Sunday, February 14, 2010

An Open Letter to President Obama

Dear Mr. President,

Your administration and your party are in trouble. That is clear from the elections in Massachusetts and Virginia, from the drop in your approval rating, from the rise of conservative opposition groups.  In fact, the whole USA is battered and on its knees waiting for the final blow. 

This is a time when progressive forces in this country need to mobilize to prevent a backlash that will take this country further to the right.  Without decisive Congressional action to benefit the Common Good, opposition candidates will win big in the next election.  Progressives, as well as your own supporters, are disappointed and demoralized. Look at me.

In 2008, I realized that "Hope and Change" is not a substantial political platform, and remembered that George W. Bush ran on the same platform.  I understood that when you talked about getting out of Iraq, that it meant waging wars elsewhere.  I realized when big media, while broadcasting over the public airwaves, excluded all "peace" candidates from the presidential debates, that they were pre-selecting for the US public exclusively pro-war candidates.  I was not fooled by your vacuous rhetoric of Hope and Change.  I did suspect that you might attempt to put through populist programs while appeasing the war profiteers with endless foreign wars.  But you haven't. 

As 2010 dawns, change looks to me like more of the same.  We got more war, more torture, more innocent collateral damage, more fodder for spawning new, young terrorists.  Your concept of health care reform is to mandate Americans to buy private health insurance without any real cost controls.  You block what is known to work well, Medicare-for-All, and instead, provide a massive giveaway to the health insurance industry.  Health insurance companies are reporting record profits for 2009 and are raising their rates by 40%. 

After being laid off my job at school due to the budget cuts, I am now working 7 p/t jobs and barely making ends meet.  My union-provided insurance has high co-pays and deductibles and doesn't cover my children.  My income is too high for them to be covered by Healthy Families, so they remain uninsured. 

On the environment, one of your top priorities, you came back from Copenhagen with yet another non-binding resolution, more clean coal & clean nuclear, and a closed-door decision to wait until the planet's average temperature rises another 2ยบ to catastrophic levels, to boot. 

Instead of helping struggling homeowners and small businesses during the financial crisis, bank executives were protected and rewarded and we have yet to see reform.  And Ben Bernanke, who enabled the world-wide financial collapse, was reappointed!  Wall Street firms ended 2009 with record bonus and profits while unemployment remains in double digits.

President Obama, after the Citizens United decision, I am hopeless!  Your concept of change is to exacerbate the injustices enacted by the Neo-Cons.  The change I believe in puts people and our planet before industry, it promotes Peace, international law, and human rights instead of militarism. As you are asking Congress to approve the largest Pentagon budget in history, plus another $33 billion to pay for your Afghan surge, the prophetic works of Dr. Martin Luther King sound a clarion call: A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.  The endless wars are also bringing our country to economic death. 

We have 3 branches of government that all collaborate with big business instead of defending the Constitution and the well being of the natural people. 

We need renewed leadership, we need you to show us—not in words but in deeds—that you can stand up to corporate interests that are blocking us from real healthcare, environmental and financial reform. We need you to show us—not in words but in deeds—that you will stand up for the Constitution, for due process, for the rule of law.  We need you to show us—not in words but in deeds—that you lead this country out of endless war to a nation that lives in peace with its neighbors.

In the meantime, without a change from pro-corporate to pro-populist policies, I pledge to replace your administration and Congress with a new guard (and mobilize others) that will not collaborate war-profiteers and other big business, but enact and defend policies of social and environmental uplift.

May 2010 be a year of renewed commitment and movement toward the change we so desperately need.


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