My middle-American heart swelled with pride in January, 2009, as our new President took his oath of office: pride in an America that could choke back two hundred years of prejudice and go to vote for a young, untried man to lead us out of the swamp in which the last holder of that seat had stranded us; pride that we had survived with sufficient strength that we could avail ourselves of the opportunity to rebuild out nation to the land of freedom and opportunity that we once enjoyed, and pride that the common people had come out in force to win the election and restore our ownership of our own democracy.
The very same people who elected this man and, in addition, gave him a predominently Democratic Congress to assist him in his task, are the ones who are sitting on their haunches and wailing like a pack of forlorn hound dogs. “He set the wrong priorities!” “He isn’t doing enough!” “He isn’t doing it fast enough!” “He’s a failure!” These are not the words from the opposition. They are the words of his supporters! Those same people who turned out in droves and, at times, literally fought their way to the polling places so they could participate in the re-birth of a nation. The same ones who declared their Progressive stances celebrated the end of Bush-Cheney with hoots and cheers. We were admirers and friends of Barrack Hussein Obama and were aching to get on with the task ahead. These wonderful people are now opting to get off the bandwagon and walk!
It started very early. “He should not have appointed Hillary Clinton to Secretary of State. She will sell him down the river.” “He has kept too many retreads from Bush and Clinton administrations.” “He failed to jam the health care measures that we wanted down the throats of Congress.” In short, while Obama has completed some tasks which many thought, and attempted to prove, were highly improbable, he is now being condemned for failing to perform the impossible! “The budget is still not balanced!” “The deficit is growing!” “We still have combat troops overseas!” This sort of thing is to be expected from the right wing as they attempt to regain their congressional control but to hear it from Democrats and even Progressives is disheartening, to say the least.
This widespread depression among the Progressives is certainly understandable. We wanted universal health insurance issued by the government with uniform premiums, total coverage, reasonably priced with no allowance for profit; we wanted some form of public employment to compensate for the loss of jobs; we wanted re-negotiation on all the “fair trade” agreements which took the factories offshore; we wanted a prompt end to the Bush wars. We wanted Christmas! However, we were not able to provide a Congress with a sufficient majority to carry those plans through against the determined opposition of the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats arrayed against us.
So now what do we do? We sulk in a corner, vote third party or vote with our feet! We act like a bunch of unhappy children on Christmas morning because “Santa Claus is a fake!” This is the time for us to re-affirm the dedication that we professed for the improvement of humanity by stepping up, stepping out and working for the new Congressional Progressive candidates for re-election and giving the President as much support as we did before his election. We can still control the damage inflicted by the Tea Party and the millionaire manipulators behind the Republican Party so we can continue to get as much improvement as possible in the next session.
It’s time to put on our Big Boy pants, roll up our sleeves and get out the vote for Our Side. Just remember that it took eight years for George Bush to tear down the nation as we knew and loved it and it was silly of us to expect Barack Obama to re-assemble it in less than two years. Let’s get out and promote the Progressive viewpoint, turn out the vote, and give the only President we have as much assistance as we can for the next two years. Then there will be plenty of time for us to choose a new progressive candidate for 2012. Allowing Republicans to take total control will result in the cancellation of improvements that we have accomplished and cause still more damage to democracy. Otherwise, we will find ourselves with another Great Depression and/or another war.
The choice is ours.
This writer is eighty years old and has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own working-class family. She spends her “Sunset Years” in writing and struggling with The System.