Oct
19
2012

What I Am Voting For

Economic Security

I don’t really know what Middle Class is. As far as I can tell it is this wide sea of individuals and families between those that qualify for food stamps and those that live in mansions with enough financial wealth to have their children look forward to their death. I may be somewhere in that sea.

Both my wife and I have been employed full time for the major part of the last decade. Between us, we have a comfortable house in a comfortable part of town, two cars, and three beautiful children. Every now and then, we close our eyes, damned the budget, and indulge a family vacation. We give to charity, we go out to eat just because we don’t feel like cooking, we send money back home…few dollars in a money market account, college savings, 401K plans…you get the idea. My wife doesn’t go to church much, and I have hardly been to a mosque since coming to America, but every day we thank our gods for this life we live.

It may be the constant NPR looping in my ears, but every time I hear about unemployment numbers, my heart trembles. Could one of us (God forbids both of us) one day be part of those numbers? I have lots of fears (no, I’m not scared of spiders), but there is very little that scares me more than not being able to provide for me and my loved ones. It is perhaps this fear that forces me to deny myself certain pleasures I can easily afford. Why I don’t always obey my children’s cries every time we drive by Dairy Queen. This way they don’t come to expect it, and suffer massive heartbreaks if that day comes when I must say no because we truly cannot afford it. It’s building umbrellas in the dry season. It is perhaps the same reason turtles learn to swim.

As much as I think a politician can help keep this nightmare buried deep in my pillow, I give my vote to that candidate whom I believe offers me the best chance of not only remaining employed, but also create an atmosphere that would make the prospect of finding a new job much less scary.

I heard this is nothing new this election circle. All I’m saying is this is my number one priority every election circle.

A Brighter Day Tomorrow

I am a father. One day when I am old, gray and dead, I want my kids to say damn, dad had it hard. Obviously I don’t. But I want their lives to be so good they look at their growing up days as the hard ol’ days. Not only jobs today, a strong economy that is robust and full of opportunities for all many years to come.

To reap the benefit of these opportunities, I know education is key. But Like one of my favorite singers, the Jamaican reggae star Richie Spice says “if education is the key, then tell me why the big head make it so expensive for we?” I’m pragmatic enough to know the days of free school is long gone (if it ever was). But something has to be done about the rate college tuition is growing.

Three kids and we have a semblance of a college savings plan for only one. And in somebody’s calculation, we shouldn’t need a cent in financial aid because as members of that purgatory class we are doing just fine. Chances are our kids are going to need student loans for every aspect of their college life. I would hate for them to graduate with a debt that equals multiple years’ worth of their salary.

But what is education when you cannot breathe the air, drink the water, or share in those delights that make this blue rock the eyeball of the heavens? I dream for my children a future that doesn’t only provide them jobs, but a future where they still take for granted the things I have come to believe are as much an inalienable right as life itself. Keep the trees green, the land unturned and the oceans blue! A lot more of us are environmentalist than those that call themselves so. As a civilization, the more we act as environmentalists, perhaps the longer we will keep the sun shining on this fragile planet.

Visa Doesn’t Just Buy Things

Immigration is a badge America should proudly wear on its chest. A nation such as this can only come about through the diversity of ideas and the audacity of dreamers. I was chased out of my home in a small town in Sierra Leone. When I landed in America, I was young and close to hopeless. If I can define Middle Class, to me it means alhamdulillaye I can provide for myself and my loved ones and save the change for tomorrow. This may be basic to some, but if you have been what I have been, then you would understand it to be the day to many nights I have seen.

America cannot swing its door wide open for the whole world to walk through. Because I think a good percentage would. And even a place full of abundance like America can only sustain so much before it shows cracks and starts to crumble. That doesn’t benefit any of us. However, forcing to the margins those already here and (don’t pose a security threat) doesn’t benefit us either. It’s unsafe, unfair, at times inhumane and economically unsound.

Just Laws and Order

I don’t like a couple of police officers. When the military knocks on your door, it’s too late. I lost my wallet last week. Earlier this week, when I came home it was lying on my table with a note from a police officer that read “a female turned this in to the fire station”. Couple of days ago, I was racing with my son when he fell. Before I turned around to help him, a lady passing by asked “Are you okay” with such caring concern you’d think it was her son on the ground. There are angels among us. And police officers in New York sodomized a Haitian man with a bathroom plunger. It’s quite possible Hitler never killed a Jew, not with his own hands.

I’m from a place where a certain class of people were fond of saying “I will kill you and pay for your life”, and you knew they were telling the truth. I live in a place with a history shrouded in day-old blood, where 3 young Black students needed military escort to school, where Sunday morning services were sometimes followed by late afternoon lynchings. Guns are everywhere! They show up in unexpected places; like movie theaters and Sikh Temples, in the hands of estrange significant others, slighted neighbors, disgruntled employees and young Black kids in Chicago. And recently at a shooting range, I found out just how easy it is to pull a trigger.

We are more than animals. But in the absence of law and order we will rain sticks on each other like a pack of gorillas. We need just laws to keep the strong from the weak, and a capable police force to enforce those laws. The world is a dangerous place. A strong military is a must to keep enemies at bay. But the US can go ten years without spending a dime on the military and it would still be the best equipped in the world. But I also know the military means jobs for thousands if not millions of Americans.

ETC ETC

  • For the integrity of the US democracy, Citizens United must be overturned
  • I don’t want socialized health care (that kills people. Trust me I know), but something’s got to be done about the cost of health care. The Affordable Health Care Act is a hard step in the right direction. Don’t repeal it—we can’t afford to go back to the drawing board—strengthen it.
  • Affirmative Action may not be as necessary as when it was first enacted, but minorities still need special regard
  • Not only an end to the war in Afghanistan, but really US doesn’t need military bases all over the world. But you’d be gravely mistaken if you doubt for a moment that there are people out there that would like to see the US go to hell
  • I think in space lies the future of mankind. Bring NASA back! Space is too important to leave in private hands
  • Even in these hard economic times, we still need some culture. Fund the arts!
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