Yes We Can't

It’s probably no surprise for me to confess to being very disappointed with Barack Obama. He deserved a few months to adjust to the job and to show us his “chops,” so I dismissed the early red flags as part of the learning curve or as his attempt to unify the country by appealing to conservative voters. I’m beginning to fear that Obama is a closet conservative, or at least is more concerned about winning the support of conservatives than he is in championing the progressive agenda that got him elected. This is the behavior of a garden variety politician–not a leader–and we sincerely hoped and believed we were electing a leader. His refusal to hold the Bush administration accountable despite the clear will of the people that the truth about what was done in our name be made public, the egregiously discriminatory and insultingly ignorant anti-gay language of his Justice Dept’s recent filing in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act, his refusal to reverse policies that interfere with transparency in government.  All of these sound like what we would expect from a Republican administration (except the blatant homophobia in the DOJ filing–I don’t think even most Republicans would have sunk to that level) not an Obama administration.  I voted for the guy because we really do need change, but feared he would end up being just another politician–which so far seems to be the case. I’m not terribly surprised, but I sure am disappointed. I think it is perfectly appropriate and necessary to hold elected officials to the same standard and not to let party BS get in the way of that.  What Bush, et al did was wrong.  It does not suddenly become right because Obama’s doing it and those of us who were the most vocal about the Bush misdeeds need to be the most vocal about Obama’s, as well.

If the past is the best predicter of the future, Obama’s willingness to concede to the conservative point of view to win political patronage bodes very poorly for meaningful health care reform.  As someone who has been uninsured for more than eight years, primarily because private insurers in this country have decided I am not deserving of coverage at any cost based on common, well-controlled medical issues, I can’t even describe my frustration at the current tone of the debate. It is ridiculous to let the people who created the problem–pharmaceutical companies who have manufactured diseases out of conditions that are simply part of the human condition in order to sell overpriced drugs, private insurers who view health as a commodity and discriminate without penalty against the sick and the weak and the American Medical Association which currently represents only about 20% of all practicing physicians because their bias for conservatism and in support of industry is anathema to most professionals actually interested in healing–have the strongest voices in crafting a ‘solution.’  As someone who has felt pretty much voiceless, invisible and at the mercy of a medical system that rewards the healthy and wealthy and treats the sick–the people the system is designed to serve–as cultural pariahs, I am truly feeling a sense of despair at this turn of events. Obama was our only hope. We have no power, no political clout and no access to the corridors of power where the decisions that affect our lives are being made.  This was where hope and change came into play.  You could feel the desperation of the millions who came out to support Obama believing he was their best, their only, hope for a voice in the new America that only works for the rich and the corporatized.  With each new news report about the administration, we are witnessing hope turn to despair. What a waste and what a shame.

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June 2009
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