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Change

Obama at UNC Charlotte on the eve of An Historic Election

Obama at UNC Charlotte on the eve of 'An Historic Election'

I think what finally sold me on Obama was not his platform or his persona but his recent rally at UNC Charlotte. I spoke to a mom who took a half day off work to bring her son to the rally. Obama was his hero. His mom said that he might have only had a negative role model like an athelete or rapper for a hero until Barack came a long. The little guy really was so excited to see his hero speak.

And then it hit me.

Regardless of what our new president does (other than acheiving a mutually agreed upon for of absolute failure), his presidency is already an amazing success. Taking a generation of young african american males and showing them that they can truly be spectacular individuals would do more for our country than any policy ever could. Multiply that effect around the world to less fortunate societies and this could actually be a world changing moment.

But is it?

I pondered this “change” as I drove to work under the gray cloudy sky this morning. I tuned in to the local conservative radio station, WBT 1110 for you Charlotteans, and heard Keith Larson refer to the Democratic party’s domination of Mecklenburg county as ‘proof that our residents will vote for people even if they are scumbags and dirtballs’. And GOP boosters wonder why they lost?

Can this actually be a moment of blissful optimisim for America and the world? I don’t know what that feels like. All I’ve known since I’ve been a moderately competent adult has been hatred from the world, disgrace in our national values and a political vocabulary dominated with meaningless social issues like “family values” in the Karl Rove sense. I’ve yet to believe in “America” or its ideals, especially since I’ve realized the continuous exportation of our negative externalities into rural America (like mountaintop removal coal mining) and into the world. (As much of 50% of China’s greenhouse gas emissions are from US economic factors)

I’ve always felt that a third party view was the most favorable to my values, that the two major parties were props for an overwhelming corporatocracy. Yet, some of the policies that the Democratic party hopes to enact are against the will of industry. Especially the most powerful industries, oil, coal and military. Are we seeing a break from industry masquerading as government? I highly doubt so, but I can be hopeful.

I’ve decided I do know this: the Democrats have political control of this nation and that they had better take advantage of it. If the Democrats fail over the next two years I will truly lose hope for the US. The Republicans had a shot and were found wanting. Policies of absolute fear and social conservatism has driven the GOP to near irrelevance. (Perhaps adopting a mainstream libertarian view would resurrect the elephant side of the political spectrum)

I hope that we take this opportunity to embrace reason over fear. Conversation instead of punditry. Acceptance instead of ‘small town values’. Let’s embrace all of America, instead of just the rural areas. Let’s rebuild our infrastructure.

But are things beyond repair? We’ll find out over the next few months as our next president lays out a plan for rebuilding America from nearly 30 years of waiting for “success” to trickle down. I’m cautiously optimistic right now. But seeing the photos of people around the world crying for joy at this moment has me feeling at least slightly better about our chances for the future.

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This Thursday marks the first and only public exhibition for the Charlotte 49er Men’s Bball team vs. Phfiffphefr (or something spelled like that).

I’m excited for many reasons about this upcoming season but I’ll explain those later and just let this video explain,

(note: the last dunk in the video was chosen by ESPN as “Dunk of the Year”)

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Got a mailer from the Republican Party the other day. It was covered in flags and the myths that we Americans like to perpetuate. Like “Al-Qaeda continues to attack innocent victims in all corners of the world”, “Only one party is committed to keeping America safe.” “Defeating evil. Securing Freedom”

While I believe our government and both presidential candidates are likely just part of the overwhelming corporatocracy, I still can’t believe that one party would try to distance themselves so far from the facts… or that it even works.

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This is one of the more creative campaign commercials I’ve ever seen.

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A new Bev Purdue ad targets Mayor Pat on the issue of urban preferences. It claims that McCrory would take money away from the rural parts of the state and give it to Charlotte.

True or not, this ad exemplifies the kind of divisive philosophy that has torn up our state for so long. It shouldn’t be about city vs. country. What’s good for Charlotte is good for NC and vice versa.

My favorite tidbit from the NC governor’s election came from Mike Munger on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks as he talked about how we subsidize sprawl in the state by allowing state representatives to take pork money back to their districts. We have to build density in the state to reduce the costs that sprawled infrastructure is having on society, but also we need to take care of our rural areas.

Let’s stop with the rivalries NC. It isn’t Charlotte v Raleigh or Charlotte v Asheville. We need everyone to survive the changing economy.

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After reading Fareed Zakaria’s Post-American World over the summer, I’ve gained a huge amount of respect for his optimistic vision of the country. One of the points he makes that concurs with my observation is the persistence of the myth that the US is the “bestest nation in the whole entire world”. We might have been at one time, but we’ve got some work to do.

In his most recent column, one paragraph summed up the US situation more than any other I’ve read recently,

In America today we’re getting government wrong in a big way. We have a patchwork of bad regulations, subsidies, and ad hoc interventions. Policies are designed to pay off powerful constituents rather than generate long-term growth. We have the most expensive and inefficient health-care system in the industrialized world, the most wasteful energy usage, the lowest savings rate, the worst maintained infrastructure, a complex and corrupt tax code. We’ve gotten by despite all these problems because the overall system has been dynamic and the world looked to America as the place to put its savings and its faith. But the free ride is coming to an end. It’s time to get serious.

I’ve come to think that government is the solution, not the bane of all existence.

I want to pay more in taxes. I want more public works projects. But not in the way we’ve had for the last 20 years.

If we just modify our government to slightly improve the way we currently do things, we are headed for a rough few decades. We’ll need some smart policy makers to survey the American landscape and to act effectively. Let’s hope we get some this November.

I know we can turn things around Washington...

I know we can turn things around Washington...

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…she’s stopped everyone from talking about the iphone!
Look at the news reference volume!

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