In a videotaped message to the fourth Netroots Nation conference of his administration President Obama had a simple message to Progressive activists that had hoped his election would signal a change in the direction of our country. His message? "Change is hard". Indeed, for a man elected with such soaring "hopes" for "change" by a country that was starved for a leader that would simply fight for the interests of our country as a whole and not the selfish very few, change has been coming very "hard". In fact, we have seen little change at all.
Here is the video Obama sent to supporters at Netroots Nation:
My message to the President is simple. In 2008 we had a huge mandate for change from the whole country. Eight years of the idiocy of Republican rule, six of which saw a Republican Congress give the worst President in American history ever failure he wanted had depleted and demoralized our country. Our people voted for a bold new leader with a bold new vision and the courage to make it come about. We were tired of the reverse-Robin Hood policies that had wrecked our country and our middle-class.
Everywhere we saw the consequences of failed Republican and Corporate Democratic policies. Wages for workers had stagnated while wages for the top 1% skyrocketed. The war on working Americans saw our middle-class jobs being outsourced as the tax burden for those who shipped them overseas decreased. Benefits on what jobs that were left were non-existent and workers seemed to die every month from the disgraceful handling of the regulation of workplace safety.
Our society had become a place where only greed and wealth were rewarded. Honest, hardworking Americans that should have been able to attain the American dream of a middle-class were looked upon with scorn. Unions that protected their rights and allowed them to negotiate in good faith for their labors were weakened and on the brink of destruction. Our country was a divided melting pot of greed and ignorance in which a very few people were allowed to prey on the great unwashed masses who were too enamored by the shiny object to even give a damn about their own families and futures.
Yes, our country was itching for change. People were tired of working harder to live in poverty and watch their children go hungry. Countless tens of millions were without health insurance and one misfortune away from losing everything. Tens of millions more were at the mercy of the greed of insurance companies if misfortune struck them. We had watched in horror as the greed and idiocy of the very few, whose wet dreams had come true for the better part of three decades brought it all crashing down. The American economy, and millions of jobs were destroyed and what happened next??
Americans watched in horror as the politicians in Washington from both parties who were bought and paid for bailed the very folks out that had caused all the problems. Their greed in hording the money to the top had caused the problems but along came the American taxpayer to reward them for bad behavior and essential provide them with no-risk investments after they lost it all. Now, as a result the only folks in America who have recovered from our crashed economy are the very folks who caused it.
Yes, America needed change. Real serious change in the way that business and government operate. Rules that keep the very same bad things from happening again. Unfortunately for our country, and now for Obama's re-election chances that was not what we got. What we got was just more of the same garbage from a different President.
Right away, Democratic "leaders" took single-payer healthcare off the table. Unfortunately too many had been bought and paid for by the insurance lobby, just like Republicans. Because of that, even a public option was killed. Now, despite all the bluster by both sides things have changed little. Americans are still vulnerable to the greed of insurance executives for their healthcare.
Sadly the capitulation continued. Far from addressing wages or outsourcing gutless Democrats refused to fight for working Americans. They would not even consider the Employee Free Choice Act which would end corporate harassment of workers who simply wanted to negotiate in good faith for their labor and restore generations of workplace rights. Hell, when some real Democrats simply tried to raise minimum wage to make up for how much inflation has eroded it the cowards in this Administration and in the Democratic Party leadership left them hanging all alone by themselves.
And through it all what were the major things we "accomplished"? A debt-ceiling deal in which working Americans and the most helpless in our society were told that they would be the only ones to sacrifice for our country's troubles again. Worse yet, the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for the very wealthy which had skyrocketed our debt and shifted all America's wealth to just a very few citizens.
I will not continue. The failures of the last four years are well documented. The sad part is now Republicans will run saying that Obama tried Progressive vision and it failed, when actually President Obama merely extended failed Republican policies that did what they always do. Fail for 99% of us. Sadly, Progressive vision was scrapped from the start and none of our country's problems were addressed.
Which brings me to my message to President Obama. Yes, change is hard but there is something that makes it a lot easier. You must want it. You must believe in it and sometimes you must stand up and make the tough decision that you are going to fight for it. Sometimes there is no compromise and sometimes you must remember who put you where you are, not stab them in the back.
As a Progressive in this country I have learned one thing. The only ones that ever lose anything in any compromise are those of us who believe in Progressive values. The only thing that never gets done are those things that would help all of us who live and work in the trenches every day or those of us who through no fault of our own must depend on others to live. We are not your enemy Mr. President or the enemy of our country. We are it's backbone.
For whatever reason you and the Democratic Party you lead have set us up as the enemy and all you feel is wrong with our country. To us, you have made yourself merely the lesser of two evils. While your evil definately is the lesser, evil is evil. You have offered us no change, and for hundreds of millions of us the hope we once had that you would is a faded memory. Even as I vote, against the Republican Party more than for you I hold no illusions that you share my morals, values, or even care. If you do, I do not believe you have the courage to fight for me or anyone I care about.
Today I saw an email in which you asked me to grade the performance of your campaign. Sadly, your campaign is becoming an extension of your administration and my grade cannot be very high at all. I would just like to say in the time you have left you could do one thing to make all this go away.
Fight. Stand up and fight for what is right for once in this country again. Do no back down. Do not look at Progressives and our vision for this country as something to be ashamed of and hide away, embrace us. Your failures are in spite of us, not because of us. If you want my approval do not settle for being the lesser of two evils, but be the good we have all been waiting for you to be and fight for. Fight for us for once, not the other guys and you will find that change is never that hard if you just believe in it and make it come about. You will find that many of us still want it and will stand behind you if you just stand behind us this time around.