Parenting Photography Politics

Obama Spoke of Us Today

I watched, blinking back tears, as President Obama took the Oath of Office. At that point, BigBrother was still home. I hugged him as he sat on my lap, feeling a bit sad that my oldest son (let alone my youngest son) wouldn’t remember this historic day (unless something totally awesome happens at preschool). All the same, I’ll remember it. Even if you didn’t vote for Obama, you’re going to remember it. Just the Oath itself was an amazing thing to witness. And then came his speech.

Obama spoke of us today, specifically of the Fire Family. While letting us know that he is a President by and for the people, he reminded us that it is we, the people, who will ultimately change this nation (one should add, for good or not so good). And, then came the mention of our family.

It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Okay, so maybe he wasn’t speaking of FireDad, TheBrothers and me, but, well, it sure felt like it. And, let me tell you, it feels good to be recognized. Not only did President Obama tip his hat at the hard work firefighters do to protect our families and towns but he also gave a nod to every parent among us (firefighters included). After a string of hectic parenting days (as LittleBrother is teething and/or sick), I needed a nod. Respect for what I am doing feels good. It gives me all the more respect for what he is doing.

And, so then, what are you doing? What are you doing to make this nation a better place to live? I don’t care about party lines as long as you’re doing something that you believe in. 2008 was a year in which we saw people take an active, physical interest in politics; some who had never voted or cared about such things before. But political action doesn’t end with the election of a President, however historic. What are you doing to help your community? Your city? Your state? Your special interest group? Your children and your children’s children? Don’t think that now that Obama officially wears the title of President that the fight is over. If you really want to see that change take place, you’ve got to do something about it.

Us? Besides continuing the fight for adoptees to gain access to their Original Birth Certificates, we’ll be continuing to volunteer and help out with some other interests of ours. I predict some more involvement this year as I’m no longer battling postpartum depression. We’ll also be raising these boys to be the compassionate souls that we know that they are… most of the time. We’re raising them, actively participating in their learning and character forming. Getting messy in the process, like you should if you’re doing it right. See?

We painted this together (idea found on Kaboose), me and BigBrother, when he got home from school. You can see the mistakes as I let him take control after I showed him where the colors went on the design that I had pre-drawn with pen. The mistakes make it more real, don’t you think? Our new President is going to make mistakes. FireDad and I are going to make mistakes, professionally and as parents. BigBrother and LittleBrother are going to make mistakes. And yet, in doing all of this today with my children, I was filled with a sense of hope.

Hope for my children. Hope for our family. Hope for me. Hope for you. Hope for our nation. I pray that feeling continues, even through the mistakes, and that we come out the other side of this with the ability to recall and rejoice in this feeling we’re floating on right now.

Because hope isn’t a bad thing, folks. It’s just not.

[Once again, this is my shot for Project365 today over on Stop, Drop & Photograph. Apologies for duplicates two days in a row.]

fire life Politics

Is It November Yet: Fire Issues

While our previous posts in this Is It November Yet series have been decidedly non-partisan, we’re about to get all kinds of partisan up in here. You know where the back button is and I suggest you use it now unless you’re willing to read and respectfully reply.

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is endorsing Barack Obama for President. While we do not let FireDad’s union dictate our lives, I can’t say that I disagree with their support. That said, if they were backing McCain, well, let’s just say we’re happy that they’re not backing McCain. It would be impossible to do so when you begin to look at the issues that are pertinent to professional firefighters..

McCain is not working family friendly. Moreover, he is not fire family friendly. Perhaps you are not a fire family. Perhaps you don’t know any other fire families. But they’re out there. Contrary to what I wish, fire fighters are not rich. Despite saving your families and putting their lives in danger on a regular basis, the pay isn’t outstanding, outlandish or really all that great. But these men and women do what they do because it is a passion and they believe in what they do.

And when it comes down to it, only one candidate has a 100% record on the core IAFF issues. And it’s not John McCain. Barack Obama co-sponsored and voted for collective bargaining. McCain, of course, voted against the IAFF’s collective bargaining bill in 2001 and neglected to show up to even vote in 2008. Apparently we either don’t matter or don’t even register with McCain on his Important Things list.

Obama’s plan protects our employer-paid health care. McCain wants to make employer-provided health care benefits part of taxable income. You know, since we’re already making so much money in the fire service!

Obama opposes mandatory social security coverage and actually fought to protect the pension and retirement benefits of Illinois firefighters. I want someone protecting our pension. I really, really do. If mandatory coverage was approved for Social Security, firefighters’ pay would be reduced by over 6% in taxes, thus reducing pensions, benefits or pay. Really? You want to pay us less and put our pensions and benefits at risk? While these men and women are out there, putting their butts on the line for you? That’s what you think our family deserves, McCain? Maybe they just won’t respond when you dial 911. Oh wait. Yes they will. Because that’s what firefighters do. They respond where needed, no matter the pay.

There are other things, from Obama supporting firefighters (and other public employees) overtime pay to how jobs are handled. You can read about all of the issues here at Fire Fighters for Obama.

I know that not all of my readers are fire families. You’ve got your own families to worry about in this difficult time. You’re making your decision on who to vote for based on your own personal needs, wants and issues. You are weighing your own pros and cons. And I am proud of those of you who are taking the time to compare and contrast not only the Presidential candidates in this election but the important local issues on your November ballots. But, perhaps, if you could consider not just my family but those of the professional firefighters in and around your areas. Those of you who are serviced by paid departments, I ask one question: do you really want to risk less funding if it is your house that is on fire?

A note from a recent union flyer:

How you vote is a personal decision. The AFL-CIO has carefully researched both candidates and believes Barack Obama is the best choice for working families. Whatever your decision, get out and vote.

The FireFamily also supports this statement. Research. Decide. And get out to vote!

Every Tuesday through November 4, 2008, we will be discussing something political here on Stop, Drop & Blog. Our weekly series is entitled “Is It November Yet” because, well, we’re excited for change, ready for the number of posts in our Google Reader to go down and overwhelmed with the wealth of information to search through. I have no clue what we’ll be talking about next week. Hopefully it isn’t about any drama-llama replies to this post.