President Barack Obama is a calm and resilient leader who raises America up at home and abroad. Obama’s election is historic as the first African American president. An important and for many, incredibly meaningful milestone. True to his promise, Obama has led America in a socially progressive way. I believe his election has been regenerative for America, despite the political division witnessed during his term. Some might find regenerative hard to believe with so much noise from the right which has been chronically offended by his White House presence. Yet, that is just the point, it has brought race into a more open discussion.
Obama has been successful by any measure and it’s not surprising given his morals, intelligence and broad competence — from Commander in Chief, witness the capture of Osama bin Laden, to Comedian in Chief — witness his gig at Saturday’s Correspondents’ Dinner. Obama started his Presidency by gracefully shouldering the burden of President George W. Bush’ economic, foreign-policy and middle east disasters, then moved on to steady economic growth and deficit reduction. Throughout he managed homeland security, reformed health insurance and counter-attacked terrorism with steely resolve and common sense. All of this with an abiding faith in America while carrying the GOP elephant on his back and dodging the rocks it threw in his path.
To digress for a moment, have you seen the two new Eagles born in Washington D.C. this year? I have been watching them grow since birth several weeks ago at this link. They grow fast and are pretty big already. Marvellous creatures, and great symbols for America. They were just recently named Freedom and Liberty. Seems right. I think the Eagle is symbolic of Obama’s presidency. Steely-eyed, high-flying — striking surgically at opportunity and enemy alike. The birth of these two eagles is perhaps a good metaphor for the beginning of a new liberal era. Still in the nest, a bit wobbly on the feet, yet soon ready to fly high. Just as this liberal nation too, is ready to rise.
Hope they say, springs eternal and certainly Obama’s hope remains and his agenda of change is underway. The work so far can be the start of a liberal movement in America. I hope it is. However, much needs to be done. Beating the GOP nominee, likely to be Mr. Donald Trump, is not even half of it. Democrats must unite and focus on winning Congress to get that elephant off the President’s back and the rocks out of her way. While securing majorities in both chambers is an improbable path… getting here was led by an improbable man and the path forward is through an improbable woman President for America.
Now, for just a moment, can you imagine how the noisy offended right will feel and behave when there is a woman in charge! A thoughtful, intelligent and qualified one! Hillary Rodham Clinton; activist, lawyer, First Lady, Secretary of State, Mother, Grandmother etc.? Hillary understands the political picture and stands firmly on the platform Obama built [and yes he really did build that]. She is determined and well-positioned to break the glass ceiling and bring formidable competence to further raise America up. She is also well positioned to help deliver Congressional seats. She has history but she is not a mystery – fabricated scandals conjured and nurtured by the right have no traction.
I think for progressives, Hillary’s election is critical right here, right now. It is time for Americans to play the woman card: a President Hillary. She will lead an emotionally smarter, and I think “kinder, gentler, nation” the kind of which President George H.W. Bush once spoke and would be proud. A more civil, respectful and just society. One that breaks down walls and opens communication; builds understanding and tolerance. One that recognizes strength in diversity. Yet not suddenly some weak “wimpy” one that will let the terrorists in or something stupid like that.
With Hillary, the nation further rises toward that “more perfect union” that Obama often speaks about. While the likes of Mr. Trump will sink into his man cave to play with his “man card”, nurse a childish ego and rationalize an imaginary personal perfection. Trump is to my mind the epitome of the worst of Obama’s detractors inside and outside the GOP and Tea Party. In fact, it seems Trump is one of the leaders. We can expect him to be a sore loser — even more bellicose and venomous than we have seen so far; more relentless at spewing misogyny, racism and division. Hoping to incite more violence and riots. Progressives must work hard though to make sure he loses.
Hillary’s election is not a given and won’t be easy. Also, the Presidency is a necessary yet not sufficient condition for driving progress. A liberal nation rising is not some “Karl Rove-ian” pipe dream of having a Republican controlled nation forever. It is not hubris. With Trump as the GOP nominee, it is possible and Election 2016 is an opportunity that might yield strong Congressional gains.
There are so many issues to fight for and progressives must fight for them, not about them. Are you listening Bernie Sanders and followers? Everyone needs to get on the proverbial bus and there is only one driver’s seat.
- Education — at all levels. Quality education with access for all. This is as much a global competitiveness issue as it is a policy for equal access.
- Social policy — voting rights and women’s rights and more. See Bernie’s website for all these issues and Hillary’s for all the answers. The backward drift must be shifted to forward forever.
- Gun sense — People are dying by the tens of thousands every year. Hillary is not in the gun lobby’s pocket on this, and she has the courage to make this a political issue and to seek action now. I just love that about her. The issue is a microcosm of American social challenges. It is also reflective of incredibly poor collective gun management in America and a leading example of some of the worst in political corruption by lobbyists and special interests. It involves “gun enthusiasts” crying about the Second Amendment and aided and abetted by a politicized Supreme Court, missing and badly enforced laws, senseless freedom of gun companies from liability, mixed with mental illness, porous state borders and blocked efforts at even minimal gun safety. Mixed into this is racism and improper use of force by police. Yikes.
- Obamacare — needs a full embrace across all states and further improvement over time. Replacing it is not a practical option at present, whether from a right or left wing perspective.
- Immigration — America must deal with many many millions of “illegal” immigrants resident in America. A sensible structured way to formally come out of the shadows is needed. Sending everyone back is unworkable; many have been here for years and have children born here. Leaving them in the shadows for use four yearly as a political football is cruel and leaves them prone to abuse. Policy on new immigrants is also important — there must be no religious tests; only terrorist tests.
- Economic policy — keep up the good work, and mostly, look to break the partisan gridlock by breaking the GOP stranglehold on Congress. Where possible, try to help the rest of the world regain its footing to drive stronger U.S. growth too. Open borders and well-managed trade is important.
- Foreign policy — build on the Obama doctrine. It is actually brilliant in its simplicity and acceptance of modern reality. America needs to leverage its blood and treasure smartly to protect and influence the world in light of American interests. The right tools at the right time — sabre rattling, sanctions, negotiations and treaties where morally and practically sensible, and finally physical intervention. With the latter, it should be geared to the [true] fact situation and leverage U.S. forces through coalitions. This means building foreign relations and staying out of nation building.
- Environmental policy — carry on with the work being done. America should be way out front, leading this issue given the urgency of the matter to the planet and to human existence. As leader of the free world, this is a global opportunity to lead the development of new strategies and technologies.
- Wealth concentration — Productivity gains driven by automation, computers and robots will continue to drive the need for human input through the floor. This is going to be a perennial challenge and needs progressive policies. This includes smarter taxation, higher minimum wage, and more financial and training support as people transition between jobs.
If you want to see a liberal nation rising it is time for progressives to join together and for all Americans to stand up and get your votes counted!