Heather L. Barmore
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Heather L. Barmore
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Heather Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices


    You know who shouldn't be allowed to go to college? Poor people.

    If it's not college affordability it's saying that 'public education is socialism' (h/t Ron Paul). Any time any of these candidates announces their ideas for education I want to find the nearest moving vehicle and jump in front of it. I'm sorry but they know not of what they speak. It's sad and fairly indicative of the direction this country will take upon their being elected. Education which is the foundation for a strong country is treated as a nuisance that only few deserve. I'm sorry but no matter what side of the aisle you're on, that's bull shit.

    The One About Herman Cain

    Were you to ask a conservative what they think of Herman Cain’s current    predicament they would tell you that it is nothing more than a conspiracy from the left wing Main Stream Media. This was all conjured up because the left feels threatened by Herman Cain being a front runner and if it wasn’t the left then it’s all Mitt Romney’s fault. That’s it. Or perhaps the left and Mitt Romney conspired against Mr. Cain - because, as you know, Mitt is a dreaded Republican in name only and only true conservatives have the capacity to lead this country. Herman Cain is the real victim here and we all need to recognize that.

    Why is this all coming out now? Because who would have cared before?

    Herman Cain is the front runner. He’s polling better than the establishment and has essentially gone from being the disregarded guy barely acknowledged during debates to being front and center. He pushed Perry off of his golden boy pedestal and perpetuated Mitt Romney’s place as nothing more than a RINO who forced his socialist health care system onto the rest of the country via the dreaded ‘Obamacare’. Beyond that it should be a truth universally acknowledged that should you find yourself at the head of the pack, you will inevitably end up with arrows being shot at your back.

    As much as we would each like to say that we only care about policy thus poo-pooing what happens in a candidates personal life, that isn’t true. There is some sort of ideal there whether it has to do with specific looks or characteristics or morals. What we look for in a President is someone relatively free of baggage who we can look at and point to as someone who not only makes good policy but is a good person. Though each of us says that it’s the former that is far more important it is the latter and our being utterly human that does the driving.

    In the middle of writing this post I was at a loss for an ending when I came upon a story where Newt Gingrich stated that the sexual harassment claims were nothing but a media witch hunt. Do you mind if I say that that is utter bullshit? Because it is.

    Maybe because I am a woman - a fairly young woman, I might add - working in a male heavy environment that causes me to be hyper-sensitive when it comes to this situation but right now, a person who is in the middle of proving that he can be President of the United States of America, may have sexually harassed two - three females during his tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association. Right now no one has said that it didn’t happen though Mr. Cain has changed parts of the story first not recalling such an incident then saying that there was a settlement but he’s not sure of what the amount was. Either way, SOMETHING happened while he was there. As a person who is running for President I feel that we, as citizens of the place that he would like to be the leader of, have the right to know that such behavior is in his past. Whether or not it would affect his ability to lead or make policy decisions is a different discussion as we have seen many men in positions of power behave similarly. But right now as he is in this ‘proving’ stage of his candidacy he has shown that he has poor judgment and we have to ask ourselves if Herman Cain is the type of person we want to lead this country.


    For Humans Everywhere

    I should warn you that I'm about to get all vapid up in here. I should also be more embarrassed to say this but I do believe that most people are basically good. There are, of course, those few who get all the attention and the downright evil but we - as people - seem to put all of our focus on the bad instead of speaking about the good. Then again here I am with my Pollyanna-ish views once again praising people for not being awful.

    Anyway, it was this concept that ran through my head during my day at the Clinton Global Initiative; that we have a 'moral obligation' to help one another. This obligation has nothing to do with politics. It isn't right and it isn't left it's a human thing to want to do more and better for the greater good. This is what stuck with me and I kept reaching for not just during the meeting but in the days after: How to help? How can any of us help?

    So here we are with this responsibility that is impossibly massive but if we were to all chip in then we could at least put a scratch on the service of good needed not for now but for this planet and its inhabitants forever. It feels like such the cliche when typing it out. But when there, standing in that room full of leaders and thousands of men and women who have decided to make a commitment not just to their local community but to the world community, it can bring you to your knees. What seems like the most impossible, is possible. Human good is possible.

    The members of the Clinton Global Initiative will tell you that they came to this place looking for an "organic", "collaborative" space. They wanted to transform not only themselves as participants within the global community but they also wanted to transform and empower the place around them. We often look at ourselves as people who cannot make a difference alone and it is here with fellow members where commitments are formed and realized. But there you are, this seemingly insignificant person wondering how to help. During a conversation between New York Times columnist Nick Kristoff and President Clinton, a question was asked of the President what should people take away from this three-day discussion? Members responded with this:

    You're here among like-minded people to help. People to help form that commitment, execute your commitment. What do you want to achieve? Do you know the community that you are trying to serve? My personal favorite was this: "What you think you can do or dream you can do, begin it. This is a good place to start".

    I'm merely scratching at the surface here, you see. These people had already realized what they wanted to do and here I was only observer but racking my brain to find my place, to find something that struck a chord within me. It would be a man named Milton Ochieng, founder of the Lwala Community Alliance. His father dreamed of building a health clinic in Kenya but died before realizing that dream. Milton and his brother Fred fulfilled his father's commitment to further maternal health in Kenya. The clinic is now thriving in rural Kenya and since 2009 has grown exponentially on their quest to serve 75,000 patients. The foundation not only gives access to antiretrovirals for AIDS patients but it also incentivized education for girls in 6th-8th grade where young women have a propensity to become disengaged.

    There was also Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation. The goal of which is to find ways to expand access to education and learning opportunities in Africa for young people to become employable and even create their own job opportunities. The Equity Group of Kenya expanded access to education for 5,600 young people. What was standing in the way of their educations? Poverty.

    CGI 2011 Plenary: State of the World at 7 Billion

    You can continue with stories like these for days and come away with the same line of thinking: What is harming us - not just globally but also domestically - is access. Access to proper healthcare and access to quality education. It is this that changed my line of thinking from a very individual sense of being to one that things not just bigger in terms of size but bigger in terms of what should and could be done. And for me that will be a commitment to education.

    Someway, somehow. The question is what will you do?