November 4, 2008
Congratulations President-Elect Obama. You rose above the nasty partisan politics that have infected this country for so long now and lifted this nation up from the nightmare of the past eight years. The country has put their faith in you and now the real hard work begins. You will have a majority in both houses to assist you, so the road could be considerably easier at least for the first two years. The amount of the vote seems to indicate that even your enemies cannot use the silly “no mandate” mantra. Things have aligned themselves for you well.
Do not lose sight of why so many were dissatisfied though. It is not a repudiation of traditional republicanism or conservatism. It was a resounding “no more” to the neo-con vision for America. That is what you must seek to undo as your presidency unfolds. For starters, you need to fix the election process in this country. You need to repeal that horrific HAVA; which turned over so much power to companies that are corrupt. You need to declare Election Day a national holiday, and strip the power from individual states to manipulate their elections. You need to make voting more accessible, not less. We need to get rid of caging lists and partisan vote challenges. Make no mistake about it Mr. Obama; they tried to steal it from you as they had Kerry and Gore. There was simply too much of a wave to overcome. If HAVA and elections are not straightened out by the time your first term is up, then the problems will still remain. Integrity must be restored to our electoral process. Complete open elections. Source codes revealed, exit polling data should be public domain. It remains a crucial problem that needs to be immediately addressed.
Secondly, we need to restore accountability to the government. The era of deregulation must end and end now. Starting with the media. Media consolidation has allowed fiction to be presented as fact and has skewed the reality in this country for far too long. If you do not have a fair media, as well as elections, then this country will always be able to be hijacked by ideologues as it has been for a decade now. And do not stop there. Regulation and transparency in government needs to continue in the financial markets, housing industry and any other area that has been gutted by the Bush Neo-Con cabal.
Thirdly, it is time to bring our kids home with the honor they have earned. It is time to start worrying about THIS country. It is time to develop the infrastructure of THIS country. It is time to focus on education, jobs and strengthening our currency before we hit a financial 9-11. It is time to stop blowing countries up randomly and hiding behind some veiled “terror” nonsense. Along with this Mr. Obama, it is time to restore our standing in the world. It is time to end Gitmo and torture as a national policy. This country has forfeited its decency in exchange for a false sense of security. Along with all of this also must be a restoration of our precious civil liberties. It is time to end the police state this country is turning into. You were a Constitutional Law Professor for long enough to respect the guiding document of this nation. It is time to take the shackles off of the American people. It is time for “free speech zones” to mean the entire United States of America.
Lastly, President-Elect Obama, it is time to re-balance the government. It is time to end the theory of a unitary executive. It is time to outlaw signing statements where a president thinks he is above the law. And here is the really hard part Mr. Obama. You cannot truly move on without addressing what happened. This is not about revenge it is about justice. The Bush Administration needs to be held accountable for violations against the American people and the constitution, period. If you choose to move on without doing this, you do so at the peril of every American. You will end up condoning illegal activities committed by presidents. If this president lied this country into a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, he must be held accountable. If not, it gives free reign for future presidents to abuse their power as it appears Bush has done. We must once again prove to the world that no one in this country is above the law, least of all the chief law enforcement officer, who so disrespected the laws of this country that he signed over 800 signing statements saying he would not adhere to the laws he signed. That hypocrisy must end and be held to account.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.” We had almost lost that hope over the past eight years. The hope that all that could be right about America could be restored. The hope that dreams were still worth holding onto. I do not know if Barack Obama can fix everything. I do not know if he is the answer to all that ails this great nation. What I do know is that for this moment in time, for this glimmer in the pages of history, hope has been restored and dreams seem just a bit more possible.