Dispatch from the DNC: Calvin Ball's Thoughts on President Obama

Howard County Council Member Calvin Ball (D-District 2) writes about why he's supporting President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention.


I Am My Brother’s Keeper.  I Am My Sister’s Keeper.

A slow roar fills the arena as an infectious chant begins… four more years!  Tears of joy and hope flow through the crowd while smiles beam from a room of diverse delegates and supporters who are full of pride and excitement for our President, his accomplishments and the prospects on the horizon upon his re-election.

For the past few days, Democrats and Americans from all walks of life have been full of increasing energy as we shuttled into Charlotte united in our cause to make America a better place for those who are in need today and those who may look to us for help in the future. Today, we must stand up for those who need us the most.  We must stand up for those who have served our country and protected our borders while we lay safely in the comfort of our own beds.  We must stand up for those who have suffered from the economic downturn, lost jobs and are just trying to make ends meet for themselves and those they love. It’s our duty to fight for their cause and move our nation “forward, not back”. 

Our founding fathers had a vision for America.  That if you worked hard, remained focused and have drive and determination, anything is possible.  And Michelle Obama reminded us Tuesday night that our President embodies the American dream. His humble upbringing by a single mother from a mainstream household without all the bells and whistles allowed him to rise through adversity and see the limitless opportunities our nation has to offer.  But we must go further when we succeed in life.  We owe it to those who came before us and those who will precede us. We must extend a helping hand.  We must be our brother’s keeper.  Our sister’s keeper.     

As his first Act as President, Mr. Obama took a positive step in this direction with the Lilly Ledbetter Act.  He stood for and continues to advocate for equal pay for equal work.  Through health care reform, he ensured that millions of Americans now have access to affordable health care and that insurance companies are transparent and when premium dollars are not used appropriately, those dollars will be returned to our wallets.  President Obama not only supports women for positions in his cabinet and asserts that being a female no longer constitutes a preexisting condition; he embraces the diversity that creates the beautiful tapestry that we call America.  Working in harmony with his wife, President Obama believes that one of the most important jobs is “mom-in-chief”.  In support of family and the values of inclusion and equality that move us forward, our President believes that all Americans should have the opportunity to embrace the happiness that comes with no limitations on who we can love and share the fullness of life with. 

By doubling Pell grants and taking initiatives to make college affordable for citizens from all walks of life, President Obama has set the stage for a higher educational system that is obtainable. Furthermore, under the Dream Act, immigrants can now bring their dreams to fruition by continuing their education or defending our Country.  Tax breaks for middle class Americans help those who suffered or are suffering through this economic recovery.  Jobs are returning and President Obama is investing in our future by working towards energy independence.  His policies will nearly double fuel efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas, and save our citizens countless dollars at the pump.  These opportunities and more will allow our nation to survive and thrive in the global economy.  It is through initiatives like these that our President is investing in our future and reminding us that while we succeed, we must also pave the way for others to do the same. 

I believe, like President Clinton, that we need a President cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside. That American fire is fueled by the notion that we are our brother's keepers; we are our sister's keepers. That American fire is given life by the breath of the spirit that drives us to fight poverty, ignorance, division, and the elements that are repugnant to the notion of service. 

President Obama believes that it’s through partnership, not partisanship, that we can best serve our brothers and sisters.  By increasing collaboration in Washington, we can overcome the challenges that swept through our nation from which we are slowly recovering.  He is our brother’s keeper.  He is our sister’s keeper.  He is our Nation’s keeper.  And I won’t back down.  We won’t back down.  And we should stand our ground for the benefit of our neighbors for four more years!  

Dr. Calvin Ball

Council Member, District 2



How do you feel about President Obama's record? Tell us in comments. Want to write a letter to the editor? Email andrew.metcalf@patch.com

Brandie Jefferson September 10, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Not to change the subject too drastically, here, but I do want to stick up for my liberal arts degrees! I will agree with HR and say that my philosophy degree didn't exactly make me a hot commodity on the job market after graduation, but it did mold me into a better thinker ... and not (only) in a "what does it all mean?" way, but in a "what's the best way to attack this problem?" way. I think it depends on your end-goal and the timeframe in which you are considering a degree's benefits. No, I did not have a job upon graduation, but I think my degree helped me maintain a "fulfilled life," whatever that means, and to your point, HR, a career. Even in a field that some say is dying.
DawnP September 10, 2012 at 01:58 PM
HRP, that might make sense if you were actually posting in order to "give students good advice." For example, if this were an article about what majors students should consider when going to college, and you wanted to offer your OPINION on that, it would make sense. Here, you're not offering "advice" to anyone. You are attacking and insulting people who ALREADY HAVE liberal arts degrees. And honestly, in this day and age, people with any kind of Bachelor's degree have a harder time getting a job right after graduation than in the past. But for people who are interested in seeking a graduate degree (such as Dr. Ball!), a liberal arts degree in undergrad can provide a strong foundation for further study. (And liberal arts courses can be just as difficult as math, despite your insination otherwise.) Perhaps if you'd taken more liberal arts classes in college (I assume you graduated college, although I don't know that to be true), you'd have better critical thinking skills than you display here on Patch.
MG42 September 10, 2012 at 01:59 PM
So you couldn't have read philosophy in your spare time and enjoyed those benefits? You had to spend $50K on a degree in it? Was that a good return on the money? There's nothing wrong with studing things that interest you. That's completely different than getting useful job skills.
Brandie Jefferson September 10, 2012 at 02:05 PM
As a 17-year-old? No, I probably couldn't have, to be honest. Maybe I was a dim young person, but I don't think too many students could have. Nor could they have bought a bunch of engineering books and become an engineer. As I said, the skills I gained were useful, in and out of the job field. I'd say it was a good return on the money, indeed! Though not necessarily in dollar equivalency. It's simply based on priorities. I suppose ours differ. I'd hope we could at last agree that there are many different paths to success/happiness. Otherwise the discussion is moot!
MG42 September 10, 2012 at 04:00 PM
"I'd say it was a good return on the money, indeed! Though not necessarily in dollar equivalency." Yes, so a liberal arts degree is worth less than a STEM degree. Maybe a liberal arts degree makes you feel good or whatever, but you will have to "feel good" about it while standing in the unemployment line. And I really have to question the "need" to publicly subsidize colleges so that people can get degrees that make them feel good about themselves.


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