One year ago today, on his second full day in office, I watched with considerable happiness and pride as President Obama sat at his desk in the Oval Office, flanked by a considerable number of high-ranking military officials and signed an executive order to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay within one year's time. The president's position was not one to consider whether to close GITMO, or to appoint a commission to consider whether to close GITMO or expressing a hope that maybe we can close GITMO.
It was to close GITMO.
Here in Massachusetts, and around the country, people are wondering how exactly Scott Brown is Senator-elect Scott Brown from one of the most progressive states in the country, look no further. When you are sent to do a job, when you say you are going to do the job, when you make a promise to do the job, when you hold a press conference and get credit for saying you are going to do a job and you don't do the job, you should be held accountable. And on Tuesday, that's the message delivered to Washington.
Frustration with the lack of progress and broken campaign promises presents a growing and substantial challenge for Dems in 2010, but that isn't the whole story - at least not for GITMO.
Because Republicans -- somehow still marching in lock-step behind Dick Cheney -- have been using blatant fear-mongering to politicize the observance of human rights, in an attempt to bolster their political prospects at the expense of American security and reputation.
There is, however, hope. Hope, sadly, not from The White House, but hope from the American people. Today, people from across the country are standing up and asserting their will that GITMO be closed and the detainees it holds be brought to justice in U.S. Federal courts. On Twitter, search the hashtag #closegitmo and you will see more than 1600 tweets from more than 1000 people. Even better, Human Rights First has started two act.ly petitions, one targeting @whitehouse: http://act.ly/1mt and the other targeting none other than MA's next senator, @scottbrownMA: http://act.ly/1mu
If you like this video, consider helping HRF to get it on TV: https://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5955/t/5125/content.jsp?content_KEY=3261
If one thing is clear in the wake of Tuesday's election, it is that we cannot rely on Washington to create the change we all want. We, the people, must rise up and make make America the country we know it can be -- one tweet at a time.