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"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Dear Mr. President: LEAD!

It's heartbreaking, really, to watch you these days.

It's painful - really painful - to listen to those who supported you and voted for you and had great hopes for you now use words like "flabbergasted," "disappointed," and, yes, even "disgusted" and "angry".

I know. I know. Being a leader is not a popularity contest. However, followers usually say things like "flabbergasted," "disappointed," "disgusted," and "angry" when their leader has actually done something to demonstrate leadership.

I know how harsh that sounds. I'm not ignoring what you have been able to accomplish. Besides Health Care Reform - which, unfortunately, did not reform enough - you have been able to do things that, for the media,  are not "sexy" or "controversial" enough to sell papers or air time.

For example, you have enacted the largest reform of student aid in 40 years, expanding Pell grants for low-income students and providing the means by which struggling students could refinance their loans.

Your administration also established the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and cut salaries for 65 bailout executives. The banks have repaid 75% of the TARP funds, bringing the cost down to $89B as of June 2010. And, you have closed offshore tax safe havens, tax credit loopholes.

Despite all the hype about the "debt ceiling", the federal deficit actually shrank 8% year-on-year. And while unemployment is still a HUGE problem - in July 2011, the unemployment rate was 8.2 percent for whites, but 16.8 percent for blacks and 11.3 percent for Latinos - 682,370 jobs were created under the Recovery Act between January 1 and March 31, 2010 and the U.S. economy added 90,000 jobs in April, 2011.

In terms of civil rights, I am most thrilled about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which instituted equal pay for women. Your administration also provided $12.2 billion in new funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Act though the American Recovery and investment Act. Additionally, you issued a Presidential Memorandum extending benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, as well as one in April, 2010 protecting gay and lesbian partners’ visitation/healthcare decision-making rights.

Your administration also passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to include gender, sexual orientation and disability. And you supported the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) and have said that the "Defense of Marriage Act" is indefensible in court.

While I applaud all of these - and so many other - accomplishments, I must say that I am most disappointed in your consistent capitulation to the Tea Party. I understand. Most of these guys function like school yard bullies when they're not behaving like home-grown terrorists.

Here's what I've learned about bullies and terrorists: You don't negotiate with them. It only gives them power they neither have nor deserve.

So, why do you do it?

The final straw for me was when you requested a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, September 7th, and the Speaker of the House informed you that this was "not a convenient time", and so you rescheduled for Thursday the 8th.

Are you kidding me?

You are the President of The United States of America! You are the Leader of the Free World. And, you capitulate to the petulant, overly tanned, teary-eyed Congressman from the 8th District of Ohio?

On a meeting?

Oh, I'm sure your mother told you to always "rise above" this sort of pettiness but I have to tell you that any points you might have once earned for "staying classy" are now being lost under an increasing flood of anxiety about unemployment and the continuing fragility of the economy.

Here's the thing that makes many people most anxious: It is painfully clear that the Tea Party people are so outraged and incensed that a Black Man is in the White House that they will do everything at every turn to embarrass you.

Indeed, they are trying to emasculate you - the way racist bigots have always done.

When you don't stand up to these bullies, you not only give them power they don't have, you give them a psychological win. You don't come off looking classy. You come off looking like a wimp.

Look, I know you're not a liberal like John or Ted Kennedy. You don't have the same agenda about the poor that they did - and many of us continue to carry close to our hearts.

You're not the next great Martin Luther King, Jr. That was always unfair to shackle you with that expectation. For one thing, Dr. King was not an elected official. He held no public office. To expect a President of the United States to lead like a prophet is not only wrong, it's dangerous.

All that being said, the hour has come and now is, Mr. President, for you to lead.

As you unveil your employment plan on Thursday night, I hope you take every opportunity to expose the embarrassing shenanigans of the Tea Party for what they are: political bullies who are committing racist, salacious, obscene acts of domestic terrorism - all in the name of Jeee-ssssuuuus.

Please avoid rhetoric that tells us we have to "work together" as Americans to put people back to work. The People of the Tea Party are not going to work with you. Indeed, they are going to try to cut you off at the knees and laugh at you when you fall.

Don't. Let. Them. Do. That.

They don't care how many hundreds of millions of Americans they will hurt. They only care about emasculating you and making sure you fail so that they will get into power.

And then, God help us!

Right now, we need a leader - a strong leader - who doesn't care about politics but cares passionately about the founding dream of "liberty and justice for all" in this country.

Here's the thing, Mr. President" If you do not have "liberty and justice" for yourself, how can the rest of us enjoy those "inalienable rights"?

If you do not claim this for yourself, how can any of the rest of us have a chance at claiming them for our selves?

If you do not do your own job, you can not create jobs for the rest of us.

I cast my vote in 2008 for you because I though you were a person who could .... would . . . lead this country out of the wilderness of the past 30 years of Reagan's "Trickle Down Economics" and into an economy "of the people, by the people and for the people" inspired by the likes of FDR.

I want to see that man back on my TV screen on Thursday night. I want to see him back in the White House. I want to see a person who knows he is a free man leading the rest of the Free World in pursuit of that goal and that dream and make it a reality.

I know you can do it.

I'm praying you will.

Please, Mr. President. Just lead.

You'll be amazed how many of us are waiting to follow.

20 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Please, Mr. President. Just lead.

Yes, yes, yes! A thousand times yes!

Just this morning I read that Obama refused EPA director Lisa Jackson's request to stiffen regulations against smog because of pressure from GOP lawmakers. He said:

"I will continue to stand with the hardworking men and women at the EPA as they strive every day to hold polluters accountable and protect our families from harmful pollution."

When, Mr President? When will you pay attention to the people who elected you?

suzanne said...

AMEN!

whiteycat said...

Perfect, Elizabeth! As they say ... preach it, sister! This is a wonderful statement of what is in our country right now. Your statement puts this in far better terms than anything I could hope to express.

Lisa Fox said...

One of your finest, Elizabeth. And you articulate the frustration I'm feeling about our President.

Bex said...

Amen, sister. I will add my prayers to yours and I hope lots of others on this thread.

Jim Meredith said...

Be bold. Come up with a plan to build, fix, educate. To not only balance the budget but pay off the debt over 30 years. And tell the people what it will take to make it law. Hint: that may be a Democratic Congress. If you happen to win without it, it will be just like "losing".
Nothing would do more to stimulate business confidence. Wars would have to be ended. Eficiencies enacted. Revenues brought up to historic levels.
Change we can believe in.

rick allen said...

"Are you kidding me? You are the President of The United States of America!"

Of course he is. The head of one of the three branches of the government.

We the people elected a Republican House in 2010. Not me, not you, but the majority. The House controls the purse strings. The president has had to contend with that.

And from what I have read it is pretty clear that we Democrats lost the House because so many of the people who turned out for Obama in 2008 didn't bother with the off-year elections. Turn-out made the difference, who turned out. And we've had the Republicans irresponsibly playing chicken with the economy ever since, and for the forseeable future.

For the good of the country, Obama had to hold his nose and begin his term saving those who probably despise him the most: the banks, the insurance companies, the auto manufacturers, the brokerage houses and other profiteers.

I don't say don't criticise him. But when we get past the silly season and there is an actual presidential race, there is going to have to be work, and enthusiasm, for an incumbant who, for all his faults, will be a hundred times better than the best the Republicans can put up against him. And he might just lose, if those whom the late, lamented Molly Ivans used to call the "kamikazi liberals" sit it out.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Mimi _ I read that, too. I was already over him after I learned that he had capitulated to the Tea Baggers. Again. Honest to Pete!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Suzanne

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Whiteycat - I think I'm "channeling" lots of people

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Lisa

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Bex - This is the time for him to say, "Enough is enough". He's already kicked off his campaign. What else has he got to lose?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Jim - AMEN!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Rick - Actually, we have the majority in the Senate and in the POTUS. Why he doesn't take THAT advantage at every turn is beyond me.

JCF said...

I keep wondering what would happen if Obama treated Congress like LBJ did: twisting arms off. Perhaps it's just too different a time; I don't know...

I'm praying for him, though. Especially he focuses on employment . . . so *I* can find a job! :-0

susankay said...

Majority in the Senate no longer means anything given the way the 60 vote thing now works. So it appears that the majority of voters no longer have control.

Obama apparently foolishly beilieved that being decent was appropriate. It seems that doesn't work. So, do you become indecent or concede? it seems that is the question.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

JCF - I'm praying you find a job, too.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Susankay - Doing the right thing has always been the decent thing to do.

Turtle Woman said...

Hey folks, I hate to rub it in, but while the liberals were all drinking the Obama hope cool aid, I was a solid supporter of the widely more experienced Hilary Clinton. Just comparing the resumes of both candidates should have been the warning bell.

The truth of the matter is, women, who are a little larger electorate than men at this time, missed the chance of a lifetime. An inexperienced vacilating man was still more attractive than the woman who knew exactly how to fight hard against the religious right and fundamentalist republicans.

And I won't tire of saying over and over again... I TOLD YOU SO!

Brother David said...

Amen Madre, Amen.

From afar he is such a disappointment. I was in the US last week when he did this and I just could not believe that he kowtowed to that jerk!

He is such a disappointment.