5 Dollars

My life as an at-home momma of 3 amazing kids...it's kind of like shoveling snow in a blizzard.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Obama in Indy

Earlier this week it was announced that Barack Obama would be making a campaign stop in Indiana this weekend. On Thursday, I was lucky enough to make it home from volunteering at school to catch a post that tickets for a Town Hall Meeting had been released. I filled out the online form and got our emailed tickets right away. We were so lucky to get tickets because they were all gone in about 39 minutes.

The doors were supposed to open at 12:30 today, with Obama scheduled to speak at 2:20. As we drove towards the high school, we were a little worried when we saw a house with a "$10 Parking" signs along the way. Matt dropped me off at what appeared to be the end of the line and went to park. I stood in line with a group of people for a bit until an official looking guy with a clipboard walked past our end of the line and called, "no one down here has tickets, right?" We all immediately began waving our tickets around. He informed us that we were in the wrong line and told us to go up to the left. We were all shocked to find that we were suddenly at the front of the line and frantically digging for our ID's to get past security.

Matt caught up with me and we grabbed a seat on the bleachers. I ran into a couple of other IndyMoms that I know in the crowd. The people seated around us on the bleachers were very friendly. Everyone chatted and made jokes about the "Plainfield High School Fighting Quakers" mascot. (OK.....their mascot is the Quakers.....I don't know if they really call themselves the "fighting" Quakers, but it was funny.) As we chatted, I regretted not bringing the camera along (I was afraid we'd be told no) because there were tons of cameras in the crowd.

Being a stagehand, Matt was annoyed with the less than ideal lighting, sound and camera setups that they had thrown together. (On the way out, I thought we had been separated by the crowd. Nope.....he stopped to pass a business card off to a campaign worker.) Being a stage manager, I was embarassed for the gal who kept beating on the mics and running back and forth with the hand-held at the last minute like she had no clue how it worked. Not sure why it didn't occur to them to do a sound check about 3 hours earlier.

After some enthusiastic chanting from the crowd, a prayer and an introduction, Obama finally appeared from the doors closest to our seats. After hearing him speak in person, I can say that his genuine character really impressed me. He seems friendly, open and honest. When he answers questions, he doesn't sound like he's regurgitating a rehearsed speech that he's done a thousand times. He is sincere and connected. You can tell that he really believes in what he is saying, as opposed to many politicians who seem to be just giving the line that they think the audience wants to hear. And even with the limited time that he had to spend with us today, he took the time to answer a question from an eloquent 12 year old boy who had waited patiently with his hand up through most of the Q&A.

In his opening, Obama talked about "the fierce urgency of now" and that we can't wait for change. He said that we were in a defining time in our history and that we need politics that can lift the country up. He stressed that change doesn't happen from the top down, but from the bottom up.

Once again, he denounced his preacher's comments.

He says there could be a saving for families of $2,500 a year in insurance premiums with his health plan. (That would cut our family's insurance payments in half!) Talked about how we don't really have "health insurance" in our country, but "sick insurance" and encouraging a change towards having plans that emphasize the prevention of disease.

During the Q&A, one woman commented that he would be inheriting "a mess" when he took office. She asked what he would do to help us have patience while we wait for change. He talked about how we can count it as a success if a President can accomplish a couple of good things per year. Obama said that the first three things he wanted to accomplish as president were to:
1. get us out of Iraq in 12-16 mos
2. health care reform and
3. alternative fuels.
He also said that he would immediately review all executive orders signed by this current administration and immediately reverse anything that took away civil liberties.

He said we should be in Afghanistan going after Al Qaeda and not in Iraq. He said that if he were elected, he would meet with the joint chiefs right away and call for a plan to responsibly be out of Iraq within 12-16 mos of taking office, bringing home about 1-2 brigades per month during that time. At one point he also talked about getting rid of Guantanamo.

As part of the Q&A, he answered questions on domestic violence (talked about equal wages for women and equal education for our girls to make breaking the cycle easier), alternative fuels, security and the climate of fear since 9/11, education, social security, and human rights issues in China.

He believes in investing in early childhood education. He mentioned the importance of art and music in the classroom for every child. He will work to achieve higher salaries and more training for our teachers. He talked about reforming No Child Left Behind and that it has parts which may be good, but change is needed. He talked about the importance of having high standards, but not placing everything on high stakes test. We shouldn't just be looking at the school's overall scores, but instead look to see if testing is showing growth for individual students. Did a child begin the school year 2 years behind grade level and now he's only 1 year behind? Currently that would not be considered meeting the standard.....yet the school obviously isn't failing a child who has shown that much growth in the past year. He talked about using the test as a tool to identify students who are in need of help. He also mentioned the important role of PARENTS in seeing that their child succeeds in school. If a student misbehaves in school, we shouldn't just blame the teacher. Parents need to turn off the TV. We shouldn't just let a child settle for the B, ask why they didn't get an A. He also talked about giving college students $4,000 a year towards their education in exchange for time spent doing community service.

He talked about having "transparency in government" and posting information about laws they want to pass, cabinet meetings, federal budget, etc. where it is easy to access on the internet. Any meetings with lobbyists would be public. In an Obama White House, there would be tough ethics and no revolving doors with staffers quitting to work for the lobbyists.

He wants to raise the cap on payroll taxes so that the super rich are not let off the hook after earning their first $97,000.

He said he will probably not be a perfect president, but he will promise to always listen even when he disagrees and be truthful about where he stands.

Live blog - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23648874/

Local news coverage - http://www.wishtv.com/global/story.asp?s=8021671
You can watch video of his speech (part 1) and the Q&A (part 2) at that link. If you catch the lady who asks about security around the national monuments about 7 minutes in, you can see Matt, then sort of see me in a red shirt, and then see my friend Amanda in a purple shirt about 2 rows behind the questioner.

4 Comments:

  • At 12:11 AM, March 16, 2008 , Blogger Beckylooo said...

    Fantastic! So glad you went Carissa. I wish everyone in the country could attend one of those town halls.

     
  • At 12:23 AM, March 16, 2008 , Blogger Carissa said...

    About his honesty - I thought it was great that he admitted that he can't get everything done at first and gave what his priorities would be.

    He also talked about continuing to have town halls (although obviously less often!) once he is in office. WOW.....a President who wants to remain connected to the people and will continue to answer questions posed to him directly by the voters?!

    ROTFL.....SNL is on.....Tracy Morgan just said Barack isn't winning because he is black. Tracy says he's way blacker than Barack so if that was the case he should be winning. :P

     
  • At 8:47 PM, March 27, 2008 , Anonymous Liane Harrold said...

    I am so jealous! I've been not-so-secretly supporting Senator Obama since he made his announcement to run. I'm in a bad spot, however, because I run a 501(c)3, I can't do ANYTHING that would appear to be politically motivated. Bums me out. But I can personally donate. So I do that when I can. And I talk to people. A lot. I am so glad that I won't be in town on Friday night - Muncie, that is - because Ms. Hillary will be at the Muncie Central Fieldhouse. Geez. I hope Obama makes a stop in Muncie, because I will DO EVERYTHING that I can to make it! Any tips on getting tickets?

     
  • At 10:32 AM, March 28, 2008 , Blogger Carissa said...

    We ended up basically just being very lucky that I was sitting at the computer when the tickets were released. Someone posted on my parenting board that they had just gotten an email from the campaign that they were available. Make sure you're on his email list so that hopefully you'll get local updates.

    I've always had to be aware of "mixing causes" with stuff like La Leche League and PTA. It can be difficult to compartmentalize like that sometimes!

     

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