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To the Disappointed

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Tonight Organizing for America put out the call to 'deploy' our newly formed Rapid Response Teams to start doing massive phone banking beginning Tuesday the 15th December in anticipation of voting on Health Industry Reform bills or amendments in the Senate. I'm the leader of one of these RR teams. As such, I have to write up a description of what we're needing, post it, invite people, etc. But there has been so much disgruntlement, grumblings I've been hearing about Obama, that I just couldn't write some blurb without addressing the dissatisfaction. Of course, what I came up with is WAY too long for a phone bank posting.

Our first gigantic test is getting close. The Senate is moving toward a vote on health industry reform. And I keep hearing that people "are so disappointed in Obama."

If we're throwing Barack Obama out as a phony power-monger like all the rest, I just have one question:

Who is going to replace him? Huh?

Getting elected was a huge longshot, against all odds. But governing? Governing is ridiculous, essentially war without bullets. Our government was written to produce stalemates. Plus, so many of us who campaigned for him are MIA.

I don't understand: We dump the guy and then complain bitterly that it was he who abandoned us? It's the classic parent-child struggle. Ten years from now are we going to be telling our shrinkers that Obama didn't meet our needs and that's why our lives suck? I mean, he's younger than a lot of us complainers. We're the ones who are the deserters. And I'm not talking about us deserting Obama. It's ourselves that we're forsaking. Our lives will suck if we back out now, and we won't be affording no shrinkers.

There's complaints that "... [Obama]'s trying too hard to accommodate. That he is not being tough enough. He let all those finance sector crooks who got us into trouble back into office. Why can't he be tough? Cheney and Bush-Co didn't give a damn to compromise ..." And that's why we loathed them. Is that how you want Obama to be?

Besides having to remind us that Obama was not elected Emperor, he said all through the campaign that compromise was what he was going to have to engage in. Not for some abstract ideal of 'bipartisanship' (there should be more than two parties anyway, but first things first), but for practical reality. I.e., we have to get a bill passed!

It feels suicidal to withdraw support from the best possibility we've had in generations. The overwhelming tide was going against progressive values, was it not?

Yeah, in this health bill, we're not getting everything we want. Has any leader gotten anywhere near as close to transforming this disgraceful health system of ours? At least during the election, his party was behind him, but not the minute he took office, people. Think of going to work and battling day and night, (weekends, Yom Kippur, and Easter too, sometimes) with people who are sworn to not let you do your job! And those are the friendlies.

You know that there are legislators that openly pray for President Obama to fail. That was the side, you may recall, that was so perilously close to shutting down what little 'representative government' we had left. How much chance are we then going to have to realize our progressive ideals: reverse the inordinate upward wealth consolidation, build a world class public school system, construct a sustainable energy program?

You know me. Am I Polly of the Anna's? I know this guy, the President of the United States, this administration, is different.

This is not a life and death anecdote, it's a detail, but it says a lot to me about Barack Obama and his values. Let us never forget the fish stinks from the head, folks.

So. After the election, there was a meeting with the Democratic National Committee and the original OFA, Obama for America. Naturally, as the President of the United States, who had run as a member of Democratic Party, Barack was now the default head of the DNC. The DNC folks wanted to fold OFA into the DNC. Why wouldn't they? The Prez said no.

Now the middle part of this story is a buncha arcane details, many about $$, that I'm not really worried about. Let it suffice to say that the sitting president cannot really carry an independent campaign organization outside the (unfortunate) two party system, so it was eventually arranged that OFA, the O now standing for Organizing, would be a project of the DNC. That was in the Winter.

Now it's the Fall, and last week, in some 200 locations, OFA had national volunteer community organizer training sessions. I was sent the Keynote (PowerPoint in Microsoft) slide presentation a few days before so I could set up the tech at the location. The lead page and each of the 60 slides after had a big DNC logo with a diminutive Organizing for America sign under it. I guess I was not the only American involved who thought that stunk. We weren't working our tuchesses off for the D N friggin' C. And we said so.

The next day, the DNC logo was hard to see, and Organizing for America was who we were working for.

What this reaffirmed for me, and a lot of other folks, was the power-sharing, deeply respectful ethos of this org. Like my experience during the campaign.

I believe if I had been Obama during that campaign and felt the outpouring of joy and hope, I would have reason to depend on your forbearance and support. Active support.

You wouldn't be disappointed in Barack if you participated in the ongoing work. You're only disappointed if it is out of your hands. And it's not.

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