By Laura Smith
November 4, 2008
While social norms may indicate the upper class having all the power and influence, it was a different story when Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama came to Charlotte , N.C. on Monday, bringing droves of middle-class citizens to stand up for what they believe in.
Obama spoke at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in his last campaign rally before the election Tuesday. In the midst of dealing with his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, dying earlier Monday, Obama kept a solemn face but a stern attitude towards his goals for the middle class.
“After 21 months of a campaign that has taken us from the rocky coast of Maine to the sunshine of California, we are one day away from changing America,” Obama said.
Middle class workers such as engineer Vincent Crowder came out on Monday to the rally in support of Obama’s positions.
“One of the main reasons I’m voting for him is because the middle class has been suffering,” Crowder said. He is in support of the rights of working Americans that Obama has proposed.
“It’s like ants,” Crowder said, referring to the work of the middle class. “If there are no ants working, you won’t have a mound…It’s time to change.”
Obama expanded on this idea during his speech.
“I don’t think we should just reward wealth, I think we’ve got to reward work,” he said. “That’s why I’m going to give a give a tax break to 95 percent of Americans who work every day, who get taxes taken out of their paycheck every single week. I’ll pay for it by asking folks making more than a quarter million dollars a year to go back the tax rate they we were paying back in the 1990s.”
Like Crowder, Charlotte firefighter June Stillwell is in support of Obama’s policies for workers such as herself.
“I feel like he can help the middle class,” she said. “The environment, the economy and the war; he’s going to being positive change to the U.S.”
As for the economy, Obama wants to bring a change to citizens such as Crowder and Stillwell.
“At this moment, the last thing we can afford is four more years of the tired worn out economic theories…and hope some how prosperity trickles down on every one of us,” he said. “The last thing we can afford is the theory that says we should strip away all regulation in our financial markets, in our health care system.”
As for the war in Iraq, Obama wants to change the current practices and policies taking place in the country.
“When it comes to keeping this country safe, you don’t have to choose between retreating from the war and fighting a war without end in Iraq,” he said. “It’s time to stop spending 10 billion dollars a month. As president, I will end this war.”
Even 13 year-old Montavis Evans had something to say about Obama on behalf of his working class family in Charlotte.
“I’m definitely supporting Obama,” he said. “I support him for the change he’s going to make instead of McCain, especially with taxes. He’s going to makes a change in the whole country.”
In the latter part of Obama’s speech, he discussed education for children.
“The choice is not between more money and more reform, our schools need both, our children need both,” Obama said. “We’re going to invest in early childhood education…pay our teachers higher salaries.”
“And to the young people here tonight,” he continued, “I make this commitment to you: If you participate in national service, we will make sure that you can afford to go to college, no ifs, ands or buts.”
Kim Pickett, a middle school social worker, is another middle-class citizen who came out on Monday to support Obama. She is in favor of his approach to reach out to people of all diversities and demographics.
“He runs a fair campaign,” Pickett said. “He is focused on opening arms to all races and cultures; he is not as isolated.”
The middle class feels as though they are sure to benefit from Obama’s plan if he is elected president.
“We are a union,” Obama said. “Not perfect, but we can work toward perfection. That’s who we are, that’s the country we need to be right now. I know these are difficult times but I know that we’ve faced difficult times before. “
“He speaks a lot to Americans,” Crowder said. “He has talent to moderate others will bring this country to another level.”
Obama reiterated Crowder’s words in the closing of his speech.