Thursday, January 28, 2010

America Forward

I hate to kick a man when he’s up. The president’s State of the Union speech last night was exhilarating and touching. But…

This is what I was thinking before the speech:
What are they waiting for? Has the White House made all who enter tone deaf? The American people are screaming “jobs!” and the Democrats are only hearing “health care.” The people are imploring, “Talk to me!” and the president is scolding bankers and brokers. Americans are chanting “Now!” and Obama, Axelrod et al still have campaign huzzahs and hoopla ringing in their ears.

And why isn’t Rahm Emanuel screaming… anything?! (I’m listening for “Where’s the exit?”)

Now that I’ve heard the speech, my thoughts are:
If the race is not to the swift, is it to the slow to come around? I can’t see why not.

Clearly, President Obama was late coming out of the gate—so phlegmatically dilatory he had his visionary PACs shaking their heads and chomping at the bit to hedge their bets. That was going into the first turn. As all the front-runners he’s left in the dust know from the gritty taste in their mouths, Barack Obama’s a capital closer.

The real Barack Obama stood up last night. Stood up for the people who cling to their faith in his ability and resolve to make a difference. Stood up to the Party of No, the Supreme Court, and his own recalcitrant party.

Now that he’s spoken out, I know what he’s waiting for. For people to come to their senses. He can talk about listening to people in Elkhart, Indiana or Elyria, Ohio, but I believe he’s waiting for someone like the sobbing woman at an Arkansas town meeting who wants her America back to sober up and figure out what her America is or ever was. And waiting for many more like her.

Barack Obama is waiting, patiently, because Barack Obama is first and foremost, is and always will be what he supremely was, a community organizer. Not to recognize and grasp it is not to understand him. He learned how to bring people together and accomplish the seemingly impossible with little or usually no resources other than his own, namely, his brain, his soul and his remarkably indefatigable will. In Dreams of My Father, he tells of organizing a protest to present the problems and living conditions of people from a poverty- and crime-stricken Chicago slum to a Chicago municipal authority. Lacking faith in a system that had all but abandoned them, only two or three people from the neighborhood showed up to board the bus Obama has arranged, not easily, for the trip to downtown Chicago. Refusing to let it end there, he went around the neighborhood rounding up people, more than enough, to make a good showing. Wednesday night, he wasn’t exaggerating when he said, “I don’t quit.” He doesn’t.

I don’t want my America back, I want my America forward. My belief that my chosen president wants the same thing is restored. In my previous entry, I said, “I still believe in him. I have no choice.” Now I say: choice or otherwise, I believe in him.


  1. he was so powerful just out of the gate though... i miss the US... wish i was there to give a hand...

  2. Cucumber King! It is about jobs. It is jobs that enable not only our financial well-being, but also our pride in ourselves and our pride in our community. And it is about action, and action means pushing community banks to lend to small businesses and using stimulus quickly and efficiently to create job as opposed to filling unemployment coffers. Is it better for the national psyche to pay people to sit at home or pay them to work and be productive?

    Let's see if Obama's bank lending program works or even gets off the ground with any expediency so small businesses, the heart of our economy, will hire new employees.

    I also suggest that the Obama administration publishes more widely and transparently where stimulus monies are being spent and how quickly the funds actually reach the ground to employ people. And don’t tell me that stimulus doesn’t work. It does. Moments ago, fourth quarter GDP was reported to have advanced 5.7% over GDP of Q4 of 2009, beating most economists’ estimates. (Gross Domestic Product measures output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the US.).

    Investing in industry to build high-speed trains, windmills, and solar panels is key for creating jobs and re-building America's industrial leadership role. Is there an independent watchdog that is actively monitoring and measuring how effectively and quickly stimulus monies are being invested in terms of job creation? If so, please tell me who and how?

    As congressmen stall or say no, and bank loans and government stimulus trickle down to citizens at a snails pace in America, Europe and China continue to increase investments in alternative energy industry because they want to be the leaders in this area. Just look at the average alternative energy mutual fund and you will see that American companies only represent about 35% of the fund while European companies represent 50%. Just compare US bank lending with Chinese bank lending. Our Democracy is stumbling over itself, thanks to greedy congressman and lobbyist, and creating gridlock, while Chinese autocrats push through jobs and investment. How ironic!

    I always wondered if a “benevolent dictatorship” is the answer. I believe that it is time for Obama to stop being so benevolent in terms of bipartisanship and create action behind his words. ADS

  3. I waited for that Chris Matthews like tingle up my legs. Lord knows some man ought to be able to provide that. Alas, it was more of the same, "me me me me me" like an opera diva tuning her pipes for the next performance. A few arrogant swipes at the Republicans, the American People, and the Supreme court and he is redeemed? Another "stimulus" cloaked in a veil called jobs. His egomaniacal rants are like a vibrator without batteries: promising stimulus but delivering nothing. Speaking of die hards ( another battery reference if I may) it is amazing how the few die hards still think that they have change they can believe in. Well, why not? After all, he is their annointed.

  4. Hi, Ray,

    And now for a thoughtful comment (unlike my esteemed predecessor).

    I think you're right that Obama is first and foremost an organizer, and therefore, having in mind the health care debacle of the Clinton years, he decided to let the Congress & Senate lead in proposing reform. But, in the end, it did not serve him sufficiently well because instead of letting them lead but campaigning around them to move the ball forward, he stepped too far back to "let them work."

    It's become evident that the Senate, especially on big legislation, cannot be trusted to "close" any deals without spending more money than it collects and holding large states captive to the interests of small ones.

    The time for flights of rhetoric have passed, and the American voting public isn't always that stupid: it really does at times measure politicians by what they accomplish and not merely by what they say. This is one of those times. The president's team just hasn't seemed to figure that out yet.


  5. ADS, re "Cucumber King! It is about jobs."

    I couldn't agree with that opinion more! I intended the entry to be about the crying need for jobs, first and foremost, and somehow got sidetracked. Opinion pieces often take on a life of their own; this one did. Unless events over the week ahead dictate otherwise (an almost bankable possibility these days), my next entry will be about the priority of creating jobs, and why the administration isn't doing what in my eyes is the obvious. Thanks for the prompt.

  6. "I don’t want my America back, I want my America forward."


    Also, I found it interesting to study what the GOP actually "stood" for these days. I am dismayed to report "not that much".

    Also, please tell me you caught Obama's follow-up speech today: Obama to GOP: Let's Work Together

  7. have you seen this ray? q&a with republican conference

  8. I thought your blog about the State of the Union speech was excellent, as always, and I can't wait to see what you say about jobs and the Republican forum, if you choose to cover that really outstanding experience.

    Constant Reader

  9. i will keep this short and sweet... i worked on his campaign - i was proud to fight for him, even prouder when he won... his state of the union speech and his follow-up speech to the GOP, the next day, reminded me why i dropped everything to campaign for him a little over a year ago...

  10. Attention Ladies and Gentlemen, next plane for Jonestown is leaving In Novemeber. Don't forget the Hale Bopp sneakers and kool-aid.

  11. Obama... he's the best.