Friday, August 29, 2008

Mix a Little Creativity With Politics and You've Got My Attention

Never once have I been interested in politics or the presidential, state or local government elections (yes that's bad, I know). However, my interest in politics has done a complete 180 thanks to the most recent election coverage that has absorbed our nation. I've read articles and watched news reports here and there to obtain an understanding of what Barack Obama and John McCain plan to do if one or the other is elected president in November. thing that roped me in and caused me to actually take the time to watch and care about the Democratic National Convention is a creative initiative launched at the DNC: the American Voices Program. The program exactly reflects its title, wherein REAL Americans facing REAL problems take the stage to share their stories of struggle, heartache and desperation to millions of people watching worldwide. I give these people profound credit for standing in front of a crowd of more than 75,000 and eloquently sharing their life experiences, many without faltering or shedding a tear. These people have been to hell and back and are brave enough to tell their story to show America that (in Obama's words), we need change.

A few people participating in the American Voices Program are from Michigan (rightfully so since many tales of struggle can be found throughout our beloved state). Here's a speech from Roy Gross from Michigan, who fortunately hasn't lost his job, but has had to cope with watching many friends and co-workers faced with unemployment.

My name is Roy Gross. I’m a proud member of Teamsters Local 299 in Detroit, Michigan. When I was a young man and wanted to start a family, I went to Detroit and landed a job as an automobile transporter. I delivered new cars from the assembly plants to dealerships around the country.It was a great job, a Teamsters union job. You worked hard and it paid good wages, plus health care and pension. I worked there for 18 years. Working class families were doing well in Detroit until the Bush Administration took office, then everything changed. Manufacturing jobs were exported by the hundreds of thousands and replaced with minimum-wage jobs in the so-called “New Economy.” I’m one of the lucky ones; I still have a job. But many of my friends and co-workers have lost their jobs and their homes.If you ask me, this so-called “New Economy” is not working. We need a renewed economy. That’s why I’m seeing so many of my friends in Michigan - Democrats, Republicans and Independents - putting aside their differences to join this campaign.Barack Obama will enact fair trade policies and work just as hard for us as we work for America. I will do everything I can, from now until Election Day, to put Michigan in the Obama column.

My favorite American Voices speech from Thursday night was delivered by Pamela Cash-Roper, a North Carolina resident who is without health care. Check out her powerful and moving speech here. Obama may want to think about adding this kick a** woman to his campaign!

Another speech that really touched me (OK I'll admit, I choked up) was from Barney Smith, a life-long Republican from Indiana who was let go from a job that he worked at for 31 years with only 90 days severance pay. Barney's speech is touching and 100 percent genuine..check it out.

OK, so why am I posting on all this political stuff? I commend whoever had the brilliant idea of integrating this American Voices Program with the DNC. I think it's insanely creative and definitely caught my attention. Sure I believe Obama when he says our nation is in crisis, millions are without health care and the worse is yet to come if we don't make a change. But it means SO MUCH more to hear the daunting truth straight from people whose lives are intertwined with our nation's crisis on a daily basis.

So for now, the creativity star goes to Obama. We'll see what McCain has up his sleeves at the Republican National Convention next week. And no, I DON'T give McCain creativity points for choosing a woman as his vice president!

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