2008-09-19 / Columnists

The Progressive

Commentary By John Paul Culotta

On the first day of school, my daughter, who is now a senior in high school, was given an assignment regarding the presidential campaign. Her assignment was to write an essay as to which candidate she prefers and give the reasons why after comparing the qualifications, personality and positions of the candidates. Her choice was Barack Obama. I did not understand her reason. She believed that a biracial American would understand the complex barriers Americans of all races face and would recognize the travails of the common people. She also feels, although she did not write this in her essay, that we do not need a crazy white cowboy type in the White House again. I told her McCain was from Arizona. She has a wicked sense of humor.

I do not know if her reasoning is sound and yet it appears to me that our political agenda for too many years has been to make the more fortunate of us richer, and it appears the wealthy are waging war on the American who is in need or is struggling to make ends meet at the end of the month.

Both presidential candidates are qualified for the position. Both have served our nation as legislators. Both are articulate, although Obama is a more charismatic speaker. Both have survived in the political arena despite the odds being against them. John McCain has been a prisoner of war and deserves the respect of all Americans.

Both candidates know how fierce and disgusting vile smears in a political campaign can be. We should never forget the smear the Bush campaign made against McCain in 2000 in South Carolina implying McCain was the father of a black illegitimate child. Obama has been criticized about youthful indiscretions, his middle name, his wife's faux pas regarding a victory the candidate had, and his minister. He is accused of being Moslem, which is no constitutional barrier, but raw prejudice. It would appear now that Palin and Biden will not be immune from smears and mud slinging. I wish the campaign was focused on issues and not diversion.

It is unfortunate that the campaign is not based on the major issues of our time: How do we leave Iraq and get our economy to serve all Americans? We all recognize that this nation is at a crossroad. We are told this every day by the political commentators on television and radio.

It would appear we need a president that seeks to use diplomacy to settle international differences rather than a president who believes in using military force as the first and only option. We need a president who desires real economic growth that raises the economic power of all Americans and not the few. We need a president who is truly pro-life because he would believe in adequate sex education in our schools, would enhance alternative adoption by funding programs adequately, and ensure families have guaranteed universal healthcare, and would ensure education opportunities. This president would be against unjust wars and the use of torture. He would try to make workplaces safer so fathers and mothers return home alive and well after working long hours. We need a president who will ensure workers can organize and join in unions. We need a president who believes in progressive taxation and does not put the burden of government finance on the poor and middle class. We need a president who does not abdicate his responsibilities to the poor, and to all people during natural disasters.

John McCain is the candidate of a party that wishes to dismantle government thereby putting the burden of governmental abdication of responsibilities onto the poor and middle class. Our middle class is worried because inflationary pressures on higher education and healthcare make their position in our economic life perilous. Too many Americans have had their homes foreclosed.

Too many Americans fear their next credit card bill. Can we afford to give McCain the opportunity to continue the economic policies of the rank and file of his party?

My choice for president is the Democrat Barack Obama because he is the candidate of a party that does not want to dismantle social security, has recognized the failure and folly of the use of military force in Iraq, wishes to secure guaranteed universal health care coverage for all Americans, and will not promote huge tax cuts to the wealthy.

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