Questions for the Obama Administration

Now that we've managed to elect the better of the two candidates for the office of the presidency I, like many Americans, am beginning to ask the hard questions. Questions that I believe President-elect Obama should be accountable to when he takes office. I don't think anyone expects immediate solutions to every problem we face as a nation and as a planet but I hope that the new president and his cabinet make good on their promises to communicate with the American people and act in our best interest. That includes reaching out to the world community non-violently and restoring our tarnished image overseas. This too is in the best interest of Americans as members of a global society.

The following are a set of questions that I intend to put in letter form and send to Barack Obama and Joe Biden:

Dear President-elect Obama:

With all due respect, I'd like to put forth to you some questions regarding issues that I have been grappling with since your election. I would like to say that I voted for you and have, like so many Americans, put my faith and hope in you to finally provide for our country the leadership it's lacked for the eight years of the Bush/Cheney administration.

If you intend to implement an exit strategy out of Iraq, will you be able to honor the promise you made that such a plan would be done over a sixteen month period? If not, how long do you foresee it taking and what are the specifics of your plan? Further, you made comments during your campaign stating that in terms of Pakistan, you would not rule out attacks to "get" Osama Bin Laden. Is this something that you assume you must do or have you sought the counsel of experts on this issue that include non-militarily aligned and government individuals? Will you use every tool and make every effort you can to avoid military strikes against Pakistan? In regard to Afghanistan you've stated that more troops are needed there.

I don't know enough about the minutia of the many problems of the region but I'm concerned that while we think about potentially pulling our troops out of Iraq, we will send as many troops to Afghanistan. If we are unable to stabilize Afghanistan without more military force, how will we do it? And if we do it, will there be a rational, realistic plan to do the work and leave as soon as possible?

Regarding health care. I was rather disappointed to hear very little of substance about healthcare during your campaign. As you know, we as a nation are experiencing a health care crisis unparalleled by any other major power.

This from your website:

Barack Obama will make health insurance affordable and accessible to all:

The Obama-Biden plan provides affordable, accessible health care for all Americans, builds on the existing healthcare system, and uses existing providers, doctors and plans to implement the plan.

Hmmm. The term "builds on the existing healthcare system" sounds not only vague, but somewhat suspicious. Since from my estimation, the so-called healthcare system is a powerful, moneymaking industry with powerful lobbyists in Congress, I don't put much trust in "building on it". This type of talk makes me worried that you will cave in to the healthcare industry; one of the reasons, I believe, we have not been successful at getting a proposal for national health care on the table as even a beginning step. Isn't it about time we challenge that industry by confronting the healthcare issue on a national level for the good of all Americans? I'm not satisfied with your plan. I'm hoping, as you've dared to encourage us to hope, that when the pressing issues of the economy are under control, that you will revisit your concept of what healthcare should look like in the U.S. and begin to draw up a plan that will satisfy the needs of the people instead of the needs of the healthcare industry and the pharmaceutical giants.

And speaking of the economy. I'm currently appalled by how half of the 700 billion dollar bailout money is gone and the economy continues to worsen. Where has the money gone, to whom has it gone and for what reasons, exactly? I know you supported this plan, Mr. Obama, and I hope that when you officially take office on January 20, you will begin to take action to make the financial institutions who received money accountable for their part in the economic demise of our country. And what about Main Street, which was ubiquitously discussed through the part of the presidential campaign when our economy hit rock-bottom? When are the folks on Main Street going to see some relief and how?

And the auto industry is now pandering for money as well. It's a failed industry due to mismanagement, poor planning and short-sightedness. Do we now go and bail an industry that has for decades made a mess of itself and sold countless gas-guzzling SUVs to equally short-sighted, gas-glutton Americans? With the track record the auto industry has, it seems like throwing the people's money at it isn't the solution. In fairness, I realize that you are not yet officially our president and that these issues are needing attention right now. What I'm alluding to is my hope (there's that word again) that once you do become president you will ask the hard questions and take the tough stances that are needed to keep the corporations in check.

Lastly, while I understand this is a very unpopular issue nationally, I'm quite disappointed that both you and Senator Biden are apposed to same-sex marriage. If you hold such a belief because your respective religions dictate that you should, I can respect that. But if what you mean is that you will not lend your support to the legalization of gay marriage, then you are as guilty as the last administration of failing to separate your religious beliefs from what is constitutionally reasonable and sane.

Civil unions, which you say you support, are not the same as marriage; not legally nor symbolically. I urge you to rethink your position and why you take the anti gay marriage stance that you do. It wasn't all that long ago that the idea of black Americans being married was socially unpopular as well. That has changed as should the ban on marriage for GLBT people be changed. It has to begin somewhere and I think the time is now. It should begin with your administration. You represent many things to us and one of them is that you, an African-American have been elected to the highest office of our nation. As an African-American, you should be able to understand the struggle for equal constitutional rights and social acceptance. Your administration has a chance to make history. I hope you take advantage of it.

The Pagan Sphinx


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