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In what should we place our hopes?

Bonnie Willis's picture

Like many Americans I was surprised by the outcome of November’s elections, and am still processing what happened.

After all, virtually every quantifiable performance measurement revealed that the majority of Americans felt — personally, and as a country — that they were worse off and heading in the wrong direction.

Yet, these same Americans re-elected President Barack Obama, who presided over the country during this period of decline.

Here I am, nearly five months later, finally able to process what happened.

There are two things which are inevitably true with the majority of Americans voting for our president.

The first thing is that even though he holds the most powerful office in the country, and even though his political party held both the House and the Senate during the first two years of his four-year presidency, he was not held accountable for any of the social, economic, and political decline we are seeing.

The blame was constantly placed on the previous administration during his first two years, and then on Republicans for the last two years.

Second, Americans are truly a forgiving and optimistic people. Despite the hardships many were facing, they truly did place their faith and hope in our first African-American president.

I admire this optimism. In this case, however, I have to admit that I believe it is woefully misplaced.

To those who are avid fans of our president, I want you to know that I hear you. I can understand your pride and hope in this charismatic leader.

As I have written before, the most compelling thing about our president is that many identify with him. He is like one of us, albeit a more refined version.

His speeches are eloquent and laced with words that appeal to deeply held values and beliefs like “fairness,” “equality,” and “a balanced-approach.” Consequently, Americans often accept that his policies reflect these things.

However, if we look at the results of his policies, particularly within the African-American community, they have been contrary to his rhetoric.

In fact, within the past four years, African Americans have seen greater economic disparity in terms of unemployment and homes being lost. Perhaps this has also led to even greater moral decline.

I have family members who have lost their life savings; friends have lost their jobs and homes. Those who were fortunate enough to find another job often did so with lower pay.

Still, the immediate response of those who are sympathetic to our president in all of this is that he was not at fault for any of it.

But why is it that preceding presidents have been accountable for what happened on their watch but this president is not — at least not so far?

Whether it is a decrease in high-paying jobs, and jobs in general, or having increases, for example, in healthcare costs, cost of living, government programs like food stamps and disability, the national debt, federal spending, business regulations, and taxes for all (not just the rich), our president does not seem to make decisions based on results and outcomes, but rather on ideology.

Is he hoping that things will change despite years of evidence to the contrary?

Is the president deliberately promoting policies that are financially irresponsible with the intent of pushing more and more Americans into a dependence on government?

I ask these questions because implicit in the president’s rhetoric is the notion that we are an “unfair” country and that those who have less cannot make it without the “help” of government. Why else would there be a need for more “fairness” and “equity”?

This ideology, particularly during difficult economic times, sounds convincing, but it eats at the very heart of our national identity as the land of opportunity.

Unfortunately, in re-electing our president, Americans seem to have placed their hopes in the government to supplement or provide for an easier lifestyle.

This is a far cry from what my parents and grandparents did. They often went without, and worked more than one job to provide for their families and achieve the American dream.

It causes me to wonder if we are losing faith in ourselves to sacrifice, persevere, and rely on our knowledge, abilities, and the sovereignty of God to achieve the American dream and help the most vulnerable within our communities.

[Bonnie B. Willis is co-founder of The Willis Group, LLC, a Learning, Development, and Life Coaching company here in Fayette County and lives in Fayetteville along with her husband and their five children.]


Well written and you made some great points. It seems to me like we are living in a "nanny state, where all people, regardless of efforts or skills, somehow believe they are owed something. This is not the same country my grandparents and parents grew up in, and I really fear for my kids as I see a decline in work ethic, character, and integrity. Gov't subsidies are no longer something that people are ashamed to be receiving. They seem proud to be getting something for free....well, not exactly free, as they think. It comes from us!

Concerned Citizen

[Quote]I see a decline in work ethic, character, and integrity[/quote]

No question, as many of those my age see this from the Board room to the classroom. But lets don't include our men and women in our volunteer military who have gone back into harms way too many times to support their partners and our country. Each time I read about one of these wonderful citizens who come home minus a limb, etc., and are continuing to serve our country as an honest contributing citizen, I give thanks. There are still more honest citizens than criminals in the US. News of the criminals sells more air time and papers.

As you point out in your essay, there are many unsettling issues that have faced our country throughout Mr. Obama's first term. My take on the reason for his re-election is not that there was widespread enthusiastic support for him (as there appeared to be in 2008), but rather, that the majority of American voters saw even less merit in Mitt Romney. That is the most concise explanation. Perhaps ethnicity, government dependence, blind optimism, etc. (as you suggest) were also contributory; however, few non-Republicans maintained any confidence in Romney. Many Republicans apparently had to hold their noses to vote for him as well. The GOP desperately needs more compelling candidates if it expects to win a national election. I hope they can find one soon!

happened because about 3 million voters failed to show up at the polls!

Exactly right! Three million (or more) saw Mitt Romney as so uncompelling that they judged stopping a second Obama term not worth the effort to drive to the polls. This GOP candidate was a real stinker.

PTC Observer's picture

The smart ones stayed home?

No, the most powerful office is not that of the Presidency..Even more powerful offices reside at the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, and multi-national corporations. What the president does or doesn't do is controlled by these very powerful institutions ..

Mr Obama is yet another symptom of what is wrong in this country, not a cause, but a symptom..But this has been the issue for quite a while...We've been in a decline since 1971..In this year we went off the gold standard, AKA "Honest Money"....

Devaluing currency and off-shoring jobs to low wage countries was not an idea that originated with Obama...But he does nothing to stop this Economic Neo-Liberalism, which has been going on..People need to learn more about Globalization...

As far as who is accountable for the mess, no one has been accountable, for what has been done to this country, the crimes involved, at least since Clinton, require someone to go to prison.

...and that hasn't happened.

If you depend on those little green paper things in your pocket to live, you are dependent, even if you don't think you are....You try your best to earn this stuff, they devalue it...prices go up ...your wages, income don't and eventually you go away..But while you are alive you are very much under control...

Good little plan to keep you people in thought we were rid of slavery, but no, they just changed the rules, maybe you'll catch on, maybe not....Doesn't matter, we'll be able to keep most of you poor and pliant!

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free"

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The author of this little article suffers from what most people do...Brainwashing and an unyielding faith in institutions that anyone could see are beyond corrupt.

NUK_1's picture

It seems like everyone with an 8th grade education or less(or named Ron Paul) thinks returning to a "gold standard" would change anything. Stop being stupid already because that is about the most ignorant argument I have ever heard in my life. The lack of understanding of basic economics is shocking and a real indictment on either the education of Americans or how many idiots and real anti-everything freaks we have running around.

You know what an ounce of gold is worth? What someone else will give you for it. Period. It has NO "intrinsic" value whatsoever. OK, maybe you can get a gold tooth and that's better than porcelain. Besides that, no. You know what a fiat money system like dollars are worth? Gee...shocker here....WHAT SOMEONE ELSE WILL GIVE YOU FOR THEM!

If some of you people knew anything about history, you'd know that inflation ran rampant even when every country was on the gold standard. Being on the gold standard is absolutely 100% meaningless. Gold is still worth what others will give you for it and that's hardly any different than cranking the printing presses and then seeing what someone will give you for your fiat dollars.

Hey, pseudo-money scam Bitcoins just hit $250 today...go jump on that great investment! It was like $30 last year and now look at it!

What a gold standard did was prevent rampant money printing and rampant devaluation of currency...Although let's face it..the currency gets devalued anyway, that's part of the central banker plan, gold standard or not...Holding gold or silver during these times is a wise decision...It's harder to counterfeit...

Seems like an ounce of gold is worth a lot more than it was 6 years ago and that's because people are losing faith in fiat..Yes the petro-dollar. If owning gold is such a bad idea, central banks wouldn't be buying it...But they are...It has intrinsic, historic value..That's just a fact.

Bitcoin is not gold...

If you think fiat paper money has value, it does as long as people have confidence that it does, when Central Banks are devaluing the currency aka world currency war, race to the bottom, you better think twice..That's why until very recently gold was on a tear.

Your comment is an ad hominem attack, for what, I don't know, you might work in finance...

The facts are the currencies last about 30 years....Sorry, we are on borrowed time...As far as inflation is concerned, you need to learn some history, but here's a chart, cause I don't have the time..

Now see what happens after 1971?.....


Say it with me, fiat currency is paper, paper is wood....Gold is gold..which one has more intrinsic value...Even an eighth grader knows the truth...sorry.

BTW...instead of buying gold, please invest in the stock market, you know before it's too late...It's a safe bet until we hit 6.5 unemployment..AKA..People drop off the unemployment rolls, because they stopped looking for jobs that don't exist...Then it's dump time....Have fun..Hedge accordingly...Zerohedge all the time.

Why did a large majority of American citizens vote for President Obama in 2012?

First, you need to look at the Republican Party. Americans watched the Republican primaries and saw characters such as Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry,Herman Caine, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum, not to mention the dream candidate of many Republicans--Donald Trump. All of these folks at one time or another were leading in the Republican polls.

Most Americans accurately decided that these candidates were too weird, or too un-informed or too irresponsible to be President.

Americans came to think Romney was too untrustworthy (he kept groveling to the right wing and becoming more ultra-conservative) and that Ryan was very immature and hung up on a book he had read in college (Ayn Rand).

Second, the current GOP does not have the courage to reject the extremists in its party--extreme anti-abortionists, anti-evolutionists, extreme gun worshipers, anti-climate change deniers, anti-government nuts, and those who flirt with secession. I guess those folks have become the GOP base.

But why would the GOP listen to me? Maybe they should at least listen to Reagan instead of the extremists in its midst. Actually, I think if the GOP returned to the party of Reagan it would be more successful.


NUK_1's picture

[quote=lion]Why did a large majority of American citizens vote for President Obama in 2012?

Do you consider 51%(rounded up) a "large majority?" I know you are math-illiterate and have no idea whatsoever how Social Security is actually funded and paid for, but I would think even you would know that 51% of 100% isn't a "large majority," but maybe not.

[quote]It causes me to wonder if we are losing faith in ourselves to sacrifice, persevere, and rely on our knowledge, abilities, and the sovereignty of God to achieve the American dream and help the most vulnerable within our communities[/quote]

There are many in these United States who are persevering and relying on their knowledge and abilities to survive the farce of 'government' that we have been experiencing for the past 13 years. We have a Congress that has not followed the tradition of acknowledging the differences of opinion that are shared in our country - yet working together as Americans to work towards solutions that these differences of opinion create. You will find in the history of our country, usually conservatives and liberals were found in both parties. Unfortunately, if they could not find solutions to problems - they did kick the can down the road until the people demanded just solutions be legislated.

The American people have not lost faith or hope. There are distinct ideologies in our country - and there always have been. Unfortunately, one party used our Archilles heel (race) to cast those who approach governance from a more conservative stance using the Lee Atwater strategy. . . .which appealed to those who used 'states rights' as a platform during the Civil War.

Actually, there are many African Americans who consider themselves 'conservative' - but cannot go along with the incipient attitudes that have been allowed to penetrate the Republican Party. The power in our country is 'THE VOTE'. It is important for members of the African American community who are conservative to remain true to their fiscal principles - but all the money in the world spent by the Republican Party as they try to change attitudes within the minority community will not change the perception that they have become the obstructionist party on social issues. You are the hope of the Republican Party - but you must speak based on principle - and not 'talking points' against the current president.

PTC Observer's picture

and change no doubt.

It's interesting the concept of hope is lost on most. Pandora failed to release it to give man something in the face of the evils of the world. Is hope simply an extension of suffering?

The vote? Hope and Change?

We can individually decide what hope is or isn't.

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