Continuing on from yesterday's post... this was going to be illustrated, but I've decided against that choice - it is really just distraction from what I want to say.
Okay, so here's the thing. I'm not an Obama guy. I voted for him last time, which I think (just off the top of my head) is the first time I ever voted for the winning candidate. But while the Obama administration has done a number of good things, there are a number of missteps and mistakes that are galling.
Obama may tout his first day in office signing of the Lilly Ledbetter act, but it was passed by Congress before he took office and really doesn't do anything to make certain that women receive pay equal to men in the same job. What it does do is extend the period of time in which women have the right to sue over such a situation. Provided they can find out about it. Then again, guys going for a job don't necessarily get paid the same starting salary as the guy before them either. Companies expect to hire cheaper. They expect the applicant to name a salary range, but they want to get by without mentioning what they are offering. The potential employee is at a disadvantage - the employer controls the information to keep an upper hand. Why not just do away with such nonsense and state upfront the salary range the employer expects to pay for the job without regard to sex, race & etc?
Obama did not close the facility at Guantanamo Bay as promised. Its use as a torture prison by the Bush administration, along with the policies exemplified by it, further sullied the reputation of this country. It is a symbol of what went wrong, of America itself gone wrong, and it needs to be closed and dismantled or burned to the ground - Publicly - for everyone to see. The terrorists held there have no rights. This country was based on having equal civil rights. It may seem odd to give such guarantees of treatment to those who wish to kill us but we need to do it - we need to live by our ideals - they apply to everyone, not an anointed few. These were the ideals for which we stood, and for which we let ourselves, our neighbors, and our children die in wars foreign and domestic. They mean something, dammit.
The Obama administration had majorities in both houses but was unable to pass a decent Health Care bill. The administration settled for a bastardized piece of legislation that will prove a boon to the insurance companies which helped create the problems we have with our healthcare system in the first place. They say it's a decent first step. Yeah, sure. This situation will not be resolved until part of the expense of healthcare is removed from the employer, who offers a lesser salary in order to pay it. Healthcare should not be tied to one's job. Certainly, in my low wage case, I paid a larger weekly sum for healthcare than the contribution required of my employer. Just like most other people I know, my portion, with its sizable deduction, left me unable to afford to use my coverage to go see a doctor or to purchase many of the medications I had been taking before I took that low wage job out of necessity. My weekly deduction would have served me better if it had been pooled into universal coverage. The Republicans claim that such a move would financially destroy the country, yet it hasn't destroyed all the other countries which adopted such a system as noted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in the post World War II environment. (The United States has never signed that portion of the Declaration.) European countries afforded it while rebuilding after the destruction of war.
At the time of Obama's inauguration, the Republicans said upfront that they intended to stonewall his administration's legislation, and to do everything they could to make certain that he failed the country and become a one term president. And they delivered on their promise. They don't care about our lives. Yet Obama has never publicly taken them on, never used what was once called the "bully pulpit" to hoist the other rich bastards on their own petard. He should have used this situation to campaign, and lent the support of his person and office to Democrats, Independents, and Republicans willing to compromise who are running for the House and Congress. We don't need a passive aggressive President. We need a fighter, and a Leader.
I could go on, and I was prepared to, but there really isn't much point in it. People seem to think that Obama is some kind of populist President. He is not. Most people who think this do so because the republicans and their o&o (owned and operated) media told them so. It is uncritical acceptance of an untruth as truth. He didn't start the bank bailouts, but he did administer them, and created and oversaw others. It should be noted that the work he did with the automotive industry was not a bailout, it was a bridge loan. The bailouts were probably necessary, and followed the system set up in the eerily similar Swedish banking crisis of 1991 brought on by the collapse of their housing/real estate markets engineered by speculators. The important thing here is that the Banks got bailed out. The mortgage companies got bailed out. The people did not. Most of the people who owned real estate were middle class. Obama, in his original campaign, talked a lot about the middle class. Too bad he didn't do much about it. In those campaigns, he did not talk about the poor. He barely mentioned the poor this time around. No one talks about the poor anymore except the poor. And Bernie Sanders. Under Obama, Wall Street came back and is enjoying record profits. Which means that the rich, and the corporations, oil companies, and etc. are doing very, very well. The big companies get to take out big loans through the non-government bank called the Federal Reserve - loans backed by the government using our taxes - at 0% interest. When did we the people who pay the bills get that kind of service? The money the people lost (including pensions and retirement savings) in the banking crisis just "disappeared". That is mostly fiction. It was stolen. We were mugged, just not in a dark alley. Mr. Obama has continued many of the polices that created this situation, just as he has continued Guantanamo Bay, the onerous Homeland Security laws and etc. Do you really think that the financial crisis that came close to destroying us just happened? Do you think that Banks didn't learn anything from the Great Depression? Or the similar situation in Sweden in 1991 that was resolved by government bailouts? This crisis was less an accident than a managed event.
And the really sad thing is that none of this is new. It is a cycle that has repeated many, many times - and not just in the United States. This is the way things work. We pay taxes for services - most services are local - water, sewer, streets cleaned, etc. The larger share of taxes go to the government - for what? Only a small pittance goes to the arts, to education, to parks & etc. We are never asked how, or on what, we want our taxes spent. Why not healthcare? One thing I always adored about my country is that our forefathers chose the name United States. The initials read "us". It hasn't ever really been all of "us" now, has it? The rich and super rich are the 1%, the 5% or whatever. We outnumber them. We pay them to take care of things, but all they really do is take. It is time we demand more. Not request. Demand. Today is Guy Fawkes day. It used to be common to burn effigies of the disliked ruling classes on this day. We need to do more than burn effigies.
So why vote, and why vote for Obama? Because if you vote for the Republican candidate, things will get worse. Much worse. The republicans will use religion and morals (which they themselves do not follow) to make our lives completely miserable. The real reason they do this is to keep us busy trying to survive, and to distract us from the other things they are doing, like stealing everything they can. I don't know about you, but with my meager income, I pay taxes. Money is taken out of my check. The government uses it without paying interest. I get a portion of it back as a refund - but by no means do I get the full amount back. Yet the Republican candidate states that 47% of the people of this country simply drain off the treasury, meaning the lesser than working men and women amount they put into the kitty. We work. We pay taxes. They stole our money, and they go unpunished. In voting for a President in this country, what you are really doing is voting for a philosophy. Do we the people want an almost illusory chance to move up the economic ladder, a chance to have a little trickle down to help our lives (acquired after the riots of the past), and a few paltry civil rights to attempt to live our lives with a modicum of dignity; or do we want to become serfs to the ruling classes which own the majority shares of the corporations in one giant company town? That's the choice we really have.