Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Obama: The End of a Headache

Tuesday night marked the end of my English course. Sure, I'll still be attending for several weeks, but I turned in my final paper for review, and the only reason to attend class at this point is the several remaining grammar tests.

This is good news, because now, hopefully, I will be able to devote more time to my own projects. In the meantime, check out my fairly biased dissertation on Barack Obama.

It was only two centuries ago that a band of colonies declared its sovereignty from Great Britain. This, the formation of the United States of America, would be a catalyst for change throughout much of Western society. In an era dominated primarily by monarchial societies, the emergence of democracy in the New World gradually became a beacon for the downtrodden. For the first time in centuries, people had a voice, if only a small one; and immigrants eventually came to the United States in droves, in search of better lives. It was the inherent liberalism in this form of government that paved the way for the freedoms we now know, and which provided the groundwork for the global powerhouse that we are today. Given the right leadership, democracy allowed the country to flourish, but in the past eight years, the United States has witnessed a decline in economics, civil liberties, and foreign relations. Since the beginning of 2001, the Bush Administration has overseen all of these changes and has been instrumental in obstructing the nation’s progress as a whole. Now, as 2007 draws to a close, it is evident that the coming elections are to be among the most momentous in recent memory, with consequences inherent not for just the United States, but for the entire world. With the primary elections drawing near, one thing is clear. America needs a leader who can unite the people, who can remain true to his ideals in the face of adversity, who has continually displayed perseverance and success in the face of great obstacles, and who can be the voice of change for the American people; Barack Obama is that leader.

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1961, Barack Obama was a child of diverse parentage. His father, a foreign student from Kenya, separated from his mother, a middle class Kansan woman, when he was only two. His mother later married Lolo Soetoro, with whom she moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, where Obama attended school from the ages of six to ten before returning to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents. Because of the difficulties of his childhood and the hardships he faced in his early life, Obama has developed a set of beliefs and ideals that revolves around a strong sense of right and wrong on a global scale. This attitude has allowed him to succeed, first as a member of the community, and now as the incumbent senator of the state of Illinois.

It is this same attitude, this sense of justice, which accounts for what is perhaps Obama’s strongest suit. After two terms of controversy and fear driven policy, what the United States needs now more than ever is a leader who can unite the populace. Never in recent years has a presidential candidate so successfully rallied people behind him. He garners this support through fairness and reason, making certain to view issues from every possible perspective before passing judgement, and taking the well being of his fellow citizens into consideration before every momentous decision. In interviews, Obama is an everyman, speaking at ease and making connections through words and observations with everyone whom he comes in contact with. Through his actions and his beliefs, Barack Obama has single-handedly unified thousands of Americans of every race and creed. No other candidate has shown great enough success to rival the rapidly growing grassroots movement which has inspired Americans from every demographic to band together in support of one common cause.

As an individual, Barack Obama has proven himself to be absolutely resolute in his principles. As the first candidate in memory to reject the promise of campaign contributions from lobbyists and special interest groups, Obama has relied on the grassroots movement to be the core of his campaign. Within the first nine months, Obama raised over 58 million dollars – more than any other presidential candidate in history – from 365,000 individual contributors, none of which came from Washington lobbies.

While he is by no means the first candidate with religious ties, Obama is unique in that he speaks openly on faith and the importance of diversity in beliefs. In a realm where religion is often controversial, Obama draws from his faith to support his cause. He stands by his belief, but admits the doubts and uncertainties of religion. He draws strength and balance from faith and speaks with a fervor almost reminiscent of Martin Luther King, but allows only reason to be his sovereign.

Also indicative of Obama’s resolve is his voting record. While many candidates have voted dubiously on issues in reaction to pressure or popularity, Obama has remained true to his own beliefs on the ballot. In his time as a senator, he has established a steadfast voting record to support his views despite outside pressure. From the beginning, Obama has opposed the war in Iraq, and his voting record has firmly reflected this view. From the initial decision to go to war to a more recent bill which would have called for an increase in funding for the Department of Defense, he has voted decisively to prevent and reduce military deployment. Conversely, his support for more humanitarian efforts has shown in the endorsement of improvements to the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the restoration of habeas corpus for detainees of the United States. Barack Obama is a man of principle who acts upon his ideals, but is not ruled by them; he values honesty, both to himself and to others; and he stands as a pillar for the American people.

With his remarkable moral fortitude and his conscientious approach to issues, it’s not surprising that Obama is well suited as a legislator. Having been instilled by his mother with what can only be described as hard-working Midwestern values, Obama gained much of his initial experience in politics in the mid 1980's, when he became a community organizer for a church-based group in Chicago. It was here that he realized that in order to make true changes in the lives of people in communities all over the nation, he would need to make changes in the lawmaking and political process.

After he earned his degree from Harvard University in 1991, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, Obama returned to Chicago, where his advocacy work led to his eventual election to the Illinois State Senate. In 2004, after eight years as Senator of Illinois, Barack Obama became the third African American to be elected to the U.S. Senate. His time prior to his entry into politics as a civil rights lawyer and an instructor in constitutional law has left Obama well equipped to make progressive changes, and eleven years in politics has served as preparation to take the stand as the leader of the United States of America.

Obama’s entire campaign is representative of a change in the way America governs. By far one of the most ambitious and progressive candidates in years, Obama aims to improve the broken health care system, providing universal health care to all Americans; he understands the importance of protecting the Earth's climate, and is an advocate of alternative energy; he has plans for educational reform, with plans to raise the salaries of teachers and close the learning gap; he aims to restore and protect the American right to vote, making significant election reforms to prevent abuse; and he will continue to strive towards the reconciliation of faith and politics, with the intent of reducing hostilities between those of different faiths. He will be a pioneer for a new kind of Presidency.

At the age of 46, Obama will be among the youngest of American presidents, bringing a much-needed youthfulness to office. Also, even before the primary elections, an African-American campaigning for President of the United States has caused a stir around the world. Were Obama to be elected, it would represent the great leaps and strides that we have made as a nation towards equality, and – more importantly – his success would open the doors for future diversity in office. Obama’s unique standing as a candidate and his honest, progressive goals have captured the hearts of hundreds of thousands of Americans; and for the first time in decades, the youth of America have found inspiration to participate in politics.

The United States of America is a nation founded on freedom, equality, and choice. Over the past two hundred years, these foundations have been built upon and reinforced, but the Bush Administration has dealt a serious blow to that progress. Over the past seven years America has seen its economy plummet, its diplomacy fail, and its freedom maimed; it has seen war and, worse yet, its people have been divided. It is a critical moment in the history of America and the world, and ours is a country in desperate need of change. As a nominee, Barack Obama has the potential to be that change. He is a symbol of progress, a catalyst for change. In a time of division in a land of unity, Obama is a leader who can unite the nation. Never before has our fate been so clear: America needs a leader who can reunite the divided people, a leader who will remain moral and just in the face of immense adversity and who will persevere and thrive in the face of great obstacles. America needs a leader who will be the voice of change for Americans everywhere. Barack Obama is that leader.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Pleasant Surprise, and Thanksgiving Treats

Exactly how I found it, I can't really say. All I know is that I have absolutely fallen in love with Elise Bauer's food blog. Simply Recipes is a nice, clean, online index of recipes taken straight from the culinary scribblings of Elise's family and friends and organized by category. The recipe list is by no means extensive. Instead, we are treated to a diverse selection of family favorites not unlike the recipe collection our grandmothers might have have treated us to.

It's only two days from Thanksgiving, and I've been extended the privilege of sharing a family meal with some close friends. I've decided to bring along a loaf of banana bread, the recipe for which is delightfully more simple than my own; and some seasonal baked acorn squash, seeing that they are particularly hearty this time of year.

Photography - 'Sacrilege'

Though it's a bit late, it seemed appropriate to post something with a bit of an autumnal flare.

This photograph was taken in October of 2006. Just about anybody who lives in the upper Keys is familiar with this annual pumpkin display in front of the Burton Memorial Methodist church in Tavernier. The apparent embrace of Halloween - the very holiday which occasionally sparks a certain measure of controversy in several regions of the United States - holds a uniquely satisfying hint of sacrilege that catches my attention no matter how many times I see it.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Flying Cars Shot Down - The Onion

Fans of The Onion, a parody newspaper based out of New York, have undoubtedly been enamoured with the additions of Radio News and Network News pieces over the past several years. The straight-faced stories satirize history, popular culture, current events, and are consistently outrageous in the most delightful way. Featured below is the most recent headline:

Mean Automakers Dash Nation's Hope For Flying Cars

Poem - "To Adri"

Love is among the few things that frequently moves me to creation, and can be found at the core of a good deal of my writing. The subject of this poem holds a special place in my heart not as a lover, but as a dear friend. I can't rightly say what it was that drove me to write this particular piece, but as it took form under the direction of my fingertips there was absolutely no doubt in my mind what it meant to me. The poem is a confession of love, a labor of passion, and a token of trust. For your enjoyment, I present "To Adri."


In a place such as this,
Such a world without bliss,
Where at times happiness is unfound,
One must gain some small pleasure
From his one single treasure:
The Angel, for her love is unbound.
With complexion divine,
Disposition benign,
And a sparkle of stars in her eyes,
There are no greater features
In such wonderful creatures
As my love, the Angel in disguise.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Poem - But Love!

Some time ago, under the auspices of some infatuation, I felt moved to poetry. This following piece was written on an especially balmy day in Summer. I'm not sure how large a part the weather played in the creation of this poem, but it was certainly a fine afternoon.


It is but love
as snow white doves do circles in the sky.
"It is but love!"
The man decries, as joyful tears he cries.
It is but love,
the sparkling diamonds dancing in her eyes!
"But what is love,
if one or all, that you should so surmise?"

Why, love is swelling ocean waves, crashing on the shore,
and love is future feelings, and those felt long before.
Love is every blade of grass, growing in the field,
and every blooming summer rose, so eager to appeal.
Love is on the mountaintops, rising eternally,
and even in the darkest depths, far beneath the sea.
‘But what is love?’ you ask, and I shall speak the truth,
for love is all these things and more, but most of all, it’s you.

About Me

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Nick Woll grew up in the Florida Keys, and is furthering himself in the fields of writing, software development, and web design. You can contact him at nwoll27 at gmail dot com.