As I was driving home from work yesterday, sitting in traffic because of the Baltimore Grand Prix, I was listening to NPR and thinking about this country in which I live. At one point during the drive, there was a brief story regarding a speech that Mr. Romney recently made. He said something to the effect of 'hope and change were powerful influencers 4 years ago but if you felt that excited when Barrack Obama was a candidate, shouldn't you still feel that way now that he's President Obama?' I know that many people are frustrated with the presidency of Mr. Obama, and they have every right to feel that way (though I think much of it is due to misinformation but that's just my opinion). One of the things that is great about our country (as Clint Eastwood recently so eloquently reminded us) is the notion that we the people do, in fact, have the power to fire our politicians when we become unhappy. The cynics out there will say that there's no hope, there's no chance of us making a difference so what's the point in even voting. But I look at the often overwhelming roadblocks of bureaucracy in a slightly different manner. I look at them as a system of checks and balances for our stupidity and impatience. Running a country is a very complex thing and there needs to be somewhat of a difficult process in place for us to have a voice in order to make sure that what we have to say is actually that important to us. Much as I hate to admit it because I'd much rather be an anarchist, there has to be some system of order and organization to keep us all in check. The problem is that too often there is an imbalance of power in the opposite direction and it can become easy to keep people down.
But I digress. The point is that people have every right to think what they think and express those thoughts and beliefs. And I love that about this country.
But I also feel the need to express that there are those of us out there who still believe in the presidency of Mr. Barrack Hussein Obama. Some of us still believe that change is happening, it just takes longer than the general public (Republicans, in particular it seems) has patience for. But let's keep in mind that we've been fighting two wars for well over 8 years and we're still figthing them. I'll write more about that in a later post. The point is that some of us still believe because we understand that things are much more complicated than the black and white soundbytes we are given on a daily basis. We don't think it's a bad thing to have a president who is verbose and professorial and takes his time making decisions because he recognizes the complexity of each one and wants to identify the response that will be best for the country in the long term. We don't want a president who is "just like us" because, as Dennis Leary once said on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" we want someone who is much, much smarter than we are. We believe that sometimes a 2,000 plus page law is exactly what is needed to solve an incredibly complex problem like the current state of our health care system. There is no simple solution to that.
At least I know there is one person that feels this way, but if you allow myself to speak in the royal first, then it really is "we".
So yes, Mr. Romney, I still believe. And I still feel incredibly hopeful about the change I am feeling in this country. I'm not scared of the Affordable Healthcare Act, or the ridiculously ignorant nickname it has been given "Obamacare". I'm actually incredibly excited about it. The other day, I went to the doctor for a checkup and didn't have to pay my normal copay. Why? The Affordable Health Care Act. Some of us are going to be receiving checks in the mail in the near future as a reimbursement for insurance premiums paid last year that went over the limits set by the Affordable Health Care Act.
I'm also excited about the direction our economy is heading. I'm so sick of hearing all of the negative things about the unemployment numbers because we're missing the incredibly exciting things that are happening every day. We are on the verge of an absolutely explosive growth, I really believe that, but it's being stifled because of all the negative talk. When are we going to realize that our focus on the negative aspects of the economy is the exact reason the economy is stalled in the first place. The only reason people aren't spending money and creating new jobs is that we're all talking all the time about how scared we are. But there are those of us who are seeing beyond this. I truly feel a revolution coming. I talk to people on the phone every day who are risking everything to start new small businesses because they have a great idea, they have hope in our future, and they believe they can see their dreams come true. That takes hope and a ton of faith. I see companies like Zipcar exploding as people become more and more interested in conserving resources and getting on board with communal-oriented services like car sharing. I see neighborhoods taking on a more small-town feel with everything you need in walking distance, like the new Fleet Street Market neighborhood grocery down the street from my apartment in Baltimore.
Good things are happening. Yes, there are still scary things happening in the world. There are big problems. Everything is not peachy keen. But there are also exciting things happening. And as my wife has reminded me of late, what you focus on grows.
There is a revolution coming. And negative messaging cannot contain it forever.
So, yes, I still believe in President Obama. I believe that change is happening and things are actually a lot better than people think. And I believe that President Obama actually shares a lot of my feelings and beliefs about our country. I've been frustrated by the negative tone of both campaigns this year, but I understand it. I could be wrong, but I think Mr. Obama came into office feeling just as hopeful as the rest of us. But then reality hit. I believe Republicans felt threatened by this change and decided to stonewall it. So Mr. Obama became frustrated and a bit jaded about the possibility of finding unity in our country. I think now he's playing the game the way he feels he has been forced to, and that makes me sad. But I believe that he still has the same hope in change that many of us feel and given four more years, without having to worry about a reelection campaign, he could provide us with the vision and leadership we need to break through this barrier of negative messaging and embrace the new wave of hope and change that is emerging. It's still there, like we thought 4 years ago, it's just not as fast as we initially thought because it's encountered a few wave breaks along the way.
I've been sort of sitting on the sidelines for awhile, waiting to see which way the wave is breaking so I can decide whether I even want to continue paying attention to it. But now I'm choosing to jump in and ride the wave I've been feeling. This conversation is no longer something that is happening to me, I'm choosing to do everything I can to become an active participant.
I choose to hope. Again.