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  Issues-Advocacy

Will You Speak Up or "Give Obama a Chance"?

By Kevin Gosztola ()     Permalink
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Will You Speak Up or "Give Obama a Chance"?

    

The election is over. Right? Except for a couple loose ends---a few Senate races that could put Democrats at 60 seats in the House, a still "undecided" Missouri---we can all agree Election Day has come and gone.

The mass hysteria surrounding Barack Obama has yet to simmer down. Obama is not just a politician elected to the highest office in the nation. He is also a celebrity---a rock star with a persona that is so charismatic he will have you doing things you never thought you would do.

It's great that Obama got people involved and energized. I am happy more people turned out to vote because they were turned on by his campaign. But, I do not know if these people will be seen again after the election.

Why did 50,000 to 100,000 supporters appear at campaign stops regularly to cheer Obama and chant "Yes We Can"? Did they do it because they had issues on their mind that they thought needed attention and they were going to work hard to bring attention to these issues when Obama was elected or did they do it because they were sick of Bush and sick of despair and sick of being sick and tired? Did they just like Obama because of his personality?

Will we see these millions of people transform the citizenry into that which will push Obama to enact policies we need?

Pelosi, Hoyer, Emanuel, and Obama wish to operate with "centrist" politics. Why should we support "centrist" politicking?

Karyn Strickler over at CommonDreams.org has an article published. She writes:

Even before the buzz of Barack Obama's historic victory has worn off, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said "A new President must govern from the middle." The lessons of history and the election of our first African American President say: that's nonsense.

Speaker Pelosi is confusing the need for skillful leadership, with the misguided compulsion to govern from the middle – a mistake which Democrats must finally abandon if they are to rise to the challenges that confront America. Middle of the road politics is part of the failed policies of the past, not the bright new future Americans have helped to create with the election of Barack Obama...

...President-elect Obama gets the distinction between middle-of-the-road politics, which takes us all down to the lowest common denominator, and leadership that advances everyone, helping us to soar decisively in the direction of the progressive change that Americans seek.

The great American Presidents – Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt – all knew the difference. The reason that they were great is because they led the nation through tough times with an ideology and dedication to principles that they were able to communicate effectively – not because the governed from the middle.

Abraham Lincoln did not lead us through the Civil War to the end of Slavery from the middle of the road. Franklin Roosevelt took principled positions with progressive policies to help us, to help ourselves through the Great Depression. Even Ronald Reagan, whose policies I opposed, led us decisively from the right. Proud Presidential legacies stem in no small part from major policy change, which simply does not happen in the middle of the road.

William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, George H. W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter, have been flattened by history, like the proverbial dead skunk, because they did not understand how history and the voters frown on middle-of-the-roaders.

Presidential Historian Allan Lichtman said, "Great Presidents don't move to the middle, they bring the middle to them in order to achieve fundamental change."

...The American people know the difference between concession politics and decisive leadership for positive change...

This is our victory, indeed. Let it not be underestimated, watered-down or dealt away. Let's do as our new leader suggest and dispense with cynicism, fear and doubt about what we can achieve, put our hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

With Strickler's points in mind, what will we do as Obama selects his Cabinet and as he selects other members of his administration?

Will we have the courage and fortitude to research and learn about each of them so that we can speak up when people are chosen who will oppose the very agenda we want an Obama Administration promote?

Will we recognize we cannot make the same mistakes we made with the Bush Administration and let cronies, close friends, or members of past administrations prevent "the game" from being altered or in fact, cause the country to regress instead of make progress?

Will we pay attention to the details of proposed stimulus packages and other actions and suggest long term solutions instead of band-aid measures that will only help America for a short while?

Will we organize and lend our voices to a movement for hope and change and create something that operates from the bottom-up or will we let the Obama Administration become authoritarian and impose a top-down agenda on us?

If you go to Change.gov, you will notice Obama wants us to share our stories, and "share hopes for an Obama Administration and a government for the people." Americans can even apply for a job in the Obama Administration.

Whether Obama favors a bottom-up future for America or not, it sure seems like it if you visit his transition website.

Therefore, that means we should voice our opinions whether they be assenting or dissenting ones. And we should consider the price of loyalty.

This new president of ours should be encouraged by us to be a transforming leader who speaks truth with democratic power to falsehood and plutocratic power. We should encourage him to be a deliberate, thoughtful and challenging personality.

If Obama cannot be this leader, we need to be that leader. And even if he does do what we want, we need to collectively decide that we do not need Obama for change---we are the ones we've been waiting for.

So---

What will you do and how long will you wait to do it?

How long will you wait before you stop celebrating and choose to approach Obama objectively so that we the people can move forward towards a better society?

Will you consider being part of November5.org or other organizations similar to it?

I don't think hope and change can come in his first term so let's relax and give him time
Give me a month and then I will research/question Obama's decisions/ideas
Give Obama a chance; after 6 months to a year I will start to question Obama
Wait until his inauguration and then we can worry about hope and change
The celebration was over after Wednesday; time to ask questions and go to work
I'm organizing with November5.org or some other organization like it---don't worry

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Kevin Gosztola is a writer and curator of Firedoglake's blog The Dissenter, a blog covering civil liberties in the age of technology. He is an editor for OpEdNews.com and a former intern and videographer for The Nation Magazine.And, he's the (more...)
 
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