The quality of life for many Americans today is dismal because of the failure of political leadership in Washington. More Americans are unemployed (and those that are employed struggle to make ends meet), more are homeless, more are victims of gun violence, and more are experiencing an attack on the civil rights they have struggled to achieve. While these socio-economic problems are a perennial concern, they have become increasingly disconcerting over the past five years.
There was a time when the political differences between the left and the right did not have significant impact on the lives of Americans. All this changed in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected president. It is not what President Obama has done or not do, that is the root of the problems ailing the country, rather it is what his opponents have done and is doing. The Congress with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives has thwarted the president’s agenda from day one in office. In doing so, they have caused more harm to the country and adversely affect the livelihood of many Americans.
While President Obama tries to lead a country that was on the brink of economic collapse when he took office in 2008, his right-wing opponents have been constantly trying to mislead and divided the American people. This is evidenced by the onslaught of propaganda, conspiracy theories, unwarranted congressional investigations, and racial innuendos. Like Don Quixote whose crusade was to fight imaginary windmills, the congressional investigations (Fast and Furious, IRS scandal, and Benghazi) are not based on fact finding to prevent similar problems but primarily to get President Obama.
The US Congress and the right wing politicians have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to repeal Obamacare without any objective or factual justification as to why they want to do this. We have seen the constant effort to delegitimize President Obama by labeling him with negative characterizations related to his religion, his politics, his place of birth, his patriotism, and his trustworthiness. Their dislike of the president was further exposed when they called him weak and at the same time said positive things about the Russian president, Vladimir Putin in response to his actions in Crimea and the Ukraine.
The obsession to delegitimize President Obama is a reflection of failed leadership because it has not produced anything positive. It is a failure because it has failed to improve the quality of life for Americans. Their failure to lead effectively is the reason why the Republican-controlled House has the lowest approval rating in history. Because of their obsessive anti-Obama sentiment, they have failed to extend unemployment benefits, pass the Equal Pay Act, and increase the minimum wage. These are real issues that affect the quality of life for many Americans.
Another aspect of the failed leadership of the right is that the issues they are more interested in are the issues for their self-preservation rather than to make life better for Americans. Take for example the voter suppression laws that some states are trying to implement and others have implemented. African-Americans who have struggled to achieve suffrage are now seeing their rights under attack. While the Republican Congress fight to protect the interests of the wealthy 1 percent, they fight to make the quality of life worse for the poor. Based on their budget proposal, they are more interested in gutting social programs that help sustain the poor.
Politicians unfortunately when they access the corridors of power become enraptured with their own power. Consequently, they forget that they are elected to serve the people whom they represent. Rather than make decisions for the greater good of the people they serve, they abandon them and instead serve the few wealthy people who bankroll them. This is also a failure to recognize that this undermines democracy and is not good for the country.
Despite all the negative things that the right has demonstrated to President Obama and his administration, there are some positive outcomes from their actions. President Obama has reacted to the negativity by demonstrating remarkable composure, tolerance, and understanding. Most political leaders would have succumbed or become frustrated in seeing everything they do obstructed for no justifiable reason. Not President Obama though, he somehow deflects all the negativity and perform his duties diligently.
Without exception, the problems that all countries experience are the result of poor political leadership. History is replete with poor political leaders who have done more harm than good for their country. In their effort to delegitimize president Obama, the GOP political leadership has consistently demonstrated actions that are misleading and hurting the country. The GOP leadership could do better if they were mindful of the following excerpt from the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
If the GOP leadership believe these words, they would be more prudent and respectful in their treatment of President Obama and they would be more caring about all Americans. Being cognizant of these words would also help them practice good governance instead of the acrimonious conditions they have created and that have resulted in their failure to implement measures that benefit the American people.
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