Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Are you satisfied with President Obama?

Before I begin, let me say that I voted for Barack Obama for both of his terms.  I believed his message of hope and change.  And he started off really well, with the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the initial pullout of our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, and the bailout of the automobile industry with the requirement of fiull payback before the executives could get their bonuses. 

The Affordable Care Act was at first a good start, but came to represent a sellout to the insurance industry rather than a real reform of American health care. Yes, it has it's good points, like the end of pre-existing condition clauses in insurance policies for example, and the millions more people who can get insurance.  But it's not enough, and will never be enough as long as corporate interests are served before the needs of We the People.  He missed the boat on this, which should have been single payer like the rest of the civilized world.  But that can be written off as the need to compromise with the Republicans in Congress in order to get anything passed on that issue.

In all honesty, I bagan wondering about his commitment to that hope and change when, after his first year in office he kept seeking compromise in spite of the fact that Congress kept refusing.  And of course there was his turnaround of the commitment to get our troops out of the Middle East as well as the expansion of actions that have proven counterproductive to peace and stability in the region, like Syria and Libya, pushed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  That expansion has had the effect of increasing the role and influence of ISIS/ISIL by creating power vacuums that the terrorist organisation has been only too willing to fill:

Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ and a Dictator’s Fall

How ISIS Spread in the Middle East

  Yet I still supported him through most of his two terms.

What started the change in my thinking was when, against all legal precedent, he ordered the assassination of an American citizen by drone a couple years ago.  No arrest, no filing of charges, no conviction or sentence in any court of law.  Then I began looking back at his record, but in spite of his courting corporate support over the people in general, I still supported him. 

That support was enhanced a bit by his rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline for the reasons he stated:
Citing Climate Change, Obama Rejects Construction of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

Then came his relative silence on DAPL.  He said next to nothing about the peaceful protesters of that pipeline being abused by law enforcement and private (corporate) security forces, and did absolutely nothing.  True, the Army Corps of Engineers rescinded (temporarily!) consent for the construction, but it's unclear whether this was at President Obama's direction or if the Corps did this on their own in response to the validity of the reasons for the protest.
And nothing is being done about Energy Transfer Partners' refusal to accept changes in the pipeline's route in order to protect the environment from catastrophic damage.  In fact they have a record of causing such damage:

Iowa's pipeline safety record spotty

And let's not forget the lackluster economic "improvements" which, although generally better than the depression we were headed for, is still in a rececssion, with many people who used to earn a decent, even upper middle class level, paycheck, who are now stuck in lower-wage, and even minimum wage, jobs, and more low=paying jobs being created to replace the higher-paying ones that have been lost:

Recovery Has Created Far More Low-Wage Jobs Than Better-Paid Ones

All of that being said, if we were to do it all over again, I would still have supported Obama's candidacies, but I would also have urged people to hold his feet to the fire on his campaign promises.  He was, in fact, the best person for the job in comparison to his campaign opponents in both 2008 and 2012.

© 2016 by Don Rice Jr.

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