Thanks, Obama - Number 1057

President Obama made comments the other day, a warning that some took as a reference to supporters of Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Presidential nomination. The President warned of splitting the party and doing what the teabaggers did to the GOP. We know he’s pulling for his friend, Hillary Clinton, and he’s apparently forgotten the nasty shit she said about him in 2008 when they were competing for the Dem nod.

Both Sanders and Clinton have attacked each other’s credentials in the past weeks. This is not a new tactic in campaigning. One speaks in a straightforward manner, the other chooses words are open to interpretations and speculations to be made over so she doesn’t have to directly say what she means. The media will do that for her. This is one of the differences between the candidates. You know exactly what one is getting at and the other plays word games. President Obama has his own style of speaking, and he’s careful about his words.

There is something I need President Obama to understand. He’s the reason I believe in a Bernie Sanders presidency. In 2008, were we not all a little surprised when the DNC put forward a black candidate? For the first time ever, I found myself with a candidate I could volunteer for and even kick in a few bucks toward. I truly felt there was finally someone with a progressive view that resembled my hopes more than any other presidential candidate in my lifetime. Did I agree with him on every single issue? No. Did I feel disappointment when some of the things he campaigned on didn’t happen. A bit. Do I think that made him a lesser President. Nope. Do I feel the US is forever different because of him. Yep. Our eyes were opened to a lot of things and people have seen how broken our political system is.

President Obama’s election and re-election showed me the power of the people can make things happen. Even though he received super PAC dollars, every time I heard him speak at events, and that was nearly every time he came to my city, I heard him say the power for change was in our hands. My cynicism plummeted to an all time low where politics were concerned. I believed in Yes, We Can.

Inspired people are scary creatures to those who are comfortable with the status quo. They frighten those who are fine with their fellow citizens falling through the cracks. Those who don’t want to speak of homelessness, the treatment of veterans, the hunger of children, or the destruction of our planet. Those who are sure their retirement is secure, their children are well-educated, and their prescriptions covered. As long as “good enough” doesn’t shake their lives, they can comfortably say a few words about the people left out and talk about “some day.” They tell us to wait. They talk of a slow process of government. They are willing to compromise ridiculously for crumbs for their constituents. Those left out are collateral damage and sad statistics.

So thanks, Obama, for showing me that a black man my age can be elected President in the US. Thank you for bringing people together and raising awareness, including your own, on many issues. Thank you for standing strong in the storm of racism that many thought had blown itself out decades ago. We can’t fix things if we don’t admit they’re broken.

In many ways you gave us a better country. We saw progress. Many of us liked it a great deal because it meant dreams can be realized. It meant the power of the people might still carry weight around here.

But don’t expect me to backtrack and settle for a candidate that is fine with the status quo. The status quo needs a fucking reboot. The political process needs to be shaken up. If the Democrats don’t want to be compared to Republicans, then they should be bold again. Bold and forward thinking, like when they presented the first black presidential candidate because he was the best qualified person for the job.

Bernie Sanders is building on the desire for progress the Obama presidency kicked off. Yes, he’s putting forth a very ambitious platform. He’s addressing climate change, education, workers’ rights, equal rights, minimum wage, and our old pal, health care reform, and much more. Will he achieve all of it? Probably not. But look how far he’s come with the support of the people. You taught us our voices mattered. Now you can see who listened.