Yes We Can, We Did, and Now Obama's Second Term Is Our Responsibility
Yes We Can, We Did, and Now Obama's Second Term Is Our Responsibility
By Robert Scheer / commondreams.org

Yes, election night was a heck of a party and it’s great that the really bad guys lost. Karl Rove and his reactionary ilk were defeated by a new American majority that is younger, more tolerant, rainbow colored and multilingual and one in which women now trump the depressing ignorance of so many older white men. But morning in America already feels too much like a hangover. The house is still a wreck, the family is dysfunctional and there are enormous bills to pay that are not about to go away.

Supporters cheer at the end of President Barack Obama’s remarks during an election night party in Chicago. All of us suddenly sobered folks, who voted for Barack Obama because the alternative was so horridly wrong, have got to accept the moral implications of that choice. We won but at what cost? Fool me once, shame on Obama, but fool me twice and I’m the one responsible. That goes for his promises to right the economy by leveling the playing field as well as to end what Obama termed in his victory speech “a decade of war.”

It is now our fingers on the video game buttons that order the drones to kill innocent civilians, and we bear responsibility if the president maintains the Guantanamo gulag and continues to vilify Bradley Manning and Julian Assange for confronting America with its war crimes. Will he make good on his promise to hold the line on the incessant demands of the congressional defense contractor caucus or will he find yet another “good war”?

What about our expectation that Obama will be more vigilant than his vulture capitalist opponent in reining in the greed of the Wall Street crowd that has caused so much economic turmoil? The good news is that Obama, and his party, are far less beholden to the titans of the financial industry than they were the first time around. His own funding from top Wall Street firms that favored him in 2008 was way down, and across the country voters rejected the deregulation and lower tax on high roller income that the finance industry thought it was buying for its more than $400 million in campaign contributions.

“Wall Street Took a Beating at the Polls,” ran the headline in The Wall Street Journal. Referring to what he bemoaned as “Tuesday’s multiple disappointments,” columnist David Weidner added, “not the least of which is the defeat of Mitt Romney, a former private-equity executive who promised to cut or at least review financial regulation while offering more tax breaks for investors. Mr. Romney was perhaps the best hope for Wall Street this fall. He was one of their own, so tantalizingly close to the biggest trading floor of all.”

Parse the cynicism of that sentence, with its image of representative democracy as a frantic for-profit trading pit and you get what crony capitalism is all about. They thought the fix was in on bribing a compliant Congress and instead the two biggest recipients of Wall Street largess went down to defeat. In Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, the single most knowledgeable and effective exponent of consumer protection from financial industry scams, soundly beat Sen. Scott Brown, a champion of financial deregulation. The second main Wall Street target, Sherrod Brown, the Democratic senator from Ohio who sponsored legislation that would break up the too big to fail banks, also won decisively, defeating banker-backed Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.

Obama didn’t go as far as the Ohio senator and Harvard law professor Warren wanted but even the much more timid steps toward financial industry accountability that the president endorsed met fierce resistance from members of the Wall Street crowd. Hopefully he will finally get the message that their unfettered greed is the problem and hardly the solution. That’s what it took for Franklin Roosevelt to become the true champion of the commonweal in his second term and it could salvage the historic legacy of this president as well.

Will the president now replace Timothy Geithner, the big bank toady, with a Treasury secretary that Elizabeth Warren, the senator for the 99 percent, can enthusiastically support? How about Sheila Bair for that post? The former chair of the FDIC has been a highly skilled guardian of the public interest with the knowledge base and social conscience required to stand up to the banking lobby and its allies in the Federal Reserve.

The 2012 election represents a profound mandate for change because it was a startling manifestation of the power as well as the presence of the long neglected “other” that is the face of the new America. That is the America that continued to stick with Obama, despite reservations over his actual governance, because the alternative was reactionary in the fullest sense of that word. Theirs is an idealistic trust—indispensable to the survival of our republic—that the president must not be permitted to now squander.

0.0 ·
0
What's Next
Trending Today
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 33,236 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Depression Is a Disease of Civilization: Hunter-Gatherers Hold the Key to the Cure
Sara Burrows · 21,734 views today · Depression is a global epidemic. It is the main driver behind suicide, which now claims more than a million lives per year worldwide. One in four Americans will suffer from...
Eckhart Tolle: Your Facebook Ego, That's Not Who You Are
2 min · 21,065 views today · “Identification with thoughts and the emotions that go with those thoughts creates a false mind-made sense of self, conditioned by the past: the "little me" and its story. This...
Law Professor's Epic Response to Black Lives Matter Shirt Complaint
Social Design Notes · 18,812 views today · A first year law school student wrote a complaint about her professor having worn a Black Lives Matter T-shirt during class. The professor’s response is priceless. Scans of...
How Prison Labor Is the New American Slavery and Most of Us Unknowingly Support It
Sara Burrows · 17,760 views today · If you buy products or services from any of the 50 companies listed below (and you likely do), you are supporting modern American slavery
How The Elite Stay In Power
5 min · 13,929 views today · In this video we break down in simple terms the only way "those in power" can stay in power. It's not as complex at it may seem. They need us more than we need them.
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into A Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 12,501 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
I Stopped Eating Animals Because of Human Rights
Andy West · 8,069 views today · What does the meat industry do to people’s mental health?
Why Donald Trump Is a Gift to Democracy: No, Seriously. Hear This Out
6 min · 7,469 views today · They say things have to get worse before they get better. Well, here's our inflection point, if we seize it. 
Donald and Hobbes Is Genius
Various · 5,266 views today · Some clever folk have been replacing precocious 6-year-old Calvin, from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, with Donald Trump and the results are, well, take a look...
Dear Democrats: An Open Letter from a Sanders Supporter to Democrats Calling for "Unity". This is What it Looks Like from My Side
unknown Redditor · 5,103 views today · Dear Democrats, As the absurd Trump convention grinds on, somewhere in Philadelphia I imagine there is an army of volunteers inflating one hundred thousand colorful balloons...
Frequently Asked Questions about Scientific Pantheism
Paul Harrison · 4,741 views today · Why do pantheists believe in pantheism? What's the evidence for pantheism? How do you know the universe is worthy of reverence? If I accept pantheism, what difference would it...
A World War Has Begun - Break The Silence
John Pilger · 4,539 views today · I have been filming in the Marshall Islands, which lie north of Australia, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Whenever I tell people where I have been, they ask, "Where is...
“You Can Have Your Weak Nominee If You Wish” – the Sanders Endorsement Backfires on Hillary Clinton, Empowers Sanders in One Masterstroke
Saib Bilaval · 3,763 views today · Ultimately, what the Sanders endorsement has proved is what the candidate was arguing from the beginning – that it was not Sanders and his campaign that was holding Hillary...
I am Not a Label Invented in the 15th Century, Made Up to Divide Us - And Neither Are You
4 min · 3,666 views today · Human Beings Were NOT Meant to Be Labeled! - Prince Ea Want to watch more on this topic? Watch Plutocracy (2015) to see how race has been used to divide us economically. Watch...
Clinton's F-You to Progressives: This Is How Trump Could Become President
John Atcheson · 3,422 views today · Nominating a political clone like Sen. Tim Kaine is exactly the wrong thing to do if you want a higher turnout
RSA ANIMATE: Economics Is for Everyone!
12 min · 3,363 views today · ‘Economics is for everyone’, argues legendary economist Ha-Joon Chang in our latest mind-blowing RSA Animate. This is the video economists don’t want you to see! Chang explains...
Carl Sagan: We Are One Planet
4 min · 3,277 views today · A stirring speech by the legendary cosmologist Carl Sagan, on the evolution of human consciousness. Decades old but still highly applicable today. "More of us flee from war...
Who Are You? This Breathtaking Video Might Change Your Life
2 min · 3,270 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
Recipe for Clinton / Kaine Lemonade
Michael Phillips · 2,598 views today · Hillary Clinton's pick of Tim Kaine for VP may trigger the sea change progressives have been dreaming of and working towards for decades. Please hear me out.
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Yes We Can, We Did, and Now Obama's Second Term Is Our Responsibility