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In Arizona, Obama Appeals to Our Better Angels

Obama makes me proud to be an American

There are times when a person feels like they are bursting with pride about being an American, and such a time was last night when I watched and listened to President Obama address the survivors of the heinous attack in Tucson, their loved ones and the loved ones of those who did not survive, the people of Arizona and the American people. If there is such a thing as a healer-in-chief, the president eloquently performed that role last night.

I am so very happy that I had the chance to cast my vote for Barack Obama in November of 2008. Despite the discordant notes echoed every day from the right-wingers who would prefer to accentuate the things that bring us apart—in contrast with Obama who prefers to accentuate the many more things we have in common that bring us together for a common purpose, to truly form a more perfect union—what rang true last night was that the majority of the American people are tired of the finger-pointing, the blame, the angry words and the untruths that are doing more to harm our nation than to help it.

There are those on the progressive or liberal side who believe Obama has not moved fast enough or done enough to promote their agenda, and of course there are those on the right who believe he has done far too much, but then again, to the right wing anything that smacks of equal opportunity, hope, and a better future for all Americans conflicts with their belief that government should be by the rich and powerful for the rich and powerful.

Have we forgotten that Obama has been in office for only two years and in that time (which seems like eons, shown by the gray hair and lines on his face) he has saved our country from an economic depression, reduced our forces in Iraq by 75 percent, instituted financial reform, the end of the discriminatory "don't ask, don't tell" policy where those risking their life and limbs to defend our country were treated like the enemy, a healthcare reform act, although far from perfect and needing more stringent efforts at cost containment and controls will still reduce the rolls of the uninsured by more than 30 million people, and he has helped enact legislation that will enforce workplace safety, equal pay for equal work and a host of other laws to protect the American people?

In two years Obama has accomplished more than any other president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and I have no doubt under his leadership immigration reform will be adopted and we will stop treating as our enemy those who come to our country seeking a better life for their families, as our parents and grandparents did, and who are willing to do the most menial labor tending to the fields on our farms, the sick and infirmed at our hospitals, and willing to clean bathrooms and kitchens. It is through his leadership that one day we will see the people who come here and are willing to do whatever they can to succeed as part of the American dream and no different than our ancestors who came here with the same hopes and dreams.

As an American Jew and supporter of Israel I also truly believe that the best hope for a lasting true peace in the Middle East between a Palestinian State living side by side with the State of Israel lies with the leadership of Barack Obama, who is not afraid to say the things that must be said even though there are some, including supporters of Israel, who would prefer not hearing them.

When I watched the speech last night, a few hours after viewing Sarah Palin's absurd "blood libel" speech, the thing that amazed me was not that current opinion polls showing Obama leading Palin 75 percent to 25 percent in the latest 2012 presidential election poll but that 25 percent of the electorate would ever consider for our leader someone so inept, so totally unqualified and so shamefully self-aggrandizing as Sarah Palin is.

If the speech showed the American people anything last night, it should be that we without any doubt elected the best person to be our president a little more than two years ago. I am proud to be an American and proud of our president. He has achieved much and will achieve much more, and at the end of his presidency his dream of helping America become a more perfect union will be fulfilled.


Mark Jeffery Koch

Cherry Hill, NJ

Jan 13 2011 - 11:46am