I'll start off by saying that I'm writing this, not to start any fights (though it's likely to), but because I was asked to clarify my position by another member whom I respect and have come to view as a friend, and it made me really start thinking. I've come to respect a lot of the "old timers" on this forum, and that's not a term I throw around lightly. There are some damn good folks here. I even had the pleasure of meeting one of the other "Monkeys" and his family in person once, and I'm really glad I did, they're great people, and I hope to meet more someday. There's not a single one of you, even those I often argue with, that I wouldn't gladly share some beer over a campfire with. Most of us Monkeys are, at our core, very much alike. We mostly want and value the same things. We are an independant bunch, we believe that we are responsible for our own security and well being, but at the same time, we're mostly the kind of folk that very willingly extend a helping hand. I've seen that trait on this site many times, and it makes me proud. We value family, friends, loyalty, manners and respect. Sometimes when we come across differences, like in politics or religion, those differences get amplified. If two things are 90% alike, then what tends to stand out is the 10% that's different. A glaring part of my 10% is what I'm going to address...... The Obama administration. I know that most here won't agree with me, I'm not asking anybody to agree, I'm just stating my own opinion. At my core, I am mostly a Libertarian, and so I certainly understand anybody that doesn't like what's going on in this country. With that said....... I don't think that Obama is a "secret Muslim", and I don't think he has any plans on becoming a dictator. I don't think he's intentionally ruining our economy in order to "seize control" of anything, and I believe that he most likely is a U.S. citizen with a valid birth certificate. I don't think that showing respect to and a willingness to work with, instead of against other countries and cultures makes us appear weak, I think it makes us appear wise, and having watched many of O's speeches, I have not once had the impression that he would be weak or indecisive in a crisis situation. I truly believe that we are a lot safer under Obama than we were under Bush, or if McCain had won the election. I'm extremely happy to finally have someone representing us on the world stage that is intelligent and personable rather than the dullard that's been our mouthpiece for the last 8 years. People tend to look at the spectrum of socialst/capitalism and see European countries waaay on the socialist side and us waaay on the capitalist side. Something like this: Socialism....Europe......................................................USA....Capitalism But, I believe, the truth is that we are really not much different than they, nor have we been for a long time. A truer representation would be. Socialism.............................Europe...USA..............................Capitalism How many times have we heard someone proclaim that "there has never been a successful socialist country in the world", well, much of Europe is fairly successful and so is the United States, and the truth is that there is a whole lot of socialism here. So I will site the United States as a successful socialist nation. I don't think we're beyond repair yet. We live with successful (albeit not ideal) socialist institutions every day. Our police protection, fire departments, emergency room care, social security, government housing, public schools, food stamps, medicare, medicaid, our military, our municipal water supplies, our highways, and many more...... all publicly funded (socialist). All of them flawed, all needing improvement, but overall they are working. This is why I'm for a public health care option. I can't see accepting all of the above social programs, and then drawing the line at healthcare and allowing our citizens to die if they don't have enough money to make the insurance company ceo's richer. I lived in Europe for more than 2 years, and I never saw the "lines and waiting lists" that opponents of public health care talk about. In fact, I never heard a single person complain about their health care. I hear LOTS of complaints here in the states, but most of the complaints aren't about the care, they're about the insurance companies. We haven't had a "free market economy" for a long time. The big corps get billions in tax breaks and incentives which we, the little guy, have to pay for. We work for them our entire lives, making them rich, we put our lives on the line in the military defending their interests (or does anyone actually believe we're in Iraq defending our freedom.... please), and then we, en masse, rise up against percieved "socialism" when the big corps are threatened with having to give a little of that back. They get the best of both capitalism and socialism, and we get the worst of both.We have been HAD, and then we defend them. It's crazy. This country is not, has never been, and never will be the Libertarian place that I would like it to be. Politics is corrupt, and has gone very astray of our constitution, but within that very flawed, but very real framework, I think that the Obama administration is taking us in a better direction than we've been going for a long time. I think that Obama really is trying his best to make this country better, as well as clean up some of the messes we've made. Maybe I have been fooled, or maybe I'm fooling myself. Maybe he really is the power hungry, wannabe dictator with a god complex that the far right claims. Time will tell, but I will remain hopeful until then.