Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Morning After: How Will the President Spend His Next 4 Years?

This election season was exhausting.  As it became clear that Mitt Romney would indeed be the nominee of the GOP, I sidled up next to my mother everyday as she digested her MSNBC shows so that I could be as informed as possible.  Like many, I was skeptical of what President Obama had  done in his first term, and I wanted to see if in fact his opponent would be an option worth considering.  By the end of the summer I was weary of "campaign coverage" and simply resorted to reading from trusted sites to understand where the candidates stood on certain issues.  I didn't watch the debates because I knew that I wouldn't learn anything new about the candidates. I didn't volunteer to help as I originally had planned because I wasn't a fan of how the campaign was being run.  I voted and watched as the results came in.  I was surprised when the election was called less than twenty minutes after the polls in Cali closed, and then waited to see how the candidates would react to the results.  Ultimately what I had come to believe about the campaign, that it made these two men become different people just for the sake of winning, was confirmed in my mind as I listened to Governor Romney's concession speech and President Obama's acceptance speech.  When unburdened by the campaign and trying to conform to a set of ideals that weren't quite congruent with his own, Governor Romney is not as robotic and bland as he was characterized during the campaign.  He has a personality, and while I disagree with the way he envisioned leading the country, I had a greater respect for him after he walked off the stage in Boston.  The President sounded more like the man who talked about everybody's President when he addressed the masses in Grant Park in 2008.  He touched on ideas that he hadn't mentioned in weeks as he hunkered down to dismantle Romney's character.  I can only hope that folks will continue to lobby their local politicians so that the country can move forward and make some of the institutional changes needed to get people back to work.  Below are a few other things I wonder about as I wake up on the morning after President secured four more years in office

1.  Will the President's feet ever get held to the fire for his program of drone attacks?
According to a recent report published by the law schools of New York University and Stanford University, drone attacks are inaccurate in targeting Al Qaeda opeatives and have killed far more civillians than terrorists and actually incite more hatred of the US.  Pakistanis report fear of going to weddings or funerals because those gatherings may be viewed as meetings worthy of attack.  On a related note, the power that the Executive office has been given to execute American citizens believed to be participating in terrorist activities without due process is also troubling.

2.  Will the President be able to coalition build to pass policies that will make an impact on the deficit?
The popular narrative is that President Obama spent all of his political cache to pass Obamacare, and that in the effort to get reelected he was reticent to bully his policies through Congress.  What will now be his approach with four more years secured facing a Congress that is still Republican dominated?

3.  Will the privatization of American schools continue?
Public education is a dying institution in this country and the Race to the Top program simply creates more incentive for schools within districts to go for self which means the rich will get richer and the poor will be allowed to crumble and turn into charters which are only 50/50 in making the situation better.

I could go on, but it's time to get back to the grind.  For all those who voted for Obama, make four more years count.  For those who voted for Romney, continue to voice your opinion and hold the President accountable because there are changes that need to happen.

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