It’s one week later and the dust is settling down. I’m happy to say that most Americans voted with hope, not fear. Despite worries of voter fraud or voter suppression (depending on who you were listening to), Obama had the clear victory in both the popular and electoral votes. It’s hard to say whether this is a mandate or not (Bush claimed a mandate in 2004 with a mere 51% of the vote), but there is no doubt who won in 2008.
That was 7 days ago, and a lot has happened since.
In the past week, Obama has hit the ground running naming staff and outlining ideas; the GOP blame game blazed brightly especially around Palin; and many are wondering why Obama can’t just go ahead and take over from President Lame Duck.
A week and a day ago, I was at Obama’s last rally at the Prince William County Fair Grounds in Manassas, VA. It took 3 hours to make the 25 mile drive and then 2 hours to get back. With a nasty head cold, I stood in a freezing field with 80,000+ other human beings for 2 hours. Obama was late, and we had to sit through really bad jokes from some state politicians. It was totally worth it!
Obama’s speech was the most inspiring public event I have ever personally attended. Although mostly taken from his stump speech (which I probably know better than Obama by now), he ended with a great story that I had not heard. It was abut a city councilwoman he had met in South Carolina who showed him how to get motivated even on the worst of days. All 80,000+ people leaving the rally were using her chant “Fired up, ready to go”.
The next day, after voting and a quick coffee with my wife, I went out and spent the next 4 hours canvasing with my new friend Tom (whom I had just met in the Obama offices in Herndon). Going door-to-door with a list of Obama supporters, we checked if they had voted, and offered them a ride to the polls if not.
That night, I had several close friends over for an Obama Victory party. My wife’s criteria for invitation to this event: “They have to be willing to bear his children.” We were not looking for anyone who was not enthusiastic. That evening ended well.
Now, a weekÂ on, and I have to wonder: what of the GOP? Will the Republican Party come back from this? Is there really a GOP anymore? Many Republican’s I talked with didn’t vote for Obama, but neither did they vote for McCain. For a variety of reasons, they do not feel he represents the party they joined. Cultural conservatives and fiscal conservatives have always made for strange bedfellows, and that finally came home with this election. If anything cost the Republicans in this election, it was the “Southern Strategy” started by Richard Nixon and perpetuated by every Republican since then.
Personally, I do not want a one party rule in this country, even if I agree (mostly) with that party. But then again, I don’t really like the two party system either (I always point out that that’s only one more choice than the Russians had under Communist rule).
My hope is that from the wreckage of the 2008 GOP there might come two separate parties to better represent those constituencies. We’ll see.
For myself, with the election over, I need to turn my attention to the backlog of other projects I have. webbedENVIRONMENTS will not be going on hiatus, rather I will be slowing down my publishing schedule. I’m currently working on a new Web design book, Speaking in Styles: a CSS Primer for Web Designers, and will be writing more on my new site www.writing-in-styles.com.
However, I will still be talking politics, culture, technology and science issues in webbedENVIRONMENTS. This will especially be important as I get ready for my Comics Panel at SXSW and Yuri’s Night. Stay tuned!
First of all, vote. If you do not vote, then there really is nothing you can do. No excuses. Just vote. Even if you don’t think your vote counts, just vote. Even if you don’t feel any of the candidates truly represent you, just get over yourself and vote. Vote McCain, vote Obama, vote Nader, vote Barr, vote McKinney, vote Baldwin, or write in “None of the Above,” JUST VOTE.
Now, when you do pull that lever on Tuesday (whether literally or metaphorically), let hope guide your hand. Fear is easy to sell. It takes no evidence, but only needs to be convincing. It steals hope and only plays to our darkest paranoia.
AllÂ I have heard coming from the McCain/Palin camp in the last few weeks is fear. Fear Obama the socialist. Fear Obama the inexperienced weak leader. Fear Obama the terrorist sympathizer. Of course the message not coming straight from McCain or Palin, but from their surrogates, is to fear Obama the secret Muslim. And yet, there is no evidence to believe any of these accusations.
Obama’s economics plans make true socialists cry. Obama has over 25 years of experience in and out of government. And if you believe that a secret Muslim terrorist is the front-runner for the US Presidency, then you should just head for the bomb shelter now.
I do not fear what I think a McCain/Palin administration MIGHT be. I dread what they actually say they will do. If you are still undecided, think about what you have heard the candidates say they will do. think about what they have done. Don’t listen to the bizarre accusations flying around. Instead, consider which of the candidates is talking about a future of hope and which one a future of fear. Then, pull that lever for Barack Obama.
Whether you like your science hard or with a bit of fiction on the side, Barack Obama has the Right Stuff to take America into the future. Obama has long praised and supported NASA, recognizing that it has been crippled by eight years of underfunding and programs designed for politicalÂ expediency. He knows that NASA has fallen on hard times and has detailed plans for turning it around. These forward thinking policies have won him the support of many in the aerospace industry. Obama has never waivered from his promise to increaseÂ spendingÂ at NASA and has set a clear vision for its future.
As for John McCain, despite recent comments that NASA would not fall prey to his federal spending freeze,Â he is now waffling on funding. Just this week, he made confusing statements that NASA would have it’s budget frozen. Given hisÂ indecisiveness, and the fact that he has not laid out any clear vision other than the same-ol-same-ol of the Bush administration, there is little doubt that a McCain administration will be no friend to space flight.
Human space-flight is vital to this country! And Barack Obama knows that. That’s why veteran astronauts like John Glenn and Bill Nelson have long endorsed him. Now former Space Shuttle astronaut Dr. Dan Barry,Â founder and past president of the Association of Space ExplorersÂ Rusty Schweickart, and former Space Shuttle astronaut Dr. Kathy Thornton all signed on to be ObamanautsÂ in order to show their support for Sen. Barack Obamaâ€™s space policies.
Other Obamanauts, like the first American woman in space Sally Ride, are speaking up for Barack Obama, because they know the stakes are just too high. We need someone in the White House who can lead us into a future of peace and prosperity in space, not drag us back into the mistakes of the past. She says in her editorial:
Obama also has impressed me with his grasp of the challenges our space program faces and his agenda for where we go from here. Obama clearly understands the importance of human spaceflight and exploration.
Even noted pointy-eared alien, actor Lenord Nemoy seems to have a fondness for Obama, talking about meeting him at an event where they exchanged the hopeful Vulcan greeting “Live Long and Prosper.”
There are a lot of reasons to vote for Barack Obama, and even reasons not to vote for him. However, If you simply do not trust Barack Obama, if you are paranoid that he is not what he seems to be, Â then there is little I can say to you. But I can at least ask you to open your mind for a moment and know that Obama’s vision of the future is one of hope, exploration, inclusivity, and, yes, adventure, the same vision that Gene Rodenbery had for our future in Star Trek. In Star Trek, Rodenberry asked us to believe that humanity would boldly go into space to make our own world better.
Isn’t it time we elected a president with the right stuff to get us back on the right track?
Scary robots. Don’t let them steal this election!
This one was just too good to hold onto for a week. It pretty much sums up the last 8 years:
An important message from Opie, Sherif Taylor and the Fonz:
A few weeks ago, my friend Tim Baily was looking for a logo to use for a new group supporting Barack Obama’s Space Exploration Policies called the Obamanauts; I immediately volunteered. We took the standard Obama “O”, then added a star field in the background and a swooshing space-ship (inspired by the old Loony Tunes cartoons with Ralph Phillips saving the earth from alien invasion.) I matched the fonts as closely as I could and then created a bumper sticker to be given out at an upcoming Obamanauts rally in Florida. It was a big hit.
If you are a USÂ citizen, you need to consider a lot of important issues whenÂ decidingÂ who to cast your vote for in the upcoming US Presidential Election. The economy, energy, education, health-care, and the security of this country from attack are all crucial. Â Yet everyone has issues that are more important to them than others, which will often help tip your vote in favor of one or the other candidates. For myself and many others, one of the most vital issues facing the US is its place in space exploration.
Why Space Exploration? Aren’t there more pressing issues? When you think about it, America’s role in space exploration touches on the most pressing issues that are being discussed:
- Security: We increasingly rely on satellite technology to allow us to know what is going on in the world without the need to put people into harm’s way.
- Health-care: New medicines are being developed in zero-g laboratories that cannot be mimicked on earth.
- Education: Space Exploration relies on an educated population, one that understands science and its role in our lives.
- Energy: Space Exploration has always pushed the boundaries of our energy sources. In fact many of the “alternative” fuel sources today were initially developed by NASA for use in space.
- Economy: What makes our economy strong is a secure, healthy, and well educated population that is not dependent on foreign governments for the energy that powers that economy (see above).
Compare Obama’s and McCain’s plans side by side, and I believe that you will find on all of these issues Barack Obama has the best, most forward thinking, plan.Â Whereas McCain gives the same lip service to NASA that previous presidents have always given (while also ominously stressing its military importance), Obama talks about the need to fundamentally restructure an institution for the 21st century.
When I was growing up, NASA united Americans to a common purpose and inspired the world with accomplishments we are still proud of.Â Today, NASA is an organization that impacts many facets of American life.Â I believe NASA needs an inspirational vision for the 21st Century.Â My vision will build on the great goals set forth in recent years, to maintain a robust program of human space exploration and ensure the fulfillment of NASAâ€™s mission.Â Together, we can ensure that NASA again reflects all that is best about our country and continue our nationâ€™s preeminence in space.
When I was growing up, NASA was the pride of this country. The National Air and Space Administration had taken the US and the WorldÂ to the moon and was poised for yet greater missions. Then a series of mostly Republican Administrations scaled NASA back, first removing the luster and then the pride from this important organization. Over the years, what once represented the future and greatness of the USÂ has increasingly become the butt of jokes.
Although we are facing difficult financial times, Obama still talks with pride about NASA and what he will do to put it back on track. This is why I am proud to tbe an Obamanaut.
If you want to be an Obamanaut, you can get bumper stickers, buttons, and T-shirts from Zazzle.
Soon to be a sure hit in theÂ KaraokeÂ circuit.