican for my first few elections.

I have always listened to all sides and tried to put myself in the shoes of others before casting my ballots in any elections. I understand I am not just voting for myself but also for my Country. I have never considered myself to be judgmental or close-minded.

As I have grown older, raised a family and faced more of life’s challenges such as raising a child fighting a terminal illness, learning disabilities, fighting with insurance companies, having pre-existing conditions of my own and dealing with hers, I do see many things differently than others may see.

I have seen many denied life-saving treatments due to insurance issues in a country that’s said to have the best medical care available, but to whom?

I know I am not the only person that has changed. Our country has changed. Many people have faced changes. There are large groups of people that were in top-income brackets who suddenly found themselves relying on government assistance, not because they didn’t believe in working hard to support their family but because of a financial market that simply thought it didn’t have to answer to anybody, took risks with money it didn’t have and lost real peoples’ money, their life savings, retirements and suddenly, people who thought they had everything planned out, had nothing to show for it.

If there was a lesson in the last 5 or 6 years, it is the fact the bottom can fall out from almost anyone if everyone isn’t playing by the same set of rules!

During elections, Parties try to focus on things to get votes. Obviously, that makes sense. The voter however is the one making the final decision and therefore, as a voter, each one should know what their candidate stands for, who they stand with and what their intentions as President would be.

One of the biggest battles of this election is a very important issue, choice.

The Republicans want people to believe this is about abortion. That is not the case. A big part of this choice concerns women’s healthcare. This involves a great deal of issues. It also involves the fact Romney wants to de-fund Planned Parenthood. See the article, “Romney’s Women “Issues”” to learn more.

The fact is millions more of Americans have healthcare due to progress made during President Obama’s term. That includes women, children, men, multiple income brackets, people with pre-existing conditions, students, etc.

Mitt Romney wants to go in and repeal “Obamacare” (on his first day in office). That would undo everything in the previous paragraph. He says he would leave parts in. Mind you, Romney says things to win votes and then changes them depending on who he is speaking to BUT if you believe this part, then he said he would leave the part about pre-existing conditions. His terms are this. The person would have to have been insured and stayed insured. That would not cover someone who has a condition and possibly changes jobs, therefore changing insurance companies. This would not be including them. The new insurance company could still deny them.

In the case of women’s healthcare choices, there is no line in the sand here. It is not a decision to me of which side maybe has a better idea. This is plain and simple. When it comes to my body, my family planning, pregnancy, pap smears, cancer screenings, birth control, or any healthcare concerning any women, young adult or child, the government doesn’t need to be a part of any of those decisions. I know a country that has a part in the reproductive rights of women, CHINA. I don’t live there. I live in a free country and my vote will reflect my decision on keeping it that way.

Women For Obama

I have never thought to call my Congress Person, my Governor or my President to ask their opinion on whether it was a good time for me to have a child or let them know my concerns about my neighbor having too many kids or being unable to conceive. You know why? It’s none of their business!

You know what is their business? Helping to fund preventative medical care for those that can’t afford it, vaccines to prevent deadly outbreaks, studies to lead to cures and helping keep the land with the best healthcare moving forward. You know what has been one of the best healthcare achievements in decades? Obamacare.

Again, with all of the accomplishments that have happened regarding healthcare, the GOP wants the focus to be on abortion. Okay. So, how do they feel about abortion?

Most recently, one of the newest GOP announcements that have come up (this isn’t the first time) is about whether a woman would be able (yes, that means “get permission”) to have an abortion if she were raped and became pregnant.

ROMNEY ENDORSES RICHARD MOURDOCK (Rep. Candidate for US Senate) Mourdock: “I too certainly stand for life. I know there are some who disagree and I respect their point of view but I believe life begins at conception. The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that the case the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time but I came to realize life is a gift from God and I think even when life begins in the horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”

Mourdock isn’t alone here. The Republican Party’s Platform feels the same. They are just keeping it hush hush through the election. They have tried to get Richard Mourdock to withdraw his statement much like they tried to get Todd Akin to withdraw his. However, withdrawing your statement won’t mean you change your views or your vote will change when laws are written up in the House or Senate, does it.

Paul Ryan has written up and pushed his stand on the Right of Personhood which stands on the same ground as Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin.

The GOP, Republicans and many Christian groups have tried to turn this election into a vote for or against abortion. It is not about abortion. It is about choice. It is turning into more than just choices about healthcare. It is voting rights, healthcare choices and leading our country either forward or taking it back to times we have already fought through to gain the rights and equalities we have today.

I am a Christian women, 43 years old, white, a registered Republican and although I would have considered myself conservative back when I was in my 30’s, I would have never made my decisions differently or based on different thoughts than I do today.

REPUBLICAN WOMEN FOR OBAMA

I feel the Republican Party has gotten to a point where they believe their core beliefs and values are the only way people should live. Therefore, they want the laws and everyone in this Country to live that way or they should just do without and be penalized.

I don’t believe in a system where my values or beliefs should take away from another person’s freedoms. What does that say for freedom of religion, freedom of speech or having one of the most diverse nations in the world? To make that work in the United States would be living under a dictatorship.

The GOP has distorted the facts trying to get as many of their Party into office. Their own Party didn’t stand behind Romney.

Their Party has made it a point to say they back Israel, always. Yet, when asked in the debate what Romney would do (in a scenario) of receiving an emergency call with Israel under an imminent attack, Romney became upset and refused to answer the question. Has he never thought of this? This is a country that is always under the threat of an attack.

Yet, the GOP Party questions Obama’s stand with Israel?

OBAMA’S CONSISTENT STAND WITH ISRAEL

The fact is this.

What the GOP wants is a majority in the House and the Senate. That would give them the ability to write and pass legislation. With a President of their party, they would not have to worry about a Veto.

This would also open up their Party to nominate at least 2 Supreme Court Justices.

Imagine how many laws could be passed and changes could be made with all of this control in the hands of the GOP.

It won’t matter that Romney doesn’t answer question or what he does or doesn’t say. They are relying on those that just don’t want to vote for Obama or those higher income people not wanting to pay more taxes. Right now, they also are relying on those who are against abortion.

I ask you though, if a 12 year girl was raped and became pregnant, should she have to carry that child while she is still coping with the tragedy of being raped?

A child suffering through incest at home or a family members house gets pregnant, should she? What if they don’t know who the father is? She will have to face this person while carrying the baby even though she is still a baby herself who has just been traumatized, been assaulted and now is expected to go through more trauma and emotional abuse. Is that is okay?

I think the suicide rate of young adults, both young boys and girls, in our country is high enough due to bullying. If you don’t think rape is worse than bullying and isn’t something traumatic for a person to live through, can cause life-long trauma, PTSD and then making the victim have to be reminded each day while they carry the baby of their rapist inside, then maybe the GOP Party is for you. I don’t think most people feel that way though.

I want a President with values who believes in treating others as he would want to be treated, how he wants his wife and children to be treated. I want a President who can look through the eyes of others and see how they feel, talk to them and make decisions based on real people, not Party or political popularity.

Obama: Re: His faith, “In time I came to see my faith as being both a personal commitment to Christ and a commitment to my community.”

“These are not Democratic values. These are not Republican Values. They’re American Values.”

Belief: “For unto whom much is given is given, much shall be required.”

(View the above video to see more about the man behind the Presidency)

For a person to say they are a Christian, it is not just a title but more than that. I don’t see real Christian values in much of the GOP Party, its candidates or those pushing for them… I see a lot of people who just want to vote against Obama.

Views and Beliefs vs. Rights and Freedoms

I appreciate people’s views, opinions and concerns. I think those are what have driven America’s progress the most. Without those voices of the past, we would not have the freedoms to have our voices heard today.

However we share our voices, whether it be through writing, TV, radio or to those around us. The fact is, we have the desire within us to be heard and in this country, we have the right.

In many countries, that is not the case. Those rights did not come to us without fight and by others giving up their freedoms and their lives. How we use those rights and our freedoms should never be taken lightly.

I have always been one to see things through the eyes of many, not just myself. I believe that one’s freedom can not be enjoyed with another person enslaved. Justice is not won if an injustice is being done and ignored. I see that and I do not take that lightly. That is why I do what I do.

Choice is a freedom. Choice is the ability to make a decision. For someone to take that away is to take a freedom away and we have fought too long to earn those rights.

In today’s politics, it seems like there are sides. People are choosing or picking who will win this election. It is much more than sides or winners and losers. When people vote without knowing what they have to gain or lose, they have already lost. And, when people vote for a candidate knowing their win will mean freedoms are lost, what does that say about America’s freedoms? How easy is it for us to give up the freedoms of others when we feel it does not agree with our beliefs?

What if that were the way America started to work? No more separation of church and state? Church telling government how to make the laws and government telling churches to pay up taxes and what they can and cannot preach. Church and state getting into conflicts over schools. Haven’t we crossed that path?

It is called progress. It has enabled us to allow people to make choices, to find the way to move forward equally, allowing freedom of religions and freedom of speech in a nation that is more diverse than any other nation in the world.

Who would want to back up progress that has already been made? Who would want to repeat history when those times of turmoil have been fought and lives have been lost so that we can be where we are today?

We have chosen to move forward and live in a nation of progress that believes our diversity is a value and with freedom, we have more opportunity. Our country has shown how valuable freedom is and in turn, it cannot truly feel free until it is shared by everyone. Humanity is one.

 

Who is to blame for Washington

As elections in the U.S. again approach, there are many unanswered questions. However, something made very clear over the past two years and counting is the GOP’s firm stand on their goal of focusing to make President Obama a one term President.

Now the Republican Party is trying to get their people to back, endorse and in many cases just accept Mitt Romney as their potential Nominee. What is difficult about this concept has nothing to do with Romney himself. The fact is, the GOP has shown such a disdain for President Obama and over these months of primaries, it’s proven they would stand behind anybody who was a registered Republican. What does that say about their leadership or ideas for our Country? Who are they putting first?

Over these past few years in Congress, their focus was to prolong things, cause confusion and uncertainty and make sure nothing positive happened under President Obama’s watch. What about the American people? Time has been clicking by for everyone.

This has left little tolerance amongst most Americans and has not only caused more division between the parties but it has also cost more tax payer dollars, our credit rating to be dropped and more importantly is a horrible reflection on the U.S. both at home and abroad as well as to our youth. This period of time will go down in history. What does that say about us, our government and how we allow our government to run?

The question is why is this able to continuously happen? This is not unseen or discovered years later. This is going on in front of our eyes with live T.V. cameras capturing it, recording live interviews with blunt statements going back and forth.

It is said that “all politicians lie” or “that is how things happen in Washington” but who works for who? Who does the voting?

As a voter in this age of 24 hour news cycles, Internet and the capability to gather information from a variety of sources at any given time, it puts more information in the hands of the voter.

A person can watch or read an entire speech instead of a portion that may have been forwarded via email or shared on the local news station, Twitter, Facebook, Cable News Network, etc.

By visiting different media sources, it enables the viewer, the voter, to gather a better understanding of the candidates (on both sides) instead of being fed chosen outtakes which could potentially be taking the segment out of context, misinterpreting the message.

As we go into these campaigns leading up to the November elections, it is clear attack ads will start showing up everywhere. Emails will be sent out using statements that appear in these ads. Overnight, “facts” are born from attack ads. This is not new but it is easier to spread in a variety of ways, instantaneously.

All voters need to take a clear look at our country and the candidates running. Voting should not be viewed as some political weapon by a voter or the candidates. This is not a game about which side can win. This is about everyone and it does come down to each vote. Those freedoms that have made America so strong should not be able to bring division to America.

What is done in Washington should be for the good of America and its people, first and foremost. It is not about votes, sponsors or election cycles.

What goes on in Washington should be an example of what makes America stronger, a place of pride and honor, and the respect of those elected to uphold those values always.

Vote for America

Simply put, people are frustrated. People across America; neighbors, teachers, doctors, lawmakers, labor workers, the unemployed, underemployed, college students and the younger generation is frustrated.

There are a number of reasons why this is happening and for each person, it affects them differently. Our nation has been under a constant strain economically, we’ve had multiple wars going on and it seems the United States has been in constant “campaign mode”.

It’s not campaigning for an election all the time. It’s been campaigning to get Americans on the side of certain decisions over bills and laws. Things drag out over long periods of time while nothing is getting done in Washington and this is becoming almost acceptable to let time go by while nothing gets done and then blame it on “party differences” and the inability to resolve things until the next elections when everything can get fixed if Americans just vote a certain way.

It’s not the fault of the difference in parties. It is the fault of the people in office who are supposed to be doing their job representing the people that elected them and in some way representing their party and what it stands for (the good part).

It should never be acceptable for a group of elected leaders that are representing their people and their parties to be able to blame anyone but themselves when something is stopping everything and bringing progress to a halt.

A true leader that is actually there to represent those who elected would be able to figure out a way to work with anyone to achieve some type of a positive outcome for those they are representing. It doesn’t mean all in one day but progress is progress.

A true leader is a peacemaker who can still get others to hear them out by also listening and working with others.

Every representative in Washington should be discussing how to benefit every American, not just certain Americans or some classes of Americans because that will further divide America and today, America needs to be united and Washington needs to be united.

If the right U.S. Representatives and Senators are elected to do a job in Washington, it shouldn’t be that they represent their party first. Each of those elected, as they do their jobs each day or cast any vote should be representing what is best for each and every American now and in the future.

As each American goes to cast their ballot, it should be done to support their community, fellow Americans and country before supporting a party.

It’s America that needs to move forward at this time, Americans that have been hurting and everyone can be a part of being involved in solutions and not excuses.

Help Americans with your vote in either an early vote or on November 2, 2010. Together, we can move America forward.

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U.S. and the rest of the world

Most people around the world have heard about the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped on August 5thwhen their mine suddenly collapsed.

At the moment, their rescue is being watched live around the world as each miner is being brought to the surface via a small tube just big enough to hold each miner, one by one from nearly half a mile underground. Each miner is wearing sunglasses as they haven’t been in sunlight for over 65 days. This has been a day of happiness for not only those waiting at the site but also many around the world watching live as these events unfold.

People have sent words of encouragement, hope, prayers and support from all over the world to the friends and family of the miners.

Often times, it is said that the U.S. needs to concentrate on its own issues and not worry about what is going on in the rest of the world. People ask why the U.S. offers aide and assistance to other countries when our country is so in debt or why our news networks have such continuous coverage of disasters or even these types of stories in other countries.

These same questions came up soon after the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year because people didn’t understand the continuous news coverage being done or why the U.S. was encouraging fund raising efforts for Haiti when people in the U.S. were facing such devastation of their own due to an economic crisis.

When Hurricane Katrina happened, the coverage was shared around the world and the same thing happened after the attacks of September 11th. Other countries shared in our pain and offered their words of condolences and backed us up with aide after Katrina and support for the War on Terror.

One thing that was pointed out from others when seeing the footage after the 9/11 attacks was how those abroad were seeing Americans at their best in the worst of times. Americans were united together to help each other out, pull each other up and bring strength back to a nation that had been shaken.

It didn’t make a difference what a person’s race was, or their religion, nationality, beliefs or whether they were gay or straight. Nobody was asking those questions. They just wanted to help someone who needed help and move America forward from a bad situation.

Over the past few years, America has been in a bad situation. This wasn’t a small part of America or something that could just be cleared up in a day with a quick fix or an easy plan. This was an enormous and devastating economic meltdown that happened over years. First, without many people knowing and then without being properly managed to bring it to a halt which allowed an even broader, long lasting, economic crash.

Due to the housing and mortgage collapse and the stock market collapse in 2008, it felt as though the rug was pulled out from under many Americans who before that time had a sense of security in their homes, jobs and savings or some type of stock or retirement plan.

Many people lost their jobs due to company closings or cut backs, their health benefits and their homes due to the inability to make payments and with so many unemployed trying to find a job would become an opportunity so many would be seeking and few would find, only making the current situation that much worse.

At the same time, our country was going through presidential elections. These elections were being watched all over the world. Why are so many people concerned about the outcome of the presidential elections in the U.S.?

During the campaign, John McCain was saying he had more experience in Washington than Barack Obama and therefore would be a better president and Obama was running on the fact he would be able to bring change to D.C. and could bring hope to America when America truly needed hope and change.

Part way through the campaign, due to a serious downturn in the economy, a $700 billion bailout package for the financial industry was drafted and passed by both the House and the Senate. The country was desperate to elect someone who would get the country moving forward and back on its feet but many didn’t realize how much damage had really gone on for years within the financial industry and how much corruption had taken place.

In November 2008, Barack Obama was elected into office and from the beginning had started making changes and has continuously worked alongside his team to make things happen, moving America forward.

To see some of President Obama’s achievements, click here.

There are many people that question why more hasn’t been done, why it isn’t more obvious that America is on the road to recovery. Of course it would be best if everyone who needed a job had a job. It would be best if everyone who lost their home was placed back in a home with a suitable mortgage.

Aside from curing all the devastating diseases, making sure that people are able to have insurance, not be turned away due to pre-existing conditions or have their insurance company say they’ve reached their yearly or lifetime maximum payout is something that should have been an easy agreement by both, the House and the Senate as well as the American people. Healthcare should not be made into a political argument or slogan like “Obamacare”. It should be a human right.

If those in Washington were more worried about the people they were working for instead of themselves being reelected, much more would get done.

I asked early on in this article why should Americans be worried about what goes on in the world or other countries? Why should we get involved? Why does the world watch what goes on in the U.S.? Should it matter to us what other countries think about us?

The U.S. is made up of immigrants from countries all over the world. This country has been added to by immigrants, although some have family here that has been here for many generations, and others for a few generations or maybe some have just come here recently, roots go back to other countries. Many still have families in those countries and are very concerned on a daily basis for their family and their country. Their family there is very concerned for them here. That is how America is. That is what makes America strong. It’s diversity. With each person and their background, their heritage and their culture, America has gained a great strength. The land of opportunity has always had an opportunity to learn as well from every person that has come here just as they have had the opportunity to learn by coming here.

When a natural disaster happens anywhere, we have people here that are very concerned about their families who live in their countries not knowing whether they are dead or alive, homeless or if their home is okay.

We have many American citizens living abroad. Our concern for them does not end at our borders.

Our government also maintains relationships with other countries for diplomacy reasons and compassion is an act of humanity.

These are just a few reasons to care about people all over the world, to offer aide when possible and to lend a helping hand when needed.

Of course the U.S. has to take care of its home front, its people and protect its borders but that doesn’t require throwing in the towel on humanity and forgetting what other countries truly mean to us and our own citizens.

It’s been said, “The only time you should look down on a person is when you are helping them up.”

America is more than a country Pt. 3

As elections are nearing for November 2nd, more and more campaigning is going on and it is everywhere a person goes. To get away from campaigning or news about campaigns or candidates, someone would have to “unplug” from society.

However, voting is one of the most valuable and important rights as an American and although it does seem one candidate is saying one thing and another turns and says the exact opposite, the process is an important part of the ultimate outcome, your vote.

As an American, of legal voting age there is a big responsibility of being involved in the decision being made in your district, state and the country. Many decisions will have a lasting effect for a vast amount of people for a very long time, often generations.

For instance, the ability to vote was not granted to women until 1920 and African Americans were not fully able to vote until 1965 after Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. 

Voting is not something that should ever be taken lightly because it has taken a great deal to have the freedom to vote.

People in many countries do not have the freedom to vote and often times in countries that allow voting, not all citizens are allowed to vote (most often women).

The United States holds Federal Elections every two years. Every member of our House of Representatives and nearly one-third of the senate is up for either re-election or replacement on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Our presidential election takes place every four years and is watched internationally.

In the U.S. we have numerous political parties and more continue to be organized.

In office at the moment is the Democratic Party. By visiting democrats.org a person can learn more about the Democratic Party. There is a quote from John F. Kennedy on their site.

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” President John F. Kennedy

The Democratic Party has this statement on their website as well.

“For more than 200 years Democrats have represented the interest of working families, fighting for equal opportunities and justice for all Americans.”

When going to the RNC (Republican National Committee page), which leads to gop.com, there is an area called “who we are”. It is lengthy so the link is there to click on and read.

A few things I picked out most from reading the “who we are” section though is the mentions of past presidents that were republicans because times have changed, parties have changed. Although the republican party of today may honor a past president does not mean those presidents would stand behind how their “party” is running things today. Of course, one could say the same thing of past Democratic presidents but the GOP website and party takes pride in talking about its past presidents so I am mentioning this.

Also, a disturbing fact is that the Republican party itself (of yesterday) did have a great deal to do with freeing slaves thanks to Abraham Lincoln and those that helped push the laws through that led to voting rights. Due to continued discrimination in many areas, especially the south, Lyndon B. Johnson, in conjunction with the Civil Rights Movement, was able to convince congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and in 1965 passed the Voting Rights Act which outlawed discrimination in voting. This would finally allow many southern blacks to begin voting for the first time.

This may be something that was totally overlooked but even so, it is something that shouldn’t be overlooked by any party that is expected to be representing all of America. In their “A Pledge to America” agenda book, there are no minorities pictured. If there are, they are in some back corner somewhere and very hard to find. It seems to represent just a part of America. There are a good amount of pictures so there were plenty of chances to represent all of America and all the diversity America represents. Their pledge to America should be speaking to all voters unless they aren’t targeting their votes or not planning to work to assist the needs of minorities. Take a look.

With voting as not only a privilege but also a responsibility, a lot of emphasis is placed on elections. As years have gone on though, more and more emphasis is being placed on campaigns and less is being placed on the actual outcome of the process, the candidate that wins and how they will actually do in the office they are elected for. The fact is, during campaign time, the candidate will do just that, campaign. Promises will be made and each side will in some way or other attack the other side, often times saying lies or telling only part of the story which is purposely being done to mislead the voters. The excuse given is that, “this is just part of politics.” Does that make it right?

Too often, many people are listening to the candidate or those campaigning in their party and not checking the actual facts. Too often, the misleading campaign ads are taken literally. Too many people pass around false emails, edited and chopped off videos that when not seen in full become not only misleading but are used to spread lies. As a voter, a responsible voter, it is up to you to get the facts before casting your vote.

One good place to start is at factcheck.org which is a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. That is taken directly from their website. Their reports are updated regularly on all sides of politics and cover campaign ads, speeches, debates, etc.

The simple fact is there are many people who vote and many people that are qualified to vote that aren’t registered. The solution to having more people making a real difference is not simply getting more people registered but getting more people educated on the voting process, how to double check the candidates and the facts and the importance on being involved both at the time of campaigns and elections but also in between times.

People are always very concerned about what is going on in Washington but the concern for everyone should be what is going on around the nation, from coast to coast and with the people that live within these United States.

Who is helping keep our country safe? Who is looking worldwide to see how each nation is developing their safety, energy improvements, market stability and are we moving forward at the right pace to gain ground? Who has already made a difference in education and working to develop new ideas and more opportunities for our students and not only build a better tomorrow for them but also for our teachers to have access to a better curriculum, more advanced materials, more incentives, job security and better pay? Where do we stand with other countries in international relations and communications? Who is seeing that not only are they doing what is right for their own career but more importantly what is right for the American people? Who is making sure that the America of today will be a more advanced and healthy, educated with a strong military, financially more secure and internationally respected America of tomorrow?

Whether a candidate is running for Congress, Senate or the office of the President these questions should be asked. There should be an abundance of inquiries and one of the least important questions should be their political party. At the end of the day, it is clear to see how insignificant their party really is when it comes to getting things done. Getting things done has to do with working with others and the group of people that have ended up in Washington D.C. The problem right now is so much focus has been given to which party each candidate is on and which party has the majority in the House or Senate which is causing a total distraction from getting anything done in Washington and is not only hurting the country but also hurting individual Americans. Voters are also getting too caught up in casting their votes for a candidate not due to their qualifications but moreso for their party and/or being lead by false advertisements and campaigns.

A leader should be able to lead and work with anyone and put their political party aside because America is made up of people from all political parties and those with no political party. A voter should be able to put aside their political party for the same reason. Those in Washington are working for EVERYONE, not just those in their party. When party is standing in the way of progress, America is the one getting hurt. America is more than a country. America is families, children, students, sick individuals, people with hopes and dreams and people that will be leaders of tomorrow.

In Florida, October 4this the last day to register to vote for the November 2ndelections (some states differ). If you aren’t registered and want to take part in these elections, please register to vote. There is sure to be an abundance of campaign ads, debates and articles but remember, double check what you hear. Get the facts. Your vote represents you. The ballot you cast is private and the ability to vote is a privilege and a responsibility. Honor those that fought for that right.

Campaign ads aren’t meant to educate or be fair. They are meant to win votes.

For U.S. voter registration, please visit this link.

For Florida voter registration, please visit this link.