Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

day-after-election-itis; Yay for cousins!

Just tonight when I logged onto my e-mail, I found the latest installment of James Howell's eReligion & politics series: the morning after. I have been thinking a lot about those who are devastated by McCain/Palin losing out to Obama/Biden, and wishing I could give them some comfort and encouragement. I don't think they would accept it from me (and indeed, none have yet actively sought out my shoulder to cry on, figuratively speaking) but I think this short essay could be quite helpful.

The "Yay for cousins!" refers to my cousin Philip and his wife Silvia and their two young children who visited here from yesterday afternoon until early this afternoon. I hadn't seen Philip since he was a pre-schooler, so it was exciting to reconnect and to meet his family. The children were especially sweet and funny, and it lifted my spirits so much to spend some time with them on a couple of walks today. Meanwhile Mom shared her memories with P & S, through photo albums and stories, and they were so appreciative to learn more about their extended family. All-in-all a wonderful day for everybody!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Anonymous comment; Obama charitable donation issue

I have had to remove an anonymous comment because it contained what I consider to be fabrications about Obama's dealings with Rezko and with Kenyan politician Odinga, as well as more of the kind of unfounded character assassination and hyperbole that was rampant in the video I referred to in my post of October 31. I refuse to allow commenters to use my blog to further their own agendas.

Having said that, I will address one point that "anonymous" raised because it illustrates a common problem with so much of what has been going on with attacks against Obama. The anonymous commenter claims that, according to their tax returns, the Obamas made very small contributions to charity when figured as a percentage of their taxable income from 2000-2006. This is true. The a.c. also claims that John McCain was much more generous over the same period of time. I don't know whether this is true or not, and I don't really care. But I have two comments to make about this issue:

First, comparing the Obamas' charitable contribution figures to John McCain's for the same actual calendar years is comparing apples and oranges. I'm not even sure if there is a way to make justifiable comparisons, but it would seem that comparing McCain's figures for when he was the same number of years in the workforce as Obama, taking into account whether law school and college loans (did he have any?), housing costs, putting money aside for his children's future, supporting extended family and so on cost him the same as what they cost Barack and Michelle Obama over this period of there any way to make a fair comparison? Do you see what I'm getting at here? These are candidates who are in completely different stages of their work lives; family circumstances for both of them have been very different; the benefits McCain receives due to his military service; Cindy McCain's personal financial status vs. Michelle Obama's -- all these things, and more, make McCain's financial picture very different from Obama's. I am not saying this to excuse the Obamas' possible lack of generosity, only to say that making reasonable comparisons of the two candidates' financial situation in any way is not really possible. How individuals, whether public figures or not, approach charitable giving is a complex matter, and usually changes a lot through the course of a person's life. Perhaps this is the reason that so little mention of this w.r.t. the current campaigns is to be found recently in the mainstream media.

Second, I would hope that everyone who has the financial means to do so -- including all the current candidates for public office -- would be willing to "put their money where their mouth is" and give as much financial support as possible to genuinely worthy causes. But whether this has been the case or not with the Obamas does not carry anywhere near enough weight to make me want to vote for McCain and the Republican party.

Much of what McCain and the Republicans stand for -- as well as their methods, their perspective, and what they have done over the past eight years -- is so opposed to what I believe, and much of what Obama and the Democratic party stand for is in line with my belief or at least somewhat close. I don't totally agree with the Democratic platform, of course, but it comes much closer to my own views in most cases. I also believe that while Obama is not perfect by any means, he is basically a decent human being, intelligent and creative, well-educated, capable of providing strong and thoughtful leadership for our country, and sincerely committed to finding and implementing the most reasonable and moral solutions to the huge problems that face our country at this moment in time.

One last thing: I will continue to delete comments which contain personal attacks on any candidate, and I have changed the way comments are handled (at least for the time being) so that I will be reviewing comments before they are posted. Please be patient with me if I am not able to review your comment immediately after it has been presented; I am currently only able to be online once or twice a day. But rest assured that I will attend to comments asap when I am online.