After the national outpouring of support which thrust
Barack Obama into the presidency in November 2008, one would suppose that he had
a solid majority of Americans behind him and would have little trouble in making
the changes which he had promised.
Immediately faced with an opposition minority
who declared intentions to make sure that he would fail, the new President
nonetheless toiled on in the effort to do what he could to make the lives of
working Americans better, safer, and healthier.
First, of course, he had to deal with the collapse of
the entire banking system as well as record unemployment due to a decade of
outsourcing of American jobs. The "stimulus" bill for the banks had been pushed
through by the Bush administration just before the close of its term and the
economy staggered under the load of bailing out the very people who not only
caused the crash, but continued their old practices of gouging the public for
the enrichment of their own investors.
Next, it became apparent that unemployment was likely to
worsen due to the financial condition of the American automobile manufacturers.
So much borrowed money had been funneled to the banks that it required a good
deal of ingenuity to be able to salvage what was almost the last industry in the
nation and prevent the additional layoffs of their workers.
President Obama was
blasted for accepting shares of stock from General Motors as collateral for
their loan, but that seems to be working out.
Then came the blockbuster! Health care reform! Sure, we
all wanted a program of universal health care as it exists in most of the world
but, by then, it was clear that the Republicans would never allow such a measure
through the Senate. Then we prayed for the "public option" so that, as
taxpayers, we could pay only the true costs of health care rather than further
enriching the health insurance corporations.
The political wall went up again.
Republicans are strange creatures who find that compulsory health insurance
where we all pay into corporate profits is preferable to paying a bit more in
taxes in order to save everybody more money.
Now the poor man is under fire for the way he "handled"
the Gulf oil spill. He didn't go down to the Gulf soon enough or do enough about
it! What did we expect him to do? Would it have helped if he had flown over on
his way home from vacation and had pictures of him looking out the window at the
devastation below published in all the papers? Or maybe he should have gone to
New Orleans and given a rousing speech? Even the Progressives are acting as if
they expected him to go out on a fishing boat and suck the crude oil up with a
Yes, that's facetious but I am angry! The people's
movement moved the Democratic Party far to the left and elected a
highly-intelligent, thinking man to lead the nation. Now everybody is angry
because he is not doing precisely what we each imagined that he would do. He has
not and cannot, with a wave of his hand, make the Bush/Cheney administration
simply disappear into the mists of Avalon. Those two pesky wars are still with
us and we must forgive the President for taking the time to feel his way into a
decent solution to the problem of ending them. Our international relations were
as strained as last year's girdle but are slowly improved in most areas, thanks
to delicate diplomacy.
The situation of the United States is still precarious
on all fronts. The Party of NO, in partnership with the Blue Dogs, seems
determined that any plans or ideas proposed by the President must be stopped in
their tracks. With an election facing us, any loss of Progressive Democratic
support will be a death knell to what small reforms have already been
accomplished. The Tea Partiers are running rampant with their campaign to return
us to colonial days of "every-man-for-himself" while the Progressives whine
their disappointment and look over third-party candidates.
If this is the ambition of the Progressive Democrats
among you, congratulations, you are right on track. If not, we need to come back
together and stay together to add to our majorities in Congress so that those
reforms that have been begun can be advanced and those that have not yet been
attempted will not die a-borning.
It is time for all of us who worked so hard to
make radical changes in the governance of the country to roll up our sleeves,
pull up our pants, and redouble our efforts to complete the job at hand, to get
rid of the congressional obstructionists and replace them with people who truly
realize that freedoms which we have enjoyed are still in mortal
If we do not get behind the President whom, by our
super-human efforts, we were able to elect, then we wasted our time and his, and
can look forward to another administration even worse than the last. We
Progressives must decide whether we really want "progress" or if we prefer to
become only single-issue voters without representation as a group in the halls
If the latter is the case we can flush our American Dreams, and
join the many other nations throughout history who foolishly thought it possible
to establish a lasting government of the people, by the people, and for the
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