Wednesday, June 10, 2009

President Obama, Please Listen to the Progressives...

We Expect A Lot!

I worked for the Obama Presidential campaign in Chicago. I believed that Barack had a new vision for this country. I supported his message of hope and inclusion. I valued his sincerity and down to earth style. I was thrilled and elated when he won the election.

Even though Barack Obama has only been President for a short time, some of his policies and decisions have been disappointing and disturbing to progressives. The following articles highlight several areas of concern.

Changing Obama's Mindset
By Howard Zinn, The Progressive, May 2009

We are citizens, and Obama is a politician. You might not like that word. But the fact is he’s a politician. He’s other things, too—he’s a very sensitive and intelligent and thoughtful and promising person. But he’s a politician.

If you’re a citizen, you have to know the difference between them and you—the difference between what they have to do and what you have to do. And there are things they don’t have to do, if you make it clear to them they don’t have to do it.

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Hold Your Applause
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig, June 8

Did they play Barack Obama’s speech to the Muslim world in the prison corridors of Abu Ghraib, Bagram air base, Guantanamo or the dozens of secret sites where we hold thousands of Muslims around the world? Did it echo off the walls of the crowded morgues filled with the mutilated bodies of the Muslim dead in Baghdad or Kabul? Was it broadcast from the tops of minarets in the villages and towns decimated by U.S. iron fragmentation bombs? Was it heard in the squalid refugee camps of Gaza, where 1.5 million Palestinians live in the world’s largest ghetto?

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...the Future of Progressive Activism
By Jane Hamsher, Firedoglake, June 4
But Obama does bear some responsibility for the current state of affairs. The administration has consistently moved to distance itself from progressive leadership, refusing to even meet with the Progressive Caucus until recently. They have also consciously corralled progressive organizations and sought to strictly controlled their messaging. Media Matters and the Center for American Progress may have been important voices in the progressive movement at one time, but they're little more than arms of the White House now playing a zero sum game with Republicans who really don't matter. When Democrats control both Congress and the White House, nobody needs the GOP's help to pass legislation.

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Progressive Divided? Not All Back Obama Policies
By Jennifer Skalka, Common Dreams, June 2
They might have the WH and Congress, but progressives - gathered this week for a four-day conference billed as "America's Future Now!" - aren't universally pleased with the Obama administration.

As a coalition of liberal groups announced their union today behind an unprecedented $82M grassroots and advertising campaign to push for health care reform, some consternation remains in the Democratic base about if Pres. Obama is pursuing a sweeping enough package. Others expressed dismay with his decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan.

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As Howard Zinn states in his article, Changing Obama's Mindset:
...we must not be swept away into an unthinking and unquestioning acceptance of what Obama does. Our job is not to give him a blank check or simply be cheerleaders...Some people might say, “Well, what do you expect?” And the answer is that we expect a lot.

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