We are facing one of the most important choices for President that we have in recent history.  It is not a surprise to anyone that this is the case, as the candidates have spent incredible sums of money to not only convince us to vote for them, but also to convince us to not vote for their opponent.  There is little of substance being discussed in the media about what will happen in our region and nationally if one or the other candidates is elected.

I realize that at this point in any campaign, many promises will be made for things that we cannot necessarily afford.  We cannot have it all.  But in comparing the platforms of the candidates, we can surmise the direction they are going to try to take the country.  that being said, I would like to present my reasons why I believe Barack Obama is the right choice for our region.

On Energy and the Environment: Senator Obama’s plan includes ideas that tend toward encouraging energy conservation, on encouraging alternative fuel sources, and on encouraging alternative forms of transportation.  His proposals, while attempting to free us from foreign energy sources, also tend to preserve the environment.

In contrast, Senator McCain also aims to free us from foreign energy sources, but proposes accomplishing that by using our domestic resources at a greater rate.  While this will need to be explored, the impact on the environment will be greater, while also using our own resources sooner.

On the Economy: While the economy is currently in turmoil, it is difficult to lay out a precise plan that will work into the future at this early stage.  However, Senator Obama has generally proposed ideas to get the economy restarted that concentrate on arranging jobs programs for affected workers.  During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the “New Deal” program had people working on a myriad of public works projects thatnot only kept people employed but also built many of the highways, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure that we use today.  A plan based on those ideas would work for us today, too.

Senator McCain’s plan would attempt to get people employed by offering huge amounts of money to large companies.  While, in theory, these companies would employ more workers, his platform is more vague on actually accomplishing that.  on it’s face, it looks more like a bailout for companies than hope for workers.

On War and Foreign Policy: This is not specifically a Northwest issue, but one that affects us directly.  Senator Obama is a man of peace.  His policies tend toward attempting diplomacy with our enemies first, before spending huge sums of money and putting our children’s lives on the line to go to war.  He is realistic in that we will sometimes need a military solution and cannot always use peaceful means to solve every problem.  But if we put even a small portion of the money we spend on the Iraq war into diplomacy, we can certainly avoid many of our foreign policy problems.

In contrast, Senator McCain sees a continuing Iraq War as a path in itself to prosperity.  He sees it continuing for a long time into the future, not as a problem to be stopped.

On Health Care: For all the talk on the relative benefits on the specifics of the candidates health care proposals, the health care debate will actually take place in the halls of Congress.  The President will only provide guidance in this process.  However, the availability of affordable health care to all citizens is a basic right enjoyed by the inhabitants of almost all other industrialized countries.  Now is the time to take action to give Americans this basic right.

Senator Obama offers a balanced plan which includes both reducing health care expenses and increasing availability of insurance plans.  The details will be fought over for years, and might not be fully realized in the next 4 or 8 years.  But it is important to get us started in the right direction, and Obama will get us there.

Senator McCain proposes a plan which offers combinations of additional taxes on workers along with tax credits to attempt to encourage more participation in health care plans.  This does nothing to address the issues of medical costs or the actual availability or reform of insurance plans.  The problem is one that requires more than simple changes to the tax code.  It requires real work on controlling costs and reforming insurance.

Barack Obama offers more realistic proposals to solve our nation’s problems.  It is easy to tell us what we want to hear.  It is much different to actually lead us toward our goals on a responsible manner.

Please vote for Barack Obama for President on November 4.