So, I spent part of both Wednesday evening and this afternoon making Buttons for Obama. Here’s a photo set from an earlier button making session at the Espresso Vivace on Capitol Hill (currently in the process of moving because of the future light rail station). Some of the volunteers have been making them since the primaries and caucuses.
I was punching the round designs out both times. We made buttons for Montana State University, Penn State, and, of course, University of Washington Students for Obama; Educators for Obama; colorful red, white & blue Obama/Biden buttons; ones with Obama’s photo; and dove designs with Hope. Quite a few other designs were on display, including some Pennsylvania Dutch ones as well.
Actually, these button making sessions are very popular and hard to get into (and the next couple ones are already full)! Sign up for MyBarackObama.com to find volunteer events near you. I’ll keep my eye open for more volunteer opportunities and events. Still thinking about the Neighbor to Neighbor one. I don’t know, especially with the 80 names mentioned below. . .
Why am I so enthusiastic about Obama, though? It’s the combination of two things. First, there is his plan. All of his well thought out positions on issues like the economy, healthcare, foreign policy, and women’s rights. That, combined with the fact that he can motivate people, which will be necessary for real success in many of these areas.
While those two things have been played in the media in opposition to each other (either he’s said to have no plan and be a celebrity; or once he starts talking about the plan, is accused of sounding like Michael Dukakis), both are important.
I’ve talked about his inspiring plan for education before, for instance. He’s calling for training new teachers, higher standards, more math and science so America’s children will be ready to compete in the 21st Century. He’s also talking about the kids needing to apply themselves, and parents needing to have them turn off the tvs and other entertainment and go do their homework. Here’s where Barack’s motivating people is going to really help.
Jesse Jackson wrongly dissed Barack for bringing this up when talking to the black community. But, Jesse, it’s not just black families, and really, it’s not even just the poor or working class families; although there often is a lack of prioritizing education, or maybe just of seeing it as a possibility for developing potential in some poor and working class families. While my parents did consider education important, growing up in a working class/borderline poor family, many of our neighbors didn’t (and their kids influenced my brother not to). It’s also more important, the less money your family has. Rich kids who are D students will still have a lot of opportunities (although, thinking of the last 8 years, maybe we should motivate them to get more education as well).
Quite frankly, though, the equity of the education system has to be improved as well, which is also what Barack is proposing. I was a working class student in a middle class school in upstate New York, moving to a poor (economically) student in a working class school in Oregon. Guess which school prepares you better for college? You can even get A’s and not be prepared for college level work. Then consider the difference between an inner city school and a school in a wealth suburb.
That’s why we need both – a plan to improve things, and the inspiration for people to take advantage of those improvements, and join in on improving America. That’s why Barack inspires me. I’m not saying he’s perfect (and you know there are things I do question him on not taking a stronger stand on), or that it won’t take the rest of us, too. That’s the point, and it’s what he helps inspire. Democracy in action.
Just think, all these people:
(from BarackObamadotcom on Flickr)
and all these people:
and it’s been going on around the country!
I have hope. . .