In 2008, I voted for Barack Obama as the last best hope to alter the destructive and decadent path piloted by George W. Bush and his band of thugs and liars. Obama promised change, and heralded a new day in America. He's not only failed to deliver, but, amazingly, seems to be following in the footsteps of his predecessor. Bail out the bigs, and forget about everyone else.
I've long marveled at our miserable health care system. Almost 3o years ago, a friend's father had to sell his home to pay for his deceased wife's medical bill. He moved into his son's basement, where he blew his brains out one Christmas Eve. Years later, I watched Bill Clinton fail to pass a plan because he refused to compromise. Obama, given that, bent back so far it was tough to remember what he, as a candidate, promised. I distinctly recall his proposing to marginally roll back the party the super-rich have been enjoying here since the 80s.
However, when he got the job, he pushed that promise back. Perish forbid the rich should have higher taxes. When he finally got around to health care, he liked the Senate proposal to place a 40% tax on health care plans over 24K a year, a short-sighted measure given the astronomical rises in health costs that occur as a matter of course. Among the many reasons I didn't vote for John McCain was his proposed tax on health insurance. I thought it was an unfair burden on the disappearing middle class--and never imagined the man for whom I voted would endorse such an idea.
Also, it appears a public option, for those who can't afford or prefer not to enrich predatory insurance companies, is dead in the water. A popular blogger I respect told me that without the public option, she'll have to soldier on without health insurance. That's unconscionable, and certainly not what we voted for.
As if that weren't enough, President Obama's appointee for Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, pushed an education program that looked like nothing more than a continuation of the disastrous Bush policies. Never mind the taxes NY State gives the government. If we want Federal aid for our schools, we'll have to compete in the "Race to the Top"--a pro-charter, anti-union, poorly thought out and ultimately counter-productive exercise in closing neighborhood schools and enriching private interests. Forget about what teachers think is right--Bill Gates has other ideas, and a lot more money than all of us.
The "Race to the Top," of course, is based on the programs Arne Duncan carried out in Chicago public schools, the ones that weren't good enough for Obama Barack's kids. The programs Duncan ran appear not to have been remotely as effective as Obama originally claimed. This is reminiscent of nothing more than the wholly fabricated "Texas Miracle" that GW Bush and his original Education Secretary, Rod Paige, began with. This phony program was the model for "No Child Left Behind," yet another brilliant national initiative.
Meanwhile, we're still at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite our vote to get the hell out.
I've never voted against a Democrat in my life, but I don't envision voting for Barack Obama again, at least not while I can still write in Mickey Mouse. Nor will I vote for NY Governor David Paterson (though I doubt he'll survive a primary). I've come to the point, well after some of my fellow bloggers, where I no longer think either political party serves the interests of my family, my community, or my profession. Democrats will no longer get my vote as a matter of course.
And I have to tell you, their failure to deliver is most certainly why they lost Ted Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts. In fact, I think if McCain had won, there's no way he'd have managed to pass a plan like Race to the Top, and there's no way we'd be looking at New York State insisting on closure of dozens of neighborhood schools. I don't know if the country would be better off, but the education system certainly would.
Democrats are going to take a bath next year. If they can't count on the likes of me, they are truly screwed. I don't see the Rush Limbaugh crowd warming to Obama anytime soon. There are a lot of people like me, and Democrats ignore us not only at their peril, but at that of the future of the United States of America.
Prove me wrong, Mr. President. If you care about the middle class, or even if you just want a second term, I suggest you get started right away.
Views expressed herein are solely those of the author or authors, and do not reflect views of my employers, the United Federation of Teachers, the MORE Caucus or any other union caucus.
Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.