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PROGRESSIVES: WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT?

By       Message Mary Pitt     Permalink
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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.
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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.

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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 long straw.

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 danger.

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 of government.

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 people.

 

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This writer is eighty years old and has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own workung-class family. She spends her "Sunset Years" in writing and struggling with The (more...)
 

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