(Written by: Trannon Goble)
President Obama looks familiar. He resembles a previous President. No, he doesn’t resemble George Washington or Thomas Jefferson.
It’s not Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Kennedy or LBJ. Did someone say Ronald Reagan? Nah. It’s much more recent. There it’s coming to me … into focus now … yep, there he is … George W. Bush! A third term for Bush? I’ve got to be kidding, right? Unfortunately, I’m not.
I voted for Barack Obama in 2008. I believed in Hope and Change for good reasons – many reasons. By the end of 2011, I made up my mind that I would not make that mistake again.
Candidate Obama promised many things that I believed in. Candidate Obama stood for many things I stand for. Candidate Obama was a lot different than President Obama. Below are a list of reasons why I voted for Obama followed by a list of reasons I will not vote for him again.
5 REASONS I VOTED FOR OBAMA
CIVIL LIBERTIES – It was apparent that Obama thought the Patriot Act had too much power, torture was wrong and his civil liberty rating was higher than any other candidate. He came in with an understanding of the drug war that I essentially agreed with – decriminalization of certain ‘drugs’ and a more health-based approach instead of stupidity (i.e. criminal approach).
He spoke of his view on drugs in 2004, calling for decriminalization of marijuana, and throughout his life and early campaign until sometime in 2007 and 2008 when he changed slightly to push for more health-based approach and sort of backed off on the decriminalization.
Although this bugged me, it was still much better than the Drug War escalation proposed by the Republicans and Clintons. Under the GOP and Democrats since 1937, the War on Drugs escalated along with an increase in crime and imprisonment.
I figured that because Obama had been involved with these substances and witnessed the disproportionate way minorities were treated, he would gradually phase this mess out and for sure legalize medical marijuana – he even said that he would not go after medical marijuana patients. His views were a refreshing and welcome change for the asinine policies of the past 40 years.
He had an idea of what it was like to be discriminated against and what it was like when government or business had too much power. Besides, he was a Constitutional lawyer. Obama was going to be a champion for civil liberties!
FOREIGN POLICY – Since the rest of the world viewed Obama as a much more rational person than Cowboy Bush, and since he promised to take a more humane, diplomatic approach when dealing with foreign nations and enemies, I was thrilled. Finally, a politician who didn’t view the rest of the world as sub-human!
He was born in Hawaii, lived in a foreign nation for a while and was a minority – he understood that plights of people other than white Americans. Besides, he was going end the Iraq war ASAP, shut down Gitmo, stop torture, get Osama and come home. That was the President I wanted.
ENDING LOBBYIST CONTROL – As someone who believes that corporations have too much power in the US and lobbyists are their henchmen, I was sold on Obama’s aggressive approach to ending lobbyist power in Washington.
I was sold on his knowledge and admittance that it existed in the first place, and his anger that it had controlled Washington for too long. I was sold on his commitment to end it.
COMMUNITY ORGANIZER & GRASSROOTS SUPPORT – Although complete idiots like quitter/governor Sarah Palin made fun of Obama for being a community organizer, this was one reason I voted for him. He had experience in working with common folk, building communities and creating coalitions of people to better themselves and their communities.
I thought this was a superb qualification for being an open-minded, hard-working leader. This also tied in with his ability to lead the grassroots coalition to defeat the Clinton machine as well. While the GOP and Clintons were racking up corporate support and money, Obama’s support was coming mostly from people!
A candidate backed by people more than corporate power? This was change I could believe in. I saw it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears. Grassroots candidacy was working and Obama was proof! He came from nowhere and defeated the Clinton machine. Obama was a man of the people!
ASSOCIATIONS- Most people would say that Obama’s associations with Ayers and Wright were reasons that they would not vote for him, but I think two reasons are behind that: 1- They didn’t really understand where Wright was coming from because they just listened to one or two 20 second clips from Fox News. 2- They were opposed to Ayers because he was a ‘terrorist’ in the Sixties. However, Wright & Ayers are two reasons that I voted for Obama.
Let’s take Wright first. Jeremiah Wright pissed off a bunch of people when Fox and other networks put up videos of him cursing the United States. Indeed he did. However, if you happened to be curious enough to track down old audio and video of entire messages by Jeremiah Wright you would see that he was a staunch opponent of American foreign policy and, whether you agree or disagree, his views were in line with those spoken of by the CIA theory of blowback and Ron Paul.
Paul was seen as a nut in 2008, so was Wright. The difference is that Wright was a ‘mad black guy’ and said ‘God-d***’ America instead of God Bless America. In the context he was speaking he said that in the Bible God d***ed nations that terrorized other nations and compared it to our foreign policy for the last half century. I agreed with him. Now was Wright cocky? Yes. Was he a religious nut?
Yes. However he was not a religious nut that wanted to ‘spread’ his belief by gun and tank all over the world,; he used his power and influence to build houses and communities for poor people. I’m ok with that. And I agree with him, Ron Paul and the CIA theory of blowback. They didn’t attack us ‘fer our freedums!’; they attacked us because of our foreign interventions. Period.
In the late 60s and early 70s, the United States was going through some growing pains. Vietnam was in full force and the opposition to the draft and authoritarianism was growing especially on the left. Hippies were dropping out, students were protesting and some people, like Bill Ayers, were taking a radically different approach. Yes, Ayers was involved in violent acts.
No, he never killed anyone. The Weather Underground was wrong about using violent acts, but their philosophy about the U.S. government was something I agreed with. Should Ayers have been jailed for previous acts, that’s not up to me or you; it’s up to the so-called justice system, but I essentially agreed with he and Bernardine Dohrn about U.S. aggression and foreign policy.
Later in life Ayers did not commit acts of violence against property, but instead tried to change America through more peaceful acts. His support of Obama was something I thought may influence Obama to change course when it came down to civil liberties and foreign policy. Was I insane? Maybe.
Now, those are five major reasons I voted for Obama. Below are five major reasons that I will not make the same mistake twice.
5 REASONS I WILL NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA AGAIN
CAPITULATION – When it come to healthcare, Obama capitulated. He didn’t fight for single-payer; he opposed it. He took the public option off the table before negotiations even began. He didn’t even go the opposite route and block grant it to the states or push for a tax deduction.
He pushed a policy that accomplished one or two good things and smacked of corporate control and government intervention. He capitulated on the environment. He capitulated on torture. He capitulated on civil liberties.
He capitulated on taxes. He capitulated on the debt ceiling. Every time a stand-off occurs, it seems the President comes out bold and then shrinks to a tiny infant and submits. He needs to take lessons from LBJ about how to TREAT Congress.
CIVIL LIBERTIES – My hope for change in civil liberties was a joke. Obama has been terrible for civil liberties, perhaps as much as Bush. In fact Obama continued Bush’s policies. He has not shut down Gitmo. He continues to overlook torture. He signed NDAA. He is likely to support SOPA and PIPA.
He renewed the Patriot Act and he escalated the war on drugs – even to the point of going after medical marijuana patients. He is a hypocrite and an evil liar. Period.
ENVIRONMENT – Because of his capitulation, there has been no change in environmental policy enough to matter. He has essentially continued Bush-style environmental policy and it may be worse because of his hypocrisy. He overrode the EPA and went back on ‘drill baby drill’ even after the BP disaster. Oh yeah … and his handling of that? Atrocious.
FOREIGN POLICY – If George Bush looked like a clueless buffoon or a lying hack, Obama hasn’t been much different. Ok, Osama is dead. Ok, we are leaving Iraq. Those are two things that Obama should be applauded for in general circles, but overall he has continued all Bush-era war policies.
He escalated the war in Afghanistan even after Osama had been killed. He, for all intents and purposes, invaded Pakistan and got the CIA involved in Libya. I am just wondering if he will attack Iran before the election based upon some right-wing, hyped propaganda just to look ‘tough’. Like it’s going to matter to them.
BETRAYAL & HYPOCRISY – Obama has essentially done nothing different than George W. Bush – nothing of substantial merit, that is. He campaigned as one person, and he has governed as another person.
Obama had a practical mandate by crushing McCain in the general election and by people’s disgust of George Bush. Instead of running with it when he had a Democratic congress, he tried to play partisanship to those calling him a ‘socialist muslim’, a ‘traitor’, a ‘foreigner’, etc. etc. He tried to compromise or cave in to those people who would hate him no matter what he did. And why?
He had the support of most of the nation to institute the policies he campaigned for. He did not run with his mandate. He did not promote the positions of his base. He turned around and wanted to hold hands with his detractors. What was the purpose of this? They hate him.
They don’t want a pseudo-Republican when they can have a radical sociopath Republican. He is a complete failure and has betrayed his own. He has done nothing but continue Bush’s third term and make his supporters (former supporter here) look like clowns and fools. Thanks, but no thanks, Mr. President. That’s not that CHANGE I believed in.
To me, hope and change is not escalated war, escalated drug war, escalated attacks on civil liberties or a President who has the backbone of a jellyfish. I know between now and November, he will not reverse course and do what he promised to do as a candidate. Change is not a child of hypocrisy and capitulation.
So my fellow Progressives, my fellow Civil Libertarians and fellow Social Liberals, don’t preach to me about how Obama protects labor, women’s rights or isn’t ‘as bad’ as the alternative. I no longer vote that way. For the ‘lesser of two evils’ is still evil. And I refuse to cast my pearls with the swine.