A guest post by Cristina White. Cristina accepted President-Elect Obama’s invitation to suggest a”vision for what America can be” and agreed to share her vision here. Thank you, Cristina!
In that stirring speech delivered in Grant Park on November 4th, I was most moved when I heard Barack Obama say “….that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from this earth.” Lincoln’s words embody the meaning of our democracy. They are at the core of Obama’s message to us, the essence of what we hope for in him and in ourselves. For nearly thirty years, we have been hearing the right belittle and ridicule government. Now I can envision an America in which government is accountable and effective; I see a government that incorporates both common sense and innovation to find and deliver solutions to our problems.
If we are to renew our nation, we must have truly great schools. As an Army brat who graduated from high school in 1960, I attended public schools all over these United States. In junior high and high school, physical education was required; music, art, and foreign languages were offered, civics was a required class. These have all but disappeared from our schools, and our nation suffers the loss. In the new America, we support and take pride in our public schools. Our citizens are educated and informed; they are both mentally and physically fit.
I envision a 21st century nation, with high speed trains, intelligent public transit systems, electric and hybrid cars, an America in which solar, wind, geothermal and other clean energy sources are the norm. Conservation is a valued national practice, and community matters more than consumption. We go beyond recycling, and replicate nature’s continuous life cycle in the way we design products. Source materials for the things we make and use can go on to “feed” other products, another life cycle, and nothing is wasted.
In the new America there is no “war” on terrorism; instead, terrorism is treated as a criminal act, and it is undone by smart and cooperative national and international police work. We do away with the term “homeland” — introduced by George W. Bush and reminiscent of Nazi Germany. As we have since our inception, we refer to our nation; we protect and secure our nation.
I see an America at peace, one in which our military is prepared and strong, and only used as a last resort. The military returns to standards that were the norm before Bush’s never-ending war on terrorism; it requires a certain educational level and does not accept people with criminal records. And services to our military are not provided by private contractors, as has been the case with the current administration. That practice has presented the taxpayer with bloated military expenses and has had some deadly consequences for our men and women in uniform.
I see an America in which we have universal health care, and we support access to health care and clean water in poor countries, as well as the creation of schools and economic viability in those countries, thereby fostering friendships and partnerships for the future.
I envision the America that Barack Obama has been reminding us of since his first national speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention. It is a nation in which we have a common purpose and common dreams. It is a nation in which civil discourse is possible, one where we can exchange ideas without being fixated in idelology, where we can disagree, yet still respect and value one another. It is a nation with a President that represents the best in us, and who calls on us to give our best to each other, our country, the world, and the future. It is an idealized vision, but we can once again dream big, because the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency was a phenomenal dream, and we made it a reality. We did it, and now, more than ever, everything is possible.
(Updated 12/2 to correct a third paragraph typo in “Conservation…”)