One month later…
There’s not a whole that has changed monumentally surrounding the start of the Obama’s second term living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. For what it’s worth, everything, from my point of view has continued on as normal. The Republican party seems to still be the party of No, tempting the fate of this fiscal cliff foolishness, the unemployment ticked down for November in part due to discouraged workers numbers, we still don’t really know what happened in Benghazi, the Palestinians and Israelis are still fighting, Syria is on the decline, the Afghanistan government is still quite unstable and Lindsay Lohan still can’t get her act together.
In other news, water is still wet and the Pope is still Catholic and wears a tall hat.
But did we really expect change this time, or did we vote for the status quo?
In all honesty, November 6th was such a grand denouement for me personally. I had voted by absentee ballot a few weeks prior to the election and I remember looking at my ballot and I took two hours–yes, a full two hours– tediously and painfully scanning through names of retention court judges, an electoral nightmare seemed only reserved for the citizens of Cook County and Chicago. I refused to vote based on gender or perceived nationality or ethnicity any longer. I was unaware of everyone’s office concerning County Clerk, Recorder of Deeds and all of those other positions where campaign pledges were about streamlining office files–literally.
The only two offices I knew about were literally the presidency and vice presidency and the U.S. Representative race–in which I wrote in Mickey Mouse and proceeded to vote for Mickey Mouse. I refused to vote for a Republican in my district, but I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for Rep. Bobby Rush any longer. He has a horrible track record of meeting with the suburban mayors in his district and I can’t point to one thing that he’s done in the last 10 years or so that warranted me voting for him.
Oh yeah, I forgot about this:
Irrespective of my personal issues with Bobby Rush, the bottom line is that the country, as a whole made a decision to maintain things as they were. There was no major shift in the political landscape as a result of the 2012 General Elections. The pundits that said George W. Bush received some grand mandate in 2004 are no more wrong than the few hapless residents of anchor desks and weekend and daily shows of mainstream media who keep saying Obama received a mandate. No he didn’t and neither did the second Bush. A mandate would be approaching 60% of the popular vote, and the House of Representatives being controlled by the Democrats. Indeed, this country said to Congress and said to the President, we’re going to give you another chance to address these social and economic concerns that have beset us.
What will be interesting is to see what Obama’s grand plan is going forward for the next four years. That has been something that the Obama administration has not done a good job for the better part of their tenure. What we get from the White House are usually these big schemes that sound really good, but they don’t sell them–at all! Namely the Affordable Health Care act and we can add the American Jobs Act to that as well. Granted the “do-nothing” Congress severely crippled the passing of these two major acts, but by the same token Obama never sold the American Jobs Act. There was no massive campaign that included commercials or Obama operatives getting the word out to average citizens that possibly could be positively affected by the passage of this bill. There was no effective messaging on their behalf for citizens to be made aware of what the White House was trying to do.
I’ve caught a few snips and pieces of the PBS special on “The Dust Bowl Years” talking about what led to the actual physical manifestation of the “Dust Bowl” in the American plains during the Great Depression years. In short, a combination of bad farming practices (both geologically and economically), the larger economic problem of the Great Depression and an actual drought all combined to form the Dust Bowl. For what is was worth when Franklin D. Roosevelt had to address the unemployment in the country, with his New Deal programs, specifically the Works Progress Administration (WPA) he had to really sell it! This meant getting on the train and hoofing it to parts of the country.
Obama didn’t do that even remotely with the American Jobs Act. He called a joint session of Congress, laid it out and of course it made sense. But, at times I’m convinced I operate at a higher level than the vast majority of the American public.
So here we sit, a month later and Obama hasn’t really talked to us about what he plans to do next, there is no touting of grand plans. Sure, come inauguration he’ll lay out his vision for the next year, or maybe even the next four years, but I will say this: I’m not holding my breath. Certainly Obama has accomplished a lot and the Affordable Health Care act has to be the single biggest piece of comprehensive legislation with such wide-reaching ramifications since the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts from the 1960s.
I don’t sit back and wait in disillusionment over President Obama, but as I said, I’ll admit the night of November 6th was very much one collective sigh, and then it was over. I had the pleasure of being in Boston, Massachusetts the night of the election watching the returns come in and seeing local news effused over the election of Elizabeth Warren, and hearing the whole bar cheer every time a state got put into the Obama category. CNN declared Obama the president, and there were no tears, just a few clinks of beers being toasted, and the bar cleared out into the cold early November night. I went to the hotel, waited for Romney to concede, stayed up until 2:30 a.m. waiting for Obama to give his speech– and I heard a really good one.
Now I just hope, really hope, that our elected officials become guided by what’s best for the country and not the political operatives that attempted to buy this past election. It’s been a long time coming to see the change that many of expect, and many in this country desperately need. However, in the midst of all of that, the people have spoken and they have sent to Washington those whom they expect to get the job done. Short of anything illegal with voter machine tampering in some random Ohio county named Defiance, the people voted and Mitt Romney only received 47% of the vote.
Is it the same 47% he said he wasn’t concerned about? Guess we’ll never know.
Keep it uppity and truthfully radical,