The following post is written by our newest guest blogger, Roger Burt, PhD. Roger is currently the Manager for the “Wendy Rosen for Congress” campaign. He is a long-time Maryland resident, political activist and psychologist, involved in setting up & working in mental health programs in Baltimore County. He brings a different perspective to my blog and provides new insights into the 2012 election cycle.
Van Jones is a co-founder of Rebuild the Dream and is a bright and perceptive person. Recently he commented that in watching President Obama, he was able to see that a president walks a tightrope. In his role, because of diverse forces, he cannot stray too far from the track he must walk on. Jones commented that with the advent of the Tea Party, they had yanked the rope to the right – hard. With the arrival of the Occupy Movement, the young millennials yanked the tightrope back.
Jones’ imagery and his perceptions strike me as exceedingly realistic. He concludes that there must be two sources of power: The presidency is one, but there must also be a movement, although there may be more than one. In this instance, it is the Occupy movement he is referring to. And it cannot be merely a movement. If it is to have real effect, the movement cannot be desultory or without the power of substantive meaning. Of course, in Occupy, we do not yet see a firm or immutable focus. Instead we see energy and meaning which has youth behind it, as they assert their future, although its ramifications are yet to be made clear or, for that matter, the effect they will have. They have clearly changed the dialogue. We are now discussing wealth inequality in a way which did not exist just a short time ago. History will eventually instruct us about what else this movement might mean.
But fundamental importance is found in the existence of a meaningful movement. There must be change and dynamism in a society and not just government alone. What we have to ensure is that the movement is not merely selectively substantive, but directs its energy in behalf of all the citizens.
Many of us are building an alliance with our President, in the movement or movements we support. At the same time, there are critiques being leveled at Obama as if he has not done enough. Do we hear a cry for purity? Purity is not my favorite word. We heard its rattle in crises in South America, as countries and the futures of the people were torn down. Purity is rarely achieved, if it is achievable at all, or even desirable.
On our shores we created a government with checks and balances. Only recently, the checks have been coming from the opposition in the form of immobilization of government. In spite of the tightrope the President must walk, another job he has to manage is overseeing the need for order, to maintain a government against those who would tear it down.
These images make it clear that we all need to tend to the positioning of the tightrope, and tug it in constructive directions, as we assist our President in governing. What is particularly alarming at this time, is that we are seeing people who are not tugging the tightrope in a direction, but are trying to fray it, if not cut it down, entirely. And so, our movement must partly be in defense to those who would destroy it all.
This perspective is essential as we weigh alternatives among ourselves. There is executive authority, and there is the movement or movements of the people. In these things, we achieve order and progress. Thank you for your thoughts, Van Jones. They both, inspire, and direct us.
The Republican attack on the President regarding the loss of jobs with the rejection of the KeystoneXL pipeline, was nothing short of hypocritical. Their ‘spin’ doesn’t include the fact that more jobs will probably be created if the pipeline was approved; what they don’t say is that those jobs will most likely be in the field of “oil recovery and clean up” after the pipeline has it’s first accident that destroys water supplies in the pipeline area. Are those the kind of jobs we really want to create? Is that the kind of environmental damage we want to turn a blind eye to? Apparently, the Republicans are more driven by oil company executives than they are for the safety of America, including our future generations. Wasn’t it the Republicans who wanted to protect future generations from inheriting the budget deficit? Why are they willing to sacrifice those generations for immediate profits? I think we all know the answer to that question!
President Made the Right Decision
The President made a reasoned and reasonable decision when he instructed the State Department to deny the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. This project has the high potential to endanger the environment, and the impact on the public health needed a thorough review. However, Congressional Republicans demanded a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision within sixty (60) days (an untenable deadline).
Time is needed to determine the consequences of the proposed 1700-mile pipeline, which would run through one of the Midwest’s major sources of drinking water. A thorough safety review is necessary before giving the go-ahead to this project.
Natural resources must be developed in a responsible fashion. To that end, the President has taken steps to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, including:
* Importing 1.1 million fewer barrels of oil daily
* Increasing wind and solar power by 70 percent
* Supporting over 200,000 clean energy jobs
In addition, fuel economy standards for automobiles and light trucks have been raised, in order to decrease our use of oil for transportation.
Decisions such as this, which have long-term consequences for the environment and for our and our children’s health, cannot be made arbitrarily and without adequate study beforehand.
Carol Ann Ellis
The following is the campaign speech of President Franklin Roosevelt, running in his third campaign for the White House.
“For nearly four years now, you have had an administration which instead of twirling its thumbs, has rolled up its sleeves. And I can assure you that we will keep our sleeves rolled up. We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace: business and financial monopoly, speculation, wreckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs, and we know now that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mobs!
Never before in all our history have these causes been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me and I welcome their hatred!
I should like to have it said of my first administration, that in it, the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match! I should like to have it said! Wait a minute! I should like to have it said of my second administration, that in it, these forces met their master!”
FDR...the more things change, the more they stay the same!
It’s amazing how the same forces that plague us now: “business and financial monopoly, speculation, wreckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering” were the very same foes FDR fought against. Perhaps, President Obama needs to take a lesson from history and deliver the same speech to Congress and the American people. More than anything else, FDR always came across as a leader, unafraid and sure of himself and his course, believing that he was working in the best interest of the American working class. THAT’S why he was so loved and asked to run again and again! This is what the working class needs from President Obama…fierceness…direction…a strong will…and belief in the working class!