Some believe in the superstition that Earth’s end will come about in 2012. I don’t believe in this absurdity in the least. What I do believe though, is that the presidential election of 2012 will be the most important election in American history.
President Obama was elected in 2008 on a whirlwind of progressive ideas and policies, although not as progressive at times as I would have liked. After passing his health care plan in 2010, Republicans found they could finally stop being what John McCain implied in 2007 when he said that “we Republicans lost our way” and instead start throwing onslaughts of insults at Obama.
With the country divided on the health care issue and Republicans distorting the bill as “socialism,” even though the bill simply subsided big health insurance corporations and stopped them from denying people insurance because of pre-existing conditions, they had finally chipped away at some of Obama’s armor.
Direct insults and distortions of Obama’s polices became the norm. From questioning his U.S. citizenship, to calling his health care bill socialism or denoting him as anti-business because he thinks businesses should pay a little more in taxes. There simply was no end.
Republicans have had the upper hand with the White House since the health care bill passed. Obama has chosen not to fight many battles with Republicans, whether it was the Bush tax cuts or the recent debt ceiling deal. This must change, and I think it is changing.
The Tea Party has become a hot topic lately. They represent what this next election will be about. It will be about a fundamental question asked to every individual American citizen. What is government? Is it “civil society,” an organization that helps us live in harmony and promote the public good? Or is it primarily an institution that is incompatible with individual liberty? How we answer it as Americans will decide our future.
Obama must go back to his progressive roots as a community organizer and show that government is truly an institution of “civil society” that promotes the public good for all, against the view that it exists to destroy our liberty. Obama has given me hope lately with his “Buffet Rule” which would be an extra tax on millionaires, which Warren Buffet himself has advocated for.
He has also given me hope with his American Jobs Act proposal. It would spend $447 billion on things like infrastructure, cuts in payroll taxes, and also allow businesses immediate deductions on plants and equipment.
In my view, the American Jobs Act doesn’t go far enough. Just to keep the nation’s infrastructure in regular good condition, we would have to spend $2.2 trillion to do so. This would put millions of people back to work to fix our schools, public drinking water systems and roads. But where could we get $2.2 trillion? In 2002 the government could not find $2.3 trillion in transactions from the Department of Defense. If we could get rid of that waste, even just there, we could fund a huge public works project.
This election will be about whether the government is a civil society, or if it is rather a threat to liberty. Programs like Social Security and Medicare, free public schools through high school, minimum wage laws, agencies to protect our air, labor laws etc., is what civil society is all about. It’s about feeling some compassion for your fellow man and realizing that we don’t live in a vacuum separate from society, but are intrinsically a part of it, and in this realization, that we need civil society to help one another. We need the President of the United States to stand up for that idea.