Lately there has been alot of talk in the air of progressives that are not satisfied with the way things are going in this country.  At the beginning of this year, there was such a euphoria that we had a change agent in Washington, but I think alot of people thought he was their personal change agent.   Well, news flash, he belongs to the nation as a whole, not to a specific group.  President Obama is there to do what is good for the nation entire, not just for special interest groups.  Are we all happy with every decision he makes?  Of course not, but as a whole is the nation better off with him as the leader rather than McCain/Palin?  To most, I think the answer would be categorically “YES”.    When will we learn in this country that instant gratification may not be always be good for you in the long run?  Have we forgotten so soon just how bad the previous administration was and how they left this country in a shambles? 

As time passes, I believe people tend to forget the lessons of history and we have a recent history that the majority of Americans would not want to relive.  So, in the spirit of not forgetting just how dark the previous administration was, I am posting a speech given by Dr. Robin Meyers at the University of Oklahoma after the presidential election of 2004.  He voices so well what alot of us were thinking and feeling in those days that I think it bears reposting.  The speech has been sent around the internet so some may have seen it before, but it is still relevant today. 

Dr. Robin Meyers
Oklahoma University Peace Rally
November 14, 2004

As some of you know, I am minister of Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City, an Open and Affirming, Peace and Justice church in northwest Oklahoma City, and professor of Rhetoric at Oklahoma City University. But you would most likely have encountered me on the pages of the Oklahoma Gazette, where I have been a columnist for six years and hold the record for the most number of angry letters to the editor. Tonight, I join ranks of those who are angry, because I have watched as the faith I love has been taken over by fundamentalists who claim to speak for Jesus, but whose actions are anything but Christian.

We’ve heard a lot lately about so-called “moral values” as having swung the election to President Bush. Well, I’m a great believer in moral values, but we need to have a discussion, all over this country about exactly what constitutes a moral value — I mean what are we talking about? Because we don’t get to make them up as we go along,especially not if we are people of faith. We have an inherited tradition ofwhat is right and wrong, and moral is as moral does. Let me give you just afew of the reasons why I take issue with those in power who claim moralvalues are on their side:

When you start a war on false pretenses, and then act as if your deceptions are justified because you are doing God’s will, and that your critics are either unpatriotic or lacking in faith, there are some of us who have given our lives to teaching and preaching the faith who believe that this is not only not moral, but immoral.

When you live in a country that has established international rules for waging a just war, build the United Nations on your own soil to enforce them, and then arrogantly break the very rules you set down for the rest of the world, you are doing something immoral.

When you claim that Jesus is the Lord of your life, and yet fail to acknowledge that your policies ignore his essential teaching, or turn them on their head (you know, Sermon on the Mount stuff like that we must never return violence for violence and that those who live by the sword will die by the sword), you are doing something immoral.

When you act as if the lives of Iraqi civilians are not as important as the lives of American soldiers, and refuse to even count them, you are doing something immoral.

When you find a way to avoid combat in Vietnam, and then question the patriotism of someone who volunteered to fight, and came home a hero, you are doing something immoral.

When you ignore the fundamental teachings of the gospel, which says that the way the strong treat the weak is the ultimate ethical test, by giving tax breaks to the wealthiest among us so the strong will get stronger and the weak will get weaker, you are doing something immoral.

When you wink at the torture of prisoners, and deprive so-called “enemy combatants” of the rules of the Geneva convention, which your own country helped to establish and insists that other countries follow you are doing something immoral.

When you claim that the world can be divided up into the good guys and the evil doers, slice up your own nation into those who are with you, or with the terrorist — and then launch a war which enriches your own friends and seizes control of the oil to which we are addicted, instead of helping us to kick the habit, you are doing something immoral.

When you fail to veto a single spending bill, but ask us to pay for a war with no exit strategy and no end in sight, creating an enormous deficit that hangs like a great millstone around the necks of our children, you are doing something immoral.

When you cause most of the rest of the world to hate a country that was once the most loved country in the world, and act like it doesn’t matter what others think of us, only what God thinks of you, you have done something immoral.

When you use hatred of homosexuals as a wedge issue to turnout record numbers of evangelical voters, and use the Constitution as a tool of discrimination, you are doing something immoral.

When you favor the death penalty, and yet claim to be a follower of Jesus, who said an eye for an eye was the old way, not the way of the kingdom, you are doing something immoral.

When you dismantle countless environmental laws designed to protect the earth which is God’s gift to us all, so that the corporations that bought you and paid for your favors will make higher profits while our children breathe dirty air and live in a toxic world, you have done something immoral. The earth belongs to the Lord, not Halliburton.

When you claim that our God is bigger than their God, and that our killing is righteous, while theirs is evil, we have begun to resemble the enemy we claim to be fighting, and that is immoral. We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.

When you tell people that you intend to run and govern as a “compassionate conservative,” using the word which is the essence of all religious faith-compassion, and then show no compassion for anyone who disagrees with you, and no patience with those who cry to you for help, you are doing something immoral.

When you talk about Jesus constantly, who was a healer of the sick, but do nothing to make sure that anyone who is sick can go to see a doctor, even if she doesn’t have a penny in her pocket, you are doing something immoral.

When you put judges on the bench who are racist, and will set women back a hundred years, and when you surround yourself with preachers who say gays ought to be killed, you are doing something immoral. I’m tired of people thinking that because I’m a Christian I must be a supporter of President Bush, or that because I favor civil rights and gay rights I must not be a person of faith. I’m tired of people saying that I can’t support the troops but oppose the war — I heard that when I was your age, when theVietnam war was raging. We knew that that war was wrong, and you know that this war is wrong–the only question is how many people are going to die before these make-believe Christians are removed from power? This country is bankrupt. The war is morally bankrupt. The claim of this administration to be Christian is bankrupt. And the only people who can turn things around are people like you–young people who are just beginning to wake up to what is happening to them. It’s your country to take back. Its your faith to take back. It’s your future to take back. Don’t be afraid to speak out. Don’t back down when your friends begin to tell you that the cause is righteous and that the flag should be wrapped around the cross, while the rest of us keep our mouths shut. Real Christians take chances for peace. So do real Jews, and real Muslims, and real Hindus, and real Buddhists–so do all the faith traditions of the world at their heart believe one thing: life is precious. Every human being is precious. Arrogance is the opposite of faith. Greed is the opposite of charity. And believing that one has never made a mistake is the mark of a deluded man, not a man of faith. And war — war is the greatest failure of the human race– and thus the greatest failure of faith. There’s an old rock and roll song, whose lyrics say it all: War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. And what is the dream of the prophets? That we should study war no more, that we should beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks. Who would Jesus bomb, indeed? How many wars does it take to know that too many people have died? What if they gave a war and nobody came? Maybe one day we will find out. Time to march again my friends. Time to commit acts of civil disobedience. Time to sing, and to pray, and refuse to participate in the madness. My generation finally stopped a tragic war. You can too!

Published with  written permission from Dr. Robin Meyers

I think we all need to take a step back and really reflect on this past year and what it has meant to us.  And then take a step forward, get out there and talk to people, remind people of just how badly our reputation in the world was damaged in the past 8 years.  It will not be fixed overnight and despite the right claiming we think President Obama can part the Atlantic Ocean, we know it is not true.  It is just another tool in their disingenous toolbox they use to create dissention in the national conversation.  Oh and if you do not have a narrow sectarian mind, pick up a copy of Dr. Robin Myers book titled, “Why the Christian Right is Wrong”.  I guarantee it will lift your spirits and galvanize you in to action, if only in your small part of the world.  Sometimes that is all that is needed.

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I am a soon to be 59 Nana to Anthony who is 11. I live in Benicia CA with my husband and Shih Tsu. I worked in Banking and the Financial Industry for 24 years in Fraud, Risk Management, Account Management, Program Management, Project Management and Customer Service. I was a Fraud Investigator for Credit Card and Merchant Business and investigated internal fraud and responded to Bank robberies. I was also management in most of these positions. Now I am content to find a part time job where I am just a worker bee, no more corporate BS for this gal. I also make jewelry. I can spend hours in a bead shop just touching all the fine baubles. Only another beader would understand that one.

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Tiger99
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The problem isn’t what he inherited from Bush it’s what comes from his administration…

http://www.cnbc.com//id/34613110

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nellie
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What you’re saying is that there’s no context for the actions he takes. And that is never true for any administration.

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nellie
Member

Thanks Sue. That’s a great letter.

We have a very short memory in this country. And the media does everything it can to encourage our amnesia.

I like to remind people of those dark days with this link from the old HP:
HuffPost’s “The Bush Years” Posters: A Powerful Tool for ’08

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javaz
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Media in this country?
I know more about Tiger Woods and Charlie Sheen than I know about health care reform.

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Emerald1943
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Good post, Sue! And very timely! I suggested this morning in another comment that I wonder if there is really that much disagreement with the progressive wing of the Democratic party…or is it just the hyperbole of the MSM? You know how they will pick up on anything they think will be dramatic and give them ratings. What would be better than the left wing turning against the President?

I know there are some who are feeling the letdown. I have had some moments like that, especially with the escalation of the war in Afghanistan. But I also wrote that I am not ready to throw in the towel on the President. I am willing to give him his entire first term to address the problems that the Shrub left for him. Lord knows, it will take even longer than 4 years to clean up this mess! Everybody just needs to take a chill pill and let the man do his job!

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bito
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Good thought Emerald,

I wonder if there is really that much disagreement with the progressive wing of the Democratic party

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nellie
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Good point. There are a lot of bitter people, though, with megaphones. Like Jane Hampshire of Firedog Lake — who was mentioned by K7 on another thread. And Geraldine Ferraro was not a figment of our imaginations.

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bito
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And why is my edit not working?

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javaz
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I love our president and vice president.
I cannot tolerate the criticism directed at him from the left.
I can tolerate the criticism and partake in the criticism of the Democratic Party and Democrats, namely the blue dogs in the senate and congress, but I truly believe that Obama is a very smart man and very savvy politician.
I agree with you in saying ‘let the man do his job’.
Did people really expect that Obama could turn the Bush years around in a year?
WTF?

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whatsthatsound
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Great post, but I must yet again (as I have often done on this site) take issue with the characterization of unhappy progressives as selfish seekers of “instant gratification”. The sentence in the post “Well, news flash, he belongs to the nation as a whole, not to a specific group.” is telling, because that is exactly the issue that the progressives who get incessantly criticized and mocked here would like to raise with you.

They fear that the special interests the president “belongs to” are the usual suspects. The MIC, the financial giants, etc. His appointments and handling of the banking crisis, more troops to Afghanistan, continuing Bush’ refusal to join civilized nations in banning land mines, telecom immunity, etc. etc. indicate to them NOT that Obama isn’t their own personal Santa Claus, but that he is seriously compromised. If you disagree with them, then argue with them about that. Make it clear to them how they are wrong about him. But with facts. Not with saying, “What? You’d rather have Palin?” or calling them childish and selfish.

Otherwise, they’ll just respond by calling you Obamabots or Obamapologists. And the progressive movement remains a house divided.

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nellie
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It would be a lot easier to have a conversation about those complaints if we could come to some agreement that this president has indeed made progress that we would not have seen under a GOP white house. Like stem cell research. Like pay equity. Like negotiations with countries we wouldn’t speak to before. Like a health care bill AT ALL.

It’s the refusal to concede any change that stumps me. I can’t have a discussion about half the facts — the half that’s convenient to push a point of view.

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whatsthatsound
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This is a response to both Sue and Nellie. Thank you both for your thoughtful replies. Sue, when I used the word “childish”, I didn’t mean you specifically. There have been other posts, such as one that compared disgruntled progressives to children screaming “waaahhh!” because they didn’t get their cookies, that I had in mind.
Nellie, I see your point, and it is a very good one. However, arguing on behalf of those I write about (as you may guess, I myself am ambivalent, and want to be shown, over time, that my skepticism about the president is unfounded), couldn’t one say that although the issues you mention are solid, and positive, that in terms of weight, it is far more than “half” we are talking about. A video that is going around the disgruntled progressive community shows candidate Obama telling the AFL-CIO that, in order to get single payer health insurance in this country, we need to do three things: take back the White House, the Senate, and the House. Looking at the way he didn’t use the bully pulpit to fight harder for something he campaigned for and the majority wanted, how can they not look back on that video and feel cheated? Feel that what they were REALLY seeing was an advertisement for a product called the Democratic Party?
Finally, as to the point of patience. It is a valid, and important one. No question. But if President Obama is really the “chess player” he is said to be by some, then he, more than anyone, understands that with midterm elections being talked about soon after the inaugural speech, he needs to show results quickly, and clearly. Stem cell research doesn’t do that. He received a popular mandate to remake this country. That is true; his election and the increases of the Democratic Party made much bigger changes possible. It is very easy to understand the disappointment people felt. We all see 2010 coming up. It’s not that we’re impatient so much as we see an opportunity being forfeited.

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escribacat
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Great post, Sue. I’ve never seen that letter before. I believe it’s good to have people fighting to move the country more to the left but when those same people just spend all their energy trashing a progressive president because he doesn’t fit 100% with their program, it becomes destructive and only performs the work of the rightwing. A lot of the disgruntled progressives sound exactly like the rightwing trolls to me. Not all — I think it’s fine to disagree with the president. I disagree with him about Afghanistan. But I still support him. If we don’t stand with him, we’re going to end up with some whack job like Jim DeMint or Sarah Palin. What an absolute disaster.

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