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October 31, 2014

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Sun Editorial:

A real choice this fall

Conventions provide very different visions for America’s future

Another view?

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In accepting the Democratic nomination Thursday night, President Barack Obama framed the campaign as a clear choice “between two fundamentally different visions for the future.”

That was never more apparent than by the end of president’s speech.

The week before, the Republican National Convention featured a dour vision, saturated in negative rhetoric in which speakers seemed more intent on maligning the president than in laying out a clear plan for America.

In contrast, Obama gave a positive pitch for a return to the American dream, a dream that would expand the middle class. Although many critics dismissed the speech because of its lack of rhetorical highlights, it was an important and serious moment in the campaign.

For the past four years, the president has been dogged by divisive critics who have branded him a “socialist,” trumped up phony controversies and created gridlock in Congress in an attempt to defeat Obama at every turn. The extremists on the far right have breathlessly claimed this election is about “liberty,” saying that the president has undercut American rights and is pushing the country away from its founding ideals.

That type of hyperbole is not only wrong, it has taken the focus off the real issues the country faces.

Obama and the Democrats brought the issue back to the people and our collective role as citizens. The Democratic convention served as a counterbalance to the Republican embrace of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of selfishness and their “we built this” theme.

First, Obama reaffirmed the American belief in individual rights that “no man or government can take away” and trumpeted “the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers, the entrepreneurs who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system, the greatest engine of growth and prosperity that the world’s ever known.”

Then, Obama noted that Americans have a responsibility as citizens. He said citizenship is “at the very essence of our democracy, the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.”

The previous night in his stirring speech, former President Bill Clinton put it this way:

“We think the country works better with a strong middle class, with real opportunities for poor folks to work their way into it, with a relentless focus on the future, with business and government actually working together to promote growth and broadly share prosperity. You see, we believe that ‘we’re all in this together’ is a far better philosophy than ‘you’re on your own.’ ”

That sums up the difference in philosophy quite well. Are Americans part of something bigger than themselves?

In history, the best times come when Americans have rallied around a cause and worked together. The recession should have been such a time, but Obama’s opponents have been so insistent on defeating him and getting their way that they have slowed the recovery with false claims about government “takeovers” and government being the problem, not the solution.

Obama addressed the criticism, saying government wasn’t the answer to all the nation’s problems but it wasn’t the source of the nation’s problems, either. He called people together as Americans.

“We understand that this democracy is ours,” he said. “We, the people, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which asks only, ‘What’s in it for me,’ a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals and those who died in their defense.

“As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government.”

The question for voters this fall is clear, and it will come down to Americans’ view of citizenship: Do we, as Americans, participate and find candidates who can work together, or do we settle in for four more years of a sluggish recovery and political divisiveness?

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  1. Over the past 4 years of this administration, social and economic problems have worsened. In 2008, as candidate for president, Obama promised and pledged hope and change. He delivered divide and conquer. His economic policies failed. Another term will be more of the same with bigger deficits and higher taxes. Just what we don't need and can't afford. He has a record. He can't run from it or on it. He can't pass the buck to Bush. The GOP may have a message of hard choices ahead but it's the truth. Look across the pond to Europe and see what hiding and avoiding the problems with feel good rhetoric does. Things get much worse instead of better. Just look at the last 4 years.

    CarmineD

  2. The choice of voting for President would clearly be much easier had the folks in leadership, Congress, stopped obstructing government, and quit their very immature behavior and voting out of their hatred of Obama. This has been going on for 4 years with all the promise of continuing IF Obama is reelected. This is NOT what the People of the USA want, and it surely is NOT the way to properly govern a great nation.

    The Republican agenda has been full of divide and conquer, or creating so much division that Citizens are alienated, disenfranchised, and feeling that their voice and vote mean little to nothing. For the last 4 years, Republicans have had an "all or nothing" approach to governance, and if it didn't go their way, nothing was the outcome. There was a complete lack of compromise on their parts, no meeting in the middle. So virtually NOTHING got done, no budget, etc.

    The question I would ask is "Who is your highest contributing supporter?" to each Presidential candidate and to those seeking political office. Follow the money trail to see who is really influencing our government and political policy imposed upon all of us Citizens.

    No matter the outcome of this election, either Presidential candidate face an ominous platter of national problems waiting for attention and resolution, and each man faced with also paying back favors to those they are beowning to. So, hold your nose, toss a coin, and go out and VOTE, because neither man will be able to, or can do, a perfect job as President of the United States of America as how things exist today.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  3. For the informed voters this is clear elected. The Republicans have framed President Obama the last 3 years into something un-American! Millions of American saw the real President during the democrat convention. Blaming President Obama for our current situation is short sighted and shows ignorance from anyone who sprews this type of distortion.

    In this of day of information access, no one can claim ignorance! If so, this only shows a bias and an unwillingness to agree on things normally that would bring us together on common ground. What else would compel an individual to vote against long standing agreed interest, long standing core beliefs? If it's not a bias, or prejudice, or hate, what could it be?

    The President is an American! He is our President! He is doing a good job as our President! This is why he will be re-elected in November!

    To the independent voters, President Obama will be the selection in November. Look for a 6 to 8 point victory.

  4. Talk about hyperbole, this column is one example. Yes, the choice is clear. Bigger government vs smaller government. More spending vs less spending. More regulation vs less regulation. Collective power vs individual rights. Central planning vs individual responsibility. A nanny state vs a productive one.

    There are more stark contrasts that could be made but the point is clear. Big government vs individual freedom sums up the choice based on actual current and past performance.

    Any honest person can review the last 47 years and see what legislation has been passed, what executive decisions have been made and come to that conclusion. There have been exceptions along the way by both parties but the trend is clear; a vote for one means more government control and less individual freedom, higher taxes, more spending, higher deficits and debt, higher energy costs, higher food costs and a lower standard of living while the other means efforts to preserve personal freedom, lower energy costs, individual responsibility, etc.

    Looking at executive efforts and actions vs empty rhetoric by either side, I don't see how anyone could refute that.

  5. Thank goodness President Obama doesn't have to pay for the use of Air Force One or the cargo plane that hauls his limo and helicopter to his campaign stops. If he did, he would have to raise as much campaign money as Mitt Romney!

  6. There's a reason it's called a bounce after the Convention. What goes up also comes down.

    The only poll that counts is the one on Nov 6, 2012.

    CarmineD

  7. "Do we, as Americans, participate and find candidates who can work together, or do we settle in for four more years of a sluggish recovery and political divisiveness?"

    Good question. But from all indications I see, there is only one answer. And the Tea/Republican Party has answered it for the American voters out here.

    It has not been pointed out directly, but it's a proven fact the Tea/Republican politicians in power right now have basically put their foots down.

    They have all said, every single one of them, that if President Obama wins this upcoming election, they intend to continue as before. They are down on record they intend to make sure America remains ungovernable for ANOTHER four years.

    This leaves the voters out here with no alternatives.

    We destroy the Tea/Republican Party with our votes. Vote as many of them out of power as we can.

    Obama/Biden 2012! AND a Democratic Party majority in both the House and the Senate.

    The Tea/Republican Party will dispute this course of action. But then again, they have forced it upon us. Simply because the Tea/Republican Party, as it is composed of nowadays, is a complete mess. They have went extremely ultra-conservative, with totally radical totalitarian views they are trying to basically shove down the throats of America. For the past two years, they have shown they are incapable of governing and leading, only protesting and whining all the time. In 2010, they were voted into power because of jobs and the economy, in hopes that a divided government would get something done. They blew it. They immediately focused on women's issues, anti-abortion, repeal of the Affordable Care Act, naming Federal Buildings, and total destruction of America's credit rating.

    They said that 2010 was a "wave election."

    This election in 2012 will be the same, but swinging the other way. They have failed America. We simply don't have the time to play, nor the patience to listen to, their silly party politics all the time. There's only one way to get rid of the bully. Everybody bands together and kicks him out of the playground.

    That's what needs to happen to the abomination called the Tea/Republican Party. Right now, they are not qualified to even be close to being in power. They need to all be thrown out and made to wander around aimlessly for at least a few generations, then maybe they can self-reflect and figure out what they did wrong. Put them in time out, people, with your vote.

    Vote Democrat, people. Because the other side of the aisle is substandard, lackluster and has proven they cannot get even the simplest things done.

    You don't vote the same way and hope things will change. Not with this crazy ultra-conservative Tea/Republican Party that only wants to destroy the middle class. The one and only way they look at it is they think they are given carte blanche invitations to over reach all the time.

    This over reach junk stops on November 6, 2012.

  8. What core beliefs are you talking about?
    The right not to have your religion defaced?
    The right to be left alone if you're not beating someone?
    The right to decide who you give your money to?
    The Rs aren't telling us that we are all alone--they are telling us that we are free to make our own decisions about who we help. The Ds are telling everyone that we are in this together(share and share alike, which is great as long as YOU share with them who refuse to have anything or work for anything to share!!) and that it is ok to take what you need/want. The Rs are saying you have to ask and we get to turn you down if we think that you would waste the money on something. No one is given money you have to earn it. And yes if you want to end corp welfare go ahead but don't tax them either--it is their money not yours.FREEDOM is messy and it may not always give you the end you desire BUT for those called on to 'sacrifice' it does. Shared sacrifice--tell me who asks you for that?? The Ds--death and taxes and sacrifce are all they promise!!! Join the Rs if you wish to live and produce and SHARE.
    Read your history. This country was founded by people who came here thinking that it was 'share and share alike' but found out that people do not like to work for the bread for those who will not. Read the works of William Bradford and why the first Thanksgiving happened--not the fairy tale you learned in school but the real truth about what took place that second year!!!!!READ>

    And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.
    Fropm this we learn that FREE people work better and harder than slaves. Wow what a concept!!!

  9. still not convinced:
    The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato's and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labours and victuals, clothes, etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men's wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none object this is men's corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.

  10. We've heard all the promises before and until we effect campaign funding reform most citizens once again won't get the representation they seek while most significant campaign contributors willing to fund both Partys will! It's time to recognize that while most citizens appear to endorse campaign funding reform, there appear to be no citizens amongst media owners. I say this in recognition that past significant political changes have been forced by large public opinion and media holds opportunity for influencing opinion.

  11. Nonsense, you don't have a choice...

    unless, of course, you consider electing Bush III vs. Bush IV a choice...