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On the 2008 Presidential Election

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Last night was a historic night.

However, it’s historic not just because Barack Obama, the first African American nominee of a major political party, was elected President, thought that certainly was historic, or because the margin of victory was so great, there have been bigger.

It was because we saw what hard work and dedication in America can accomplish. So many people, my parents included, come to America seeking a better life for themselves and their children. My dad bought a one way ticket from Taiwan to the United States to go to college. He could have stayed in Taiwan and been quite comfortable. He could speak his native tongue, live where he grew up, worked with people he’s known his entire life, but this was America. The land of opportunity.

Many people point to Barack Obama’s achievements as inspiration that the American dream is still alive, to which I cannot disagree. However, I argue that John McCain’s ascension to the Republican Presidential nominee is equally impressive. Age discrimination is very real in this country, though less offensive to many for a variety of reasons, and we were not far from electing the oldest President of the United States. John McCain was a tireless public servant, a hard working American, and no one can doubt his patriotism – and he was rewarded with the Republican nomination. It did upset me to see him upset last night, you almost never want to see someone of his caliber of character see defeat in that way (McCain’s brief bio on Wikipedia).

Barack Obama’s story is pretty well known (Wikipedia has a quick recap of that) so I won’t rehash it but the fact that he was the Democratic nominee is also impressive. I thought his acceptance speech was clear – this was only the chance to begin the work, not the work itself. It contained all the usual political stuff but I thought the story about Ann Nixon Cooper was very touching. You can read the transcript of the speech here and listen to it here (I’m sure video will be available later if you search for it).

Hard work still pays off in America, that was something we lost faith in for the last few years. Now it’s time to build on it.

{ 21 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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21 Responses to “On the 2008 Presidential Election”

  1. ESK says:

    Ironic that come January that same hard work and determination will be roundly and soundly punished by the left.

  2. Miranda says:

    My favorite thing about Obama is that he is trying to inspire us to work together and take some responsibility for getting us out of this mess. Listening to his speech last night, it struck me that he never once said he was some magic bullet, and last night he pointed out that we have problems that can’t be fixed immediately. But he did inspire me to want to work to do what I can to effect change. And that’s been theme of his campaign. Yes WE can.

  3. Fred says:

    Obama wasn’t my guy in this race, but he ran a superior campaign and inspired millions of people to get behind him.

    He also made a lot of campaign promises about bolstering the middle class’s situation and providing hope to millions more Americans. I hope he is able to deliver on those promises and improve quality of life for those of us in the middle.

    The last year has been one economic disaster after another. I don’t subscribe to the idea that this was all GW’s fault, but certainly some of the fault was his. Obama leveraged that story, and it gave him a mandate from more than half of America to implement his ideas as an alternative. How they play out, history will be the judge…

    For now, Obama’s story will be an inspiration to many, many Americans. Hard work and dilligence do pay off in American, and it is refreshing to know that you don’t have to be a particular demographic to win the highest office in the land.

  4. Patrick says:

    I am taking nothing away from Barack Obama’s win, but I am disappointed in this election as well as past election. I know people say that third parties have no chance and we should just ignore them, but why? It just doesn’t make sense. Most people vote for one of the two major candidates because they like one view he has, but is compromised in their other views.

    Why should we continue to compromise our views when there are many other viable candidates that don’t make the stage because their party doesn’t have enough money. The media also played a huge role in ignoring the other candidates and only showing the two major candidates. I thought the media was supposed to be unbiased. It seems like money will always play a role in the outcomes of our political elections…

  5. jim says:

    @Patrick: There are so many facets to each one of us, there will never be someone who will match up with exactly what you feel, how badly you feel it, and still appeal to enough other voters to be elected. You compromise because life is about compromise.

    As for main stream media, they do the same thing. They focus on the candidates with the most mass appeal because they want viewership. 62m+ voted for Obama, 55m+ voted for McCain. The media will give time to other candidates (Nadar, Perot, etc.).

  6. Gates VP says:

    Hey Patrick;

    If it’s any consolation, I think the only person who correctly understands the whole problem is Ron Paul. But he didn’t make it very far.

    The US faces two big problems.
    1. An economic crisis brought on by “negative everything”. Trade deficit, personal savings deficit and budget deficit.
    2. A looming energy crisis. Brought on by the fact that modern America was built on the assumption of “cheap gas” and “cheap energy” (which justifies the building of 4000 sq ft. homes in the suburbs)

    The standard of living for the average American will drop. The US operates at a negative. Energy consumption per capita is rising, not dropping and the US is already not meeting demand. Without access to abundant internal energy, the US will be required to compete with international competitors for importable energy. And they have to do it with dollars that are becoming less and less valuable b/c they’re over-leveraged.

    There are basically two roads here:
    1. Make substantial changes to strengthen the real purchasing power of the dollar by heavily limiting supply, by increasing exports and by paying down debt.
    2. Print money until the problem goes away (causing years of high inflation).

    All signs right now point to #2.

    It’s easy for the government to print money and hide inflation for several years. You know all of that stuff about “calloused hands” and “brick by brick”, yeah, that’s the outlook for the next decade. Over 50 and want to retire? That’s going to be difficult while inflation is bigger than market returns. That’s what we’re looking at right now.

    If you feel that I’m wrong and that signs are actually pointing to #1 (i.e. not inflating the currency). I would love to hear your opinions, ideas and facts to back this up (maybe even with hyperlinks).

    I’ve had this conversation many times over and nobody has given me the confidence that the US plans to do anything but print money to resolve the problem. I would be happy to be proven wrong, it would save me jumping through hoops to invest my dollars in foreign currencies.

  7. Patrick says:

    Jim, I don’t disagree that some third party candidates get a little press from the media, but why exclude them from the national presidential debates? I know it harder to have a debate with many people instead of just two. It just feels like they are intentionally leaving them out just because the media either doesn’t want them to have a standing chance or feels they won’t win. Maybe they would have a greater chance if they got the opportunity to be on the national stage.

    I agree completely with the compromise issue as I have to do it all the time in my relationship as do most people :) If a candidate has views that match up completely with yours or where you only have to compromise a few things, why not vote for them. Also, I just feel that third parties are given no chance because they are not the Republican or Democratic party and has nothing to do with their issues. I get taken as a joke or even laughed at when I tell people I am voting for a third party candidate. That just doesnt’ seem right when they haven’t even look at the other candidates views to know the truth.

  8. Hard work does pay off but if it pays off too well for you, the government won’t appreciate that. The government will only appreciate hard work that pays off everyone, including those that don’t work so hard.

  9. Jadzia says:

    I disagree with the premise of this post. Being sent to private schools and private colleges, moving on to lecture at a law school and sit on a few boards, and moving from there to land in political offices where you never get your hands dirty and the job is essentially part time — that’s not hard work. Hard work is done by the construction workers, the nurses who make minimum wage and don’t receive health benefits themselves, by ditch diggers and waitresses and, yes, plumbers. You know, all those bitter and uneducated folks. What I learned from this election is that the Democrats can out-thug the Republicans (and can at least give them a run for their money in the woman-hating department), or at least they did this time around. And in the end, we all lose. Even those of us (like me — I have young kids and I work two full time jobs) who work hard.

  10. Jon says:

    Sorry, but law school is hard work.

  11. Steve says:

    I have to agree with Jon – just as I wouldn’t ever say a waitress or a construction worker or a stay-at-home-mom doesn’t have a hard job because I haven’t ever DONE those jobs, I wouldn’t presume to say being a lawyer is easy. Studying at private schools and colleges and teaching law after getting a law degree is hard work, too, and involves a lot of personal sacrifices, long hours and low pay. I was a teaching assistant for 2 years and learned to live off $800 a month while putting myself through grad school on my own dime. Yeah, it paid off, but only after 15 years of back-breaking work in public accounting.

  12. David says:

    I felt sorry for McCain in 2000, to see him push-polled in such a dirty way by the Bush-Rove machine. But this time around I didn’t feel sorry for him, and not because of his strategic blunders. He kept on trying to paint Obama as a socialist (which he’s clearly not) and a terrorist (which he’s clearly not) and as someone who doesn’t understand economics (which is clearly more true of McCain).

    And I know you’re angry, Jadzia, but you should really think before you speak. Law school not hard? Why don’t you give it a try if it’s so easy? Ever try to understand a law book? See, this is largely why McCain lost – he appealed to people’s bitterness by saying, “See, it’s US vs. THEM, those ELITES!” But meanwhile, in the real world, McCain didn’t acknowledge that those “elite” areas are full of people working their butts off and not always getting paid or treated quite so well as it seems. Also, how is it that, to you, nurses are *uneducated* and make *minimum wage*? Where I’m from, nurses have to get higher ed, and then are in such demand that they typically make some nice wages. But they’re doing hard work, I’ll give you that. If you know some nurses being paid that terribly, by all means, tell them to look around NY state, we need them! Maybe you’re talking about people who work in hospitals and clinics who don’t have a nursing degree or license…

  13. David says:

    “Hard work does pay off but if it pays off too well for you, the government won’t appreciate that. The government will only appreciate hard work that pays off everyone, including those that don’t work so hard.”

    You are so right – the government of the last 8 years has not been taking your money and wasting it at all! They let you keep it all and stayed out of your business, right?

    Wrong. Talk about wasting taxpayer money…

    And as for hard work – teachers work hard and get nothing. Community organizers work hard and get nothing. Police and fire get barely anything.

    Guess they don’t work hard enough to get paid well for what they do. It’s much harder to sit in an office all day pushing paper, no? Now THAT deserves more pay!

  14. Jackson says:

    When McCain used a racial slur against Asians it made me realize he’s not fit to be president.*

    Add in all his other inappropriate comments towards women and other individuals and it’s clear he would have been an embarrassment if he represented us.

    *I know the arguments, that he only used the slur against his captors, etc., etc. But you can bet if he said it about any other minority group his political career would have been over.

  15. Catherine Tan says:

    I suspect it was because your father was scared that the mainland Chinese government might integrate Taiwan as during the imperial times. He did it to evade war for himself and his children. And he was not the only one either.

    In that sense, America was a land of opportunity: the opportunity to avoid possible war and deprivations, and to stay in a safer country.

  16. jim says:

    @Catherine: I don’t know if that’s a fair statement to make based on so little information.

  17. Ned says:

    Jim,

    McCain was the son (and grandson) of 4-star Navy Admirals, he was guaranteed a spot in the USNA from birth and therefore guaranteed to become an officer (despite barrrrrrely graduating). You’re claiming his ascension to public office is roughly as probable as a black boy raised by a single white woman who was so poor she had to use food stamps? I think that’s a little … off.

    McCain is a war hero, and his continued service to his country (despite enormous wealth) is something we can all look up to, but … come on now.

  18. jim says:

    Ned – I was referring to his age, not his military accomplishments, I agree with your points though.

  19. JazzBumpa says:

    SK and MrToughMoneyLove are spouting right wing talking points that have no basis in reality. Go check the facts. The internet makes it really easy. Here are a few. Republicans are very anti-small business. Democrats consistently exhibit superior fiscal responsibility. GDP growth is always better under Democrats.

    http://jazzbumpa.tumblr.com/post/57184519/republicans-not-so-good-for-business

    (in this graph, the blue lines are avg GDP growth for Democratic Pres. term, and the red lines ditto for Republicans.)

    The stock market does better under Democrats.

    http://jazzbumpa.tumblr.com/post/57208259/republicans-bad-for-the-stock-market

    The general trend over the last 45 years has been to lower taxation. GDP growth over the period has systematically declined.

    http://jazzbumpa.tumblr.com/post/57522107/another-look-at-gdp-growth-graph-by-jazzbumpa

    Conservatives, especially libertarians have great logic to their ideologies, but in the real world they simply don’t work. Check out what has happened to wealth and income distribution over the recent decades, with Republicans in the white house 28 of the last 40 years. This is a big part of why we are living in 1929, part 2.

    Clinton raised taxes, increased social spending and RAN A SURPLUS!. Bush lowered taxes, cut social programs and the economy is in the toilet. I am not preaching direct cause and effect for any specific program detail, but, please, do not let your ideology trump reality.

  20. Jon says:

    When have any real libertarian ideologies ever been practiced?

  21. JazzBumpa says:

    Jon -

    I guess that would be in Ayn Rand’s novels.


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