Two days ago, I posted the first of this series of voters' personal narratives on Election 2008: Grant Park on Election Night. I got several more responses since then, including this one from Jerry Lobdill. He also sent it to Obama's website but has low to no expectations about its reception there.
We at OpEdNews are pleased to post Jerry's letter here. Share your election story by posting it yourself or by sending it to Joan@OpEdNews.com. It is my firm belief that these personal narratives make the election come alive in a way that simple headlines can not. I'm looking for a wide spectrum of stories. You don't have to be chipper or optimistic and we're not looking for "everything went great this election, no problems" either. This is not a case of One Size Fits All. Your story is your story and only you can tell it. Speak up. OpEdNews is ready to broadcast your words far and wide. How many times do you get an opportunity like that?
This is my response to Barack Obama's call for stories and vision statements. I submitted it at his website www.change.gov yesterday. Those stories are not going to see the light of day except when authors publish them elsewhere.
So here's mine. (It has also been offered to We!)
Here's what I posted to Obama's new web site.
Dear President Elect Obama,
I am nearing 71 years of age. I am a retired physicist and chemical engineer. I grew up in what was a golden era for America, a period in which there was widespread prosperity, with work and opportunity for all, when public education was its finest, and when anyone with ability could go to college and pull themselves up by their bootstraps to become an educated member of society and make a contribution beyond the taxes they paid.
I was the first in my family to earn a college degree, and both my younger sisters also were college educated. My father was a traveling salesman for a clothing manufacturer, and my mother was a homemaker, a stay-at-home Mom who taught us her values.
As I have gone through life our nation has deteriorated in almost every way you can think of. My life experiences have driven me toward the left instead of the more usual rightward trajectory of my generation.
I was a research and development scientist in a company that supported the U. S. Navy’s need for sophisticated sonar and information management systems. Richard Nixon’s abuse of power turned me toward a study of government, economics, ecology, history, and other sociopolitical subjects. I found that our nation was being hijacked by corporations to the detriment of the people. I found that politics was much more frustrating than science. I found that truth does not have much currency in politics. And I found that our nation was in serious trouble, moving toward empire rather than toward democracy, peace, and brotherly love.
The Clinton years brought an end to my career, as corporations moved to restructure themselves to enrich the top echelon of executives through downsizing, mergers, and other blood letting measures such as H1B visas and off-shoring of assets and manufacturing operations. The unenforceability of age discrimination laws didn’t help either. After a 23 year career with a single company that grew out of World War II, I found myself, in 1989, adrift like a modern day polar bear in a sea of melting ice floes trying to find a place to ply my trade and finding that each stop was only temporary. I had three professional jobs from 1989 to 1995 and moved half way across the US in the attempt to remain in the work force. Thereafter, I had a job as a newspaper route contract worker for the Washington Post, a job as a clerk in a music store, a year of working for a temporary agency, a period of retraining for IT management work, and months of unemployment before making the long move back to Fort Worth, Texas, where you could at least afford to be poor and have a roof over your head and food on the table.
My economics philosophy is that of E. F. Schumacher. I abhor Milton Friedman. My sense of history is that of Howard Zinn. My environmental philosophy is that of Al Gore. My socioeconomics ideas are similar to those of Kevin Phillips. While I am Caucasian, I have good friends who are not, and I abhor racism.
With that as background, it should be no surprise that I supported you for President or that I have been a supporter of the anti-Iraq-war, anti-Bush movement and worked hard for Howard Dean in 2004. But I am not a yellow-dog Democrat. I believe that the Democratic Party has made a Devil’s contract with the financial sector of America, and that until that contract is broken, the Democratic Party will continue to defraud the American people. The Party cannot serve both interests.
That is why I am writing this essay today. You have the greatest promise for America that I have seen in my life. What you do with that talent will determine your legacy. Within the first week after the election you appear to be leaning toward the financial sector, an inauspicious beginning. Your choice of Emanuel as chief of staff will limit access of people with hopes like mine to you. Your reliance on a group of economic advisors this week, all of whom have been adherents of the false economic ideas that have brought this nation to its knees, was even more disappointing to me than Rahm Emanuel’s appointment. There is not anyone in that group, including Robert Reich, who understands what this nation really needs.
If my vision for America, a vision in which my 29 year–old daughter may yet hope to have the blessings our Founders intended Americans to have, is to become reality, you need to appoint people like Kevin Phillips, Chalmers Johnson, Bill Moyers, Jared Diamond, Al Gore, Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein, and any economists you can find who believe in E. F. Schumacher to your inner circle of advisors.
I sincerely hope you will make the best use of your leadership and mental talents, because if you falter or fail, this nation will most likely cease to exist within a few years.
May God guide and bless you.