Tag Archives: Afghanistan
I’m not sure when I first heard Barack Obama speak. I was an over the road trucker back then hauling steel from anywhere to somewhere so it was probably on my satellite radio. I think he was a call in celebrity, as more popular politicians tend to be referred to these days, on that crazy NPR (National Public Radio) “game” show about the news – usually broadcast out of Chicago
It was then that I said to myself here’s a well spoken obviously smart guy who could be President of the United States. As a U.S. Senator he kept popping up here and there from time to time on both television and radio, and the more he came on my radar screen, the more I liked him. I appreciated his style and his politics. As now, I was then an undecided independent voter.
I was a Ron Paul supporter, then swung over to Hillary, then McCain was my man. It was the lack of Obama’s experience that greatly bothered me and if Clinton wasn’t chosen as Obama’s V.P. pick, then back over to McCain I went. But McCain’s selection of Sara Palin and that Couric interview with the magazine cluelessness drove me right back into the arms of the Democrats. Nothing about Obama and his birth certificate or the Rev.Wright relationship phased me in the least. I decided to vote for Obama only days before I went into the booth.
Let me be very honest. Part of the reason I wanted Obama to win was because he was Black. I wanted either a qualified female, Latino or someone of color to represent our country. I had long ago given up hope for a Jewish President, being satisfied that at least there was representation on the Supreme Court. I so bought into the Obama’s victory flag of hope and change, I so identified with the enthusiasm and passion of Obama, I was Barack Obama. His cause was my cause. His youth was mine. He was my guy – the one that truly understood what I wanted from government. If there was anyone among the field of candidates for President, based on all the times I listened to him even before he ran, he, I felt, was the clearly the right person to make it right in Washington.
Prior to his taking office, I was completely appauled wih the mess he was going to inherit from Bush. It almost seemed fixed to me – arranged for the Black man in some back office somewhere in Washington D.C., West Virginia or Wyoming. Sort of a Dick Cheney welcome so let’s see how you do you, you uppidty… But, I wanted Obama to succeed even more after that. To show them what he could do – what we could do. He didn’t have to be an experienced business executive to assemble a team of the best and brightest who would repair the economic mess and get us back on track. He was my super hero and he would have the right answers and take the appropriate action.
Failure to “us” was just not an option. He would gather up the Republican opposition with his slick, calm, legal and reassuring cool magic and move the Boehner’s and McConnell’s into taking action. They would work together, compromise for the good of the country, and create, debate and pass long overdue social and economic reforms. Affordable “Cadillac” health care for all – just like Congress had – would be a reality, immigration reform would make sense and benefit all concerned – our borders would be protected and our troops would come marching home from both wars while GITMO would be history.
I would be so proud of my President – so proud to be an American. However, as his time in office moved forward, more and more links fell clearly off the chain. It wasn’t just the opposition, there was a communications problem. The thrill over passing health reform legislation became confusion and anger. I was so carried away by the concept and symbolism of what we were trying to reform, I didn’t read the words or watch the process close enough. We thought we had what we had wanted, but we learned we didn’t.
The President said little or nothing. Even worse, the press failed to ask questions. At the same time it was if some large looming hand took a scissor and cut the value of my home and 401K in half. 99 weeks of unemployment benefits from my job that was eliminated due to corporate “uncertainty” was cut to 56 then to 26 weeks. I lost and could not afford to replace the health insurance I had. My wife, a teacher, was paid 1/2 that of a union teacher. Those teachers would lose their jobs as the cities that employed them went bankrupt.
Despite all the lies, distortions, empty chairs from the primarily White faces and religious zealots I heard in Tampa last week, I listened very carefully to what candidate Romney had to say. Sure it might have sounded too good to be true. Yes I’ve heard it all before. The difference is that I’ve never been so personally desperate for now for what he’s saying. I buy into that term “American Exceptionalism”.
Perhaps Romney – or his speech writers – hit just the right nerve, correctly tapping into what’s been bothering me for the past 3 1/2 years. Yet here was a Republican Conservative who through his parties mouthpieces – the Limbaugh’s, Rove’s, Bolling’s and others, preaching that we must all be good self-reliant Americans and successful job creators that should take care of ourselves and turn our backs on the needy, hungry and uninsured – telling me he’s going to take care of my family. That it was OK to have voted for Obama, but it just didn’t work out and now, again, it’s time to trust a new change agent named Mitt Romney and his side-kick Paul Ryan.
I am too old and seasoned not to be highly skeptical. One things for sure, I’m no longer Barack Obama. But deep down, I don’t think I can ever been Mitt Romney. I with a very open mind wait to hear what the Democracts have to say for themselves in Charlotte. It better be good.
I voted for Obama. I just couldn’t see John McCain and Sara Palin in the White House. It wasn’t a Republican or Democratic thing, it was a decision based solely on personality and age. I also bought into everything that Obama was promising from change to transparency. The fact that he was smart, articulate and Black was important to me. Yes, I wanted our country, finally, to be represented by a Black man. Seeing him get elected, made me very proud and I so desperately wanted him to succeed.
I liked Michelle, the daughters and Bo, the dog. I remember when Air Force One flew to Chicago to pick Barack up – the family had flown ahead of him – and he trotted up the stairs to greet the pilot. He was all alone. One man, having to deal with Bush mess. Him against the world. The steward, also a Black man, said Mr. President, what can I get you. Obama said a hamburger with Dijon mustard on a Kaiser roll. This was going to be my President for the next four years, and I was looking forward to everything he was going to do for us. I would support him anyway I could.
Fast forward and tomorrow is April 1st, the election to choose the next President is 7 months away. A lot has happened since the President got on that first flight on Air Force One to Washington, DC. And, honestly, I feel slightly confused and a bit more sad. Why? Because while I’m not that critical to call the last 3 1/2 years a failure, that’s too harsh, I feel very let down. I’m not proud anymore, I’m not excited and I wonder what happened. That’s where my head is at concerning the economy, “our” government and the election right now.