Saturday, October 20, 2012

Four Years Later, It's Still About Hope and Change

The Fall of 2008 was a dark time for me personally. The previous 8 years had put me in a long-term, deep depression. Two elections had been stolen from the American people and fear, lies and war dominated the American landscape. A crippling financial storm rolled in to blanket the country, and those who created it slunk quietly out of town with no repercussions and their pockets stuffed with your savings. Jobs dried up and pay was cut for many, with employers admonishing those who remained, “You should feel lucky you still have your job.” I am grateful I have a job and am working. But, I do not feel “lucky” about having a job. Luck has nothing to do with me earning my place in the work force or keeping my job. I accepted that I had been kept under thumb by a frozen economy while making the same salary for the last 8 years, but that I also had the power to change that.

I cast my vote for our current President that November because his opponent showed little sign that he would do anything other than extend the failed policies of his predecessor. 

Barack Obama ran on a platform of “Hope and Change” with many campaign promises. So many people like to focus on the ones that were not kept. But, for a man who promised hope and change, he delivered on the promise of both hope and change to me and many of the people I care about. 

I for one would have loved to have seen President Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleeza Rice prosecuted for war crimes and perjury, but our President decided it was more productive to move forward and not back. He went, instead, after the Wall Street criminals who abused the system to personally gain and rob Americans of billions of dollars of their hard-earned money. 

Obama ended the Iraq war instead, hitting them where it hurt most. Naturally, this upset those cashing in on the profits of war. And just as importantly, on his second day of office, he reversed torture policies of the Bush administration known as “enhanced interrogation techniques”. Perhaps Americans against Obama forget what it felt like to wake up every morning and read how disliked America was for our conduct in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Or that we had given up fundamental civil rights (Patriot Act) “for our protection”. I do not. Maybe they just miss the fear-mongering that gave them a false sense of nationalism. 

My gay and lesbian friends couldn’t safely serve in the military, to say nothing of doing so openly or with pride, but now they can. And, while same sex marriage is decided by the states, knowing our President thinks everyone should be treated equally is indeed hope that our country can move closer to a day when we all actually get the freedoms guaranteed us by the Constitution. 

President Obama fought for and won what so many before him had failed at: a fight for a health policy that is inclusive and fair for a majority of Americans. If you admire tenacity in a leader, you have to admire his determination and commitment to keep a promise that for so many other candidates would have just been a campaign talking point (i.e. 12 million new jobs). 

Passing credit card reform may seem like a minor issue, and no one seems to talk about it, but how many people are able to make ends meet now that they aren’t persecuted for being one day late with a payment and then having their balance jacked up for over-the-limit fees applied and criminally high interest rates for doing so?

Eliminating the Bush administration’s restrictions on stem-cell research has allowed countless discoveries to be made that further the study of diseases that shorten the lives of our young and old. We all know someone affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as childhood cancer. How was this bad for our country? 

There’s your change, America. And only a tiny portion of it. 

Now, how about hope?

With the passing of four years, I have hope that America is moving in a direction where everyone has a chance to live the American dream, not just those with privilege and access to power. 

I have hope that with all the education reform of the last four years and the reversal of the failed No Child Left Behind policy that our young people will get the education they need and deserve to live that dream. And, that the reform in school nutrition under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act will allow them access to better and healthier meals that help stem obesity and a reliance on the medical crutch that so many are reliant upon today. 

I have hope that the economy will continue to gain confidence so that so many people who have lost jobs (and are infinitely qualified to hold them) can return to work, earn a living and have pride in a doing a full day’s work. I have hope that those whose pay was cut can return to being rewarded for their hard work and competitive nature, because nothing kills a person’s spirit more than knowing they will never get a raise or bonus for their hard work because “times are tough”. Bullshit. Employers: if you think you’re being held hostage by workers’ wages now, wait until the economy fully rebounds and these people start their own businesses (a.k.a your competition). Yes, you see I can believe in my President AND capitalism and a free economy. 

I have hope that my daughter can and will read about this dark time in our history and learn from the mistakes of human greed and fear. From ignorance and bigotry. To know that a lie is a lie, and that those who speak them says volumes about that person, especially those seeking to govern. That she will grow and come to realize that every time her mother and father told her that her body is her own and that no one should tell her what she must do to protect her health and happiness, was not a lie, but a reality and a right. 

I know that four years later supporting the policies of an administration, while imperfect, has vastly improved (or will improve) the lives of more Americans who hadn’t those chances before, and was the right choice. 

I reject your labels of liberal, left-wing, Democrat, socialist, communist, free-loader or whatever bullshit tag you may be mumbling to yourself right now. I am and have always been a registered Independent, and I pride myself on being an intelligent, articulate and free-thinking human being with common sense. These are not regurgitated talking points of the left, but my own observations as an active member of our society and of the political process. I care enough to know what the hell is going on.

I know that when someone who craves power, money and position so much that they will say and do anything to wield that power, should never, ever be allowed to govern this country, ever AGAIN. 

Put aside your fears. We are better than this.

Finally, why more Americans aren’t outraged at Congress and Speaker of the House John Boehner and his obstructive politics of “hold our breath until we get our way”, is staggering. People: Congress makes and votes on the laws that make our lives better or worse. To accept the gridlock of the last two years as partisan politics is apathy at its absolute worst. It is a criminal waste of two years of an opportunity to get our country out of the hole that President Bush put us in, and Governor Romney says he can fix. As citizens, you have an obligation to throw those who have contributed to a frozen government OUT on the street November 6.

If the Mayans were right about 2012 being the end of civilization, it will be as a result of a Romney presidency. And I can tell you this: there is no way in Hell I intend to take it lying down.


Related Posts with Thumbnails