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MEMBER DIARY

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Independent Voter:

On November 4, 2008, in all likelihood, you voted for Senator Barack Obama to be the 44th President of the United States of America.  If exit polling is correct, you made this choice because you felt that our country needed a “change” in direction and that Senator Obama was someone who could unify our country.  As a result of your support, Senator Obama was elected President of the United States.

On January 20, 2009, Senator Obama was sworn-in, amongst all the pomp and circumstance that accompanies such an important event.  Now, it hasn’t been a week since he was inaugurated, but some things are becoming quite clear.  I am, respectfully, very curious whether what we have seen so far is what you thought would and should happen.

  • As to the inauguration itself, was President Obama’s selection of Reverend Joseph Lowery to deliver the benediction a good thing or a bad thing?  Was Reverend Lowery’s reference to desiring a day, where black don’t need to sit in the back . . . yellow can be mellow . . . and white can do what’s right, a message of unity?  Do you think that President Obama should have distanced himself from such an appeal, because of its racial overtones?  If you are a caucasian, did you find Reverend Lowery’s references offensive?  Is this the “unity” you were looking for?
  • As to President Obama’s first few days in office, did you see the change you were looking for?  the change you want?
  1. Was President Obama’s decision to shut down Guantanamo Bay within one year, without more specifics as to how it would be done and where the detainees would go the kind of change you want?  What if his administration proposes moving the high level detainees, currently at Guantanamo, to a prison within the county in which you and your family reside?  Is this the kind of change you wanted?
  2. Was President Obama’s decision to suspend military commission trials for alleged 9/11 terrorists, including proceedings already initiated, the right or the wrong decision?  Would your answer be any different if your loved one were killed in the 9/11 attacks?  Do you believe it was necessary for the tribunals to be suspended and, if so, why?  Is this the kind of change you wanted?
  3. Was President Obama’s decision to revoke the Mexico City rule the right or wrong decision?  Is U.S. financial support for international non-profit organizations that actively counsel for and/or provide for abortion in the U.S. national interest?  Is such financial support worthy of U.S. taxpayer dollars during times of severe economic crisis?  For pro-life independents who voted for President Obama, is this the kind of change you wanted?
  4. Was President Obama’s decision to publicly announce the cessation of all interrogation methods, which do not appear within acceptable methods as announced by the Army Field Manual, a right or wrong decision?  Would your answer be different if through the use of methods, not contemplated by the Army Field Manual but supported by many within the intelligence community, including those serving this administration, the U.S. were able to prevent a plan to detonate a “dirty bomb” within a major metropolitan area?  Are you willing to support President Obama’s prohibition of non-lethal interrogation techniques which are not within the Army Field Manual if such prohibition prevented the detection of a terrorist plan that would endanger your family’s safety and lives?  Is this the kind of change you wanted?
  5. Do you support the rights of the Republican minority to present their plans for economic revival and to have them fully considered by congressional committees?  Or, do you believe that President Obama is correct in declaring that he “won” the election, so what he determines to be the appropriate economic plan will be what is passed, irrespective of dissenting opinion?  Is this the type of bi-partisan leadership which you thought President Obama would demonstrate in office?  Does President Obama’s approach promote the type of “unity,” which you thought you were voting for in November?  Is this the kind of change that you wanted?

If you answer that this is the type of change you wanted, I will respect that; but, something tells me that this type of leadership and these decisions are not what independent voters wanted. 

Change is only relevant to a political doctrine if the change that is being proposed is advantageous to the American people, both from a short term and long term analysis.  It is very unclear how these first decisions of the administration advance such objectives.  To be fair, more time needs to play out – but, as a conservative, I am very wary that what we have seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg and that, ultimately, the priorities of this administration will no more align with America’s independents, than they will with me.

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