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  . . .

Mother Earth to Millions, We Have a Problem



Oil Booms & Bird Habitat – NWF visits important bird rookery

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Americans acknowledge there is a problem.  Petroleum pours out from a broken pipe.  Thousands of barrels of fuel flow freely through the Gulf of Mexico, just as they have for more than a month.  Plants, animals, and people are affected.  People express distress.  Millions are dismayed. What can BP do. Indeed what can any company or citizens do? Most call upon the President. Mister Obama, the electorate pleads, please, protect us.  These same citizens ignore that the protection we need is from ourselves.  Our present circumstances are a reflection of our past.  Many Americans have forgotten an earlier time, when another of this country’s Chief Executives attempted to avoid the nightmare we experience today.

In 2010, people, plants and animals cry out in pain.  In 1977,  Americans laughed at Jimmy Carter when he appeared on television donned in a sweater.  President Carter had only been in Office for two weeks.  Decades ago, Mister Carter warned Americans.  The nation’s leader explained, if we continued to be as dependent on oil as we were, and are today, terrestrial doom would be our future.  Yet, few heeded the call.  Most did not take the President’s proclamation seriously.  Then, and now, citizens prefer to guzzle petroleum and plunge further into what we think of as the good life.  Our gluttonous ways have threatened the planet for a very long time.

As we gaze upon oil-soaked birds on our Gulf Stream beaches, or listen to the words of British Petroleum’s President, people ponder only the present.   However, our history haunts us.  Our choices in the last century have created what comes ashore in this millennium.  Tarballs.  Dead animals including dolphins, and pelicans,  have perished.  So many species affected, all unable to survive the sludge.

This is not a novel reality.  Americans, indeed, those in worldwide-civilized countries, have experienced similar catastrophes.  Nonetheless, humans persist.  People do as they desire to do.  Today, after the rig ruptured, man-“kind” engages in preventable hazardous activities, just as we have done before.  

E.O. Wilson, a noted Harvard Professor and Researcher observes, “(F)or every animal celebrity that vanishes, biologists can point to thousands of species of plants and smaller animals either recently extinct or on the brink.”  The numbers can only be estimated. However, Professor Wilson believes that those gone from an Earthly existence are in the many thousands.  Regardless of the exact calculation, scientists agree; Humans driving extinction faster than species can evolve.  

“Measuring the rate at which new species evolve is difficult, but there’s no question that the current extinction rates are faster  . . . I think it’s inevitable,” said Simon Stuart, Chair of the Species Survival Commission for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.  The organization which officially declares species threatened and extinct cautions, as other conservation experts have.  The world is in the grip of the “sixth great extinction” of species.

Humans have undone the natural balance.  People drive destruction.  Our craving for crude oil and coal kills natural habitats.  We hunt in ways that hurt the ecosystem, spread alien predators and promote disease.  The cruelty of climate change cannot be measured.

Even so, two-legged mortals carry on without care for their Mother, Nature.  

We allow what we cannot control or comprehend.  For a barrel full of petroleum, Mother Earth’s blood perhaps, or the baby she held safely in her womb. For centuries, man-“kind” drills deep into her skin, the Earth’s surface. Oh, of course scientists and the common folks surmise that man can do so without peril, regardless of “spills” or the effect of these on the environment.   People wish to profess; we understand the relationship between Mother Nature and Texas Tea, or Louisiana Sea crude.  Yet, might we consider what is evident?

Today’s Americans are as people in the past were.  We are good at believing what we want to think true.  We criticize and ridicule anyone or action that place our personal comfort in jeopardy.  We chuckle when someone says we need to change!  We worry only about our cash flow.  A crippled economy concerns us more than birds, fish, fowl, flora, and the coral reef.

A Governor’s decree in support of sustaining the oil industry while his wetlands and workers struggle to survive only serves to solidify what animals, mammals, and amphibian creatures already knew.  Mankind is crueler than any other critter; and yet, he or she calls him or herself humane.

Please may we acknowledge that we are part of the planet? We need not be the perpetual problem.  Let us act as the Mother Earth’s Shepherd would and be the solution.

References for a reality known long ago, realized, and ignored . . ..