A question for the month of February was posed by the Allvoices staff to its writers: “What do you think of the job Barack Obama has done as president, and do you think he deserves re-election, why or why not? The question as posed seems to require a personal response from a very personal perspective.
Although I voted for Barack Obama in 2008, I voted for him not because I was inspired by his “Change” rhetoric or because of the color of his skin, or even because he was the Democratic nominee. I voted for Barack Obama because I was highly disturbed by Senator John McCain’s bid for the presidency, and that disturbance morphed into fear because of his chosen running mate, Sarah Palin. Therefore, my observations about Barack Obama and what he has or has not accomplished during his presidency can only reflect my initial and subsequent misgivings about him as a presidential candidate.
Let’s begin with the tail end of the question: Does Barack Obama deserve re-election? Based on the so-called “qualifications” of the front-runners on the other team, Barack Obama should be re-elected. Let’s envision certain future scenarios if one of the front-runners from the other political party is elected president of the United States.
Mitt Romney wins by a landslide. Throughout his campaign, President Romney stated that his success as a businessman armed him with the necessary skills to right our flagging economy. "If people think there's something wrong with being successful in America, then they better vote for the other guy. Because I've been extraordinarily successful, and I want to use that success and that know-how to help the American people." So, in the mythical future of President Romney, based solely on his Gordon Gekko approach to business success, his well-honed business acumen would continue to enrich his personal portfolios and foundations while the average American would continue the slide into economic oblivion. It is clear from his oft-touted success that Mr. Romney’s economic expertise was never directed towards jobs creation. He embraces a corporate mentality that cannot perceive the obvious differences between a corporation and the needs of the individual.
As President, Romney would endorse the further lessening of government restrictions, controls and laws that restrict corporate growth and profits while reassuring the average American that these changes will ensure and result in greater opportunities for the average American. The new Teflon Don in the White House will expound endlessly about the legacy of profitable, successful corporations providing jobs to hardworking Americans. This president will dispute facts that these very profitable corporations have not invested in expansions in America, and neither will he admit that these very successful corporations have also not increased hiring Americans for jobs that can be performed cheaper by foreign workers who live in foreign countries with fewer government regulations. The president will never admit that the mounting profits of corporations have also left an indelible mark, albeit a stain, on the American Dream. During his presidency, President Romney would ensure the demise of a burgeoning, once successful middle class. He would continue to cling to his inalienable right to be a successful, private corporation. He would deny that the roots of his success were not based on his brilliant business acumen, but rather, that his success and the others like him have been successful only because their success rests on a rigged game created and instituted to impoverish the many for the benefit of the few.
The second scenario entails the landslide election of the religious zealot, Rick Santorum. Based on Mr. Santorum’s faith, as president he would not appoint a Cabinet of learned colleagues to successfully steer our government. Mr. Santorum would base all of his political decisions and appointments on his faith. The only outside input he would accept and agree with would come from the Pope. "I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute." Apparently, in President Santorum’s world, only conservative Catholic theology would be practiced in America and only conservative ideology would be allowed to be taught in homes, seeing that he would abolish public education and colleges and universities would have t focus on conservative ideology.
President Santorum would find ways to fill the judicial system, especially the Supreme Court with conservative Catholic thinkers to change the Constitution and The Bill Of Rights and the basic freedoms of Americans. Mr. Santorum, as president would disavow Americans right to religious freedom and institute Catholicism as the only religion of the land. Millions would flee from our shores because of religious persecution. President Santorum would govern the country based solely on faith. The president’s thoughts about the surrounding secular world would probably result in a modern day Crusade, where millions/billions would die.
“The crusaders comprised military units of Roman Catholics from all over Western Europe, and were not under unified command. The main series of Crusades, primarily against Muslims, occurred between 1095 and 1291.” To be sure, modern religious wars would spawn the death of millions, possibly billions and yet Mr. Santorum, obsessed with conservative religious views would use the office of the President to supplant one of the most important freedoms that Americans identify: freedom of religion.
President Obama will enter the race for re-election in a very few months. Many of the complaints against President Obama range from the fantastical, death panels embedded in his health care plan to the very real threat of engaging Iran in yet another war. “The candidate who received the most negative coverage from the supposed liberal media was President Barack Obama…Obama is getting so much negative coverage, not because his support has vanished, but because the media wants a close 2012 election.” In 2012, one of President Obama’s biggest hurdles he has to confront and surpass is that he is a black man. Almost every republican candidate has invoked code to identify Barack Obama as not being American.did so in 2008 with “Let’s take America back” as did Mrs. Romney who stated, “I want my country back.” Exactly who do the Tea Party members and front running, republican candidates think has wrested their America from them? Why it’s quantifiable and obvious that these people want to take back their country from that black guy in office. Western greatness rests on the fact that the country was founded by and built by whites. How can the accepted “land of the of free and home of the brave” also include that a black man, visibly different from the majority of Americans, be president?
To be sure, the concept of race being an issue in 2012 is offensive and ugly, but being black, accepted as competent and equal to whites in 2012 is still very problematical for black Americans and especially so for Barack Obama. And that unspoken, detestable political wedge is an intractable reality that Barack Obama must surmount, above any other, in order to be re-elected.
The amount of disrespect from senators, state representatives, governors and ordinary everyday Americans that has plagued this president has been unconscionable. The not-so-veiled attempts to question his birthright to the notion that America is no longer America because he is at the helm is more than alarming, it is reprehensible. So, it would be imprudent to judge President Obama’s merits or demerits without highlighting that his major problem is that he is a black man and because many are clinging to their Christian faiths, that his faith should be questioned. Rick Santorum andhave gone on record about their religious beliefs and yet the media has chosen not to question why and how their faith might affect their ability to govern while these same candidates vilify and impugn Obama’s faith.
In a perfect world, and our world is far from perfect, I would not vote to re-elect President Obama. Although he inherited a crumbling economy and two wars, I am personally disenchanted with how he and his advisors rescued Wall Street and the “banks too big to fail”. I am appalled by his dedication to compromise and how compromise has led the government to initiate laws and protections that ignore the rights of the poor, the disenfranchised and the middle class in order to assuage the gaping, greedy, insensitive maw of conservatives.
I am offended most by the President’s inability to fulfill his promise of greater transparency in the government. “According to a report by the Center for Public Integrity, to date only 1% of 500,000 government meetings from the president's first eight months have been released, and thousands of known visitors (including lobbyists) are missing from the lists…" “To be clear, the Obama administration is less transparent than the Bush administration." Anne Weismann of the Center for Responsibility for Ethics in Washington, acknowledged, “the policies for disclosure are in place, but the applications of the policies do not exist.” Additionally, the president didn’t keep his word about bringing the troops home from Iraq. “… the last 43,000 U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year (2011) was designed to mask an unpleasant truth: The troops aren’t being withdrawn because the U.S. wants them out. They’re leaving because the Iraqi government refused to let them stay.”
American freedoms and privacy issues have also suffered under the Obama administration. “The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation.” “In other words, Internet services could legally exist only insofar as there would be no such thing as truly private communications; all must contain a “back door” to enable government officials to eavesdrop.” At a time when personal freedoms are being assaulted, the presidential candidate in 2008 that promised ‘change’, has made a 180-degree turn away from change and appears to only endorse expanding the practices of the GW Bush presidency.
The foregoing represents just a few of the issues that voters should be assessing before they cast their vote next November. The big question that should confront each of us is: does any one specific candidate really have the ability and the means to change public policy? All of the issues that pour forth from the mouths of the current republican contenders pale when compared to the real issues that should be of primary concern to every voter. Who will represent the needs of the 99%? Who will require businesses to create jobs and pay decent salaries? And if these corporations do not comply and provide jobs, then the person(s) in charge will enact real world penalties that get real world results. Who will enact prohibitive taxes against corporations who offshore American jobs? Who will erase corporate entitlements that do not result in American jobs? Who will ensure that corporations are not recognized as individuals? Who will understand that America does not have to police the world and that our children’s lives are more valuable than a military presence? Who will address and deal with the real problems of undocumented aliens? Who will stop the corporate assault against America’s teachers, firemen, and policemen? Which candidate truly understands that they are statesmen/women who only have the power that is vested in them by their constituents?
A quick review of the platforms of the current panoply of candidates might reveal that the only man credible enough to elect or re-elect is the current man in office. If only candidates were held to and required to fulfill their pre-election promises? Amending the constitution to include a requirement for candidates to fulfill their promises? Now, that would be democracy in action!