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Blog item: Historians Look Back Saying: The Barack Obama Administration Failed Its Mandate!

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2 comments, last: Apr-7-2009   Add a comment   Author:  PT (Apr-7-2009)    Play a Video
Categories: Global Warming, Philosophical & Quality of Life, Political, Wildlife and Nature

Obama's election represented hope for a change on many levels of governmentNineteen years ago, after a grassroots movement supporting change, science, and liberal economic and social policies led to a major election-based transformation of Congress and to the selection of a minority, Democratic president, many in the USA and around the world also believed that the new president, Barack Obama, and his Administration, after eight years of the hyper-conservative George Bush presidency, would finally take up the mantle of environmental action, and run with it.

No such thing happened... in retrospect, the Obama Administration played lip service to the idea and importance of human-induced global warming, but set extremely modest goals, dictated by business interests and by those advisors who intoned that "the economy can't take anything more than minimal measures, without total collapse".

Subsequent US administrations had less leverage and more economic pressure, and accomplished even less than the Obama Administration, despite the calls for strong action from many quarters.

When the large Wilkins Ice Shelf in the Antarctic lost its ice bridge and split away in April 2009, beginning an accelerated disintegration of that ice shelf and others that followed, an Obama Administration spokesperson stated that, to paraphrase, "this demonstrates to deniers that global warming is real.  It will not, however, make us move more quickly".  It seems an incredible statement to us now, in retrospect.

It seemed to many American leaders of the time that putting giant sums of money into failing and mismanaged banks, finance companies, and automakers, was the right way to spend well over one trillion in 2009 dollars.  It turned out that was a short-sighted policy.

That is because we now see the result of ignoring the more ambitious measures that had been widely requested by the environmental experts of the time, which centered on:

  • renewable energy research, development, and deployment
  • energy efficiency incentives
  • mass transit funding and fossil fuel de-funding

Nineteen years later, there is no Arctic ice cap; the Gulf Stream seems on the verge of stopping its normal circulation of energy; desert land covering the planet has increased by 70% as compared to the year 2008; ongoing water shortages are experienced now by 50% of the world's population; and contamination of and shortages of food occur regularly even in the former leading, industrialized nations.

Isn't it time, now, nearly twenty years later, to support a third-party candidate that would truly make global health, energy security, and protecting the national treasures of nature, a priority?  If not now, when?

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Comment by:  Wavehunter (William Coffin) (Apr-7-2009)   Web site
I fear, as the article suggests, that Obama's presidency will indeed be one of dashed hopes. He's a better choice than GW Bush, of course, or than John McCain - but that doesn't mean a lot.

Obama was elected to bring about 'change', but ask 10 people what that change means and you'll get 10 answers. Obama is likely to be able to please just one of those people, if he's lucky.

The sad truth is that the political system in the US is innately conservative. In order to be nominated and then elected, Obama had to raise an obscene amount of money. Yes, he received lots of small donations, but the bulk came from corporations, established pressure groups and rich individuals, most of whom have a stake in maintaining the status quo.

In world terms, the Democrats and Republicans are not very far apart politically. Both represent the establishment. For radical change, a third party would have to break through, but the system does not make this easy.

A chance may come soon, however. Support for the Republicans has slumped, and support for the Democrats may go with it unless Obama meets the electorate's high and disparate expectations - an near impossible task.

Who will capitalise on this? Discounting stories of widespread electoral fraud, power in America is ultimately in the hands of the voters. If they refuse to be swayed by all the advertising corporate money can buy and instead think for themselves, then change is possible. Remember that if all those who voted for Gore in 2000 had voted for Nader, there would have been a Green in the White House!
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Apr-7-2009)   Web site

Let me clarify, since I have received several emails asking me how I meant this article, and whether Obama really could do more: I hope this is NOT the typical article as the 2028 election campaign approaches its height in April 2028. However, it seems to many, including myself, that the next few years, or even the next year, is the last chance for effective world action. All the world's nations are moving at a snail's pace. It is not clear to me exactly what Obama could do in today's political realities -- but he could certainly do more in terms of speaking out, and likely in allocating more funds to energy conservation and renewable energy, as well as to other environmental measures, instead of making gifts to bankers and auto companies. There are many choices in how to stimulate the economy, and the proportion currently being given to "green" projects is relatively small. The last straw for me was reading the quote from the Obama staffer stating that the collapsing Antarctic ice would not cause any changes in policy.

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About author/contributor Member: PT (David Alexander) PT (David Alexander)
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Member: PT (David Alexander) My lifelong pursuit, since age 18, has been to live more fully and find wisdom. This has involved studies with Zen masters, Tai Chi masters, and great psychotherapists while achieving my license as a gestalt therapist and psychoanalyst.

Along the way, I became aware of how the planet is under great stress due to the driven nature of human activity on this planet.

I believe that the advancement of human well-being will reduce societies addictive behaviors, and will thus also help preserve the environment and perhaps slow down the effects of global warming and other major threats to the health of human societies.

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