By Ron Markoe
As president of the United States, Barack Obama has ended a senseless war in Iraq, where more than 110,000 soldiers and civilians were killed, and countless injured. He killed the most wanted 9/11 terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, after he was on the run for more than 10 years.
He rescued America’s largest corporation from bankruptcy and saved thousands of American jobs. He stabilized an economy that was headed for a depression by most accounts. He championed the Affordable Healthcare Act (freeing the U.S. from the dubious distinction of being the only industrialized country without nationalized health care and concern for all of its citizens). He supported the reproductive rights of women as well as their equal pay for equal work. He decreased the payroll tax and extended unemployment benefits. He supported marriage equality, immigration reform, rational Supreme Court nominations, student loan reform, credit card interest reform, fair tax rates, and science as it relates to climate change. In addition, he positively changed the world’s perception about America where ostensibly we lived up to our ideals by electing the first African American president.
How could anyone, regardless of their political affiliation, not appreciate some, if not all, of President Obama’s goals; especially women, military families, union workers, students, members of the middle-class, people with pre-existing conditions, gay people and storm victims (you get the point)?
I am left to assume that much of the dissension stems from too many white people’s visceral and irrational hatred for Blacks, especially a Black president. Witness all the vitriol and anger by pundits and citizens following the Nov. 6 election, where death threats directed at the president and racist tweets were made through social media. Donald Trump went so far as to call for a revolution. An election protest demonstration took place on the college campus of “Ole Miss,” ironically, 50 years after the historic enrollment of James Meredith, proving that we still have a long way to go. Many Republicans made the following comment: “Democrats won, America lost.” The tone and rhetoric was divisive and extreme.
Mean-spirited people have frequently remarked that Barack Obama is the worst president that this country has ever elected, bar none, in spite of his significant accomplishments and stellar character. Never mind the many missteps of the war-mongering Bush 43, Nixon resigning in disgrace after Watergate, the Iran-Contra scandal of Reagan, Bush 41 and his race-baiting tactics using Willie Horton, and the flagrant marital infidelities of Clinton. Consider the fact that less than 40 percent of white people voted for the president, which means that even some members of his own party failed to support him.
It is apparent that many people believe President Obama deserves no respect, for no legitimate reason. With the United States headed in a downward economic spiral at the time of his inauguration, before he could do anything, the first objective Republican congressional leadership inexplicably focused on was how they could make Barack Obama a one-term president. Rush Limbaugh stated he hoped he failed.
Essentially, they cared more about blocking him than they did about solving the problems of the country. During his first term in office, President Obama was openly called a liar by a congressman during a State of the Union address, and later had a governor point her finger in his face, while publicly scolding him about his views on immigration. All of those incidents were unthinkable acts never directed at any previous president in modern times. In contrast, even the democrats supported President Bush’s efforts to start the war in Iraq, to the chagrin of many.
But hate is usually rooted in ignorance. According to MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, the top 10 educated states voted for Obama and conversely, the 10 worst educated states voted for Romney. President Obama and his team outsmarted the opposition in spite of what many people thought were overwhelming odds and proved that by winning the popular vote, more people do in fact identify with his platform as opposed to Romney’s extreme far right agenda.
More specifically, it was Latinos, Asians, African Americans, the millennial generation and women who made Obama’s victory possible. As Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly maintained, “The white establishment is now the minority.” Evidently, that’s a good thing and perhaps our best chance to grow constructively as a nation.