Our opinion: Vote as if your future depends upon it
It's not a surprise that Republicans did not applaud many of the positive things that have happened in the United States of America mentioned by President Barack Obama during his final State of the Union address on Jan. 12.
After all, most of the elected Republicans, their lapdogs and base voters, as well as their puppet masters, have been disrespectful to the President since before he took office. The list is long, but after nearly eight years of disparagement, we are all familiar with the hyperbole: He is a secret Muslim; he wants to take away your guns; he is sending people to FEMA re-education camps; he is aligned with Islamic extremists; he is gay; he is a race baiter; he was born in Kenya ... do we need go on?
On Tuesday night, Republicans showed their disrespect by not acknowledging what most Americans would admit are good things: Cutting the unemployment rate in half; a decrease in the deficit; and the death of Osama bin Laden.
It's easy to conclude the Republican's denial of facts is deliberate, but as we've witnessed over the past 16 years or so, facts and reality and the results of ignoring them are of no matter to the modern GOP. And Americans themselves, who are notorious for their short attention spans, forget how bad things were when Obama came to office.
"The Great Recession was underway; we were mired in two unwinnable wars (one of which was completely unnecessary); we were hemorrhaging 700,000 jobs a month; and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had slumped to 7,949.09," wrote Sean Illing for Slate. "Given those realities, Obama's record is more than defensible."
While it is true that the President, as with every president before him in their State of the Union addresses, exaggerated the successes of his administration and down played its failures, he still has much to be proud of and much that Americans should be grateful for. This is not to say that the next president's job is not cut out for him or her, but we should be able to admit that Obama plowed the field for a true progressive revival. We just need the right president to plant and nurture the seeds. We can hope that Vermont's own junior senator, Bernie Sanders, succeeds Obama. Many of the things that Sanders has included in his platform were hoped for by the supporters of Obama in 2007. While those things were held ransom by an obstructionist cartel in Congress, we freely admit that the President was not the shining progressive hope we had expected he would be when he took office.
But, to the consternation of Republicans, Tea Partiers and Libertarians everywhere, they know Obama is not going away. There is a very good chance he may one day sit on the U.S. Supreme Court; after all, he is a Constitutional law expert and is surely more qualified to hear arguments and make judgments than at least two of the current justices. Of course, if Congress remains under Republican control, there is no doubt they would block the nomination of Obama to the Supreme Court and there is also no doubt we would also hear the vile rhetoric from the hate-radio talking heads, the spelling-challenged misanthropes and racists, and the meat puppets for corporate America.
This is why it's essential that Americans get out and vote, each and every one of them, despite the impediments thrown in their paths by conservatives who know that the nation is changing and they will soon be relegated to the dust bin of history. It is an undeniable fact that when Americans turn out to vote, they vote overwhelmingly in favor of candidates who support platforms similar to that of Sanders — paid family leave, sick time off, free college, increased Social Security benefits, single-payer health care, a youth jobs program, the expansion of renewable energy, taxing the uber-rich and Wall Street more efficiently, conducting an investigation into what caused the financial crash of 2007, supporting our veterans and rebuilding our infrastructure.
And if those voters are energized enough to turn out to vote for Sanders, they will also more than likely vote for Democrats in Congress. Changing the make-up of state houses around the country is another matter however. While the GOP has a stranglehold on state legislatures due to self-serving and nefarious gerrymandering, it is just a matter of time for that to change too.
If Democrats win the White House and retake the Congress, and if Obama is nominated for the Supreme Court and is confirmed, that will only speed matters along. So think long and hard before you vote in the primary and in the general election. The future of the nation depends upon it.
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