[Note: I actually wrote this article last week, but wanted to wait a few days to share so folks didn’t just think I was part of the “sore loser” crowd. I knew going into this election that a blow to individual liberty would be dealt either way. I suppose that’s what we get when the majority of people still think the only choice is the lesser of two evils. I also have an "Open Letter to Romney supporters" I will share soon.]
An Open Letter to the Obama Enthusiasts
I am not being condescending. I am genuinely interested: What do you stand for and what exactly has Obama done to win your enthusiastic support?
Do you celebrate Obama because you think he is a champion of civil liberties?
Are you excited that Obama signed the NDAA into law? Do you support the indefinite detention of American citizens without charge or trial? Obama went even further than Bush by claiming the power not merely to detain citizens without judicial review but to assassinate them.
Are you pleased that he renewed the Patriot Act? Obama continues to grow the power of the surveillance state. According to Jack Balkin, Law professor at Yale, “We are witnessing the bipartisan normalization and legitimization of a national security state.” Perhaps you take pleasure in being groped by the TSA or subjected to warrantless invasions of your privacy?
Do you like that he has maintained the detention camp at Gitmo? Do you celebrate Obama’s opposition to lawsuits by victims of government torture?
Obama has suppressed whistleblowers at an unprecedented rate, prosecuting more than double the number of whistleblowers of all previous presidents combined. Do you support the grotesquely inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning, accused of revealing evidence of U.S. war crimes to WikiLeaks?
Do you rejoice over Obama’s immigration policy? An immigration policy that, as Nick Gillespie at Reason points out, has deported record numbers of immigrants.
Do you like that Obama has stepped up the war on drugs and increased the number of raids on medicinal marijuana dispensaries? Do you remember that he promised to end DEA raids on medical marijuana but instead engaged in the biggest war against medical marijuana of any president to date? He has only further extended the domestic stronghold of the US prison-industrial complex.
“But, Obama stands for the equality of all people,” you say. Well, I guess whether you are rich, poor, black, white, gay, or straight…this president’s record is clear. It is possible for any one of us to end up on his ever-expanding targeted kill/capture list.
Maybe you celebrate Obama because you think he is anti-war?
Did you really think Obama was the anti-war candidate? Was it because he appears to be less of a war-monger than Romney? Perhaps, but that doesn’t make him anti-war.
Maybe you actually liked how Obama bragged about increasing military spending, imposing sanctions, and expanding the reach of the imperialistic US military-industrial complex during the foreign policy debate? Or, maybe you are not anti-war, but anti “Republican war”?
Obama expanded our theaters of war as president and further destabilized the Middle East. He is still bombing Pakistan and Yemen. He carried out military intervention in a civil war in Libya, which was not a national security threat to the US. He claimed immunity from having to get Congressional approval for Libya, blatantly ignoring the War Powers Act.
Do you enthusiastically celebrate the man who has significantly increased the use of unmanned predator drones to murder innocent civilians overseas? Obama authorized nearly 300 drone strikes in Pakistan during his first four years in office. That is well over six times the number during the administration of George W. Bush. Obama fully supports “murder by drone without due process”; even if it happens to be a 16 year old, Denver-born American living overseas.
If you voted for Obama because you think he is going to keep us out of Iran, I think you will be sorely disappointed. During the week of the election the Obama administration put new sanctions on Iran, and we saw two Iranian jets fire on an unarmed U.S. predator drone over international waters. Today we got word of the first death of an Iranian child from the U.S. sanctions on Iran. Jacob G. Hornberger writes, “The death of 15-year-old Iranian Manoucherhr Esmaili-Liousi brings to mind the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children from the 11 years of sanctions that the Empire enforced against Iraq during the 1990s." Is that what you celebrate?
I predict an Iranian conflict within the next six months. This would have happened with Romney as president too, but this is still no reason to be excited about Obama. When it comes to war, there is not a substantive difference between the positions of Bush, Obama, and Romney.
Now that the election is over, where is the outrage from the Anti-War Left?
Do you celebrate Obama because you think he fights for the little guy?
It’s like the old saying goes: “With friends like that, who needs enemies?”
Obama, the champion of divisive class warfare rhetoric, has led the little guy through the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression. Obama inherited a mess, but he cannot continue to blame the current stagnation on everybody but himself. The number of Americans living below the official poverty line is the highest number in the 52 years the Census Bureau has been publishing figures on it. 15% of America is still on food stamps after four years of Obama’s policies. Inflation-adjusted median household income has fallen the second year in a row, well after the official end of the Great Recession.
I think Arthur Silber said it well: “[S]o many people who are not members of the ruling class think that Obama is on their side. Even after Obama has systematically betrayed all those ‘ordinary’ people for the last four years, they still think he’s really on their side. He just couldn’t do what he wanted to do — which happens to be exactly what all those good liberals and progressives wanted him to do — because: a) evil Republicans; b) evil Republicans left a really, really, huge mess; c) evil Republicans kept messing with him; d) evil Republicans kept stealing his toys; and e) evil Republicans.”
The consequences of Obama’s economic policies were quite predictable even before the ink dried on his massive stimulus bill. These ideas are not new and have been tried and failed many times in the past. Obama’s every move has been toward central planning of the economy and increased federal regulation and taxation of the job creators. Uncertainty and fear are not good ingredients for a healthy economy. On top of that, Obama has already signed into law at least 21 new taxes.
Deficits do matter. The 6 trillion dollars in new debt under Obama crowds out private investment, skews the economy, and creates a gigantic burden on the present and future taxpayer.
The poor are unquestionably worse off today, and I have not even discussed the issue of monetary debasement. Obama’s deficits are enabled by the Federal Reserve. The Fed buys US debt with newly created money. More money tends to increase prices. Price increases are much harder on the poor and those living on fixed income. That is why many call inflation the cruelest tax of all.
And of course there is Obamacare. That’s reason enough to celebrate, right? Well, I don’t want to rehash a debate that has already taken place at length, but I will go ahead and say that we already know that Obamacare will fail at accomplishing what you think it will and we know why Obamacare will fail. Here’s a reading list if you are interested.
So, for all of you who are excited about Obama, you can be proud that (like the Romney voters) you merely voted for the banksters, the corporate cronies, the military-industrial complex, and all the other special interests that live off political loot.
The Question for 'Candidate' Obama Supporters
Now that the election is over, I can only hope that supporters of liberty and decency across the political spectrum will not turn a blind eye as Obama continues to abuse the power of the office he was elected to serve. It is time for the intellectually honest among us to look past the cult of personality and hold this president accountable for his record.
My purpose in writing this article is summed up nicely by sentiments expressed by Kevin Carson over at C4SS.org: "These monstrous things demand justice, regardless of the culprits’ party affiliations. If you feel the rule of this Democratic war criminal and corporate stooge weighs less heavily on your neck than a Republican, I don’t begrudge you your momentary celebration. The question is, what are you going to do now that the election’s over?”
p.s. You will have to forgive me if I left any of President Obama’s first-term “accomplishments” off the list. I know he had many more. I was just working from memory.