It is a mark of a leader to bring disparate groups together to work for a common goal, and in tribal civilizations a great warrior king often had to rally warring tribes together to defend their land from foreign invaders. Crucial to organizing unlikely allies is finding common ground and focusing efforts on a specific objective such as repelling intruders or undertaking massive building projects, and politics are no different. One would imagine that when an election is decided, despite ideological differences, all sides would work together to benefit the entire country, but that is not the case in America. When then-Senator Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, he promised he would bring the country together to crawl out of the mess Bush-Republicans left, but he probably could not foresee that Republicans were never interested in bringing the country together or repairing their damage.
Republicans have recently ramped up their criticism of the President for not fulfilling his campaign promises, and it was part of their strategy dating back to last November when they realized President Obama’s policies and achievements were working in spite of their obstruction. If one takes into account that on inauguration night, 2009, Republicans gathered to plot out their course of obstruction at all costs, it is a miracle there was any legislation passed to help the economy and the American people. What Republicans reveal by criticizing the President for failing to unite the country and fulfill his campaign promises, is that they are rank hypocrites, because the only reason the economy is not rebounding at a quicker pace, or that there is a divisive atmosphere, is because keeping the people on edge was their only goal throughout the President’s term, and what better means than keeping people unemployed, hungry, and anxious about the man they elected to lead them.
The Republican obstruction is so well known, that in poll after poll, as recently as June, and dating back to November 2011, nearly half of Americans believe Republicans are deliberately “stalling efforts to jumpstart the economy to ensure that President Obama does not win re-election.” It gives credence to the oft-repeated phrase that “Republicans hate Obama more than they love America,” and they have proved it by voting against every piece of legislation that created jobs, helped the economy, or protected consumers. The mainstream media was remiss in reporting the now notorious phrase by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” and they have stuck to that goal religiously. Their efforts serve their purpose of giving Americans a reason to believe the President’s agenda cannot possibly succeed, and it helped them sweep into power in state legislatures and the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections.
The Republicans had a stellar opportunity to prove they cared about the American people at the beginning of the 112th Congress when they could have fulfilled their campaign pledge of focusing on “jobs, jobs, jobs,” but instead they began a religious assault on women’s rights and set out to slash every program that helped the majority of Americans. Their hijinks during the debt ceiling talks will go down in history as one of most irresponsible and perilous actions since the American Civil War, and most Americans will never comprehend that they jeopardized the “full faith and credit of the U.S. government” that means America will never default on its loan obligations, and could have sent the world economy into a severe depression. What was stunning at the time was Mitch McConnell’s cavalier statement that the “default issue was a hostage that’s worth ransoming,” and that he “could imagine doing this again,” and indeed promised he will do it again.
It is difficult enough uniting the country when Republicans are deliberately keeping 23-million people out of work and worried about where their next meal will come from, but the GOP’s persistent innuendo that the President is an interloper, not American, and giving white people’s money to lazy African Americans is a major factor in preventing a “we’re all in this together” mindset that is crucial to unifying the population behind a common goal. During the healthcare reform debate Republicans told their ignorant supporters and teabag acolytes that access to affordable healthcare was a socialist plot to seize control of the healthcare system, and throughout the President’s term Republicans never attempted to shut down the birther movement, or suppress questions about the President’s religion, because it served their purpose of keeping the population divided and suspicious about whether the President was a real American, or if he was a secret Muslim sympathetic to terrorists.
The Republican candidate for president, Willard Romney, has perpetuated the myth that President Obama is “foreign” and needs to “learn how to be an American” to portray him as an outlier, and it makes it nearly impossible for the President to unite the people if half of them think he is not even one of them. And yet the President perseveres with grace and dignity doing everything in his power to get the economy running, create jobs, and reach out to Republicans in a spirit of bipartisanship that has proven fru0itless throughout his term. When the President advocated for raising taxes on the wealthiest 2% of income earners, Republicans accused him of engaging in class warfare to keep the country divided even though the President was working to help 98% of Americans.
Republicans have no other campaign message other than the President failed to fulfill his campaign promise to fix the economy, create jobs, and unify the nation. The country is divided, but it is down to Republicans who have worked to keep the population at odds with itself, and President Obama. Regardless if the majority of Americans support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, or demand Republicans work in a bipartisan fashion to get the economy running, it is Republican obstruction, divisiveness, and fallacious claims about the President that has driven a wedge between the American people. President Obama bent over backward to work with Republicans and has conceded much more that his supporters liked, but regardless his concessions, Republicans refused to cooperate for the good of the country.
Now that the Democratic National Convention is underway, the American people can finally see President Obama in an untainted light. Throughout his term, the corporate media has been woefully inadequate in calling out Republican lies and obstruction, and have propagated most of the Republican talking points by guilt of omission in the guise of “fair and balanced” reporting. In fact, the entire disunity this country is experiencing is the fault of the media for dereliction of duty and failing to report Republican tactics in Congress, or for omitting crucial information that would give voters an accurate appraisal of who is obstructing job creation and keeping the economy from growing. Let’s face it, when the public only hears the Republican side of the issues, there is no mystery why they think the President is a socialist, takes money from white Americans and gives it to African Americans, or is a secret Muslim who is ineligible to serve as President because he is alien, foreign, and certainly not “one of us.”
What Americans should understand is that despite Republican obstruction, divisive tactics, and perpetual questions about his legitimacy, this President has risen above it all and worked tirelessly for all Americans, and that is what separates him from any Republican who works for the wealthiest one-percent, corporations, and angry white racists. What makes President Obama a uniting force was best summed up by First Lady Michelle Obama last night in Charlotte. She said, “Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it, and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity,” and it is in stark contrast to obstructionist Republicans who have shown their goal is destroying the American Dream to favor the wealthiest two-percent by using slander, innuendo, and outright lies about everything this President stands for and accomplished, and defines them as petulant little children who need to be taken to the woodshed and given a proper whipping until they admit they hate Obama more than they love America.