Why we choose Barack Obama

Published 1:43 pm Sunday, November 2, 2008

There are times when what is better for the community may fly in the face of individual wants and ideological comfort.

This year’s presidential race is one of those times.

There are many who admire the GOP nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona. He has given most of his life to his country. He fought in an unpopular war many years ago. The enemy captured, tortured and nearly killed him before he was able to return home to service in the Senate.

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Now, he has offered himself for the highest position in our national government. As the standard bearer of the Republican Party, his platform reflects those interests of the party, which are in many ways are removed from agriburbs, such as the cities and towns of the Alabama Black Belt.

For example, McCain wants to make the Bush Administration’s tax cuts permanent. These cuts have hurt the U.S. economy by increasing the deficit and providing tax cuts — 45 percent of which went to the top 5 percent of earners in the U.S. On the other hand, most of the people in this area remain at the bottom 80 percent, which received only 22 percent of the Bush tax cuts.

McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, at one point, gave some hope that McCain would reach out to the common people by selecting a woman who was a former small-town mayor; a family person with the same common concerns as those of us who live in smaller cities across this county. But we have found her lacking in empathy and substance.

We have no illusions about the Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama. He is not a savior of the poor and downtrodden. He is a part of the Democratic Party system that many see as too tied to government intervention in their lives.

But the policies advocated by Obama are more palatable and would benefit the people of the Alabama Black Belt more than those of McCain’s. For example, he would seek to have Bush’s tax cuts repealed and eliminate income taxes for people over 65 who earn $50,000 or less. Many elderly in Dallas County alone would benefit from that move.

Additionally, Alabama Congressman Artur Davis, who has helped Obama’s campaign, has said if elected, Obama would send a study group to this region to help us work out a solution to our future.

For those concerned about Obama’s lack of experience, we point to the choice of his running mate, Joe Biden, who has also given up much personally, though not in similar ways to McCain, in service to his country.

Obama speaks directly to small towns and the poor families — the makeup of this region of Alabama — as he talks about his plans and hope and a new day.

Because of these reasons, The Selma Times-Journal endorses Barack Obama for the presidency.