The Collegian
Monday, February 06, 2023

So, Let's Talk Issues

A response to "What Are the Issues?" (Opinion, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008)

Albert Einstein, one of the greatest geniuses in the history of mankind once said, "great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." Enough said. However, in the spirit of a fair and open-minded debate, I will try to elaborate on why Jarrett's opinion piece is nothing more than a typical Republican smear attack/Fox News talking points article.

Firstly, regardless of one's position on the issues -- or the candidates -- a civil discussion requires that we maintain a certain level of respect for the persons of our candidates for the highest office in land. I have no doubt that both Senators Barack Obama and John McCain love this country and are running for president to better it for us all. Thus, the question should rather be: Who is the better choice for President?

Jarrett's blind accusation that the Obama campaign has been avoiding discussion of the issues shows a certain -- and very unashamedly biased -- evaluation of recent events. We know that it is the McCain campaign that has been releasing negative attack after negative attack, much of which manipulates and misleads the audience, forcing the Obama campaign to respond.

So let's talk about the ISSUES. For millions of Americans the choice is clear in this election: On the one hand we have a long-time senator from the state of Arizona who served this nation in uniform but who offers nothing new and more of the same. On the other hand, we have a young Senator from Illinois, whose message of hope and change has inspired millions to believe in America's promise once again. One offers a continuation of failed George W. Bush policies on, among other things, the economy, including huge tax cuts for the top 5% and little relief for working, middle class Americans. He supports an unending and indefinite occupation of Iraq -- something even the Bush Administration has recently moved away from. On the other hand, the young Senator offers proposals to promote economic stimulus and shared prosperity by providing tax relief to the great majority of Americans who do not make over $250,000, own 7 homes or 13 cars. He also wants to bring our troops home from a war that "should never have been fought and never have been authorized." He had the judgment to get it right and to oppose the war when it was politically unpopular -- John McCain did not. Ironically enough, the Bush Administration, more recently adopted policies that are closer to Senator Obama's proposals than those of John McCain's -- especially when it comes to dealing with Pakistan and the future of the occupation in Iraq.

Further, Jarrett, we ought to keep our standards upon which we judge our leaders constant and ask the same of everyone of them. To criticize Senator Obama's ability to inspire millions of Americans and draw thousands to his rallies and to dismiss him as a "man of fashion, [who] has enjoyed a near-celebrity status," while praising Sarah Palin for attracting crowds in a similar fashion, is not only absurd, but hypocritical, too -- she attracted a crowd of over 60,000 at a recent rally in Florida. So, who is the "celebrity" now?

When we rise beyond partisan and ideological biases, we see that the choice in this election is very clear and simple: It is between John McCain, who pointing to a "recent study" showing he voted with President Bush 90 percent of the time on Meet the Press, said that "on the transcendent issues -- the most important issues of our day -- I have been in total agreement with president Bush." He offers more of the same old Washington politics and failed policies that will not do in a changing world. We also have a candidate in Barack Obama who is offering a progressive, forward-looking vision and direction that is more in tune with the demands, challenges, and opportunities of the 21st century. Barack Obama inspired many of us before he even arrived in Washington by uttering 17 words that capture the true spirit of this nation: "There is not a liberal America and a conservative America--there is the United States of America."

It has been said that "the essence of statesmanship is not a rigid adherence to the past, but a prudent and probing concern for the future." Barack Obama has the judgment, the track record, and the ability to move us in the right direction. He has the ability to bring us together to face the common challenges facing our nation and, as Senator Kennedy said, "he is tough-minded, but he also has an uncommon capacity to appeal to 'the better angels of our nature.'" To oppose the great spirits of the Senator and his people-powered Movement for Change, and to dismiss it as just "fashion" and "celebrity," as Albert Einstein would agree, is only a reflection of a mediocre mind.

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