|(PHOTO: Julie Denesha)
I’ve sometimes felt disappointed in the President in the past three years as the reality of governing overshadowed the momentum of the election. While I expect the political attacks from opponents to continue and intensify, I’m disturbed by some of my activist colleagues who talk of withholding support to accomplish policy aims. I don’t forget or forgive the “idealists” who did the same in supporting Ralph Nader and screwed the pooch in the 2000 election.
I told friends and family that I was finally proud to be an American when Mr. Obama was elected president. Not only because we both grew up in Hawaii where so many of the principles of community and caring for others are shared but also because, for the first time, my ideals of truth and justice seemed commensurate with that of the majority of this nation.
After reading his Kansas speech, I want to reaffirm those ideals of truth and justice despite the difficult times of economic decline and political stalemate.
The promise of moving forward to build a national consensus towards the kind of nation we wish to become seems further and further out of reach.
It would be understandable to call it quits.
For most of my professional life I have worked to communicate and to organize around environmental values. I have reveled in the glow of winning an issue that furthers environmental protections and felt the bitterness of defeat when decisions have gone the other way.
As climate change and global warming accelerate, as endangered species decline and go extinct, and as short-term profit taking lays waste to our limited natural resources, it’s sometimes hard to answer the honest question of why continue to get up in the morning to pursue a cause that seems to have such heavy odds against winning.
The answer is that it is not myself alone who believes in these ideals; the cause calls out for giving voice to many others who share the ideals but do not have a voice.
President Obama’s campaign to be elected to a second term is about giving a voice to the many Americans who still hold to the ideals and values so ably articulated in the first campaign— and in the speech given in Kansas. I believe that the ideal of a just and caring nation capable of conducting its business with civil discourse is shared by the majority of the American people.
That is the task before the Obama ’12 campaign—a task to which I will offer my skills, experience and passion.