It’s seems like forever since that freezing, but sunny, day in January 2009 when so many of us endured historic crowds to witness the swearing in of the president we all worked to elect. That day I spent the morning in the Purple Tunnel of Doom, wrongly corralled by the DC police like so much pond scum. We had the coveted tickets from our congressman and yet we never saw that event we had longed for. When we finally emerged from the tunnel, events were well under way and the gates had been closed. The apologies from officialdom, and even the hearing about what went wrong rang hollow. I left DC through a flood of tears, trying hard to remember what we worked so hard for, trying to see the good of what DID happen that day. We returned home and promised to have the president’s back when he was beleaguered by the other side and we did. We said we would defend him and we did. We were still so proud.
And then it began. Not one disappointment after another, but one sellout after another coupled with ongoing put-downs and outright contempt for the very people who made his presidency possible.
–No real end to Gitmo
–No restoration of Habeas corpus
–No restoration of the posse commitatus act.
–No suspension of the worst aspects of the –Patriot Act.
–No end in sight for Iraq
–No end in sight in Afghanistan
–War in Pakistan (conveniently lumped in as AFPAK,, as if it were not a new venture.
–The budget implications of the above.
–The appointment of the B-S twins (Bowles-Simpson).
–and on and on
What hurts is not that cold day in 2009. Rather what hurts is the fact that President Obama has joined the Republicans in cynically exploiting the middle class and the poor, even while pretending he is on our side. Yes, President Obama, the hostage is hurt. WE ARE. Our futures are dimmed, our safety net lies in tatters as you have given the GOP an opening for much more mischief than the so-called deficit commission ever could, given its mandate and lack of authority.
What hurts is that he has institutionalized even more shenanigans within reconciliation and left a terrible and dooming legacy. No one will ever have the stomach to reverse what he has agreed to and the demolition will go on and on into the future. Trillions of dollars –and most American’s primary retirement income.
What hurts is the lack of jobs. And what hurts is that he colludes with the Pentagon to further endless war, which is both wrong and unaffordable. Our national treasure, our youth, are now conditioned through video games to want to shoot up “enemies” in foreign lands for corporate “welfare.” (They want resources, after all.)
No it is not about 2001, and that awful day. Otherwise, we would not have invaded one country which never harmed us Sept 11, nor waged war against another to find perhaps 100 remaining Al Qaeda. 100 people do not a national enemy make. What hurts is that President Obama is oblivious to how Afghanistan brought down the USSR, but doesn’t think that can happen to us. Given his current fiscal path, per his agreement this week with Republicans, it could.
What hurts is the further disintegration of our civil liberties, the quite literal ending of net neutrality, of FCC fairness, of real oversight and real reform of Wall Street. What hurts is that it is still possible for Americans to go bankrupt over health care bills because of the sheer lack of cost containment in “health care reform.”
What hurts is the continuation of policies hurting roughly 10% of Americans who continue to be treated as if the government should legislate their personal lives. What hurts is the “papers please” bigotry with which legal immigrants and even US citizens are now facing at the hands of hateful xenophobic radicals, all the while President Obama does nothing to really stop it once and for all. There is so much more that hurts.
I will close with this one: What hurts is that President Obama has such contempt for us, for real Americans, who believed in him, even until very recently. We deserve respect as surely as do those about whom he constantly lectures to us about “bipartisanship.” It is time he show the Democrats in Congress the respect they deserve as our representatives by including them in the negotiations. Changing how we do things in Washington includes changing the demonizing of the conveniently dissed “the left.”
Mr, President, it is long past time to show us, at minimum, the respect you show everyone else, even those who hate you from the unhinged wrong-wing Tea Party/Club-for-Growth wing. You cannot find it in your heart to stand up against their lies and speak the firm rebuttal to their them, but you can fire off contemptuous remarks, and let your staff do so–toward us– nonetheless.
What is needed in Washington is the recognition that most of the good things that have been accomplished have been ideas from “the left.” Instead of always thinking of ourselves, we try to work toward what is right. We urge that our country work inspired by our “better angels,” while the other side wants to run roughshod over whomever it can, at whatever cost it can or will. Colluding with and reinforcing them is not in keeping with our “better angels.” There is a better way, and our president should respect that. Instead, he has sicked Joe Biden on us once again. You gotta just shake your head at the arrogance, unfairness, and hatefulness–for we fellow Americans who deserve better than that.