Guest Columnist robert temple: Dear Kids: Why I’m Voting for Barack Obama (Part 2)

Robert_temple_three_kids

robert temple, who lives in Oakland, California with his partner Lory and his formerly feral cat, Batty, has three children and four grandchildren. His children, all of whom live in California, are Carl, 37, Julia, 35, and Jessica, 33. His grandchildren are Kyree, 13, Annabelle and Tallulah, 5 (fraternal twins), and Amir, 6.  robert has performed as a singer songwriter and guitar player for some 30 years, playing around the country but mostly in California. His song “Lift Us Up,” from his CD “What Would YOU Do?,” was chosen to be on a CD commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. His song, “Turn Signal,” was featured on the nationally syndicated NPR show “Car Talk.” You can hear some of his work and learn more about him at www.roberttemplemusic.com and www.facebook.com/roberttemplemusic.

 

Dear Carl, Julia, Jessica, Kyree, Annabelle, Tallulah and Amir,

 

I never thought of Barack Obama as a savior, from George Bush or really anything else. But I was still excited that he was elected president. It had less to do with him and more to do with the aspirations of the people for a better way. It was a veritable bomb on the American political landscape for a person of color to have been elected president.

 

I wrote then, and believe now, that people needed to get and stay in the streets in order to create the conditions for any politician to stand up for progressive values. Some people got in the street. Many have not. This disarming of the liberal to progressive left is one of the unfortunate byproducts of his election. Obama has had a middle-of-the-road nature pretty much all along. He has bent over backwards to find common ground with Republicans, who would just as soon see large numbers of people living on cat food than to allow a few surplus shekels to slip from the grip of their class of the privileged.

 

Guantanamo Bay is still open, despite his promise to close it. Drones are killing civilians in Pakistan and engendering decades of anger towards us. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allows the killing of American civilians without a trial and it goes on. Obama did not stand clearly with the folks in Wisconsin who stood up to Scott Walker’s union-busting and he did not openly support Occupy Wall Street (which was the most progressive challenge to the system in decades).

 

There are also accomplishments. Despite the fact that Obamacare is modeled after a Republican model and is miles away from national health care, which is the only humane option, it does at least make the point that people deserve healthcare and provides some benefits therein. Romney would have you find your way to the emergency room and see what happens.

 

The ending of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the amnesty for undocumented immigrants’ children (over the protestation of the squealing right-wing set) are positive developments. Obama’s plans for the economy include at least some semblance of greater taxation for the really wealthy and in that it is miles from the Romney/Ryan plan. Obama believes in, and promotes a policy that includes, funding for contraception and a woman’s right to choose. Obama will pick more reasonable people to be on the Supreme Court who will have to deal with the horribly reactionary crew of right-wing ideologues who almost own the place now.

 

Romney? Disaster!

 

We are saddled with a horrible two-party system that poses as democracy while money is in charge and our choices for representation are truly limited. I don’t know what the best strategy is for breaking free of this. I would encourage you to vote for Obama and make plans for how to make real change.

 

Here’s a song I wrote called “Rise Up:”

 

I’ll take a little socialism any day

Than a government that wants to give away

More to those who live so high

While the rest of us are just getting by

Them that’s got ain’t got no shame

While they watch so many folks

Circling down the drain

Rise up if you give a damn

Rise up while you still can

No politician ever moves without a strong demand

Rise up rise up rise up

Rise up rise up

Nickled and dimed, and dollared too

They call it class war while they turn that screw

You waged it on us and when we turn your lies around

You call out the cops to make it safe in “your” town

Them that’s got ain’t got no shame

While they watch so many folks

Circling down the drain

Rise up if you give a damn

Rise up while you still can

No politician ever moves without a strong demand

Rise up rise up rise up

Rise up rise up

Now we’ve been writing letters, registering our dissent

We’ve been voting our conscience, nothing is changing yet

We’ve camped at the hollow halls of justice

With tear gas billy clubs and sweat

And if they’ve ever given us anything but the major shaft

We haven’t seen it yet we haven’t seen it yet

Rise up rise up rise up

Rise up rise up

 

Ó 2012 temple time music (ascap)

 

Robert_temple_photo_playing_music

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