When Obama called out to enlist 'liberal bloggers' to help the Democrats in the midterms, my first thought was that I'd never want to be someone that fell in that category (although I support many of the same policies as the party). Is the prospect of bringing the Republicans partial privatization of Social Security to life frightening? Yes. Would I like the see the likes of Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell sitting in the halls of Congress discoursing on the sin of masturbation and how much they like their guns? Oh hell no.
I DO, however, believe in fair analysis. A simple enough concept. So let's forget the banter for a moment and move on. To start with are the midterms a referendum on Obama's policies? In many ways, yes. It is a bit sad to see moderate Republicans biting the dust as the GOP moves to the right. Growing up in the 1990s, my first impressions of politics were gridlock, seeing government shut down and in complete disarray, the President tried for lying about Oral sex with an intern.
Campaigning for Obama, I was hopeful. Seeing him elected I expected a period of peace and accomplishment. With a middle class on the verge oblivion, health care costs rising rapidly, after years of gas prices being inflated by OPEC, I wanted action and change. I don't blame for one moment the so-called 'whiney' liberals for being disappointed. Had Democratic leadership called more of their fellow Democrats to the carpet in the way Bush and Rove would have, we could have had a Public Option (which the majority of the public supported), a repel of DADT, and maybe, just maybe, sweeping away of a few tax loopholes while securing the middle class and lower income tax breaks. Instead we've seen a lot of politicking on taxes.
Nonetheless, in my opinion much has been accomplished. A lot of people, incrementalists if you will, would say we're 'most' of the way there with Healthcare Reform. I'd say we're just a little over halfway there with no end in sight in seeing true reforms take place. We live in a fickle society that sometimes struggles with change, but often times too has led in it.
I've never lost my hope for America as a country and never will. Too often bad policy and leadership over the years is used to illustrate what is wrong with America. But it's not the past I'm worried about, it's the future. America has been entrenched in racism but has also shed her blood. Change takes time and most people aren't willing to wait, because after all, after investing your emotions in a political campaign or a Presidency, it can hurt a little to see issues you care about being put (yet again) on the back burner. As easy as it is to have the wind taken our of your sails, it can be just as easy to get back in the game. That is exactly what we seen with President Obama. He rose to the top in sweeping and eloquent fashion and took us with him. For those in the field, with emotions invested, frustrated by eight years of seeing our economy slide into a ditch as we watched helplessly, the sweep was marvelous and exhilarating.
And then come reality.
My question is: should be blame Obama or simply acknowledge the need to keep working ourselves? To keep caring, keep fighting for candidates we care about. The need to rebuild our economy from the ground up is obvious. Boom and bust didn't work out. Sure, there's been a time the bull market has raged, but the recent crash also showed us that we need to work toward a greener economy built on strong fundamentals rather than inflated home values.
As my Grandmother would say: "A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush". Many that support lowering taxes and rolling back regulations in hope of the free markets guiding us know things don't always work that way... that we will end up with a society where you have the two types of people: those behind gates and those in the street. As often as politics are influenced by ideology, it can be hard to remember a time when the interstate highway system put a fire under our economy, FDR put the full backing of the Federal Government behind putting hard working Americans back to work, and Henry Ford rolled out model T after model T, unions helping lead us to a strong bottom-up economy. At this point, Unions have become just another business of their own.
In conclusion: Hell with it, maybe I am a little hopey changey. We've seen America's potential. Next year may be gridlocked, and we may see important issues punted, but we'll get back on our feet as we always have. In the meantime, forget parties and politics, look at each candidate for what they stand for, forgetting what they say in their ads, taking into consideration political realities, party pressure, and back those you feel will get the ball rolling on jobs again. The jobless recovery has lasted for far too long. Political parties have posturing and fighting along ideological divides. Meanwhile working class families struggled to find a job and make end's meet because Congress couldn't decide on passing another round of unemployment extensions yet.
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