Are you kidding me? Candidate Obama won a lopsided election in 2008 with a promise of change. Before he ever settled into the White House, he began grappling with the flotsam and jetsam left from the Bush administration's voyage to the bottom of the sea. First he gave a golden ticket to the bankers, then he gave a free ride to GM, and he followed it up by redirecting troops into Afghanistan from Iraq. Congress passed a banking reform bill, but it came up short on reform. The stimulus bill passed and some of us received tax cuts and rebates.
In keeping with his campaign promise he asked Congress to take up the issue of health care reform. He outlined his proposal by indicating his preference for a public option, no personal mandate, and a single payer system. He promised to eliminate the insurance providers' practices of denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, cancellation of policies once a person becomes ill, and losing coverage because of a change in employment. "That's cool." I told others. "Obama's about to get some things done.
Things were starting to get ugly though. I waved my arms and jumped up and down trying to get Obama's attention. "Don't screw this up," I warned. "You're gonna have to bird dog this goose or it's gonna get away from you." I predicted. Are you creating a model or a monster?" I queried. But before health care ever got out of the gate, they scratched single payer from the field. "That's not cool", I thought to myself, but it was too early to sweat over it.
"Our first priority has to be the economy," I wrote. "The people need jobs and we need to stop the foreclosures." Then suddenly, the conservative media kicked the lid off of Pandora's box and someone let the "teabaggers" out. They marched around displaying posters defiling the President, labeling him as a Liberal, a Socialist, a Nazi, and a Socialist. "What the f...?" I was dumbfounded. "Obama's not any of those things. What did he do to be trashed like that?" I was incensed. Obama is going to have cut some people down to size, I mused, as I waited for him to react to this assault.
Obama had a few choice words for his critics, but that was it - a few choice words. There was no cutting. There was no head knocking. Nobody got their ass kicked. "What's up with Obama?" I pondered.
The House passed their health care bill, which included a public option, but it also contained a personal mandate. Health care reform had now been sitting on the table for months and it was beginning to stink. After the summer break, the Senate began the process of reconciling their committee proposals. The Senate bill weighed in at over 1900 pages. Much worse it lacked the public option and it included a personal mandate.
"Whoa! What's this?" I screamed. "Stop right there." But Senator Reid labored on. He tweaked this and he twisted that. He took his cronies into the back room where he stroked their feathers and fed them some pork. He then emerged from the room in a glowing light and he declared, "I have it." Anger engulfed me and I thought, "Obama will never go for this turkey. This bird can't fly. We have to kill it."
I was wrong. Obama not only failed to reject it, he embraced it and he pushed for final passage. I was already discouraged by his lack of vigilance in dealing with the economy, his escalation of the war in Afghanistan, his failure to deal with the banking crisis, and his failure to deliver on issues like credit, domestic spying, torture, transparency and lobbyists, but this health care reform bill was the straw that broke the Democrat's back. My faith in Obama was gone. All the air had gone out of his sails.
Then came the Massachusetts Senatorial election. The Senate seat held for so long by the revered Ted Kennedy was lost - to a novice Republican, Scott Brown. "This is a wake up call for the Democrats," the media pundits all conjectured. "What will they do now?" It didn't take long for Obama to answer that query. Obama promptly rolled out his plan to freeze all federal budgets starting in 2011, except for entitlements, Homeland Security, and the military. Really? The military? I remembered that Barney Frank had told Obama that the military budget would have to be cut by at least 25 percent in order to pay for domestic programs. Had Obama forgotten this or was he still trying to win over conservatives?
"In the midst of a recession, Obama is going to cut spending?" I remarked in disbelief. "Has he gone nuts?" I wondered. Then, it all came back into focus. The Republicans did whatever they wanted with simple majorities in Congress, yet the Democrats accomplish nothing with a super majority. There can be only one explanation. They are all in it together. The Republicans and Democrats are more like each other than either of them is like us. They have two objectives and those are (1) to keep their jobs and (2) to reward their contributors. Even the media feeds from the same trough. They all work together for their mutual benefit and the politics is merely a ruse to delude the people into believing they are actually trying serve. . But nothing ever improves; it just gets worse.
We continue to toil in a system, which was built from the remnants of slavery, believing that we can influence our future and build a better world for ourselves, but we can't. Our lot is predetermined and last week, the Supreme Court chiseled our fate into stone. We are all servants of the corporate elite and the toil and the torment, which we have endured, is here to stay. There is no way that the privileged, the pampered, and the petulant will ever relinquish their position in society. They have lived too well for too long to surrender to the will of the masses. Our systems are designed for the explicit purpose of protecting their interests and the people are far too irresponsible to be trusted with a nation. That is the reason problems can't be solved and conditions don't improve. That is the reason Congress is unable to function. That is the reason Obama is unable to lead. Even when they do finally hear our voice, they don't understand our words. It is as it is meant to be. The politics are all for show.