Wednesday, November 3, 2010
On Barak Obama
I first became aware of what a remarkable man Barak Obama is long before he ran for office, when I read his first book Dreams From My Father. The fact that he titled his next book The Audacity of Hope cinched the deal. Here was a man to believe in!
When he ran for office, my heart took wing. I had not had such hope since the days of Bobby Kennedy, and we know hope went south after he was assassinated. I wrote about this hope, all those fallen heroes, and my faith in Barak Obama in Waking From the Dream: Holding the Vision of Change here:
When he won the election, I wept tears of joy. My heart felt so full with the hope for change in this old world that so badly needs it.
This morning, I heard him speaking, after the results of last night's reshifting of balance in the two political parties. He is such an intelligent and articulate speaker; he carries integrity with him the way others wear a jacket. He was very subdued this morning.
I am discouraged, on many levels. When Barak Obama was elected, he told us change could not happen overnight. That it would take time. I so wish people had the foresight to give him the time it takes to make such big changes. Instead, now the power has shifted to an even more strongly bipartisan government. A bipartisan government cant get things done. And remember, this man inherited a HUGE mess and a collapsing economy when he took office. The eight years preceding him I can describe in the one word that applies to how I felt about that administration: nauseated.
I believe Barak has accomplished a great deal while in office and was well on the way towards accomplishing much more. Now he will be stalled at every step. And will be blamed for the lack of progress, though he cant make progress with resistance , and the swift undoing of what changes he has made.
Bipartisanship will sink us, in the end. All of us, for we in Canada are hugely impacted by what happens in the States. It makes no sense to take two steps forward, then have the opposition set us five steps back, this game could go on forever and we'll never get anywhere. When it is about gaining power or holding onto power, instead of what is best for the common man, it will be a perpetual business of one party trying to make a change, and the other party undoing it, as the pendelum of confused public opinion swings back and forth according to the mood and perception of the day.
It is time for far-sighted vision, friends. I believe Barak knows that last night's results will badly impact the country, as what he has fought so hard to improve will be undone. He knows his hands are tied. He asked us for enough time to see things through. Eight years might have changed this old world. Now it looks like the Republicans are getting ready to wrest power back over into their court. If that happens, I will truly give up on hope for change, resign myself to politics returning to what it was before Barak: about power, about moneyed interests. NOT about what is best for humans and the planet.
Barak Obama is the leader the times thrust forward when we most needed a leader, a man of integrity, a man of the people. We surely dont need another right-wing rich guy cozying up to the multinational money interests that already have a stranglehold on this planet, or the money and power interests that try to block Barak at every turn while he tries to turn the tide towards a new day, that we so sorely need.
But that might be what we're gonna get in a couple of years. They'll tie Barak's hands in the meantime and then blame him for lack of progress when it is time for re-election.
I am pretty discouraged.
On the up side - our provincial rich fat-cat right-wing tax-breaks-and-subsidies-for-the-rich-and -the-big-corporations and let's take away all supports and helps to the poor premier Gordon Campbell just resigned. That is a happy day. He did so because he knows he will resoundingly lose the next election, especially after imposing the hated 12% HST tax on the working poor and even poorer disenfranchised of this province. Better to resign gracefully than slink away in defeat. But it will take years to reinstate and repair all the programs he has destroyed in his years in office. The lives he destroyed no one will ever hear about. Think: no support for parernts of autistic children, clawbacks of help to the mentally ill, withdrawal of finances from transition houses for battered women, a welfare rate that has not increased in twenty years, while rents and food and utilities costs have gone through the roof. Think : cutbacks in education and hospital care while billions - literally-were spent on a great big Olympics party for the rich, who were the only ones who could afford to attend. Think: how come he got an impaired driving charge and it was swept under the rug?
Now if we could just get rid of our right-wing Prime Minister in Ottawa, the bells could surely ring out!
Maybe we could entice Barak Obama to move to Canada. Barak, and Michael Moore. THEN we'd be happenin' !!!!!!!