The People Ignored or Ignore?



Obama’s Journey: All Aboard!!!!

“All aboard?” The conductor cries out.  The people, men, women, and children file in.  The train fills quickly.  Finally, after what are only mere minutes, the engine turns.  Steam, or today, diesel fumes, billow out the pipes.  We are off on a road of no return. It is another election season. In truth, these never really begin nay end.  The cycle is as the chug-chug of any locomotive; it is continuous, monotonous, a wearisome drone.  The series starts as it always does, with hope, dreams of change, and the catechetic realization that the Messiah has come.  Soon we see this redeemer is but a man or woman, a meager mortal.  He, be he the President of the United States, the Libyan “Leader,” the “boy next door,” the “good girl,” you or me is not the savor we imagined.  

Days, weeks, or months pass.  It might even be a near three years. Nonetheless, sooner or later, perchance, all along, we realize he or she did not liberate us from all that keeps us down.  Indeed, after a while, the people proclaim Ignore this Mr. President. You already ignore.  Yet, in truth, the writer just as most the rest of us ignored reality all along.  The promises we attributed to Candidate Obama were not as we thought we heard. On any and most every subject, our redeemer realized as he or she pledged.  The problem was, as it is, we ignored, as we do today, the obvious.

Our rescuer never had omnipotent power.  He did not come with the supreme excellence we saw in the blinding lights of a projected image.  He was, as he is cautious, conservative and well connected.  She too has her flaws.  Diplomacy? That was never her style.  She Demands. Now he commands.  The President, just as the Philanthropist, is the Chief.  How did they achieve such authority and acclaim, we the people anointed, appointed and bestowed powers upon them that allow them to speak for us.  We knew who he or she was.  Yet, we told ourselves, in time, what was would be different. Hence, with all the others, we hopped onboard. Inconvenient realities?  Statements and actions contrary to what we wanted to believe? Ah, the public said in harmony, these too will pass.

In 2008 the people could have heard what hearkens forward to today’s veracity.  Obama Supports FISA Legislation, Angering Left  As Senator, Barack Obama forgave the indiscretion of wiretaps.  He voted for what was characterized as the “compromise Bill.”  The compromiser was conciliatory months before he was elected.  Six days later, other actions prompted the headline Obama’s Supreme Move to the Center, just as he has consistently done as President. Perhaps those no longer aboard think of tax breaks and the recent reforms foregone and agreed upon.  The President still does.  The question is will he again  concede and why might this be a possibility? We the people ignored the power of our silent approval

People persuaded or desperate to believe act as parents of a very young and irresistible child.  You may have seen these, easily swayed by cuteness, Moms and Dads on the train.  The tot held dearly in the arms of those who love him or her defies any and every request.  Still, Mom and Pop smile.  Looks or words of scorn are set aside.  Parents tell themselves the behavior is but a phase. Besides, in the moment, seconds after the transgression, the child cried out, “I will listen Mom.”  “I will not do it again.”  Daddy, “I did not mean to . . ”  Just as the caregivers, the bandwagon forgives the unforgivable.  

Oh, you protest. “He lied.”  “She told an untruth.” “What of the promises, those broken and the ones now characterized as a work in progress?”  Well, there always were assurances and excuses.  The need to compromise, at least temporarily is a truism, when needed.  One can say that the unfilled vows are of this milieu of compromise..

It is we who pledged much, who pulled the wool over our own eyes.  When we climbed on board we chose to suspend disbelief.  Now we scream.

I am so angry, frustrated, depressed . . . .  pick an appropriate descriptive adjective. This is a BAD deal.  It would have been far better to have a drawn a line –  A LONG TIME AGO.   You CANNOT fix the deficit problem simply by cutting  . . .

Others muse “I hate Obama,”  It seems “support for Obama depends” on the person.  Objective observers, if there are any, laugh.  How silly the scene.  Humans blame others for what they feel.   The President did as he said he would do on the campaign trail, for the most part, with few exceptions.  Indeed, how many of us when immersed in realities out of our control, acknowledge that perchance, we must take a different path?

Mister Obama is no different than the child who charms a Mom or Dad.  Just as any “newborn” does, Barack endeared himself to us by being a novel entrance into our mundane lives.  “He is cute!” exclaimed and enthusiastic country.  Magazine covers were devoted to his appearance.  President Beefcake? was quite the comer.  On board that train, heads turned.

You may recall, before “Barry” Obama ever took office a headline read, Time Nears Completion of Every Possible Obama Cover Variation.  Joseph Biden also captivated, proclaimed, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”  How could a bandwagon of people resist that dazzling smile, the cheerful disposition, and the brilliant mind, all in one man?  America did not.

I recall my own experience.  As someone who did not support Senator Obama for President, I too stood in line. I drove miles and waited for hours just to see and hear him.  A crowd of thousands packed the stadium.  We endured heavy rain as we waited.  Yet, all remained patient.  Once the doors opened, the ample audience climbed on board.  Another long delay did not quell enthusiasm.  Nor did the countless oddities.  I listened and heard the masses applaud pronouncements that were and are contrary to the supposed “Progressive” platform.  I wondered, as did a Sun Sentinel Reporter.  The day after the “demonstration” of love and idolatry, Anthony Man penned, Did Obama know where he was for Sunrise rally?

In those days, the American people ignored the glaring contradictions and deluded themselves in regards to the challenges.  As a nation, we were enamored.  The possibility that someone might show us the way entranced the electorate.  People “hoped” this charismatic gentle man, “No Drama Obama” would be the calm after the storm.  Thus, with abundant anticipation, people said, ‘Come on board Barack.” Be our Commander-In-Chief.  Do as the public thinks should be done even if you never said you would.

A President should lead.  A President should stand for something.  A President should not be afraid of speaking bluntly –  to those who oppose him politically, to those who support him, to the American people.

Today, these same individuals utter in disgust or with much “disappointment” in a man who is as he told us he would be, ” You have on occasion demonstrated that you know how to do that. ”  Innumerable inquire with seemingly infinite support, Mister President,” Why did we not hear that blunt speech as this crisis was developing?”

In 2008 you inspired people with your words, with your call to something better…. Increasingly, many of us are giving up, pulling back, because we find we are not listened to.  Our concerns, if not ignored, are dismissed.

So go ahead Mr. President.  Ignore me.  Ignore all the voices that have been trying to explain to you, trying to help you help this country.  You might as well.  It seems as if you have been ignoring us all along.

In truth, it took two.  Hand-in-hand  we traveled with our peers, the future President, and together we gave rise to the rally cries.  Obama is the Change.   We have hope.  We believe, “Yes, we, he can!”  Once we were all aboard we proclaimed in unison, Senator Obama has the Audacity to Reclaim the American Dream..  He was indeed the candidate with the compelling biography. His mere presence propelled us to become passengers.  Today, together on the train once more, riders offer only remorse.

In the days and years to come, persons who never boarded the train, people who remained stalwart on the platform at the station will express the sentiment; once again.  The public ignored the candidate who is now President..  Just as assuredly passengers will shriek as they have “There are achievements.   I do not deny that.  But they are far from what we were promised, far from what we had reason to expect.”  Indeed historians and scribes will reason. Nonetheless, proclamations will persist, and defensive postures will seek solace in the safety of a crowd..

People will adopt a plea .”Perhaps it is arrogant to think my personal thoughts are of any value to anyone other than myself.  Yet when I offer them, people respond.  So long as they do, I will from time to time offer them.  As I did yesterday.  As I am doing today.”  Hmm?  Might these words be as candidate and President Obama would say?  As long as there are people aboard I am “fired up.” “Ready to go.” Climb onboard Americans.  Get ready for another ride.

References. Resources. Rally ‘Round and Ignore . . .

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A Birth Date Plea; Presidential Power in a Democracy



Cornel West discusses President Obama’s administration on Real Time With Bill Maher

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

On the eve of President Obama’s birth date, thoughts turn to his time in office.  As a man, countless admire the person, Barack Obama, and yet, feel that they cannot fully celebrate his performance.  Hope has all but disappeared.  Audacity appears vanquished.  Still, some are sure that there is reason to believe. People ponder potentials not fully realized.  Prospects for change loom large.  Several may be shared in the sentiments offered on this auspicious occasion.

Dreams have yet to die.  The desire to write to the President on the anniversary of his birth or converse with him personally is strong.  Most will only be able to meet Mister Obama circuitously. Nonetheless, millions will try to talk to the man in the White House.  People, such as esteemed Educator, Doctor Cornel West has addressed the President profoundly though the airwaves.  “One of America’s most provocative public intellectuals,” West speaks of what is needed for a genuine success.  The Princeton Professor ponders aloud; if only President Obama advanced classlessness.

The obligation of a citizen, in a democracy, is to speak to truth.  Silence secures a society ruled by the few.  Those who serve power, the elites well-endowed with dollars, will do the bidding if the people let them.  In a society established on social parity, it is vital that each of us acts on the values avowed in the Declaration Of Independence, advanced in the United States Constitution, and a G-d-given veracity, “all men are created equal.”  A President, in the United States, is not exempt from this truth.

A Commander-In Chief is not meant to be more royal or right than Jane or John Doe is . . .  or at least that is what our forefathers intended.  If a citizen chosen individual authentically thinks to serve society, he cannot lose light of the purpose articulated in a campaign.

An elected official is selected to represent us all. This should not be a promise, but a pledge.  As a President, a man or woman is designated to officiate only for a term or two.  This person is not donned with a crown.  Nay is he or she bequeathed supremacy over others who inhabit this nation.  The individual, who we the people place in the Oval Office, be it Barack Obama or whomever is selected in the future, must think of him or herself as a fellow civilian first and foremost. Yet, often, as Americans witness today, this is not what occurs.

Doctor Cornel West of Princeton University aptly observes; big finance and big business are in bed with the government.  Our current President and his Cabinet make love to manufacturers.  Producers of petroleum are closely connected to today’s policymakers just as others were in the past.  Persons in White House, from their actions, seem to pay deference to companies that take advantage of the common folk. A concerned citizen could easily construe profiteers are in power.  

Authority resides in affable relations with an Administration.  After all, as we saw months earlier, before the BP well explosion, energy plans benefited an industry that wished to grow earnings. The Treasury too was given over insiders, intent on furthering financial strength for his fellow investors.

Philosophically and in principle, it is not the place of an elected Chief Executive, to act as a corporate Chief Executive.  To be truly effective, an American President must embody the people.  He or she must remember the reasons supporters cast a ballot.  The electorate does not merely vote for an individual; constituents also vote for the institution we call democracy.

Mister President, as we honor you, please honor as the people originally requested.  Exasperated and exhausted, the electorate expresses our birthday wish in the form of a plea.  A President needs to perform as though he/she is, as she/he actually is, one of us!  Mister Obama we await your awareness and acknowledgement.  Please recognize that your role is to speak to truth, not solely converse with tycoons on act on their behalf.  

Barack Obama, please remember as you had stated; the power of a President is profound only when the President works with and for the people.  Please do not forget what the electorate cannot; your words on the campaign trail.  “This campaign is not about me, it’s about the issues in your daily lives. It’s about how am I going to make this country a little better. If you help me, we’ll change the country. We’ll change the world!”  Mister Obama you once knew; in a democracy, the President is but a partner, a citizen amongst the populous.  On your birthday, may we begin anew.  Together, let us keep hope alive.

References; Democracy Deferred or Realized  . . .

He Works. We Wait



“White House to Main Street” Town Hall: Elyria, OH

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

A recent change of the guard in the Massachusetts Senate race force the President to reveal he is working.  We, the American people, are waiting, just as we have been for months and months.  For a full year, countless citizens have felt as though they were patient.  Yet, the President did not seem to have their interests at heart.  True change has not come.  Countless constituents anticipate none is forthcoming.  Three hundred and sixty five plus have gone by and the American people are tired of being patient.

The circumstances in their personal lives have proven to be critical, worse now than in 2009.  Oh, some remain hopeful. They continue to believe.  Several are waiting for Godot, who as we all know, never comes.  Millions await the Messiah.  Many thought Barack Obama was the great liberator.  This human was perchance, a deity, devotees continue to declare.  He is a divine being, or was in the eyes of the electorate before he entered the Oval Office.  Now, Americans are wasted, wanting.  They trusted and waited for him to transform the nation.  Today, the people wonder; is it too late.  

Senator Obama was and is suave, sensitive, and a sensational orator.  Surely, words would become action.  Progressives suspended disbelief.  The Left listened to a man advocate for more war in Afghanistan. Then, they decided he was the profound peacemaker.  Conservatives too saw themselves in this gentleman.  He was polished, polite, and predominately known for his prestigious credentials. Hence, the fiscally traditional believed the wait was over.  Today, each of these exclaim, as President he is not the one.

In contrast, the markedly Independent did not pause.  These mavericks need no intervals. The detractors, decidedly cynical, opinionated opponents, and the perpetually free from Party politics, never waited for what they wanted.  They did as they always have.  Raging Republicans and “free” thinking Independents gathered the reigns, took to the streets and stood firm.  They rallied the troops of discontented Americans.  They stood their ground.  These lovers of self-governing principles never grew weary.  Self-directed voters shouted; they screamed.  They garnered strength and swayed some from the Right and some from the Left to take their position.  We will kill the Obama agenda, shrieked crowds of “concerned” citizens.

The Religious Right also does not hesitate.  Indeed, they never doubted that the person known as Barack Obama was not a savior.  He was, or so these individuals said, a “socialist.”  Committed Conservatives cringed at the notion that Mister Obama might be thought of as the embodiment of a second coming.  They would chortle in distress; perchance this President would be another Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

It was not difficult to persuade those who had previously adopted a wait and see approach.   Numerous issues have not been attended to.  The pledge to end “Don’t Ask. Don’t tell,” frustrated a few.  Gay or straight families and friends have become impatient.  The thought that Health Care For All was left for Congress to ponder, plan, and present was seen as folly. The President, who belatedly cajoled the House and the Senate, was thought ineffective or just not truly interested in the welfare of the people.  Then there were the financial woes the President promised to address and did not adequately do so.  Indeed, millions of citizens muse; Obama sold out.  Our Chief Executive appointed Wall Street insiders to serve as his economic team.  Each of these individuals held a singular intent.  With bailout bucks, they would buy friends, influence enemies, and reward former colleagues.

Common citizens cried out in economic pain.  Rather than enact policies that might relieve the people’s plight, billions were bestowed upon wealthy bankers.

Americans have been waiting for his audacity to bring more than hope for bipartisan approval on program after program.  Most of the electorate wanted Mister Obama to exit Iraq fully, not to leave tens of thousands of troops behind.   Numerous waited for him to assertively enact a renewable energy policy.  However, as was evident at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, the President, does not plan to authentically regulate or reduce greenhouse gas  emissions.

Since Mister Obama took office, small businessmen and women applied for loans, only to have their applications rejected.  Granted, he pressed bankers to respond to the needs of the little people.  Still, calls for cash went unheeded.  Underwater homeowners also pleaded.  Refinance my mortgage please.  Requests were denied.  Ultimately, days before voters in the Bay State cast a ballot for Scott Brown, a banner headline appeared in the local paper; Obama’s foreclosure relief program called a failure.  Most borrowers have not been helped.

Credit card companies were allowed to go wild.  As the President observed, Credit has become “less of a lifeline and more of an anchor.”  Interest rates rose drastically, although not on personal savings accounts.  While the President proposed and [assed legislation to curb the crunch, The Credit Card Industry found other ways to avoid a pinch.  They will Profit From Sterling Payers.  Unemployed and underemployed, well, they were neglected just as they had been before the Messiah came.

These troubles are not unique to any one region.  Trials and tribulations exist throughout the United States.

While some may prefer to wait for the day when the President’s plans bear fruit, doubters do not.  For millions, the results in Massachusetts speak volumes.   These persons proclaim, this election, just as the two held months earlier, were not a reflection of a poorly run campaign by Martha Coakley, Virginia’s Creigh Deeds, or the New Jersey incumbent Democratic Governor, Jon Corzine.  All were sure signs of voter discontent.   The Republican wins were a blow for the Obama Administration.   Now, perhaps, the President will hear the message.

Certainly, Obama enthusiasts have come to accept what cannot be avoided.  Americans lack confidence in the Commander-In-Chief.  The tidal wave of resentment has generated much concern. Loyalists, know not what to do.  They gather round cyberspace chat rooms.  Some seek solace in the acumen of broadcasters.  What will Keith, Rachel, or Jon Stewart say?  How might these masterful commentators direct the stalwart?  A few hop onto another bandwagon.  The theory is a populist philosophy will turn folks around.

This is the position the White House adopts.  Shortly, after the special election results were released, Mister Obama answered without hesitation.  He stood before an audience in Elyria, Ohio, a community devastated by what some suggest is an economic Depression.  There the President enthusiastically proclaimed he is working for us.  For emphasis, Mister Obama forcefully opined, “Let me tell you – so long as I have the privilege of serving as your President, I’ll never stop fighting for you.”  The Nation’s Chief Executive then assured average Americans, “(T)his isn’t about me. It’s about you.” Yet, this novel appearance calls Mister Obama’s assertion into question.

Several observers stated Obama was back.  Fire was, once again, in his belly.  His campaigner style will certainly help his poll numbers to soar.  His persuasive presence would ensure a Democratic win.  However, the familiar rationale proved to be erroneous.

The President had attempted to coax a Massachusetts crowd days before the dire voter decision.  At the behest of Martha Coakley, the nation’s Chief Executive rallied round the Democratic candidate.  Still his rhetoric could not reverse the momentum.  Indeed, what would be an overwhelming demise was delivered.

Possibly, more than a mere Senate seat was lost.  Patience amongst Obama supporters has waned. The reality that American Independents and Republicans never looked back became more clear.  Scott Brown was but the amplification of the incensed mantra.  Stop health care. Do not provide civil trials for terrorists.  Rather than raise taxes; cut them. Secret backroom deals will not stand.  Special interests are not ours.  

Average American Joe and Jane are jollied.  Unlike the blindly faithful, they knew not to wait for Barack Obama or Godot.  The energized, eager, and enraged took the government back.

The hurt and hurting citizens saw that Barack Obama made the office his own, or perchance, he preserved the Clinton presidency.  The incensed did not trust the followers who point to the progress made in the effort to exit Iraq.  Instead, those outraged by slight concessions sympathized with the soldiers who struggle to survive on foreign soil.  

Disheartened, even early supporters squeal at the reality this President has increased America’s involvement in the Middle Eastern affairs. The Obama Administration authorized targeted assassinations.

Today, the once hopeful also speak out.  “He Wasn’t The One We’ve Been Waiting For.”  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan did not foretell what was to come. Devotees did not expect the President to defend the latest unemployment numbers as the he did.   “The jobs numbers are reminder that the road to recovery is never straight.” This thought was not what disciples hoped for.  No, the devoted Obama aficionados did not expect him to  apolitically offer an axiom, the path towards peace. is a rough road to travel.  Nor did the dedicated expect that support of the Messianic President would equate to justification for a mixed record on Counterterrorism Reform.  

Few from the Left thought they would help elect a Republican.  Dutiful Democrats could not imagine the day that they would declare I will wait no more.  For decades, people trusted, a President from their Party was, as Mister Obama opined, working for them.  Yet, this time, perhaps in the previous two elections, and in the next go round, the public will proclaim as Boston area Waitress Vitoria Vigna, did. “I am a Democrat and to say I voted Republican was, I was like, oh, my god, I’m voting Republican.”  However, as Ms Vigna expounded, the sentiment is, “people are more agitated and anxious and a lot of people’s attitude is what has really changed? Really?”  What has changed?  Possibly, the population has given up on Godot and on Presidents who they believe have not fully perform as promised.

He Works. We Wait, or did . . .

The Change; Hope

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copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

It is said, as individuals, we can achieve all we conceive, if only we truly believe.  President Barack Obama once knew this.  He lived this veracity.  Indeed, candidate Obama’s audacity and accomplishments gave Americans hope.  When Barack Obama reached for the sky he realized what no one thought he could. The electorate was energized.  People came to expect the country was in for a change.   Now, it seems Mister Obama is bogged down by what Eisenhower understood, concerns of the Military Industrial Complex.  

The intricacy of the Armed Forces mission does not confine itself to forceful martial escalation.  Nothing escapes the wide reach of combative nation building.  Lives are lost.  Limbs crushed.  With bullets ablaze, brains are battered or blown to smithereens.  Hope suffers.  Hearts are hurt.  The economy is also affected.

Education policies are altered.  There are few pennies left to provide for adequate instruction.  Health care coverage fiscal calculations related to medical treatments and delivery of services are transformed.  The  billions of dollars spent on defense surpasses any other consideration.  This fiscal truth is obviously not lost on a Commander-In-Chief burdened with the need to appease his many Advisors, most of whom, from the beginning, were intent on war.  

President Obama could not ignore or forget his own earlier rhetoric.  After all, his words “Afghanistan is a war of necessity,” helped him win over the hearts and minds of Conservatives and Independents during the recent election.  As one who believes and works to builds consensus, some say President Obama chose to take the middle path.

With his decision to send more troops, into Afghanistan, the President  has shattered the dreams of many.  Another surge will mean countless communities will wait for more dollars to spend at home.   A patient nation, for a while longer, will remain proud and stay the course.

For now, only eight percent, the progressive fringe, feel a deepening sense of hopelessness.   Millions of Independents have also lost faith.  When only 36 percent of these think President Obama has done a fine job that could prove to be a problem.  

If, over time, personal pains become more profound, the exorbitant budgetary imbalance will not be ignored.  Misery amongst the masses will likely bring more voices of dissent.

In this moment, those on the far Left feel they must vocalize the sentiment heard in society at-large. However, without reason to believe, with signs that change has not come to those most in need, the public will turn nasty. Timidity, as history reveals, is transitory.  

Just as we witnessed in the 1960s, again in 2008, a war weary population becomes disheartened, and loud.  Americans who struggle to survive, and who realize billions, no trillions of dollars are spent on the fight, will ultimately, speak out vociferously

This week, President Obama quoted his predecessor, General Eisenhower,, “Each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs.”  Then, contrary to Ike’s caution, he bowed to the Military Industrial Complex, Should Mister Obama continue down this path people of all walks of life are likely to rise up and say; The change we once believed in, our hope, has become our sense of hopelessness.

References for the reality of hope and hopelessness . . .

“I won!”

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copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Update . . . A bell rings.  The sound reverberates.  A sentiment shared aloud resonates within the heart, mind, body, and soul of persons who heard the message.  No matter the actions taken afterward, sullen statements are not easily erased from memory.  

Days before Congress was asked to pass the stimulus package, the President uttered the now famous phrase; “I won,” Republicans, as could have been expected, expressed resentment.  Immediately, subsequent to President Obama’s statement Democrats were said to have followed the Chief Executive’s lead.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was asked if he thought Republicans might block the initiative.  Empathically, he replied; “No.”  Today we know differently.  In the House, the measure received no support from the Grand Old Party.  

As we await approval from the Senate we may wish to consider, the past.  Words that evoke division have a lasting effect.  

Please peruse a missive penned shortly after President Obama reacted to pressure from the “Right.”

Oh Mister Obama, please tell me it is not so.  Days ago, I read and heard numerous reports.  You made a declarative statement.  Many were shocked.  Anecdotally, Congressman and women stated, when pressed by Republicans who disagreed with your position on economic policy, you said, “I won.”  Will this mean, once again, Americans will be the losers?  

I fear for the future, for I remember when the words were “Yes we can!”  Has this assertion become but an old argot, now trivial or trite?  Please tell me.  Now that you sit solidly in the Oval Office is the achievement of one all that matters?  Perchance, with a “change” in climate, we, the Progressives have become the Party of arrogance.

It seems you personally have adopted an individualistic platform.  Peace and process talks will be less diplomatic.  Discussions will be more reflective of Obama rule or Democratic control.  After he left the White House, House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina was said to have “echoed” your sentiment.  He may not have used your exact words; nevertheless, the sentiment was clear, the Progressive Party will dictate the rule of law.  Congressman Clyburn said, “The American people didn’t listen to them [the Republicans] too well during the election.”  The implication being, so why should the Progressives who represent them.

My concern extends beyond the language.  It is the intent I lament!

I had hoped that sooner than later, the Obama Administration would recognize individualism, as we all saw, did more harm than good.  ‘I envisioned “Mavericks no more,” would be the mantra of an Obama Administration.  

As a Democrat, devoted to progressive platforms, I imagined peace was a prospect we would no longer ignore.  Admittedly, as I say this I cannot help but think of the quagmire that Afghanistan is, and I fear will be worsened

You may recall, President Obama, when we go for the unilateral kill, as we did in Iraq, innocents, foreign born and our own die.  The terrain is devastated.  The cost cannot be accurately calculated.  The price humans pay for victory is incomprehensible, at least it is to me.  I inquire; how does one place value on lives, limbs, and a sense of security, serenity, and safety lost.  It seems in America, most rarely do the math.  We want only to overcome, to be the victor.

Hence, with a note of superiority, supremacy, and self-importance, we say we, he, or “I win.”

I heard the reaction on November 4, 2008.  As the election results came in, your constituents chanted “We won!”  You too must have felt concern as the crowd cheered.  You spoke to such a perspective often.  A triumphal tune closes doors and ends discussion.  President Obama, these are your words.  “Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.”  

The electorate, I recognize is new to the novelty of inclusively, but you, Mister President.  What of your core beliefs?

President Obama, I could understand such a statement from a Republican, not yet ready, to put aside differences after what seemed to be a defeat.  Elections, by their very nature, are divisive.  However, even Conservatives for Change concluded this year was different.  Republican Senator Mitch McConnell even offered his open hand.  I suspect with word of your “win” that will not last.

Oh, Mister President, until I heard word of how you spoke of “your” feat, I truly believed that change had come.

I wonder, with all the work to do, has anyone won?  There has been too much despair, too much distress, disparity that is incomprehensible, and all this has existed for far too long.  

Please Mister President,  travel back, into the future, with me.  Do you recall the deregulations and the economic downfall?.  In the recent past, as a country, we experienced the dire effects of a Republican victory.  It seemed obvious, a conquest breed certain vanity.

Persons within the Grand Old Party are not alone when it comes to excessive pomposity.  Hence, my apprehension.  In modern times, Americans have seen the ill inflated egos can cause.  Democrats, equally haughty, ultimately embraced policies that ended an era of effective oversight.  Do the words Glass-Steagall Act remind you of how arrogant, those replete with power might be,  Does the taste of the Depression era law President Clinton repealed linger on your lips?

Those who no longer have a legal right to redeem a mortgage might caution against a prizewinning irrational exuberance.  

Perhaps you may recall predatory lending.  Winners on Wall Street thought this idea fine.  Home foreclosures flourished.  Bank failures became common.  Unemployment rates rose.  Workers received less benefits before businesses finally closed the doors.

It was not that long ago.  Think back.  During the Bush reign the Conservatives were in power.  For decades, Republicans won most every Presidential election.  On the one occasion when a Democrat occupied the Oval Office and Congress was mostly Progressive, defiant winners were only able to do so much.  Soon after, Democratic “control” was easily lost.  

Perhaps, the people felt the Administration to full of itself with the win.  You may remember President Obama, “The Republican Contract with America.”  In the past, a practiced politician or a Political Party may have said they won.  However, what really happened was America lost.

President Obama, you spoke of this in your more recent book, The Audacity of Hope.”  Remember?

“In the back-and-forth between Clinton and Gingrich, and in the elections of 2000 and 2004, I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the Baby Boom generation – a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago – played out on the national stage. . . .what has been lost in the process, and has yet to be replaced, are those shared assumptions – that quality of trust and fellow feeling – that bring us together as Americans.”

Mister President, you also addressed the issue of the ownership society.  You must remember this.  You stated what I often say; however, more eloquently.

Barack Obama these are your words.  “In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is – you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps – even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own. Well it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America.”

If someone, anyone wins or owns the rights to run the show, we are all doomed. Currently, we witness the woes of a win in our Health Care systems.   Medical coverage is a service available only to the privileged.  There is income for triumphant Insurers. Pharmaceuticals profits have paralyzed this country.  Disparity in healthcare devastates the impoverished, the ill, and the injured, millions of whom have no medical coverage.  More Americans are underinsured.  Even more are likely to lose what they have as the economy weakens.  In this country, cash divides winners and losers.  

Mister President, you might understand this.  Consider the dollars needed just to get a candidate elected, to have him or her heard.  Please also ponder what was once more important to you and the electorate than dough.  The community carried the message.  Without the strength of unity, we as a country crumble.

The deterioration has already begun.  President Obama, do you remember the dream?  You must recall; Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Junior taught us to believe in the dream of equality. Reverend King avowed, “I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.  This is the way our world is made.”  Doctor King did not praise personal wins or commend clannish conquests.

Yet, today, in America, where a President proudly proclaims “I won,” children of all colors, their elders of every hue, are not afforded a chance to succeed.  In a country where Progressives posture, “We won,” we do not consider what a coup d’état mentality means to a country, or to the children who inherit a nation torn asunder.

Mister President and Progressives proud of what it means to win, please consider the ominous shadow cast by a Supreme Court decision, Parents v. Seattle and Meredith v. Jefferson,  The Court and the prideful parents who championed a cause ensured only the wealthy and the white would receive a quality education.  Separate and unequal services are again sanctioned in city schools.  The judgment sealed a subterranean deal that has long been in effect.  The rich triumph; the poor will not have equal opportunities.  

In America, we have seen the destruction wrought by our culture of conquests.  Yet, as a nation we continue to ignore what might be obvious.

Perhaps, this is why, as your proclamation filtered through the airwaves, Mister President, many Progressives applauded what was familiar and what they had waited for.  Republicans who had come to believe there was reason to hope for true change were struck by the divisive rhetoric.  Your disdainful remark was like a slap in the face, a stab in the back, or the statement that would bring resentment back to Washington, Those still bruised by the political battle never forgot that they wanted to be the ones, or at least “That one.”  

I recall history and recoil at what could be our future if we affirm as you did days ago.  “I won?”  

Oh please President Obama, remember your own reflection.    “What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night.  This “victory” alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change . . . ”

I beg you to consider, the power of words.  Ponder; can we be “victorious,” and will such a triumph leave many behind; or we can we be successful together.  Can one “I” prevail or will we, the people achieve when we unite.  

Please tell me it is true.  Government can be of, by, and for us all, or an Administration, and Americans can be partisan.

Please President Obama, let us not suggest that we, or “I won!”  I implore you to reflect or your own words.. “(The change we seek) that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.  It cannot happen without you (the American people).”  

President Obama, you did not win.  Progressives did not prevail when you were placed in the Oval Office.  We the people will not meet the challenges through conquest.  Nor will we be the change we can believe in if you, or any of us, declaratively deems, “I won!”

Americans did not vote for the arrogance we heard and saw for eight long years,  We had hope.  We had a dream.  In the White House, in the people’s house, in Congress, and in our local communities, we could become  genuinely united, integrated, and inclusive.  Yes we can, and I think we must.

References for realities that divide us . . .

A Critical Moment; Can Hope Survive?



Hope: It Could Happen To You

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

We had hope.  For some, the dream was fulfilled.  For millions more desperate and devastated by a multiplicity of issues that confront them each a day, a President, a single person cannot make a difference.  MoveOn.org understands that.  Thus, they sent out an appeal, as though that might help.

You may have received the mail.  It appeared in my cyberspace box late last evening.  I was tired.  The day had been long.  I thought to delete what seemed one more correspondence, one more plea, possibly, another request for a contribution.  As a MoveOn member I take delivery of what, at times, seems to be millions of requests for action, reactions, or donations.  With the election over, I trust there is far more work to be done.  Yet, in a moment of personal weakness or just a want for sleep, I went to bed.

The morning came.  I awoke.  Still, I did not return to read the MoveOn mail.  When I did I realized the weight of this written communication.  I was asked to consider as millions were, what are we to do.

We have some important decisions to make together. Our country is at a critical moment: The opportunity for change has never been greater. But there’s a lot that needs to be done and we have to decide where we should focus first. Click below to nominate a big goal for us to focus on next year:

As I traveled through the net neighborhood, what did I behold.  An inquiry.

1. What should MoveOn’s top goal be in 2009? (10 words or less)

I thought and then penned . . .

Let us ensure Barack Obama pursues Progressive peaceful policies!

The next question was a bit of a challenge.

2. Which category is your goal in?

A screen full of options, all separate and, in my mind, definitely equal.  What was I to do.  Throughout the last few years this question has come up.  How do I choose a singular focus?  Are not all aspects of our lives interrelated.  Fortunately, I saw the possibility that might advance an awareness for what is too often defined as  the impossible dream.

I chose from the list of issues, “other”

Then there was the optional response, the one I thought most essential to share.

3. What would you tell other MoveOn members about why this is important?  (Optional) We’ll post your comment on the next page.

If citizens do not actively demonstrate, each and every day, that we crave change, the President will not have the power to transform this country. No matter the issue the public must be motivated to insist that government acts in accordance with our needs and desires. We, the people, must be out on the streets, in the Halls of Congress, on the Hill, vocal in our local communities, inclusive of cyberspace, if policies are to be altered.   Nothing occurs without our consent.  Barack Obama can be a cautious man. Congress is often more concerned with “matters of consequence” and compromise.  Lobbies loom large.  Corporate campaigners know how to garner influence.  We the people must be the power as the Constitution defines.  No President can do what we do not allow through apathy or action.  If we are to MoveOn, we must be the change we wish to see.

I invite you to share your thoughts on MoveOn or here, at BeThink.  I must admit, I think the Political Action website interface could be much improved.  The software, apparently, does not allow for robust interaction.  

If only each of us could see a list of all the nominations rather than click through each thought separately as it appears, then perhaps we could truly be an active community, connected, and able to communicate our concerns.

Perchance, if change is to come within Washington, if transformation is to arrive nationwide, it might better begin with us.  We, the people must practice what we preach.  If the dream is to survive, it must live.  The vision must thrive through us.  [MoveOn, might we truly assess the importance of issues, see the responses and not search for these?]

I thank MoveOn, members of the Political Action organization.  I appreciate the many who share thoughts no matter who you are or where you may be.  I am grateful the encouragement to think beyond the present.  May we each do more than hope.  Let us MoveOn so that the aspiration may be achieved.

America at a crossroad




To view the original art, please travel to America at a crossroad

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

Just thirteen days until United States citizens face “The Choice” (Archive 0836), (though early ballots are already in the mail). Have you made yours?

Back in seven . . .

Andrew

toon@offthewahl.com

Why Do We Fear Hope?

In this country many of us equate strength with the lack of emotion.  The strong one is the one who can endure life without feeling.  The weak one is the one who shows their emotions and thus are banished to a life of disappointment and tragedy.  With the introduction of the political narrative of Barack Obama there has been a lot of talk about the word hope.  I don’t ever recall this word being dissected to the degree that it has been during his unlikely run towards the White House.  One would believe that no other politician has ever invoked the word in an election before.  So what makes it so different today than say in 1992, when a young upstart politician challenged the status quo?

For his part, Bill Clinton organized his campaign around another of the oldest and most powerful themes in electoral politics: change.  As a youth, Clinton had once met President John F. Kennedy, and in his own campaign 30 years later, much of his rhetoric challenging Americans to accept change consciously echoed that of Kennedy in his 1960 campaign.   Wikipedia

Or what about in 1960, when another youthful hope monger spoke so eloquently of hope for a new world while accepting the oath of office for President of the United States:

Now the trumpet summons us again — not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need — not as a call to battle, though embattled we are — but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation,”² a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.   American Rhetoric

So if it isn’t that the concept of hope is something new to elections, what can it be?  I remember being a child and towards the end of November I would be filled with hope of the coming season.  I wish I could say it was because I looked forward to exercising the true “spirit of the season” and all the good will towards my fellow man stuff, but that wasn’t what filled me with joy.  I would begin to have hopes of the new toys that I looked forward to receiving for Christmas.  I would watch in excitement at all the commercials of the coming new and latest toys and I would mentally create these lists of must have gadgets that I was sure to see under the tree on Christmas morning.

There was just one small problem, my father was a selfish man who found it difficult to spoil his children.  So for many years there was the promise and hope for all of these things only to be followed on Christmas morning by the stark reality that was less than I had hoped for.  You see as a child I could not understand or accept that my father was the man that he was, you see I wanted him to be like me or who I thought I was.  The truth was that he could only be the man he was, not who I so desperately wanted and maybe needed him to be.  I would awaken on Christmas morning to small tokens and I would end up crying later.  After a while, my hopes began to lessen year by year until they were replaced with the gradual numbing of reality.  The reality that no matter how much I hoped there was always going to be disappointment.  In the end, I just stopped hoping and came to accept the cruelty of life.

As my life continued, I came to the conclusion that my problem in the first place was that I had dared to hope, that I had dared to believe in anything other than myself.  I decided that from that point on that emotions were my problem, I would no longer allow anyone the ability to control my emotions.  In fact I would bury them, my hero became Spock from Star Trek because he had no emotions.  For many years I lived as emotionless as I could.  But after two broken marriages, addiction, and suicidal moments I realized the that the strength I thought I had found in having no emotions was actually my downfall and my weakness.  What I learned was that true strength and power does not belong to the cynic or the emotionless, but to those who are willing to express their emotions and become vulnerable to disappointment and hurt.  True courage is not to never be afraid, but to be afraid and go on anyway.

Barack Obama is not God or a second coming of Jesus and his supporters do not believe this despite the cult analogies.  He is simply a man who dares us to believe beyond ourselves.  He is not promising to solve all of our problems or that the Government can.  What he is offering us is a chance to put behind us many of the things that currently divide us and to focus on the many more things that unite us.  After all what really can one man, even the President of the United States do?  Over the last few decades we have seen what the politics of division and win at all costs has wrought, a country so divided we are on the verge of breaking.  There are many who say that the answer is to continue as we have, that the only way to succeed is to beat the other side to a pulp.  Today we are refighting the Civil War only class has replaced slavery.  Will it take a bloody conflict to resolve our differences?  I don’t know.  There are many who are placing their hopes and aspirations on him and those people will be disappointed, because he can do nothing against those forces without our help and our actions.

What I do know is this, if we are able to appeal to the common good in all of us shouldn’t we to avoid that bloody conflict?  Make no mistake about it if we do not enlist their help to change this country are we prepared to fight to take it?  If Barack Obama’s hope fails it won’t be because he failed, it will be because we failed.  If it is to succeed it will require many of us to overcome our cynicism and partisanship to come together for the greater good.  The reason he does so well among the young is because they are not as jaded as their older counterparts, they still believe in change.  The question now becomes can we transfer that hope into action or will we sit and wait for the disappointment so we can say, “See, I told you so”.  It is no longer enough to vote, the last midterm election should have shown us that.  We must follow up those votes with action.  Just as with any seismic change in America, it must be bottom up, not top down.  Our biggest fear is not that we are doomed, our biggest fear is that our hero will be bested; that the things we cherish love, hope, justice, and kindness to our fellowman will not win in the end.

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic – John F. Kennedy

Beyond Hope

copyright © 2007 Possum Ponders.  Sedalia Tales

A friend pointed out an article by Derrick Jensen on the subject of hope.  My life is lived as the eternal optimist.  Hope that the future will be better than the present is always part of my life.  Follow if you will over the fold and down the lane for another of possum’s ponderings.

According to Webster, hope is a desire for certain events to happen.  There is no defined means for that to come about, simply the wish to see a certain future.  According to Jensen

hope is a longing for a future condition over which you have no agency; it means you are essentially powerless.

Not for one single moment do I believe that to be true.  As Jensen goes on to say

I would say that when hope dies, action begins.

I on the other hand believe that hope is the one driving force that brings me to action.  If I thought for a single microsecond that my activism had no chance of being successful I?d quit in a heartbeat.

We are doing what we love, fighting for what (and whom) we love.

At last Jensen and I agree on one point.  I love my country and I love the principles on which the Founding Fathers agreed.  I continue to wish that our original course will one day be restored.  It is to that end that I maintain hope.  If that future is to be denied I will stop my activism and find other outlets that make me happy while the world falls apart around me.

Doesn?t activism make you feel good?

Of course it does.  Just like Jensen says, but that is not the primary reason for being an activist.  Personal pleasure can be gained in lots of ways that don?t require spending hours on a street corner in all kinds of weather.  Or that require putting my name and my face in the public eye in letters to the editor or in speeches to any group willing to listen.  I remain an activist because I love the causes I stand for today.  I fight because I am not willing to let the future die.  I fight because I envision a future that is better than the present for all of humankind.  If and only if I fail to fight do I become powerless over the future.

When you give up on hope, you turn away from fear.

This makes no sense at all to me.  I see fear as a positive driving force as much as I do hope.  Fear of a failing future makes me work that much harder to insure a success, not a failure.  I fear for my grandchildren?s lives and what world they may find.  Heck, I fear for the world left in my lifetime let alone the future generations.  I cannot let fear reduce me to a quivering pile of jelly.  That fear turns inward to fuel the engines of my activism.  In action there is reduced fear.  By touching other lives by whatever means I have at my disposal the chance of a better future seems to me to be increased.

And when you quit relying on hope, and instead begin to protect the people, things, and places you love, you become very dangerous indeed to those in power.

Once again we disagree.  Protecting the parts of life I love requires action on my part.  And to sustain that action I must be able to believe my actions will result in positive changes.  I must be allowed to hope.  Otherwise life for me becomes less a positive and more a negative.  Then despair begins to set in.

Despair is all too easily found in our lives these days.  These are dark times in which little seems to be positive so often.  In my mind, hope is the wellspring from which despair may be overcome.  Hope for a better future allows me to work to that end without falling into the dark depression that is despair.  May you, too, find reasons to hope today.  Or at least find reasons for activism whatever those reasons may be.