Where is Barack Obama? Or maybe the more appropriate question might be, "Who is Barack Obama?"
During his first two full years in office we have seen little, or nothing, from the person the majority of voters in our nation saw as "the" person who would lead us from being a nation embedded with crime. We illegally invaded/occupied not one but two nations. We saw our economic system brought to its knees as a result of an unregulated, uncontrolled financial industry. Uncontrolled health insurance premiums climbed unfettered; the wealth gap widened more rapidly than at any other decade in our history as corporations reimbursed their top executives not $Millions, but $Billions annually, and those same corporations continue to lay off American workers and get rewarded by our government through tax breaks, even refunds, renewed tax breaks for those top wealth grabbers while the working class continues to be looking for jobs paying enough to allow them to feed their families while keeping their places to live. In the past decade, we saw our natural resources being actually given to large corporations while our environment was being destroyed as we gave large mega-corporations the okay to drill for oil without any guarantees to our nation. We saw our nation's sovereignty stripped as "free trade" agreements gave mega-corporations rights that superseded laws of the United States as well as those of other nations throughout the world.
The past decade saw more and more politicians accepting more and larger bribes from corporations in exchange for passing legislation favoring their needs over the needs of individual taxpayers.
While the American democracy has been slowly decaying since the Reagan era, the turn of the century and the mass murders of September 11, 2001, brought unprecedented attacks on our Constitution and on individuals' rights that have, for all intent and purposes, rendered it nearly useless in terms of how our forefathers intended it. The Supreme Court in 2000 even ruled that we, the people, do not have the right to have our votes counted.
Enter the 2008 presidential election and Barack Obama, who campaigned on "Change we can believe in." The people who dearly care for this country saw that we could not survive by continuing on the slippery slope we had been on for the past 30 years, and consequently came out in record numbers to make certain Obama was elected in order to foster the change necessary to bring us back to a Democracy.
Once in office, however, we soon learned that nothing was going to change as almost the first words flowing from his eloquent lips were, "We are not going to look backwards, only forward" -- meaning he was going to ignore all of the crimes committed by the past administration. He even named many from that criminal administration to his own. He has an Attorney General, Eric Holder, who actually represented Bush in the past. Holder has done nothing in his term, not even investigating many of the important crimes against people, our environment, or against humanity. While he has investigated those who have reported criminal acts, he has abstained from investigating those who actually committed the acts.
Obama named Tim Geithner, whose primary role prior to becoming the Secretary of the Treasury was to oversee the financial industry that robbed $Billions, nay $Trillions from the taxpayers. He now has done nothing to discontinue the practices they employed to destroy our economy while Holder refuses to investigate any of the robbers.
Under Obama we have not seen change, but more of the same -- even more. We have seen the USAPATRIOT Act continued, plus additional invasions of privacy on individual citizens as we now have full-length "photos" taken prior to boarding airplanes, additional invasions into our cell-phone usage and, more recently, possible legislation that will allow the government to intercept solutions into our internet activities. He is even trying to get the ability to shut down the internet at his demand.
But his near total absence in recent weeks regarding what might be the final act in the fascist take-over makes one ask, "Is Obama merely a puppet who is orchestrating the take-over for the corporate bosses, or is he a terribly weak leader?" Either answer tells us he is no good for us or our democracy.
This recent attack on workers' rights is the backbone of our democratic society. Taking these rights -- things that have been agreed upon by workers and their employers -- are in fact the only aspect of the corporation-employer relationship that resembles the concept of democracy in the world of work. While the unions are under attack, there is much more at stake. What may, or may not, be realized is unions have dictated wages and benefits for all workers, whether unionized or not. Companies not unionized were forced to compete in wages and benefits with those who were; thus, American workers were able to find jobs where they could meet their financial obligations. In recent years, however, corporations -- union and non-union -- have been sending jobs overseas, thus eliminating American jobs. This has enabled non-union companies to lower their wages some, while forcing employees to pay more for their benefits. The presence of unions still prohibits them from pushing wages to minimum-wage standards (even lower as they are continuing to bribe politicians to lower those standards), but also will enable them to discontinue offering any benefits.
In addition, in the instance of education, there is more involved than unionism. The move has long been to "privatize" schools. While this is not a new move, it has been gaining more momentum as more bribe money is being given to legislators. Even Obama has been "pushing" these Charter schools, which have been failing as we learn more about them. Having corporations in charge of what children learn is a dangerous concept. One could use a corporate entity as an example -- Fox News. Daily listeners experience nothing more than what has been scripted for their employed gerbils to recite. Much would be the same should corporations gain control of our educational system. A look at the Texas schools might give one a hint, as they have textbooks which make the likes of Kay Bailey Hutchinson more of a hero than George Washington. As an extra "bonus" with "privatized" schools we, the taxpayers, can still pay our tax dollars to the government, which in turn will pay the corporation, much as we do with prisons, mercenaries, and other "privatized" services.
So, while the final stages of democracy are being played out in several states -- most notably Wisconsin -- one has to ask, "Where is our President?" Is he showing us he is an enabler allowing the demise of Democracy in favor of fascism? Or is he simply proving he is a terribly weak leader?
We, the people, lose in either case.