We were supposed to be a changed nation. Six years ago, reeling from enduring arguably the worst presidency in American history, our nation turned to a man who promised change and hope for the future to guide us into the next decade and through the depression. Yet, for a historically progressive choice of president, we have seen historically little progress under his leadership.
Where’s the change, President Obama? We the people were promised an end to our involvement in the Middle East, a fix of our broken economy and drastic change to policy. We have seen no such change. Granted, Obama has been saddled with an uncooperative Congress for much of his presidency, but a good leaders can rise above and accomplish some of his goals. Obama has not delivered satisfactorily on a majority of his promises.
The first large area where Obama let us down was in our military and security. He had promised to bring our troops home, and yet we are still in Afghanistan for some reason. In fact, even though he has decreased the number of troops in recent months, the number of personnel deployed there is still higher than when he entered office. Additionally, he has ushered in heavy use of drone strikes in the region, which have been widely controversial and condemned by some as a war crime.
While he has met some success in the Middle East, there hasn’t been substantial change in the region worthy of all the resources poured into the effort. It still baffles me that he somehow was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize despite the fact that he has overall increased the number of troops in the Middle East and essentially carried on the preposterous American tradition of trying to force democracy down the throats of cultures we don’t understand. Obama may have good intentions, but he has failed us by carrying on the way he has in the region.
He has also let us down in regards to our economy. Granted, we do seem to have weathered the worst of the recession and, depending on who you ask, have recovered from the depression. Obama also made several good moves during that time such as the stimulus packages and “Cash for Clunkers” program that benefited a lot of people. However, regardless of whether or not you believe he fixed the economy, the fact is that the long-term factors that threaten our economy were not addressed and continue to plague our financial stability.
The work of Obama and the rest in Washington was only a short-term fix and will ultimately not keep us afloat in the long run. Our government still refuses to acknowledge or address the growing economic inequality in our country and the absurd amount of corporate wealth and corruption in their own institutions. The middle class is shrinking in America, and this growing division between the have and have-nots will only become a bigger threat to democracy and equality. The mainstream media is not stepping up because they’re owned by the 1 percent, our politicians are being hushed up by the corporations themselves, and Obama has still done nothing despite having the necessary power to enact change. Obama was arguably the most progressive presidential pick we’ve ever made as a nation, and yet he is making the most pedestrian choice to leave things as they are, despite being elected with rhetoric and time stressing the great need for change. Obama is failing our country by allowing our market system to continue onward toward its disastrous end.
Additionally, he has failed to provide us with any substantially beneficial change in policy. The Supreme Court struck down the ban on same-sex marriage, corporate tax loopholes and CEO pay is still going relatively unchecked, and Obamacare, his biggest project, has been a bit of a mess coming out of the gate. Even one of the biggest revelations during his presidency, the NSA spying scandal, is old news and has been going on since at least 1996. Unless Obamacare proves to be of benefit in the future, this opens the question of what he actually accomplished during his terms of leadership. He’s done a little bit in paving the way for expansion of alternative energy, but beyond that he’s really just been passing on Bush-era policies and dealing with Congress.
President Obama was elected in troubled times with a nation thirsting for a progressive, new direction. He promised us change, but has given us anything but that.
Collegian opinion writer Sean Kennedy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.