One Year Later

Image and video hosting by TinyPicWe’re back here, the first Tuesday in November, the day when major decisions in American democracy are made each year. I still remember how I felt that morning one year ago: tired, ’cause I’d been up, giddy with anticipation the night before; anxious that things wouldn’t turn out the way I wanted them to; scared that something would happen to the Obamas; excited to see what was going to happen next.
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I’d be a lie if I said I was still excited. It’s not that I don’t want to peek into the future—it’s that I’m frustrated with the present (and the past 287 days). Yes, I know that the president hasn’t even gotten though his fist year, and yes, I know that he had a lot of fires to put out, and yes, I know that he made a lot of promises and prioritizing is a summbitch, but that doesn’t stop the overachiever in me from wishing we’d accomplished more by this point.
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I’m frustrated that we’re not making any progress toward the president’s first-week-in-office-promise to close Gitmo by “no later than one year from now.” I’m frustrated that the president is acting as if prisoners are not undergoing the same treatment at Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Base. I’m frustrated that healthcare reform is being watered down to the point that it might not help anyone at all. I’m frustrated that the president’s yearning for bipartisanship seems to be trumping getting things done. (Really? That’s the promise you want to keep?) I’m frustrated that Republicans still suck. I’m frustrated that Democrats still suck. I’m frustrated that at times, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel seems to have all the swag I admired in President Obama. I’m frustrated that we’ll probably re-elect the bogus-ass Dems who are holding up progressive legislation. I’m frustrated that the fear is still so thick that I’m choking on it. I’m frustrated that more people don’t care. I’m frustrated that I care so much.

How am I coping with my frustration? Trying to do my part and not become cynical, I guess. I’ve phone banked, written letters, written this column, called and emailed congressmen, argued with my television (Is it just me, or is CNN really sucky lately?), murmured assurances to myself—all the usual stuff.

What can you do? Whatever feels good, I guess. Hold your elected officials accountable; from the POTUS to your mayor, if they don’t keep their promises, don’t vote for them (I’m talking to you, eight-years-isn’t-enough NYC mayor Bloomberg of the rogue police force that seems to be able to kill Black off-duty officers and drunkenly run over women and get away with it). If you’re passionate about an issue, let the folks you put into power know how you feel. If you’re tired of Lou Dobbs talking out the side of his neck about immigrants on CNN, cuss him out through the screen and change the channel (or better yet, join up with Basta Dobbs and let him know how you really feel)—you’ll feel better.

And there’s this: One year later, I’m taking a moment to remember the excitement that propelled us on that fateful day, the feeling that it was only the beginning and we had at least four years to get things done, the spirit of the days that had me using “Obama” like “Aloha” (hello and goodbye, bitches)—and reclaiming it to push us even further. Care to join me?

How are you feeling one year later? Still encouraged and excited? Frustrated? Let me know.

—Kenrya

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Last 5 posts by kenrya

  • ak

    I have a theory about Obama’s “bipartisanship.” It’s based on intuition and my understanding of the racial dynamics of power in this country:

    You know how birthers accuse Obama of being a Kenyan citizen, and arch conservatives label rote political stagecraft like Obama’s school speech as socialist wizardry to channel their White supremacist urges and agitate wingnuts with revisionist, Antebellum nostalgia?

    Well, I think Obama is using “bipartisanship” to calm those motherfuckers down. As much as we–Black folks, logical folks, idealistic folks and data lovers–like to think that Obama has somehow transcended rudimentary cracker-ism and liberal racism, the fact still remains that he’s a Black man doing a delicate dance around some very old, entrenched shit. I don’t say that as an excuse for his administration’s poor political or moral choices. Of course that doesn’t mean he, his administration, or House and Senate Dems can’t ride harder for what’s right. It just means that I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. (And no,I didn’t cheer when O.J. got acquitted, didn’t vote for Marion Barry a single time while I was at Howard and I don’t think Michael Jackson was a secret revolutionary or a blameless victim of White media…)

  • Well, put, ak. I don’t like it, but I dig it.

  • Diane

    Hey K – I’m feeling much like I did a year ago – that one cannot put every egg into this man’s basket.

    He cannot do it all. He became the Prez when a lot of sh&%^ was still hitting the proverbial fan. And more was unearthed. He is one man.

    I had no illusions that anyone taking office could do anything of any substance. They are not the ones holding the keys. Senate and House are. Always have been. And these arses have been all about themselves (not even party, them selves) for decades. Each and every one of them gets healthcare on the taxpayer, pension on the taxpayer.

    How can anyone think these people understand our plight? They don’t have to do 401k contributions – and discuss where to put them. They don’t have to worry about co-pay and such. And those who choose not to use that little known dr. in the bowels of Congress choose not to because they CAN AFFORD THE SPECIALIST who is overseeing their heart, liver, what ever.

    These folks don’t care about us. These folks are on another plane entirely. Few of them need the salary we give them. Why?

    Because you can’t run for office without being rich. Being rich, you’re already not in touch with the majority of America. And then you get more perks when you’re in office.

    So – doesn’t matter what a Presidential candidate says they want to do – ONE PERSON cannot make the change. You can’t close Gitmo cuz you want to. You have to make deals, play nice, swallow your pride, and throw someone under the bus, to get these things done.

    I would think that isn’t the priority it once was when one saw the utter collapse (under the wonderful SEC) of the world’s financial system as we knew it.

    Obama did something that all the squawking it was ‘our’ fault has died down to a dull murmur. I do feel the international arena listens.

    But democrats are notorious at throwing money at a problem – and then they leave and others have to clean it up. No difference this year. WHO THE HECK IS GONNA PAY FOR THIS DEFICIT? Timmy boy (shout out to Larchmont) says we have to start getting this down BUT also wants economic stimulus.

    You can’t do both dude. Make a tough decision and JUST DO IT.

    By staying in the middle you assure my generation of NO retirement, NO ssecurity, NO job if I lose the one I have.

    Did I think Obama would make the economy better? No. Will he in 3 years? No.

    The U.S. will pull through, but not because of ONE person. And we’ll not be number 1 again in the world. And we’ll be owned by China.

    Now, let’s move forward with this reality and stop putting so much on ONE person.

    IMO of course.

  • I’m guilty of being cynical. And I’m frustrated about a laundry list of things I feel our government isn’t handling right. Healthcare is at the top of that list. And to keep it 100, I’m not sure what any of the fuss is about since neither party is arguing for a single-payer healthcare option. But with all that said, that pride I felt when President Barack Obama was elected is still here a year later.

    To me, voting for Obama wasn’t about saving this country. And I would like to point out that electing the first black president of the United States was actually a harder task than getting us out of the conundrum we’re in right now. If we pay attention to history, one person can’t change this country and especially not in less than a year.

    Some of us have experienced being the only black face in management in corporate America. Imagine what it’s like being the only and first black face in charge of running America.