Riding the F train to Brooklyn last night, I noticed a poster from the World Trade Center Environmental Health Center. It features a young couple with their daughter and the quote, "On 9/11 I was so scared I thought the whole world was going to end. Even my dad cried. We all got sick, I think from the dust in our apartment ... and now I still get nightmares."
We all thought the world was going to end on 9/11, but it did not. Yet New Yorkers, more than anyone else, know that we are still suffering.
Again on the train, I see two frail, thin older men with gaps instead of teeth, trying to decipher documents regarding government food stamps. I am reminded of my grandma's stories of the Great Depression and hard-working men, desperately standing in breadlines. To this day, she still says, "Waste not, want not." Now here we are in 2008 and once again the stock market crashes overnight. Some of us are going hungry.
It seems we have become greedy, narrow-minded, selfish, uncaring, and ungrateful, yet I want to be optimistic. One of our presidential candidates talks about hope and change and I believe him.
We need a courageous leader who truly understands our precarious position and will invest in education and health care (including mental health care for veterans), ensure Social Security for older generations, build infrastructure, restore our international reputation, and bring the troops home in a safe, efficient manner. Our future president must commit to creating alternative, renewable sources of energy and "green" job opportunities. In my mind, that leader is Barack Obama.
I know John McCain would like to disown the last eight years, but to me he just promises more of the same. As far as I can tell, if McCain were elected president, here's what would happen to me:
--There's a very real possibility that he would appoint judges who could reverse Roe v. Wade, subsequently taking away my right to an abortion, even in the case of incest or rape.
--McCain claims he will not raise taxes, but according to the www.alchemytoday.com/obamataxcut Obama Calculator with my single income, no dependents and annual salary closest to $25,000, McCain would tax me $456.11 more than the $480.98 Obama would.
--According to the www.taxpolicycenter.org Tax Policy Center, McCain's health care plan effectively does just that. The $250 dollars that I receive monthly from my employer for insurance would be initially taxed as part of my income and I would receive a "tax break" at the end of the year.
For economic reasons alone, I cannot support McCain's ticket.
Leaving the train, walking down Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn toward my apartment, I see new buildings, parking garages, boulevards, etc. New York grows and changes incessantly. New Yorkers like change. It feeds us and rejuvenates us. We are resilient. We need a president who can keep up.