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Fri Oct 19, 2012, 04:10 PM

Ken Burns:Why I am Voting for Barack Obama


One of my favorite movies of all time is Frank Capra's “It's A Wonderful Life,” starring Jimmy Stewart. In the film, Stewart's character, a despondent and near suicidal George Bailey, who runs a small savings and loan in the town of Bedford Falls, is given a gift: the chance to see what his town would be like if he'd never been born — if he'd never extended a helping hand to his neighbors when they needed it most, never helped his community understand how much they depended upon one another.

In this alternative vision, the town's plutocratic banker, Mr. Potter — without the decent George Bailey to counter him — rules everything. A bottom-line-is-everything, every-man-for-himself mentality runs unchecked, resulting in Bedford Falls' metamorphosis into “Pottersville,” an amoral, soulless place.

The movie has a happy ending, thank goodness, but its themes endure to this day and echo in the current presidential election, which at its core asks the question: What kind of country are we? Are we Bedford Falls or Pottersville? Are we all in this together — and stronger and better because of it — or are we entirely on our own, with a few “makers” on the top of a heap of “takers?”

I'm supporting President Barack Obama because there is no question about his answer to that question. Having observed Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts, and then watching him in the Republican primaries as he tacked this way and that whenever it suited him (but mostly to the far right, the Tea Party radicals, even the birthers), I can't be sure of him.

As a student of American history, let me give some perspective. Much like Franklin Delano Roosevelt (one of the subjects of a new documentary series we are working on — if Romney doesn't get his way and PBS isn't eliminated), President Obama took office at a time when lax regulation of the financial industry had brought us to the brink of a complete collapse, creating an industry that needed nearly a trillion dollars in President Bush-authorized bailouts. He also inherited two off-the-books wars that had further ballooned our budget deficit, an auto industry on the verge of bankruptcy, and a loss of prestige in the international community.

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Reply Ken Burns:Why I am Voting for Barack Obama (Original post)
Dalai_1 Oct 2012 OP
RiffRandell Oct 2012 #1
Dalai_1 Oct 2012 #8
Johonny Oct 2012 #2
nichomachus Oct 2012 #5
We People Oct 2012 #12
TlalocW Oct 2012 #3
Dawson Leery Oct 2012 #4
Cha Oct 2012 #6
Dalai_1 Oct 2012 #7
John2 Oct 2012 #9
We People Oct 2012 #11
PD Turk Oct 2012 #10
We People Oct 2012 #13

Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Fri Oct 19, 2012, 04:17 PM

1. Smart guy, and good article.

Thanks for posting.

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Response to RiffRandell (Reply #1)

Fri Oct 19, 2012, 05:06 PM

8. you are welcome

Thank you for your response!

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Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Fri Oct 19, 2012, 04:23 PM

2. Of course Capra and Stewart were both Republicans

that their values are completely absent from the modern Republican party tells you all you need to know why Republicans should stop supporting this version of the party.

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Response to Johonny (Reply #2)

Fri Oct 19, 2012, 04:58 PM

5. Up until Nixon

I've been around a long time. Republicans used to be decent people. I didn't agree with them on many things, but they were reasonable disagreements. We could disagree over beers and have a good time and stay friends.

Then, Nixon turned it nasty and it's been downhill ever since. It really escalated when they co-opted the religious right. Prior to being taken over by the GOP, the evangelicals were dead-set against being involved in politics.

I have one friend who was an evangelical minister and they were not allowed to become politically involved -- or even discuss it. Another friend's father was a fire-and-brimstone evangelical preacher. One day at school, when my friend was very young, someone pinned a political button on him. When he got home, his father ripped it off and said "We don't get involved in politics."

So, as you can see the change has been dramatic.

In my district, our GOP congresswoman is running the foulest, nastiest campaign it's ever been my displeasure to watch. Every ad is a slanderous attack on her opponent, who seems to be a really nice guy.

Her most recent attack was "leaking" to the local paper that her opponent had been arrested during a protest on Thanksgiving in Plymouth. He was arrested because the police went rogue and started clubbing the protestors. This guy tried to protect a 68-year-old tribal elder who was at the protest. The charges were dropped the next day -- and the police had to pay over $100,000 for police brutality.

That didn't stop the douchebag congresswoman from running ads that her opponent "hates Thanksgiving."

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Response to nichomachus (Reply #5)

Fri Oct 19, 2012, 08:29 PM

12. I also remember the time when Republicans were different

The coalition they made with the religious right hasn't been good for their party, for the religious community, or for the country. They have added to the poisoning of the GOP; they have become self-righteous and now have an even dimmer understanding of what Christianity is about (thanks to the racist among their ranks and the "prosperity theology" they've discovered); and they have done as much to ruin the country as their non-religious co-horts.

They have lost their collective minds and whatever sense of real decency they used to have. I'm praying to God that they don't prevail.

Thanks for adding your thoughts.

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Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Fri Oct 19, 2012, 04:26 PM

3. Did he issue his endorsement

With a voiceover while a camera panned over a black and white photo of himself while a melancholy tune from the 19th century played softly in the background?

TlalocW

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Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Fri Oct 19, 2012, 04:49 PM

4. kick

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Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Fri Oct 19, 2012, 05:00 PM

6. Great to have Ken Burns on Board! Thank

you, Dalai!

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Response to Cha (Reply #6)

Fri Oct 19, 2012, 05:05 PM

7. You are very welcome Cha!

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Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Fri Oct 19, 2012, 05:12 PM

9. I agree.

 

I'm a student of American History too. Ken Burns is talking as an intellectual. President Obama in my opinion has been a pretty good President. The mess that President Bush left was the worst since the Depression. I'll spell it out.

President Obama had no idea what the state of the economy was before he was elected. George W. Bush knew how bad it was. The people criticising president Obama now, knew how bad the economy was. They knew the problems with Wall Street, the auto Industry and the Banks. There was no action he took, that made it worst.

The Stimulus Bill did not hurt the economy. The auto Bailout did not hurt the economy The regulations on the Banking Industry and Wall Street did not hurt businesses. Obamacare hasn't hurt anything. Paul Ryan requested help from the Stimulus Bill. The Salt Lake Tribune's endorsement revealed the legislature of Utah requested help and got it from the Stimulus Bill. The bailout helped the Auto Industry recover. Regulations on Wallstreet and the Banking Industry strengthened the system against bad Policies and decisions.

The Healthcare Bill is already insuring more people and allowing people to keep insurance that had pre-existing conditions. Nobodyelse have ever gotten a Healthcare Bill through Congress. It might not be perfect but it is a good start.

The President ended the War in Iraq. The President finally bought Bin Laden to justice. Instead of losing jobs, we are now gaining jobs.

That is a lot in four years. He needs another four years. He has promised to tackle the Deficit. I think he has given specifics too. Ending the War in Afghanistan is specific. Ending the Bush taxcuts for those in the Top percent is specific. Just those two items will bring down the Deficit. If the Republicans would enact the Jobs Recovery Act, it will increase employment and bring in revenues. That would be less persons on unemployment and getting food stamps. It will also improve our Infrastructure. If anybody read the Act, there are some very good things in there and specific too. Romney's plan send us backwards. I'll say this, voters were dumb to elect Bush and they will be dumb to elect Romney. And the only reason I can see for it is race. Romney is getting votes because of race baiting and lying. If you think I'm wrong, look at his crowds and some of their symbols.

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Response to John2 (Reply #9)

Fri Oct 19, 2012, 08:19 PM

11. Great points, John2

Welcome and keep up the good work!

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Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Fri Oct 19, 2012, 05:44 PM

10. Way to go Ken!!

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Response to Dalai_1 (Original post)

Fri Oct 19, 2012, 08:54 PM

13. His question, "Are we Bedford Falls or Pottersville?" needs to be built into a meme or a commercial

A decent America or a dystopia? As I see it, we'll be voting between those two choices.

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