Dr Biko Agozino
Mon, 29 Nov 2010
Obama's star has not faded at all, contrary to some speculations, it continues to shine bright, but many viewers are deliberately wearing blinkers, and are blinded by hate and anger and cannot see that in reality, we are witnessing one of the most historic presidencies of all time. In two years, Obama has achieved more than most presidents have achieved in four years, despite having to deal with intense opposition, not only from the other party, but also from within his own.
He has passed the biggest health reform act of all time in American history to extend health coverage to millions of Americans, but the Tea Party activists and some so-called Bluedog Democrats campaigned against what they dubbed 'Obama Care'. Well, 70% of Tea Party candidates lost in the recent midterm elections, as well as most of the Bluedog Democrats. The surprising thing is that the Tea Party losers are prancing about claiming victory and the humble Obama was forced to concede that he got a Schellacking. What Schellacking?
Obama promised to end the war in Iraq responsibly, and he is on his way to accomplishing this with over 100,000 US troops removed from harm's way; with the remaining 50,000 scheduled to leave Iraq by August 2011. This is also the time that the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan would commence in earnest. Stanley McKrystal, the military commander in Afghanistan who disagreed his Commander in Chief was wisely fired and replaced. It is an example of the African philosophy of non-violence which Obama exhibited in opposing a war of choice that America was fighting even while he was just a candidate. He went on to win the election by beating the decorated war veteran John McCain who was out of touch with the mood of the electorate.
Obama has lowered taxes for the middle class several times in his two years in office, by reducing the rates of federal tax with-holding from earnings. He has also used the stimulus package to save the American banking system and the car manufacturing industry; saving jobs while also making a profit of over $28 billion dollars on the interests from the loans.
Obama announced a plan to close Guantanamo Bay on day one, but he has been blocked by ideologues who do not want to see suspects tried in civilian courts, and jailed in conventional prisons if convicted. He has given Cuban Americans greater opportunity to remit money to their families in Cuba, and to visit them without undue restriction. He has reached out to Muslims to open dialogues and offer intellectual and moral leadership rather than the threat of force alone. Obama has helped many Americans to save their homes or to buy a home with the $8,000 tax credit to new home buyers, and he has increased the grants to those who want to go to university to improve their skills.
The reason why many Americans are angry with Obama is because he inherited the biggest economic mess since the Great Depression, and many have amnesia of the fact that this mess was created by the Republicans over eight years, turning record surpluses into record deficits by giving huge tax cuts to the richest 2% of the population, and by waging a wasteful war of choice.
Now that Obama has pushed the American family car out from the deep ditch into which the reckless Republicans plunged it, they swagger back and ask to be given the key again. He is right to tell them to get in the passenger seat because it is obvious that, as one West Indian calypsonian once put it, their drivers can't drive!
Many are blaming Obama for trying to reach a compromise with the other party, but he is right to do so. There are liberals in the Republican party just as there are conservative Democrats. His job description says that he is President of the United states of America, and not just for his party, his race, or his friends alone.
Once the unemployment rate is reduced significantly, many Americans would see Obama more for his accomplishments. He might even be able to reduce unemployment further by giving billions of dollars to fund business start-ups for the unemployed.
However, he still needs to deliver a policy success for people of African descent, specifically by endowing the slavery reparations fund, ending capital punishment in America, and ending the war on drugs in the next two years to guarantee that his Presidency would rank among the best ever.
Passing the funding in Congress for the damages won by African American farmers against the department of Agriculture despite calculated racist insults from several Teabaggers in congress is an indication that the Obama presidency will yet deliver more historic achievements for the American people.
An earlier version of this opinion was published in caribbeanicon.com in response to an editorial opinion suggesting the contrary.