I want to say first of all, don’t worry about my vote. You have it. I liked you even before the Will.i.am video –I’ve liked you ever since that keynote speech back in 2004—and even though you weren’t my progressive dream candidate (she’s doing a crackerjack job as your Secretary of State, an appointment I heartily approve of), I was happy to vote for you the first time and I’m happy to do it again.
I know that I personally will be thrilled to watch you take the stage to accept the nomination on Thursday. Especially after gritting my teeth through the numerous whoppers being told at the Republican convention last week.
So it’s been four years, huh? How different was life back then? It’s nice, I’ve found, not waking up every day thinking I’m about to be wiped out in a nuclear armageddon like I did during the Reagan years, or wandering around with a black cloud of unconsolable misery, mortified to call myself an American, like I did while Cheney/Bush was president. I wake up now and don’t think about the government much, because I’m pretty sure the guy we elected has got it in hand. Not that I’m taking you for granted, sir, but I’ve just had a lot else on my mind. But it didn’t escape my notice that you were busy doing good stuff.
Nowadays, Republicans are using “Hope and Change” as a disparaging punchline to fallacious jokes, but when I look back at the last four years, I see a lot of both, and I love it. From your first week in office, when you signed the Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act, to last May when you put women’s rights on the G-8 agenda, to appointing two women to the Supreme Court, you’ve advanced the cause of women nationally and internationally. I cheered when you finally passed Health Care reform, and kept it going despite the best efforts of the crazies in Congress who’ve bizarrely twisted the public perception of this important bill. The Credit Card reform act was much needed and thank you for repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”–possibly the stupidest and most irrelevant policy in military history. Your speech in Cairo to the Islamic world, and actually ending the war in Iraq, not to mention reversing Bush’s policies on torture improved America’s image abroad enormously. Man, you even actually GOT bin Laden, when the Bush team had basically forgotten about him.
BUT–and there’s always a “but”– there’s a few areas that could stand improvement. And when (not if) you get re-elected, I hope we can do better –and yes, by we I mean you.
1) Quit waiting for bipartisanship. Seriously. I’m sorry, except I’m not. Republicans have got a grudge against you — we won’t go into why I think they do, but they clearly do. Do what you can do without wasting time trying to get GOP buy-in.
2) No more raiding Little Orphan Annie’s piggybank for Daddy Warbucks. I’m so sick of giant corporations, banks, auto companies, Fannie, Freddie, GM, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Yadkin Valley Financial Corp–all getting tax dollars so that their CEOs can take huge bonuses, and NOTHING trickling down to help the people who are the backbone of this country. I know, a lot of them paid the money back, but a lot of them didn’t. The bailout turned around a bunch of companies, but it also lined the pockets of execs. Companies like B of A got our money and then shipped jobs to the Philippines. They should not get a PLUGGED NICKEL without agreeing to stringent regulations. Now, I understand that I’m not an economist and there are probably some pretty fancy-sounding reasons for why we should lend money to these guys, but you know what? I want your next plan to tell us how you’re going to recapitalize teachers, how it’s going to strengthen the artistic sector of our economy, how it’s going to create jobs for scientists.
4) Climate Change. Maybe I should’ve made this number one. I know, you started something two years ago and it got shot down in the midst of partisan stupidity. After the summer of fires and storms, in which even the Republicans had a convention day washed away in yet another hurricane, it’s time to dust that climate change bill off and get to work again.
5) Close Guantanamo. It’s been a national embarrassment for too long. Get it done.
6) Put the focus on green energy tax credits. And no tax credits for oil companies — they don’t need them.
7) Get working on nominations to lower courts. YOUNG, PROGRESSIVE judges. You’ve got to make every appointment count.
Most of all though, I want you to get the word out about the impact of every good thing you do. You’ve been humble, you’ve been mild-mannered, you’ve been bipartisan, but now is the time to start taking credit, blare that trumpet, let everyone with short memories know how your agenda has benefited America. When the Republicans claim they’re doing something for women, fire back at them with Lily Ledbetter and protecting women’s access to birth control. When the Romney claims he saved the auto industry, don’t just say that he’s lying, explain to the world that you turned Chrysler around.
Look, I understand. You’ve been a busy man, and you’ve gotten a lot done. I can appreciate that, which is why I keep sending you $5 every time you email me. But there’s a bunch left to do, and –I say this with all respect and only in a “positive criticism” kind of way — there’s a lot you could do better. Go to it.
Go ahead, make my day…watch the Demoncratic National Convention Tuesday through Thursday, and don’t miss Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday night–superstar, really. She’s not giving the keynote though–that honor goes to San Antonio mayor Julian Castro. Watch his TED talk about education and how it changed his life. Schedule is here.