Yesterday, President Barack Obama officially announced his intentions to run for re-election in 2012. In light of all the turmoil going on around the world, he did it quietly, without fanfare. So, in between re-capping the foolishness of Sunday night’s “Celebrity Apprentice” and commemorating the 43rd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, we slipped in a slice of history … as though an African-American president deciding to run for second term was pretty ordinary.
We should be celebrating the fact that the president is standing strong, facing adversity and moving forward to complete his mission. But instead, it almost seems a lot of the people who were caught up in the hype in 2008 have taken a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to the Big Chief. They haven’t left the team; they just aren’t cheering as loudly anymore. Instead of showing up for the pre-season games, they’ll be there for the play-offs – and the finals if we make it.
I get that mentality. Whether it’s the NCAA tournament or “Dancing with the Stars,” I don’t get interested until it gets down to the wire. But we aren’t talking about an athletic event or a reality show. The president needs us now. “It Begins with Us” may not be the most exciting campaign slogan you’ve ever heard, but it is one of the truest. It absolutely begins with us. “Us” includes everyone who believed enough in this president to not only cast our votes for him, but to make a pact with him when he honestly admitted on election night that he couldn’t turn this thing around in one term.
Like any commander-in-chief, President Obama has been forced to take the blame for events and situations that were beyond his control. He inherited a huge national debt, two wars, and a horrible economy. Add to that the BP oil spill, earthquake in Haiti, the tsunami in Japan, the unrest in Libya, skyrocketing prices of gasoline and food, and the list goes on and on. Would these have happened if Sen. John McCain or Sec. of State Hillary Clinton had been elected president? Probably so. Is the president unfairly being blamed for all that’s gone wrong? Probably so. But dwelling on that gets us nowhere.
The president has done a lot of things right, but as he faces the lowest approval rating numbers of his election, people seem to be more interested in kicking him while he’s down. The honeymoon is over, and some are ready to throw in the towel.
On the other hand, those of us who support the president need to be willing to accept that every observation about him doesn’t have to be positive, and we don’t need to turn against any and every person who has a critical word to say about him. The president doesn’t need zealots who blindly go along with every move he makes. (Well, actually, he does need those people if they’re voters.) Like so many of you, I believed President Obama would end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but here we are, about to become involved in yet a third war. It isn’t a good look. But we can’t be suckered into believing that we are living in the worst times in history either.
Much like the president, we need to breathe, regroup, and get ready for a big fight. We need to dig deep and find that fire within to rally the troops. We need to be registering voters, educating them and letting them know exactly what it takes to get the president re-elected, and what itmeans if we don’t. We’ve already made history, and no one can take that away. Now it’s about more than that. Yes, it’s about preserving the president’s legacy, but more importantly, it’s about deciding the kind of America we want to live in.
If we believe that President Obama can bring us that America, then we need to get on board, and we can’t wait until November 2012. That’s too late. This thing needs to go down right now. It really does begin with us.