Barack Obama: Yesterday and Today

U.S. Capitol Building during Obama's Inauguration | Photo by Mike Pitter
U.S. Capitol Building during Obama's Inauguration | Photo by Mike Pitter

At the inauguration of President Barack Obama, millions of people rejoiced together for a new beginning in America. I saw tears, smiles, various expressions reacting to the notion that this new president would bring massive change to political and social realms of this country. “Yes we can!” in unison made manifest the momentum behind the people’s will to lift America from an abyss of corruption, racism, class tension, economic depression, and war. The tainted reputation of the United States would be washed away with Barack Obama leading the “free world”. There were Obama shirts, bumper stickers, hats, scarves, dolls, pins, posters, pens, ring-tones, mugs and more demonstrating the wild frenzy for the election of America’s first black president. During the course of the campaign, people laughed, cried, marched, spoke, wrote and sang for the senator because of the faith they had in his seemingly genuine leadership. I knocked on door after door after door spreading the word on Obama’s plans during the Rhode Island primaries to express my enthusiasm for the progress many people hoped to see. Even with the realization that President Obama was still a politician, I was still optimistic about the changes to come during this new administration.

Today, here and now, almost a year after the inauguration, the idealism and unity that many felt in those days has been overshadowed by pessimism, impatience and disappointment. Many people have grievances towards the new administration, believing that the president has not delivered what he had promised during the campaign. President Obama had strong intentions to lift our economy from ruin through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In this document, he vows that 95% of working families will receive tax cuts, hoping to strengthen the middle class. Because a strong middle class maintains stability in the state, it preserves the status quo. However, as I worked over the summer, canvassing on behalf of the Democratic National Committee, many people that I conversed with about the Obama administration have told me that they have experienced the opposite of what they had anticipated in January. Some say that their taxes have been raised. As the president addresses the various other issues, there seems to be more and more disagreement among the people as to how to go about fixing this country, hence the decreasing amount of Barack Obama paraphernalia.

Though President Barack Obama has accomplished much of he had promised, like creating alliances with other countries, focusing on health care and education reform, I sometimes wonder how and why he does not completely adhere to what he had laid out during his campaign. Does the unwavering establishment, the un-malleable consolidated system, thwart him, somehow? Is he a puppet for this system? Let us wait and see.

About Mike Pitter

Mike Pitter writes "Etc.," a social commentary column, for the Quad.

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2 Comments on “Barack Obama: Yesterday and Today”

  1. Great Article. The rift between the haves and have nots has widened so far we can’t even notice it. Given some hope in the guise of Obama we must be careful and stay braced for any disappontment.

  2. I really like the article. I think people try to pin Obama to their own political opinions and philosophies, and when he doesn’t reach their personal standard, people get frustrated. The problem is that among Obama’s broad coalition of supporters, there are a lot of divergent views. Also, different people have different ideas of what “change” in the political process should look like.

    Personally, I think Obama embodies many qualities we want to see in politicians engaging in the American democratic system. Most people can agree that the founding fathers created a system of government grounded in noble principles, like freedom of speech, representative government and civil society. But, any system, however noble, can be destroyed by corrupt leadership and the primacy of corporate interests. While Obama isn’t necessarily the movement leader that his public relations team portrayed him as, he engages the political system with integrity. While George Bush’s administration conducted policies with deception and secrecy, Obama is effective because he is persuasive and skilled at reaching pragmatic compromises. I think this approach to politics is the solution to the “broken system”. I think the message of “change” is one campaign promise that Obama has already achieved.

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