"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, December 06, 2010

Stop Wishing: Obama Must Go!

. . . . However, nothing influenced me more to write this blog than listening, again, carefully to some of the lyrics of Bob Dylan's "Blowin in The Wind."
How many roads most a man walk down Before you call him a man? Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
Then, I began to think about 1968: about Allard Lowenstein, President Lyndon Johnson, Senator Eugene McCarthy, Sarah Kovner and Harold Ickes of the New York Democratic Party New Coalition who had the courage to lead a grassroots challenge to Lyndon Johnson's re-election.

Lyndon Johnson was one of the greatest presidents in the history of our country. He enacted Immigration reform, bills establishing a National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, a Highway Safety Act, the Public Broadcasting Act, creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a bill to provide consumers with some protection against shoddy goods and dangerous products, Social Security and Medicare, Voting Rights Act of 1965, only to mention a few. But, he squandered and threatened the viable implementation of these legislative achievements by his aggressive pursuit and escalation of the war in Vietnam.

Some of us, like Allard Lowenstein, Sarah Kovner, Harold Ickes, Eleanor French, Blair Clark, decided that Johnson's pro Vietnam policy had to be publicly challenged. Our "agent" for this challenge was Senator Eugene McCarthy from Minnesota. He may have been an "uncertain trumpet" on other domestic issues. However, we worked hard to support his candidacy for President in the New Hampshire Democratic primary as a challenge to the Vietnam policy of President Johnson. McCarthy came in second with 42% percent of the vote against 49% for the President. This precipitated Johnson to announce that he would not seek re-election as the candidate of the National Democratic Party.

When few other public figures of national stature spoke out about Johnson's escalation of the war in Vietnam, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, at New York City's Riverside Church, before a meeting of Concerned Layman and Clergy, on April 4th, 1967, said "A time comes when silence is betrayal." For Dr. King, it was "time to break the silence."
And, so it is with Obama's continued squandering of the extraordinary support he developed for his election as President.

Go and check out the video clips of the panorama of faces that assembled in Grant Park in Chicago after the election results confirmed his victory. Check out the million + people who came to Washington to witness his Inauguration.
It is not easy to consider challenging the first African-American to be elected as President of the United States. But, regrettably, I believe that the time has come to do this.

It is time for Progressives to stop "whining" and arguing among themselves about whether President Obama will or will not do this or that. Obama is no different than any other President, nominated by his national party. He was elected with the hard work and 24/7 commitment of persons who believed and enlisted in his campaign for "Hope" and "Change."

You don't have to be a rocket scientist nor have a PhD in political science and sociology to see clearly that Obama has abandoned much of the base that elected him. He has done this because he no longer respects, fears or believes those persons who elected him have any alternative, but to accept what he does, whether they like it or not.

It is time for those persons who constituted the "Movement" that enabled Senator Barack Obama to be elected to "break their silence"; to indicate that they no longer will sit on their hands, and only let off verbal steam and ineffective sound and fury, and "hope" for the best.

The answer is blowin' in the wind

The pursuit of the war in Afghanistan in support of a certifiably corrupt Afghan government and the apparent willingness to retreat from his campaign commitment of no further tax cuts for the rich, his equivocal and foot dragging leadership to end DADT, his TARP for Wall Street, but, equivocal insufficient attention to the unemployment and housing foreclosures of Main Street, suggest that the template of the 1968 challenge to the reelection of President Lyndon Johnson now must be thoughtfully considered for Obama in 2012.

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