Prof. L. D. Robinson
So one year after the most historic Presidential Inauguration of any American generation, critics and cynics question whether President Obama still has his political message of “Hope” even as a new Republican takes over the late Ted Kennedy’s senate seat in Washington D.C.
In the current climate of high American unemployment, traumatic coverage of Haiti’s latest developments, the journey of a controversial health care bill and stimulus money being sent to elitist and greedy financial institutions, people wonder what has happened to the sweeping excitement and enthusiasm that was exhibited during Obama’s campaign of 2008 and last year’s Inauguration.
I can tell you what happened. The honeymoon ended. After the euphoria of Inauguration 2009 wore off and the nation’s problems mounted, President Obama’s “To Do List” Agenda got thirty pages longer, at least.
The Recession of 2009 hit the United States cruelly and millions of Americans lost their jobs. As a result, Americans fell deeply behind in their mortgage payments and their homes were foreclosed upon. Millions of Americans emerged in 2009 without health insurance, unable to pay for basic services because of those lost jobs and limited income. As a result of Americans’ being unable to use credit, financial institutions shut down in the worse “traffic jam” of the century. What would you do? Crawl under a rock and wait until it all disappeared? You wish!
Against your own primal instincts of flight (running away from its problems), President Obama and his administration plunged headlong into the problems last year. Stimulus money was dispersed for more unemployment coverage for a longer period of time. The President initiated a new Health Care Bill to insure that every American that needed insurance would have the same access as any congressperson, senator or elected official in the country. Also, more stimulus money was given out to jumpstart the stagnant financial institutions to reset the economy. Is there anything really wrong with that?
In retrospect (which notoriously has 20/20 vision), the President now admits that he could have focused more attention to creating jobs but wasn’t he, in some way, addressing that issue already? I’m not saying that he did everything humanly possible for it but I am just asking didn’t he make an attempt at helping unemployed Americans in their hour of need at the beginning of the recession when he took office?
If you ask the critics (or American Idol’s “Simon Cowells” of Washington D.C. and beyond as so artfully described by the President on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last year), they may reply that the Obama administration has thrown millions upon millions of American taxpayers’ dollars at the current problems instead of solving them. They would claim that the new Health Care Bill is the administration’s attempt at controlling Americans, citing “big government” as the root of all evil in the lives of “true”, red-blooded Americans.
But what these “true” Americans seem to forget is how the nation got into the problems that it is in now. Whose administration let financial institutions run wild with little to no regulation on its practices, giving themselves excessive bonuses and participating risky investments at the cost of Americans’ retirement and financial portfolios for eight years?! Whose administration ignored Americans’ need for equal access to quality health care as an American right of the many, not a privilege for the elite few? Who was the Commander-in-Chief who started a war in the wrong country after September 11, 2001 that is costly millions of dollars to fund every year while putting our military in harm’s way for almost a decade?
Now, the answers may be hard to swallow but they are the truth. BUSH ADMINISTRATION! BUSH ADMINISTRATION! BUSH ADMINISTRATION! PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH!
If you are a logical (and truthful) person, you can see that the blame resides with the former president and his administration. So what does that mean to the current president?
That means that President Obama is making the best out of a bad situation. It may not have been the perfect implementation of solving the country’s problems (and who is REALLY perfect anyway?) but you have to give the President credit for having the courage and the internal fortitude to at least take them on in his first year of office.
It’s like living with an irresponsible roommate who loves throwing loud and crazy house-parties every night at your apartment for eight years. The apartment furniture begins to reek of stale beer and cigarettes. The carpet is stained with red wine, tomato sauce, dirt, and vomit. There are empty pizza boxes littered all over the kitchen and living room. The top of the pantry in the kitchen is “decorated” with hundreds of bottles of empty liquor. The sink and dishwasher are full of dirty dishes, drinking glasses, and silverware. The television needs to be replaced. You had to buy your own refrigerator and a small cupboard to put it in your room and lock up your food because your “roomie” has played host with it too many times. Thank God you have your own bathroom!
At the end of the eight years, she gets kicked out of the apartment but your name is still on the lease, so you are responsible for the apartment. While it may have been easier to move out too, you feel like the apartment is still salvageable; it is just going to take a lot of work. So you make your “To Do List” Agenda: you throw out the old furniture and buy new ones (on sale, of course), hire a carpet cleaning company to steam-clean the carpet, recruit your “entourage” to help throw out those pizza boxes, “souvenir” liquor bottles, and dirty dishes (do you really want any semblance of your former roommate in your apartment?) and buy an affordable flat screen television with a new DVR system.
Now while the “To Do List” is long, you take each project on step-by-step. Eventually, over the course of six months to a year, a brand new apartment emerges that is clean, welcoming, and becomes home.