Home > Uncategorized > “Won’t find it in Obama. Or Romney” — Well Than Who?

“Won’t find it in Obama. Or Romney” — Well Than Who?

It’s an ongoing theme with my blog posts. “Why President Obama?”

Most of the time when I write about this topic, I never focus on what the right thinks, because…well, we know what they think.  “President Obama is a Socialist,” “President Obama was born in Kenya.” With healthcare reform, it was a “government takeover, something we haven’t seen since… [insert some Commie, Pinko, Liberal here.] “Obama is going to take our guns!!” The list goes on and on.

My biggest frustration over the issue of “why President Obama?” actually doesn’t come from the right.  My frustrations are with my own community of progressives, liberals, lefties…whatever you want to call us.

There is no denying the fact that the left represents a number of issues. I mean, think about it? We support equal pay for equal work, reproductive rights for all women, comprehensive immigration reform, the end to the prison industrial complex, ending the war on poverty (or starting one), racial equality, improving quality education in our public schools and making college affordable to all, climate change, ending the war in Afghanistan (and Iraq), taking money out of politics, affordable health care for all, ….the list goes on and on.  So long, I know I’m missing a ton, so please, progressives — forgive me.

So I think you may know where I’m headed.  Like Ben Stein who has a tendency of fearing the end of his life at Fox News studios, I too worry about what responses I’ll get from the left if I don’t say the right thing. This isn’t an attack on the left, if anything it’s a minor criticism of how the progressive movement has responded to the last four years of the Obama Administration.

Look, I was there.  I shook the man’s hand in Washington, DC a few months after he announced his quest for the White House in 2007.  I was there, making calls and knocking on the doors of likely voters for the Obama campaign in Las Vegas, Nevada and Los Angeles in 2008.  I was there hosting my awesome election night party on 1729 E. 1st Street, Boyle Heights, USA, on that historical night President Obama won his election bid against Senator John McCain.  I was there, wide awake, on a really dark, cold and early morning in northern Virginia, chasing after maxed out taxi’s and buses, holding on to that purple ticket, after arriving to a very long and winding line on the National Mall, just to get a glimpse of Barack Hussein Obama’s inauguration as the 44th President of these United States.

I was there.

Then came January 22, 2009.

Whoa! Where did everyone go?

Obviously the election of Barack Obama did not lead to the collapse of the sky above, as most on the right were predicting, so things did carry on per usual.  But nowhere to be found was the massive 2008 “Yes We Can” campaign supporters.  The fight for all those issues I mentioned earlier did not get solved on the day the President Obama walked into the White House.   “Yes we can” during the 08′ presidential election had the exact same meaning millions of farmworker activists and organizers have shouted throughout the history of this nation’s ongoing progressive movements.  It really does mean, “yes WE can.” But after the inauguration it was more like, “It is what it is.”

Progressives stopped fighting the day the President was elected, plain and simple.  We allowed the fringe on the right to hijack the conversation on the very day the President took office.  The spring of 2009, we knew we needed to pass a stimulus package, in order to stop the collapse of our economy, but knew it needed to be bigger than it was in the end and we didn’t fight for that.  In December, 2009, the President announced more surge troops to Afghanistan and as I watch the announcement from West Point, I wondered, where is our anti-war movement?  During the healthcare debate in 2010, we wanted single-payer.  But rather than fighting for it and calling out our leaders in Washington, DC and at town hall meetings at their local districts in August, we stayed silent. We could have countered the highly funded astroturf, also known as the Tea Party, and ended its stupid antics right then and there.  But we were nowhere.  Where were we when we should have been fighting for harsher penalties against Wall Street and pushing for major sanctions against the banks and making arrests against the people who led to the collapse of the economy in 2008?  Where were we with Dodd-Frank?  It doesn’t do half of what it was intended to do and yet we let the watered down version pass. Where were we when Elizabeth Warren was being ridiculed by Congress and not defending her and the horrible things being said about her as she waited to be appointed as the head of her baby, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency?  Where were we demanding that our Congressional leaders campaign their asses off and take full responsibility for the Affordable Care Act also known as “Obamacare,” instead of shying away from it like it was a disaster?  Where were we on election night in 2010 when the Republican’s killed us by taking over the House of Representatives?  Where were we during the lame-duck session when we were so pissed off at the President because he “caved” to the Republican’s on the Bush tax cuts in order to extend unemployment for millions?  Where were we when the DREAM Act failed because the Senate didn’t even have a chance to debate the bill because the vote to just even hear the debate was filibustered by the obstructive Republican’s? Where were we demanding Congress to stop with the war on women and keeping the Republican’s from submitting legislation after legislation to keep women from having access to preventive healthcare and protect our reproductive rights?  Where have we been the last two years, pushing for the Jobs bill?  Where is the movement that is going to hold the President and Congress accountable for the numerous and horrible drone strikes taking place in the Middle East?  When are we going to rise up and tell our leaders that institutionalized racism really does exist and that our prisons are another signal that we have failed in our mission to end racism and discrimination in this country.

Where have we been celebrating the numerous successful milestones this administration has actually made?

Where have we been?

All of these honorable mentions are events I have remembered by memory because each time circumstance could have been an incredible turning point on progressives regaining control of the conversation.  But we didn’t.  Instead, here we are, 15 days before election day, and we’ve got people considering the possibility of sitting out the election or voting for a third party candidate, because the President is the lesser of two evils.  “Why vote?  It’s not like it really matters?,” they say. Tonight, I was told that the President losing the election would be a good thing for America because it would make people finally understand what is really at stake.

That is about the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

It’s cheesy, I know…but quoting John Lennon, “you may say I’m a dreamer...”  I still have faith in our democracy and that we can still become a better nation for all people.  I stand proud to be a progressive and believe that I am on the right side of history because our progressive ideals are the right one’s.  I would rather debate with each and every person I may not agree with, within the movement and make incremental change to get things done, than to not do anything at all.  But I cannot agree with the notion that this election doesn’t matter.  It does matter.

I hate to use the term, “defining” because it’s overused so often in mainstream media, but in my opinion, this election is a defining moment in the history of our nation.  Mitt Romney, if elected, will reverse so much of the progress we have made in recent years and it could take 30 to 40 years to return to where we should be now.  President Obama has made some really bone head decisions these last four years, but to just throw him under the bus and just say, “whatever” is not the right thing to do — not for the millions of people who are still looking for a chance to make it another day.  He needs more time to get things done and we owe it, not to ourselves, but to those countless people across this nation, who cannot do it on their own.  We need more time to dominate the conversation and take on the right like it’s never seen us do before.  This is what needs to be done.

Election day is in 15 days.  Do the right thing, not just for you, but for all America and the whole world.

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