That Wasn't So Bad Was It?
by Sudhama Ranganathan
Sunday, Jun. 07, 2009 at 7:21 PM
The presidential elections of 2008 were about many things. We wanted someone who could be trusted with the economy. We were tired of pouring money into the Iraq war especially after learning we had invaded the country based on false pretenses. The status quo failed us, we desired something new and wanted a leader we believed reflected changed times.
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People who managed to win two elections steered the country into the darkest chapter in our history since the Nixon Administration. Somewhere deep down although we knew we were Americans there was the sense we had lost some of our direction as a nation . People we trusted to lead instead broke an unspoken contract Americans have between voters and those on whom we bestow the gift of elected office. The contract states we will elect you, accept you and support you, and for your part you will always act in the best interest of those who put you in office.
Instead we were subject to a leadership that chose to tell us, "it is this way because we say it is this way. There is nothing you can do about it because we decide how it is not you." What they failed to remember was who put them there in the first place. They neglected their duty to act with the American people in mind not themselves or moneyed interests.
Apparently they forgot or never fully understood the job of American leadership which is to act on behalf of us and not in spite of us.
For example America is a model of freedom and liberty and as such we go to war only as a last resort. There are many reasons for this including the need for good international relations, which the smartest founding fathers always prized and cultivated. It goes a long way towards protecting the security of our national interests abroad. Sending soldiers to face death should never be rushed into. Wars are costly as Iraq has made abundantly clear.
Every time we asked for transparency or for clarification we were told the executive office had executive privilege to turn its nose up at taxpayers. When lawsuits were brought they were blocked by an administration whose message read "if we say it's right you don't get to say it's wrong. We rule. If you don't like it - stew!"
We decided to elect someone who represented a move away from that message. We selected someone who would approach matters differently. We chose someone who, like most of us, came from a humble background. He was someone who didn't come from the supposed "ideal" family. Most of us could relate to that well, because in the end you know... what exactly is normal, ideal and who really comes from it?
Of course there was an obvious difference and that was the president eventually elected was African American. For so many years the question was bounced around in the media and even in our everyday lives as to whether the country was ready to elect a black president. Although many people felt there was nothing wrong with it the general consensus was deep seeded underlying prejudices would prevent it from happening any time soon. Circumstances changed and with the economy, the war, the position of the American middle class in general and what his competition was saying we selected based on our ability to relate to his message.
That message was a break from the oppressive sense of the world we were rocketing towards in exchange for the hope of a better America. Even his opposition was trying to to a lesser extent to champion change. There were no guarantees but the majority of Americans decided upon as much change as we could get from the most qualified candidate.
He has been our president now for almost five months and like his predecessors before him has worked hard at implementing many of the goals he set forth during his campaign. In the end what so many wondered about- his race- was a non issue.
What we've learned at this very early albeit important phase of his presidency, among other things, is that change isn't so bad. It can be a good thing and the right thing to do. It simply takes among other things courage and the will to make it happen. It doesn't have to be excruciating or to stop there.
For example we currently have two political parties the mainstream media is willing to inform us about, but for minor exceptions. Thus, we have no real opportunities to hear from other voices. As an independent I've craved this, but parties like the Libertarian Party or Green Party are never at the major debates. We only hear from the major two as if those were the only choices.
Imagine if there were only two places of employment, two educational institutions or career paths to choose from. Imagine only two software companies, computer manufacturers or communication service providers. Imagine only two kinds of cars, two kinds of food or even music to choose from. Many disaffected independents have conservative leanings so why shouldn't there be an opportunity to hear from alternative voices? Why don't we hear from them more often?
It's as if we have no choice but to be bored with our politics. Recently Democratic strategist James Carville, when commenting on the Republican party's current slump, said they would rebound adding "they have to." That's true but why couldn't it be an opportunity for Americans to begin hearing from other voices? It's as though we have no real choice.
Both parties are solid but there should be the chance for alternative voices. We are institutionally programmed to believe that's how it should be but it's not law. There have been many parties over the years and it isn't something to be afraid of. Change is good Barack Obama proved that. In this day and age we should have as many opportunities as possible if we are truly a free
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.