I am often forced to look in the mirror, with all of the lights on, and ask myself what I see. Ask myself; "have I been honest?"
Four years ago, I was as engaged as I could possibly be to help Barack Obama get elected. The things he said, things that he promised, were a bright sunshine after almost 8 years of dark skies.
During primary season there were many disagreements between myself, friends, and even family about which candidate we would support to run against the Bush clone. When the selection was done, we all came together and we all believed in the promise. We truly believed that we would be beginning a "new world"-- a new world better for our family, better for our community, better for our unions, and a "world" actually better for the WORLD. The majority of us came to together support the guy who told a very good story and had the best vision.
After the election we were all so excited, the Obama posters stayed up on the walls of our home (INSIDE and outside) for months. I knew before the election that no one, not even Superman could undo the damage done to the world and the USA quickly or even at all. I just hoped to see a new theme, a new mission statement that would match some of what I heard during the campaign. I was excited enough just by that. I would have been patient to have had an honest mission, an honest desire, and still have lost the result to a broken political system. After more than 45 years of being involved with our political system, I would have expected that.
I've known about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy for a long time.
I began to be discouraged with President Obama during the fight to get the Employee Free Choice Act passed. I saw as he was able to still make eloquent speeches on other issues across the USA, he was not inclined to make phone calls to influence a positive vote for this Bill. This wasn't a matter of what others did or did not do". It was about what HE didn't do. There can be no argument that our country is not run by one man, or even by a hundred men & women.
But I was disappointed that the "mission" he sold me on before the election turned out to be an empty box. If it had been real, Obama would have been working as hard as he could to keep his "part" of the promise, win or lose. It didn't happen! Many of the promises that I believed from him were starting to fall off, of him, like heavy rain off a tin roof.
When he signed the renewal of the Bush tax gifts, while speeching about shaving an already thin safety net for the American people, I left the Democratic Party I had belonged to from the time I worked as a volunteer for Eugene McCarthy.
Even then, I didn't place all of the blame on Obama. I blamed the whole Party and Obama as being the guy that let it happen.
Now; as the view on the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement) becomes clearer. As its details are spread out before me, I know the terrible mistake that I made four years ago. I just pray that my children and grandchildren don't blame me alone for destroying their futures and their hopes? I hope that my brothers and sisters in my union don't blame me alone! I now realize that Obama didn't have the same mission that I imagined him to have. His was different!
But unlike a car you buy in California that can be returned within three days for buyer's remorse I am stuck with this car. Buyer's remorse can't save me!
Organized labor is FAR too quiet about the TPP and in few places will they actually place the blame on Obama. That will change in late November when reputations of leaders for a terrible endorsement are not at risk. I suppose it might be embarrassment, maybe fear, but nothing should make us more fearful AND more honest than the TPP going into effect!
By November it may be too late to begin to be honest with ourselves?
by Allen Shur
Former Business Manager of IBEW Local 569 in San Diego, CA. Currently a Vice President serving on the Executive Council of the California Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
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