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Politics: State of the Union – No Jobs No Justice

January 26, 2010

The President will speak to the nation in the annual State of the Union address this Wednesday, having completed his first year in office. All I can imagine is that the President will most probably be very relieved when that speech is over.

The pressing topics of public interest: the economy and jobs, war, health care, along with terrorism versus the war on terror are all big problems politically and realistically. But you see, in Washington they see things from a political perspective which is very problematic for you and I (a/k/a Joe and Jane Q. Public).

Politically, it’s perfectly okay to keep saying, “We saved the country from another Great Depression.” That may well be a true statement for we will never really know. Joe Q. Public has lost his job, his home and is now actually living in the Great Depression!

Politically, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been justified. Some are now appeased by the prospect of the wars drawing to an organized conclusion in 18 months. But to Jane Q. Public, who has lost a friend or family member in the fighting, there is no clear or discernable victory to be celebrated. More needless deaths continue to be laid at our feet.

As far as health care is concerned in the political, most anything could be passed as a health care reform bill and viewed as a positive. Changes to Social Security and Medicare may initially pass through the House and Senate as a modest health care bill. This reform may someday morph into a robust achievement in health care. To those of you with no health care today, the reality of this fact may be the cause of significant suffering in your lives for years to come. Politically, it’s great to keep talking about who did and did not keep the country safe. Still, it is Joe Q. Public who remains at risk. I’m relying on memory here, but since 911, how many politicians have been victims in terror attacks? Uh huh . . . I thought so.

One of the major problems here is that both the Washington elite and the mainstream media are all drinking the same Kool-Aid. The politicians live pretty well in Washington and so do their “big time” media groupies. They are embedded in the “who’s who” of the nation’s capitol while breathing the same rarified air. They are constantly wined, dined and pampered because they are part of this nation’s political machine. This political machine also has a grand social scene that doesn’t compare even to Hollywood.

Whether you want a vote in the House or the Senate, an article published, radio or TV time to push your position or money for your next campaign, the apparatus is in place. All of the temptations and influences required to tempt and sway votes are in place. Washington is not about Joe and Jane Q. Public. Washington is exclusively about power, influence, money while keeping your seat warm and surviving as many terms in the lush life as possible. That’s it . . . That’s all there is.

Our leadership in Washington is so concerned with staying in their veritable paradise that they have no interest in risking their lifestyles or understanding ours! They exist in a different social sub-set of elitism and privilege that is intoxicating and all consuming. So there is no longer any point trying to figure out why the Obama Administration is struggling. More importantly, they don’t even know they are struggling.

Yep, I think the President is drinking the Kool-Aid too. They hear us saying that things are bad, but from where they sit, the concept and definition of bad does not register or compute. That is the only plausible explanation, for by now the President would have done something daring. He would have done something that made a bold statement of executive leadership and without regard for political ramifications.

This dismal economic situation was not caused by the President, but the President is stuck with it. Now he has a decision to make. He has got to stop playing politics and cut ties with big business or the people are going to cut ties with him.

I, like most people in this country (if the polls are to be believed), really like the President (I really do!). I hope that he may soon find a reason or motivation to re-calibrate himself both politically and morally. My concerns with the President began early on. I believe he damaged his personal credibility and that of his administration when he failed to spearhead investigations into the many scandals that plagued the Bush Administration. He intentionally took the moral low road! I believe he did this for political reasons, thinking that this might form the basis for a cooperative relationship with his Republican rivals going forward. He was wrong! So now, he has made himself appear to be culpable in covering up potential wrongdoing . Secondly, even more importantly, he ended up looking like a chump or a fool. Why? The Republicans have resisted him at historic levels on virtually every initiative he has put forth.

Once again Joe and Jane Q. Public were screwed by political gridlock. We did not even get the satisfaction of knowing that the “Bush Administration from Hell” might be held even minimally or symbolically accountable. President Obama chose politics, while asking us to trust him and just suck it up. All this, along with the economy, the wars, unemployment, blah, blah, blah.  Now comes the public realization that the President can’t make it better because he does not know how to make it better or doesn’t have the influence. My slogan for summing up his legacy at this point is: “No Jobs, No Justice”.

The President has to do something bold to take some of the financial pressure off of struggling middle class America. He did not deliver health care relief as promised. He has not give middle class America adequate protection from mortgage foreclosure. He has not given them any significant tax relief. He has not held anyone accountable for economic horrors that were perpetrated against millions of hardworking Americans.

I totally get that the Lilly Ledbetter Act guarantees equal pay for women, a good thing. Bravo! But what about doing something about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. How hard could that be when you’re Commander in Chief?

It’s great to sign an Executive Order to close Guantanamo Bay. That decision has no weight when you don’t have the political wherewithal to make it happen because the opposition rhetoric is causing a political panic. It’s great that legislation to reign in Wall Street is being considered. Unless the fraud and conspiracies are appropriately dealt with, the blood sucker culture on Wall Street will only continue.

I could go on and on, but the point is that there is not much good news where the State of the Union is concerned. There is no energy independence, no green jobs and no change I can believe in. Even worse, there is no indication that these things may be forthcoming.

In truth, the President’s political future is bright. This must be what our President is thinking. I really do get it politically. By the time the 2012 elections start rolling around, the wars (by design) will be winding down. Guantanamo Bay will be closed. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will have been struck down. Same sex marriage will have been upheld by the Supreme Court, I would guess. If any measure of a health care bill is in place, the first four years will have been a very significant success unless you’re Joe or Jane Q. Public.

Why? The economy and unemployment are unlikely to recover significantly (certainly not fully) by then. This is not a truth that anyone wants to tell us. Yes, in 2-3 years the President may have much to tout during his re-election campaign. For while the nation starves and struggles, he will be very lucky if he succeeds in a bid for re-election.

Joe and Jane Q. Public are not counting political points . . . they are counting pennies. That, my friends, is the only thing the American people are talking about because that is . . . the state of the union.

Leon A. Walker

One Comment leave one →
  1. Michael Byerley permalink
    June 16, 2010 12:58 pm

    Leon has a very unique way of allowing the reading to see the bigger picture,while encouraging the reader to give thought to an idea from a different perspective.It is hard to place blame on just one person or administration,when Americans are desperately looking for that one beacon of hope.I believe that we have lost sight of who is the government.WE the people are the government and WE are the ones who place our trust in the politicians.We have allowed our politicians to acquire their level of comfort, while the people struggle to survive. We the people are the only ones that can change this attitude within our government. We have to demand change and be much more involved with our political process. We cannot sit by and let things happen and then complain when something doesn’t go our way. I believe that we have forgotten that our politicians work for us, and that we need to make sure that they follow through.

    Great observation. The problem is that Americans have busied themselves in financial struggle grounded in fear instead of confronting lawmakers. The Constitution allows for rebellion against those that continue to entertain destruction and enslavement of the nation. ~ E.M.

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