Obama’s Re-election

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20 thoughts on “Obama’s Re-election”

  1. Thank you, Ben. We are the United States of America. I know we can act like it. We do all the time here on this blog in our understanding and support of one another.

  2. Thank you so much for that. I am super jealous that you got to shake hands with our president. What an amazing night last night watching President Obama win re-election. I do not support everything that President Obama is doing but for the most part I think that he is a great leader of a very divided and dare I say sick country. The reason I say our country is sick is because of the hate mongering that comes from so called “christians” that give christians a dirty name; the hedonism of so many and so on. What gives me hope is that the people spoke up for a leader that believes in helping the many not just the few as well as Maine, Maryland and Washington being added to the states that refuses to tow the line of the bigot.

    1. I did not vote for Obama, but he is my president, and therefor worthy of my respect. For those fellow Christians who are disappointed with the election outcome, I recommend reading the following verses from Romans, chapter 13: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”

  3. I am celebrating in Idaho, because three anti-teacher, anti-public schools, anti-union laws enacted by our Superintendent Tom Luna were voted down by the public. Hooray! It restores my faith in democracy and the goodness of people.

  4. I came across a German website that had posted the results of an exit poll and other survey questions about the presidential election. We looked at it in each of my classes today and discussed how to read a graph and draw valid conclusions. Some of my students started saying things like, “Well they only voted for X because . . . .” I stopped them right there and said the were dealing with supposition and assumptions; they couldn’t possibly know why any given person voted for a particular candidate unless they asked, and that wasn’t part of the survey. One student said, “But ABC said, . . . .” I replied, “And ABC was speculating just as much as you are, and their conclusions have no more validity.”

    Another student kept saying, “How could they vote for X?” and was unwilling or unable to recognize that what is most important to him is not necessarily what is most important to someone else. The last slide we looked at was, “Which candidate’s values most closely match your own?” When I said that this was one of the most important questions because people vote for candidates who have similar values, my student still “couldn’t understand” how that could lead someone to vote for X. Obviously there is still a lot of room for growth in understanding that not everyone thinks the same things are important.

    What I did work to impress on my students is that irrespective of who won, we have an obligation to make our school, community, state and nation a better place; and there are lots of ways to do that besides voting for a particular candidate. I think this class needs to work on “Cold Boy” before Thanksgiving. I also told students today that whether my candidate wins or loses in any given election, I hope that the president is successful because that means we all are successful.

    BTW, if anyone cares, I had sufficient issues with both of the primary candidates that I voted for a “third-party” candidate (who, of course, lost). But that does not lessen my hope for the future.

    Anne, we have had “medicinal marijuana” here in California for while, but who needs that when there is hope, right?

    Thanks, Ben, for helping make this PLC a team, because a true team can disagree (often passionately) without it destroying the team. Having read “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, I am reminded that one of the dysfunctions is not being able to “fight fairly” or disagree without becoming disagreeable.

  5. Andrea Westphal

    Today, I went to school with a little more pep in my step knowing that teachers in Indiana, in a grassroots effort, successfully ousted the standing Superintendent of Public Education in a major political upset. It restored my faith in democracy and in the voice of the people.

  6. I don’t mind, whatever you want to say, my dear, but I can’t pull off any political discussion in any language. I am just happy to be an American.

    But, LOOK —– there is are great news elections articles on “Les Clès///1 jour 1 actu” for anyone who teaches French.

    The perspective is neutral b/c it is from a French person’s point of view, and the intent is to compare the French system to the American. My AP students tolerated the article very well.

    ‘Les Clès’ is such an awesome site! Also, try BBC Bitesize French. It has French, Spanish and other languages.

  7. Although I, like Robert, cast my vote for a third party, I did feel a great sense of relief knowing that Obama and not Romney would be our next president. Just having a couple different (key word is different) viewpoints up there in the national debate would do wonders for our government, I believe. Run-off voting solves the “spoiler problem” we are often confronted with when voting outside of the 2 party system.

    And I’ve got to say, my hats off to CO and WA, and MA and MD and MN, for expanding liberty and rights. What a big step in the right direction (IMO)!

    Now, if we can convince Obama that he needs to move on a few HUGE issues and get more vocal/active about supporting labor unions as he says he would, I’ll be more hopeful about the future. Of course that requires more action on my part too.

    1. In in agreement, Jim. I too voted 3rd party. I disliked Romney more than Obama but couldn’t justify wasting my vote by not voting my conscious and voting for somebody with whom agree about 98% of the time

  8. I stayed up way too late Tuesday night bc I wanted to watch the President’s speech. Yes, I know it is “just a speech” and I am mostly beyond my formerly naive state of smitten-ness with Barack Obama. But in those few moments where I just watched and listened I heard very clearly the same message he has always delivered, which is that is is not about him, but about us: each one of us individually and all of us collectively coming together. So yes. I got all verklempt (sp?) and teary and it was ok to feel the beauty and the responsibility of that. So…like they say, “adelante!” (Onward).

    Below is a post that one of my yoga teachers, Govinda Kai, put on facebook. It pretty much captures the way I feel, and he is much more eloquent 🙂


    “Okay, yes, like many other liberally minded people, I am thankful and relieved for Obama’s victory over Romney.

    Still, let us all remember that having Obama in office guarantees nothing.

    The real work happens within our own lives.

    The real difference is made in just how we live our day to day lives. How truly conscious and awake can we be in every single moment of our lives? How much consciousness can we bring into our relationships, particularly the most important relationship we have with ourselves.

    Many of the issues and problems we have created for ourselves in these current times stems from giving too much of our power away to others. Projecting blame or praise onto others for the quality of our lives is a formula for the massive abuse of power that we have seen in our lifetime.

    This is a time for truly and deeply looking within. This is a time for recognizing the true source of our lives. By seeing this and recognizing truth, we can begin to live in a truly empowering and creative way.

    I am excited and inspired to live in this time.”

    –Govinda Kai

  9. What has helped me to be more understanding and kind to those with different viewpoints than my own is to examine my own basic assumptions. If I start with a negative assumption about someone, be it a student, parent, colleague, politician, or whoever, then it is much more difficult for me to treat that person with respect and dignity and give them a fair hearing as to however we disagree. I find that in those situations I tend to think much more emotionally and given to my passions rather than to use to use reason and respect. I become much more defensive and suspicious, and more likely to move to extremes than to try and find middle ground. As far as politics go, I recommend to everyone to try this: Instead of assuming that “candidate X wants to ruin the country, wants to ruin me or my profession, is stupid, is a narcissist and just want power, etc.,” try starting with a basic assumption like “Candidate X wants good for our country.” Then go from there. You may not agree with the means to his/her end, but I have to believe that the vast majority of politicians do want good for their country. I think that if you examine both sides, liberal or conservative, all want the same for Americans: peace, prosperity, security, happiness, etc. The difference is the means by which to achieve that end.

    I remember living in the former East Germany, and talking with a friend about what it was like to live in communist GDR. As he was telling me about it, and seeing that I was developing a more and more negative idea of life in a communist country, he said to me, “You know, not everything was bad back then. Everybody had a job, bread costed 3 pfenigs, and nobody was homeless or going hungry.” BTW, neither I nor him would want to go back to the old GDR, but what he said has stuck with me ever since and really opened my eyes. What a revalation! Even the “evil” totalitarian leaders of East Germany wanted the same things as we Americans wanted: peace, prosperity, security, happiness, etc. Socialism and Capitalism both seek to find a solution to the same question, “how do we achieve peace, prosperity, security, and happiness?” Obviously both differ greatly on the solution, and if we had perfect people either system would work wonderfully. Socialism errs on the side of laziness, and Capitalism on the side of greed. You can’t put all your faith in any one system or ideology. In both systems, both the common ground and their downfall is the same: people. Instead of putting our faith in a ideology or political system or candidate, we need to put our faith in people, and encourage one another, regardless of our viewpoints and give each other the benefit of believing the best about each other.

    1. Thank you, Michael. There’s quite a bit to think about there.

      I went to bed at nine, Tuesday evening, got up at one a.m. when the first results were coming in and stayed up all the rest of the night until I heard Obama’s speech. I read his book, Dreams from my Father, in 2007, and ever since I have believed he’s as honest and sincere as he comes across in the book. He’s not perfect and he is basically and always will be a community organizer, someone who tries to create a sense of community that will help people work together to solve their common problems. I’m sure he’s as frustrated as many of his admirers were that he hasn’t been able to do everything he would have liked to, but I sincerely believe he’s trying.

    2. Michael, that is a powerful story and some helpful insight to be sure. Thanks for sharing.

      Re the Romans quote. I am not a biblical scholar, so there may be a deeper/different meaning that how I’m interpreting this 2000 plus year old passage. But it seems pretty cut and dry. I interpret it as “don’t be subversive” and “do what you’re told by authority” and “elected officials’ decisions are divinely validated”. I disagree strongly with all of this. So does our Declaration of Independence. Rosa Parks, should she not have disobeyed the law? Were her rulers considering her best interests, or the good of the country, when they ordered in dogs and firehoses on people protesting non-violently in support of equal rights? Should a kid go off to fight other kids in another country just because he is told he must, even if his conscience tells him it is wrong?

      1. As with many passages in the Bible, taking this one alone and making it the sole standard warps the meaning and intent. The biblical message must be seen as a whole, and this injunction is balanced by others. In Acts 5:14-42, for example, the apostles are brought before the Jewish Council and ordered not to preach. They continue preaching and are once again brought before the council. When asked why they did not obey the constituted authority, they reply at length and iterate the following principle: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

        A reading of the book of Acts reveals that the Apostle Paul (the writer of Romans) consistently used Roman law to his advantage and was able to play competing factions and administrators against each other to his benefit.

        In our own history, the American Revolution was furthered by preachers who noted that the purpose of government as ordained by God is to protect and support the people. Their argument was that the British government, in its treatment of the colonies, had ceased to fulfill its ordained function. Therefore the colonies had not only the right, but the obligation as well, to stand up against this tyranny because the government had set itself up against God.

        I believe the Bible condemns both anarchy (everyone going his own way) and the “I was just following orders” mentality. Generally, when the Bible uses the idea of submitting or being subject to, it is dealing with an attitude; in other words, Christians should not have a rebellious attitude but stand up for what is right. In my professional life, this is reflected in my attitude that I have an obligation to follow the work instructions of my employer unless those instructions are illegal, immoral or unethical. Then I have a higher obligation to stand up for what is right. (BTW, I believe that deliberately giving students less than the best I am able to do is unethical; that’s why I would be unable to follow a work instruction to return to grammar/textbook teaching.)

      2. I think context is important and with that it’s important to take in consideration that that Romans was a letter written by Paul to the Roman church. He probably was responding to a letter that was sent to him, so we can’t necessarily take the answers he’s giving to the Roman church and say they are for all the church for all times. I’m not sure if it was happening at the very time of the writing of Paul’s letter to the Romans, but the early church was heavily persecuted by the Romans, and it is well known that many in the early church were martyred by the Roman government. If so, and the Roman government was killing members of the church, then it might be that there were those who were tempted to fight back, or rebel against the Roman government, stop paying taxes, or treat those in authority disrespectfully.

        I would agree that there are situations in which disobedience to one’s government (even violence in extreme cases) has it’s place, but at least in our country, it is the exception and not the norm. The very fact that Christians of the early church were often executed for refusing to call Caesar god, is evidence to illustrate that point. But, just because the authority was unjust and not worthy of honor didn’t mean that those Christians got to be a bunch of self-righteous jerks, and not follow basic laws. I think Paul was encouraging the Roman church to be such good citizens despite the violent oppression by the government to serve as witnesses of God’s love and mercy, just as Christ did on the cross. Paul was encouraging them to conduct themselves like MLK, ranther than the Black Panther Party (if I may use the comparison).

        But the question of conscious is important. In 1 Corinthians 8 (I think) Paul writes that doing anything that goes against one’s conscience is essentially sinning. So while there may not be a direct command from God expressly forbidding military service, but if some kid’s conscience says not to, then that kid should disobey his government even if he is being drafted.

        While I don’t take Romans 13 as a direct command for me and all the church, I think that if the Roman church could live and be such great citizens (and they were) under a brutal, unjust Caesar, then Christians can conduct themselves honorably and respectfully under President Obama. (And I’m not trying to compare Obama to Caesar in any ways, BTW)

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