Not sure that this warrants a diary, but I need to say it anyway.
I've been a reluctant supporter of Obama ever since the 2008 primaries ended. I loved his speeches and agreed with most of his positions, but the post-partisan unity that he made so central to his philosophy and his rhetoric seemed so woefully naive to me.
I didn't think he understood the nature of his opposition, that they would be against him because of who he was and that any attempts at compromise would be rebuffed.
Sadly, he proved me right as much as he proved me wrong during his first term. Too many things were on the table, too many core progressive principles being offered up on the grand bargain altar. Is he just a bad negotiator, or a willing co-conspirator in the dismantling of our safety net?
"But!" I heard the defenders say. "But he never really followed through on those compromises. It was all a fake-out to convince watchers on that he was the one acting in good faith." Was he really that good, or were we just lucky that the Republicans never accepted offers that so aligned with their long-term goals?
I'll never know for sure, but it doesn't matter anyway. Because Obama has made a turn, an essential turn that he might have anticipated all along but that two decades of being a partisan Democrat had me thinking was never a possibility in the first place.
He has turned the country away from its long march to the right and toward a slow and steady move to the left. His inauguration speech today marked a turn that was in the making throughout his re-election campaign and that OFA is likely to be central to our rate of progress.
We are now a country that is moving toward the left. Every move he's made since re-election has been one that reduces income inequality and institutionalized injustice. Suddenly I can see the roots of what he's doing now were planted long ago, but have begun to blossom now that a majority of the American electorate has ratified a progressive vision for America's future for the first time in generations.
Four years ago, President Obama was elected by a wider margin but with a weaker mandate. Americans endorsed a change from the chaos of the Bush years, but that was a vote for a return to normalcy and stability, not for progressivism as a whole. President Obama understood that and tried to govern as the leader the country had backed to bring harmony to Washington.
Today, he took the oath of office as a president who was chosen after an election that contrasted two vastly different visions for our country and the role that government should play in that vision. The country chose the progressive vision, and today, he made clear he will govern as the leader the country has backed to enact that vision.
So from now on, I'll see every compromise as a step toward the ultimate ideals that we are finally moving toward as a nation, and with an understanding that our rapidly changing demographics will help those steps become strides.
It's appropriate that his inauguration was on MLK's holiday. I was reminded of Dr. King's final speech:
“I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!”He can only get us so far in the next four years, but we'll be following the path he has shown us long after he's left office, the path from which he spent four years clearing away brush and repairing the pavement in preparation for the journey that has now begun.
Mr. President, I hang up my cynicism, hand in my mistrust, and discard of my doubt. Today, you called on us to join you in helping to make our shared dreams a reality. I'm in.
Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 3:17 AM PT: UPDATE: I can't believe I woke up on the Rec list. Thanks for listening and responding!