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September 16, 2011

Listen to This, Mr. President!

Derek Shackelford

Slogans used by politicians are nothing new. They are part of the formula to capture attention; and; if one cannot remember anything else, the catchy phrase usually works.


Take for instance the speech given by President Barack Obama September 8 before a Joint Session of Congress and the nation. The mantra was “Pass this Jobs Bill, Now.” There is no time to waste, no time to read it; and, since time is of the essence, there is really no need to discuss it – just pass it.


In other words, take my word for it – this plan works. The problem is many of us don’t know what the plan is. I know politics can be politics, meaning who gets what, when and how. So, the question is: who gets what and when do they get it and how? Of course, these questions could not be answered in a 40-minute speech.


Now it is up to us, the citizens, to connect with our elected officials to get information on a possible jobs bill that will cost billions of dollars. Of course, it sounds good to present a jobs bill that people may benefit from when unemployment is high, the poverty rate is soaring and the economy is struggling.


The problem is government does not create jobs, or, should I say, it should not be the biggest jobs creator, because the truth is our government keeps expanding year after year and while we say the government is bloating when Homeland Security was added years ago, the mantra was to keep us safe. We didn’t rally against this notion; so, score one for the Feds in the name of defense.


While some have consistently railed against the president with stinging criticism, some of it is warranted and some of it is filled with petty nonsense. What is often amazing is the belief that he does not have the country’s best interest at heart.


It is fair game to assess and criticize policies. This goes with the territory. The caution part of the assessment is the thought that the president really benefits from destroying the country. This notion gives fuel to those who really believe that he was not born in this country.


What is so contradictory of our vacillating political philosophies is that we don’t want career politicians. Our desire is for hard-working people and community-service-minded individuals. Yet, we rail against this president because he was just merely a community organizer. Huh? All the time we say Washington needs to be changed, yet we vote in the same people time after time and election after election. Thus we wonder why change does not happen.


I did believe that President Obama was cut from a different cloth. It was not going to be politics as usual and change was coming to Washington.


While the label of socialistic has been tossed around the president’s policies, he is far from being a socialist. What his tenure has shown is that he is a politician through and through. He appears to be always looking for the compromise while continuing many of the same status quo procedures of previous presidents.


What this probably shows is that many have good intentions of changing Washington but the clubhouse is too difficult to break.


What is the clubhouse? The clubhouse mantra is the mentality that once one gets in the door they learn the rules and how to navigate around so that they can stay there. The initial thought of entering the door is that one will change how the clubhouse functions, but once entering the realization sets in that too much is entrenched and a vast amount of energy is required.


So, here’s my advice to for you, Mr. President. It is not too late for you to promote the hope and change that had many voting for you in 2008. Being an intellectual has its place and is necessary at times, but this season calls for some tactical fortitude. Stop letting people disrespect you and get away with it. You may not be able to confront them yourself, but what you need is a Dick Cheney type, one who does not care if people’s feelings get hurt and who will simply push you to do what you really need to do.


So, what is it going to be, Mr. President? Your presidency is hanging in the balance. What do you have to lose except the election and that will happen if you don’t get tough. The people that despise you are not going to vote for you anyway, no matter what you do or how well you do it.


And after seeing the Republican debate on September 12 sponsored by the Tea Party Express, you really should not lose because – after all – Ronald Reagan is not walking through the door.


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