Six years ago, then President-elect Barack Obama stood before an overflowing and tear-filled crowd of Americans as they chanted, “Hope and change, hope and change!” As the first African-American president in United States history, he had already accomplished what only a few decades before seemed impossible. But ultimately, that may not be the accomplishment he is most remembered for. Barack Obama may have set a new world record and a notorious one at that. He has gone from one of the slickest campaigns ever run, to a pit stop at a Nobel Prize, then raced on to a political road littered with scandals in under six years. It may be a record of Richard Nixon-like proportions and the American people have the tire-tracks of Obamacare across their backs to prove it.
All of it leaves me wondering if the voters of this country were too quick to accept the handsome, cool package of Obama without really looking closely at what was beneath that charming facade. We didn’t want to hear that he had no real leadership experience to speak of or that his political leanings occasionally wandered into Rev. Jeremiah Wright territory. The American people were anxious for someone who wasn’t the stereotypical white male millionaire to run for the highest office of the land. And that’s the problem, we went with someone, not the right someone.
We forgot to heed Martin Luther King’s advice; we forgot to ignore the color of a person’s skin and judge them solely on the content of their character. And sadly, the press hasn’t done this country any favors in that category either. For years now, anyone who disagreed with Obama’s political ideas has been called a racist for not giving our first African-American president a free pass. But isn’t that what is truly racist? Doesn’t equality mean equal treatment, both in support for and judgement of a person’s actions, regardless of racial or other differences?
Now millions of us are discovering that we’ve bought into another package without opening the box and reading the instructions. Our president wrapped the package of Obamacare, put a pretty bow on top, and said, “If you want your insurance, you can keep your insurance, period.” Now even the staunchest of democrats are struggling to find another word besides “lie” to define what he said. “Misspoke,” “misleading,” “deceive” ... doesn’t it all boil down to one thing? He knowingly, willfully betrayed us. This wasn’t a campaign promise, that let’s face it, we all expect our politicians to frequently break. This has been years of President Obama standing before the people who gave him the privilege of their vote, saying the same lie over and over and over.
In another world record, Barack Obama has gone from president to 3 a.m. infomercial host in under a year. I can practically hear him saying, “It slices, it dices, but wait ... there’s more!” And that’s the other problem, I believe him on this one. I think there really is more. If we are only weeks into the new-and-improved insurance programming and it’s already this bad, then the American people may have made the most expensive shopping mistake in history. Obamacare is quite simply unready, untested (especially the website), and unjust.
But I’m not certain that’s what is really bothering me about all of this. I think it goes so much deeper than that. I didn’t vote for Obama, but I almost did because I wanted that someone, too. I wanted that honorable someone who was deserving of being the first African-American president. I wanted that someone to prove that the United States had come full-circle in our shamefully unequal treatment of many colors of people. I wanted us to make Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. proud. Above all the hype and hypocrisy, Obama made a sacred promise to a people that has already endured everything from slavery to segregation in this country. They deserve better, Mr. President, we all do.
Obama’s cheering crowds are sullenly silent now. Hope has turned to hopelessness that Washington will never change. The man that inspired a nation to believe that equality is possible has proven his point in the ugliest of ways. Yes, Obama is equal to every other politician in Washington, but it has nothing to do with the color of his skin or the oval office he sits in every day. He has proven that he’s equal all right, equally deceptive in every way.
— Tiffany Miller is a Tahoe resident and mother. Visit her website at http://mycrayonbox.org.