I'll be surprised if United States President Barack Obama is not reelected today. No, not because he teared-up in Iowa on the night of his final campaign of his political career, but because of all that this man has accomplished, and tried to accomplish, as president.
I mean, he's worked his ass off under the most brutal circumstances, taking on huge, huge, challenges that has outlived not a few of his predecessors, succeeding in these challenges even as his fellow politicians on the other side swore, at the risk of jeopardizing the fortunes of the country, to defeat his efforts at pulling the country out of the doldrums.
The sad truth is that these folks not only threatened but made good their threats. They battled him hard and showed a strain of disrespect for the office he holds in a manner that no one had ever seen in the annals of the American politics. Hell he was heckled as a liar while he delivered the highly regarded State of the Union speech, right before the eyes of the country and the entire world. He was likened to Hitler. His faith and his citizenship was questioned, making him out like an 'other' - like he was some foreign hand smuggled into the country to perfect some dark agenda.
But not once did you find him whine about all that. Instead he kept his chin up and maintained a happy-go-lucky and dignified mien, parrying the most ridiculous of the charges against him with mature humor which portrayed these assailants for the "carnival barkers" that they are. To the rest of his detractors, he extended the most polished of courtesy, refusing to live up to the stereotype of the ‘angry black man’ they hoped to see. And so did his wife, Michelle, who continues to radiate as much class as beauty and intelligence - these people make leadership seem so attractive.
I don't think this great country will join the call by the opponents of Barack Obama to throw him out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Not after all he has done to bring stability to this country as it teetered on the brink of financial meltdown, caused by the very people now baying for his exit.
I don't think the people of this country will miss out on this man's preferences for causes to champion: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair-Pay Act that guarantees equality between the salaries of men and women; the Affordable Health Care Act that protects millions of Americans from being exploited by insurance company sharks; a vast reform of the Wall Street that brings a regime of regulations to prevent reckless behavior in the money market; credit card reforms to protect Americans against lenders who operated like loan sharks; education loan reforms that give borrowers better control in financing their education and access to more funds for war veterans who want to train themselves better upon their return from the war front.
There is also the successful winding down of the debilitating, ill-conceived war in Iraq in which thousands of American sons and daughters died, alongside another war in Afghanistan whose end is now in sight so that, for once in over a decade, America may once again focus on investing in nation building at home than abroad. How about the jump-starting of an ailing economy that that was losing 738,000 jobs per month to an economy that saw a spike of over 5 million new jobs within three and a half years, alongside the growth of manufacturing jobs for the first time since 1997?
How about iconic feats as the targeting and the elimination of the rank and file of those who sought the annihilation of Americans, top among which is Osama bin Laden, who met his waterloo under President Obama’s watch on May 2nd 2011, after his Republican predecessor bungled every attempt to locate him for nearly 8 years because he was busy chasing after cheap victories elsewhere in Mesopotamia?
The list of successes on behalf of the average American goes on.
Yet, according to most of the polls available out there, the race is a virtual tie as Americans troop out to the polls this morning. It defies explanation that after working so hard, accomplishing so much and now poised to do even more for his fellow Americans, Barack Obama’s path to a second term as president is so steep.
But this is America, an impatient America, where Americans take their comforts granted in the sense that they expect whomever they select to manage their affairs to deliver here and now. It reminds one of J.G. Wentworth commercial where people shouted out of their windows, it is my money and I want it noow! It is the way American politics tend to work: either Jimmy delivers 100% within the space of time issued him, which is four years, or he will be kicked out and replaced with Ronald, who will come in smiling like a Cheshire feline to take credit for the bruising toil endured by his predecessor who had put things in place for the next ‘X’ number years of economic prosperity.
And then again there is the issue of well-oiled machines that can successfully brand any Purple Heart-waving veteran as a flip-flopping woosie, while painting his, chest-thumping, draft-dodging opponent as the epitome of decisive courage[!] And yes both sides of the American political playfield do it, although one side appears to be better at the game than the other. But through all of drama of American politics, there appears on the surface of it all, a general progressive curve through the years. Barriers are broken on everything from the abolition of slavery, to the rights of blacks and women to vote, to Medicare, to Roe versus Wade and other such landmark achievements.
However, Barack Obama arrived on the scene riding waves of expectation of transformative governance unlike none in recent annals. To a considerable extent he has lived up to the calling, and might have done a whole lot more but for the concerted efforts of those who recognize him as a threat to what they, too, have taken for granted. In other words, the vast dreams of Obama and his supporters for America met nearly equal strength in opposing forces who got working from day-one to ensure that he would not only be a one-term president, but that every and any initiative by him would be opposed. Even more so, efforts were made to delegitimize him in the eyes of Americans by calling his birth and faith into question, the extreme of which are religious nuts who see him as the “anti-Christ,” out to carry out the devil’s work in America.
It therefore does not come as a surprise, given all the issues involved as earlier mentioned, that polls are so close between, on the one hand, a steady, even-handed, level-headed and charismatic president who has delivered on a good number of the promises he made on his way power, and on the other hand, a vacillating, unpredictable, gaffe-prone opponent whose good morning is better followed up with a quick glance at the clock to see if it is not actually four in the evening – an opponent who more or less has a multiple personality, and who takes every side of every issue as his core position. It is this same opponent who, desperate before his conservative audience a few months back, blatantly denied his generally moderate political image and claimed to be a “severely conservative” politician, whatever that means in his lexicon.
Well, either way today, November the 6th of 2012, Americans will probably know who will lead them for the next four years. And if the race turns out so close that the winner is not immediately known, which is unlikely, an army of lawyers recruited by both Republicans and Democrats stand ready on the sidelines to fight to the finish. That is not going to be pretty one bit. And that is why one hopes that by the end of today, we would know who the next president will be.
30 million Americans already took advantage of the early voting arrangement available in several states before today. But more Americans should come out in their numbers and vote, if for no reason, at least because of Will Ferrel’s appeal to do so. Well, he wants everyone to vote for President Obama. I do, too. A lot is at stake, and personally, I don’t believe that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has what it takes to do for America what so many Americans, and admirers of America all over the world, expect of America.
Whatever happens today, let the will of the people be done and be seen to be done. It is America after all – if there is any country out there where the will of the people should be taken for granted as sacred, it is America. So yes let the will of the people be done, and as Abraham Lincoln once prayed, may government of the people, by the people and for the people never perish off the face of the earth.
We wait. We watch. We hope.