Day: January 19, 2010

Things I Like About President Obama

My  readers will probably be stunned to read this title of my post.  Clearly I am not a fan of most of the President’s policies and opinions.  I think the bailouts, TARP and the budget have been financial disasters.  I also have concerns with his views on abortion, health care, the environment, and other issues.   Still, with today being nearly a year after the inauguration  it seemed appropriate to mention a few things I admire about President Obama.

1.  I admire his life story.  I’ve read his book Dreams of my Father and found it very moving.  It is amazing that the son of a single mother and an absent father from Hawaii has made it to the Presidency.  Just the determination he showed to gain an elite education and a law degree would be impressive on its own, let alone becoming senator and then president.  Notice I didn’t mention his race as a point of praise.

Of course it goes without saying that his election as the first African-American president is a tremendous moment for our country. I was just reading a book about the Jim Crow South and find it amazing that things could be so different between 1950’s and today.  It gives a girl cause to hope for good things to come in the future.

Another aspect of his life story that I appreciate is his diversity.  Growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia has given him a real-life understanding of the world, and the way many foreigners view America.  While I am nervous about his views on global governance, I do think Obama’s worldview is helpful and admirable.

2. I admire his family.  From all I can gather he seems like a loving husband and father. He has frequently expressed his love for Michelle and the girls, which I love to hear. I think it is a good thing that the Obama’s have been out on a few dates as President and First Lady.  It sets a good example for other American couples.

President Obama has also came out in support of marriage to the chagrin of many liberal followers.  In the 2008 Presidential questionnaire he said:

“I do not support gay marriage. Marriage has religious and social connotations, and I consider marriage to be between a man and a woman.”

It would be easy for a man abandoned as a boy to repeat the destructive patterns of his father.  I admire that President Obama chose to be a transitional character and be a good father and husband.

One of my favorite quotes of his is about the family:

How many times in the last year has this city lost a child at the hands of another child? How many times have our hearts stopped in the middle of the night with the sound of a gunshot or a siren? How many teenagers have we seen hanging around on street corners when they should be sitting in a classroom? How many are sitting in prison when they should be working, or at least looking for a job? How many in this generation are we willing to lose to poverty or violence or addiction? How many?

Yes, we need more cops on the street. Yes, we need fewer guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. Yes, we need more money for our schools. Yes, we need more jobs and more job training and more opportunity in our communities.

But we also need families to raise our children. We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child–it’s the courage to raise one.

3. I agree with his views on immigration.  I know this is a hotly debated issue but it is one I tend to differ from Republicans on.  I feel our current system is too difficult (my sister-in law was from Canada and it took her a year to get a greencard after marrying my brother and she had an attorney).  There are many hard-working, good people that deserve a shot at the American Dream.  If you look at the history of immigration in this country, the immigrants have always proven the doubters wrong.  They have always been a benefit to our country.  President Obama shares this view:

“For all the noise and anger that too often surrounds the immigration debate, America has nothing to fear from today’s immigrants. They have come here for the same reason that families have always come here–for the hope that in America, they could build a better life for themselves and their families. Like the waves of immigrants that came before them and the Hispanic Americans whose families have been here for generations, the recent arrival of Latino immigrants will only enrich our country.”

4.  I admire his desire to help the down-trodden, ill and hurting.  I believe he sincerely wants to help others with his programs and policies.  Do I agree with the actual policies? No, but I can still admire the heart that inspired them. Perhaps I am naive to their liberal wicked desires for control (or so many conservatives claim) but I prefer to believe the best in people until proven wrong.

I admire the desire of many liberals to relieve suffering and pain but the problem I have is that the cure often becomes worse than the disease. The government should be minimally involved in our lives- it should be just enough to protect rights and keep people from starvation and revolt.  Beyond that there are other, more effective avenues for assisting the needy, preserving the environment and educating our youth. It seems to me that the government works best as an overseer rather than a manager.  For instance, the national parks need some government enforcement to prevent wildlife poaching and destruction; however, the parks service is notorious for its terrible management of  park funds and other resources.

Those are the four attributes that come to mind immediately.  Perhaps I will add more later as I give it a bit more thought.  I’d love to hear your ideas on the President but be clean and as non-combative as possible!

Ps. If any of you are in Massachusetts vote Brown!