If you had the opportunity to sit down to dinner and conversation with Mr. President USA, what topics would you want to discuss? And, more importantly, what would you eat?
Through last Friday (9/30/11), anyone who donated to the president’s reelection campaign had the chance to be entered to win an evening and dinner with Barack Obama himself. I feel like a $10 donation might be worth it for the chance to ask some serious questions of the prez, face-to-face, even if you support a different candidate.
Well, I was away from my computer all day last Friday, so I missed the boat on this opportunity. But if I ever have the chance to meet Mr. Commander-in-Chief, here’s what I’ll ask him…
1. Education – How many NGOs, initiatives, organizations, etc. focus on providing education (particularly to young girls) as a means to grow economies, end oppressive regimes, and raise the standard of living in poverty-stricken areas? The answer is a pretty lengthy list: Room to Read, Central Asia Institute, and UNESCO are just a few. So why are we not focusing on education domestically to improve our economy, our standard of living? We need to be taking steps to make certain future generations are prepared if and when a financial (or other) crisis occurs. I am not a teacher or an expert on educational theory, but I do live in a school district that recently lost its accreditation (and has not been fully accredited in at least 10 years). I work in a poor, urban area and see first-hand that the current system has done very little for very few.
I would ask Mr. President why education is consistently such a low priority for administrations, both Republican and Democratic. I would also ask what his plans are to revamp (or replace) No Child Left Behind. Finally, I would want to know his thoughts on the role of education in major crises, like recessions, and what types of educational theories (and expert practitioners) he would introduce into his policies/administration to remedy the current issues.
2. Iraq & Afghanistan – I will readily admit that I am not a fan of war, “war,” police action, or whatever Congress wants to call it. I was not pleased when the war started, I was not pleased when the war “ended,” and I’m certainly not pleased that we’re in financial ruin but still pumping billions of dollars into the DOD budget. I am not against having a standing military or the Department of Defense’s existence. However, I do have a problem with bleeding money and killing innocent people, American or otherwise. During his first bid for the presidency, Obama was pretty firm about setting a timeline and pulling the troops out of the Middle East. Now, here we are, discussing his reelection campaign, and we’re pretty much no where on this issue. The timeline keeps changing, getting postponed.
I would ask the president… why? Why are we still there? Why are we spending so much money on this conflict that we’ve supposedly won? And what are we doing for the soldiers who have devoted years of the lives to this cause upon their return home?
3. Health Care – I don’t know the ins and outs of the proposed health care overhaul. But I do know this: it’s not enough. If Republicans are going to throw the term “socialist” around, I think Obama should run with it. Someone please explain to me what’s wrong with “socialized medicine?” We already pay taxes, so why not get something tangible out of it (I know my tax dollars are used, but not always in ways that directly affect me). No human being has greater intrinsic value than another, and we are all entitled to the same level of care. I should be able to have a any procedure that my condition requires, regardless of my income. What about that is so wrong?
In regard to health care reform, I wouldn’t ask Mr. President a question, I would make a demand: OWN IT. You started down this path with a vision, but compromised that vision to end up with a mediocre, sort-of-but-only-kind-of reform. If the United States wants to be the best, most desirable nation in the world, then we need to demonstrate that we treat all of our citizens with respect and dignity. And what better way to do that than providing them all with the medical care they require?
I’m sure I could come up with more to blab at him about, but those are my biggies. What would you ask the president if you got to sit down with him one-on-one?
Oh, yeah. I’d eat roast chicken, mashed potatoes, a salad, and some kind of chocolate dessert. It’s classy, traditional, and shows that I’m a little health-conscious. Also, who doesn’t love chocolatey stuff?
PS: I wish it was the chance to eat breakfast instead of dinner with Obama. I would totally call it Barack-fest.