Saturday, September 13, 2008

Microlending: Obama's Mother A Founding Force

Dunham is a woman of the people |
Jamm Aquino / ..
A panel discussion on the life and work of Stanley Ann Dunham was held yesterday at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Alice Dewey reflected on time spent with Dunham, the mother of Senator Barack Obama. ...

Do you know that Barack Obama's mother was a founding force in microlending?

Like many of you, I continue to ask myself where this country is going. I've watched (and written) for eight years while the U.S. was under a Republican President and most of our country's banks and businesses treated people as pure commodities, bringing citizens to their knees with once-unimaginable fuel prices and loss of their homes, with no timely intervention - legislative or moral - from the President or the GOP-led rubber-stamping, road-blocking Congress.

This isn't a sudden revelation for me. I've watched the house of cards that we've called leadership in D.C. - with the cards having been dealt by a misguiding political party with too much power placed in their undeserving hands - fall in small degrees with every passing day until we stand where we who want to find common ground are today - a confused and divided society with little trust in either major political party to turn the U.S. - and the fate of our allies and innocent people in nations where governments are even worse - toward the sunrise of each new day.

I am not a young person by any stretch of the imagination, but as a person who has not lost the spark of passion for our nation's future and knowing our future is tied to the future of all who live with us on the Earth, I can clearly empathize with the youth of this nation in seeking a leader who will help us find common ground with one another.

Microlending is one of the most innovative ways to use the private sector to not only find success for themselves alone, but to ennoble them by enabling them to have a real, lasting, and positive impact on society and the environment.

Where has the leadership been in Washington DC when it comes to being moral leaders rather than hiding behind business-friendly legislation without asking business leaders to consider the society they serve and promoting the terribly uncreative and uninspiring shopping sprees after 9/11? There are too few citizens, including our potential-filled youth and our most promising business leaders, who know or who have even been asked to care about common-sense solutions to ending global poverty.

Knowing that Stanley Anne Dunham was one of the first activists in the ground-effort to find real-world solutions to end meaningless, cruel, and unnecessary poverty and starvation may cause us to better understand the conscience of the young man she raised who was greatly influenced by such wisdom and heart.

In this silly campaign season where the ads are going nuclear with negativity, I'm afraid that many people who may still be making up their minds could wind up making them up for all the wrong reasons.

In the Presidential race between Obama and McCain, we seem to have another evenly-divided American public. What could break that tie? And what silly media soundbite could bring one campaign crashing down? That is the concern of campaigns.

What about the concern for our future..the one that extends well beyond November 4th? Who deserves a chance to help us all find common ground in a world that seems to be burning with misunderstanding and hatred for the American people. Is it the leader of the party, whether or not he calls himself a Maverick, that demeans and mocks the kind of volunteer public service that has shaken our communities out of complacency in order to make them better? Is it a promise of victory in a war we never should've entered into - especially when we know that the General whose advice should be meaningful is saying he'd never use the word 'victory' when he's speaking about Iraq? General David Petraeus said this week, "This is not the sort of struggle where you take a hill, plant the flag and go home to a victory parade... it's not war with a simple slogan." I think we all know that's true and when I hear John McCain's constant use of the word "victory," I tend to wonder if he thinks that American voters can't really take the straight talk that he so often claims he purports to offer.

ABC-reporter Jim Sciutto's new book "Against Us" speaks about hope for America to turn the tide of hate toward us that exists today. A change in U.S. foreign policy needs to be a clear one. A change that will help to rebuild relations with the Arab world and restore confidence in American values will need to be clear.

American politics are complicated and the U.S. media makes a circus out of them....but in the end, this isn't a circus or a reality television show. This is you - in your bed at night - thinking about your son and your daughter...the sons and daughters going to sleep in nations we've never visited or think much about.

The media never talks much about your conscience or your heart. That isn't their responsibility. It's your own responsibility.

I pray that the majority of Americans will be fully awake, in a philosophical sense, when Election Day comes around.

I hope they'll think about the young man whose mother raised him with a solid example of how the future can be molded to benefit us all.

I wish the negative ads would disappear...but then I would be asking for a reprieve from the real world.

Read about Barack's mother. Read up about people like Dr. Muhammad Yunus. Read about the leaders of this nation and this world who are recognizing that life from here on out will be an interdependent one for all humanity and that your living room and your ocean shores are not the end of America's concern.

Think of the hundreds of thousands who crowded the square in Germany for Mr. Obama as more than just a publicity stunt.

He is not the only citizen of this world. We all are.