Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mr. Brightside

Last night, I went out and saw Barack Obama speak for the second time in the past year, and I must say that I was quite impressed, probably more so than when he spoke in May. With the departure of John Edwards from the stage, my choice is set in stone: Obama is the way to go.

Even being the flaming liberal I am, there are numerous reasons not to vote for Hillary. Aside from being a polarizing figure, she's carrying familiar blood with her. While I think that Bill was good president, light years ahead of our current baggage, he's been hurting her campaign. In listening to him speak in Independence this last Saturday, I couldn't help but wonder who's presidency it would be: his or Hillary's?

While I have no sources to cite, I don't know how many times I heard him say that as president, he would do such-and-such. No one can discredit the leverage that White House experience can give Hillary, however it's time for new blood, it's time for a change.

This is the underlying principle in Obama's campaign, that America is ripe for change. This was also Edward's platform. It is for that reason that many pundits, myself included, believe that many of Edward's supporters will now back Obama; those numbers could become higher if Edward's chooses to endorse Obama.

In Obama's speech last night at Municipal Auditorium, I was hoping for some lingering questions about important issues to me to be answered. Those questions, being the space geek I am, had to do with the strength of his space policy. While he didn't address that issue, he did focus on one issue that I have strong opinions of: education.

In reading on his website a few weeks ago, I discovered that for the sake of improving K-12 education, NASA's Project Constellation (returning men to the Moon) will be delayed for 5 years to offset the budgetary needs of the bolstered education program. It's been a concern of mine. How can this education program be so good that NASA has to be put on the back burner, especially Project Constellation?

I got my answer.

His education program will do many things, of which I have every right to be concerned of in the years to come. With regards to college, he pledged that every college bound student should receive $4,000 in tuition to support their education, with the only cost being to give back to the community in the form of community service. A pretty good deal for a money hungry college bound student like myself; and I get to help out the community, something that I've always enjoyed doing whenever possible. I'm sold on this point.

The other aspect, deals with K-12 education standards. Specifically, how progress is measured. The most profound statement of the night (for me) was when he mentioned that standardized tests are not the only way to measure a student's progress, and that educators should be able to report back on this. Standardized tests have put me where I am today, for better or for worse. If standardized tests are allowed to hold so much power in the education system, a rift will no doubt start to form, determining who succeeds in life and who fails, a decision that in some cases may be out of the student's control. Sold again!

Ensuring the proper education of every student heavily outweighs NASA's Moon, Mars, and Beyond initiative. The private spaceflight sector will likely be employed to help NASA offset costs and ensure continued involvement in the $100 billion International Space Station, of which I remind you the United States had payed for over half of. I predict there will be a boom in private spaceflight as a result of this, and that's something I'm willing to wager my future on, wanting to be a rocket scientist myself.

America is ready for Barack Obama, and the future looks bright with him as president. For this reason, he is Mr. Brightside.

*There is also talk that space is about to hit the presidential election in full force, thanks to John Benac, and engineer for Boeing.

Note: The commentary in this blog do not reflect on the opinions of the popular band, The Killers, who perform the song for which this article is named: Mr. Brightside.


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