Learning from Accomplishments

Years ago, when I was young, America would praise presidents for what they accomplished while in office. What is interesting is we still do that but have added to it. Some diss the president for his accomplishments. The Tea Party and the birthers, which often overlapped each other, are unhappy with Obama as president. However, the questions is why?

Barack ObamaI took this photo at his
campaign stop in Gary, IN.
I attended a campaign rally in the spring of 2008 prior to his being nominated for the democratic ticket. Allow me to suggest several reasons Obama is center stage for his admirers and for his naysayers. These are just a handful of major accomplishments that Obama has achieved as president...several of them he addressed while campaigning for the nomination and for the presidency.

  1. Healthcare reform. Starting in 2010, we became the last Western country to get universal healthcare. Interestingly, Norway started universal healthcare in 1912. Even more interestingly, Teddy Roosevelt was our first president to attempt to get the US involved universal healthcare. There are two interesting facts regarding this. Roosevelt tried in 1912, which was also the starting date for Norway, and Roosevelt was a republication. In 2014, 32-million Americans without healthcare insurance will be covered.
  2. We are out of Iraq. Iraq was a place that we should not have invaded. Bush wanted to get bin Laden, and then he wanted to get rid of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The only problem was that neither bin Laden nor WMDs were in Iraq. Nonetheless, the US suffered 36,710 causalities and the Iraqis lost over 500,000 Iraqis who died. The number of wounded is not known.
  3. We will be out of Afghanistan in 2014 with US causalities now at 20,904. Afghani causalities over 40,000. The mission to get bin Laden was accomplished during Obama's administration nearly a decade after 9/11.
  4. Osama bin Laden was the reason for the US invasion for Iraq, which made no sense and the reason for the US invasion of Afghanistan. On May 2, 2011, 79-Navy Seals commandos killed bin Laden and captured many al-Qaeda documents.
  5. Obama saved the American automotive industry in 2009. Both Chrysler and General Motors restructured their companies, and by 2011, the Big Three car companies gained market share, which is a first time in the past 20-years.
  6. Obama got rid of "Don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) in December 2010 when he signed the repeal of DADT. That bill helped America to address some of the issues related to gays and lesbians in the military.
  7. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided the country a $787 billion stimulus package that within the year created enough growth in the economy to more than offset the loss of jobs. The bill created 3.7 million new private-sector jobs.
  8. Obama became the 4th US president to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Teddy Roosevelt won it in 1905 due to his efforts to stop the Russo-Japanese War. Woodrow Wilson won it in 1919 due to his efforts behind the League of Nations, and Jimmy Carter won it in 2002 due to his work with projects like Habitat for Humanity after he left the presidency. Barack Obama won it in 2009 "for extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples."
  9. Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Prior to this bill, woman were paid about 75% of what a man made for the same position and with the same experience and training.
  10. Obama was able to provide help in the Arab Spring. Along with our European and Arab allies, we took military actions in March 2011. This was with American air and naval power. No Americans lost their lives during our military actions.

I teach history and have for years. I have no doubt that Obama will go down as a great American president...one of the very best. Now, the question is why are there so many that do not like him or want him as president?

I contend that a part of the dissing is the result of racism. Here are some interesting facts. The Tea Party consists of 46-members of the House of Representatives, which is about 10% of the House. Most of them are from the South. Of the Senate, 6-senators are a part of the Tea Party and all (if Utah is included) are from the South.

In addition to the Tea Party, there are 17-members of Congress that are birthers and who claim that Obama is foreign born. Congressman Posey from Florida is one of them.

Salon.com, after researching the topic, concluded that 10-members of the Tea Party are also birthers.

While I voted for Obama twice and was invited to the first inauguration, I dislike referring to him as our first black president. I see that adjective as racist at two critical levels:

  1. Obama is as white as he is black. Why then do we use the adjective black? He is our president; is not that sufficient? If that is not, we are into racism precisely the way Hitler dealt with racism. From Hitler's vantage point, a person, who had a grandparent that was Jewish, was therefore Jewish. America has just added to the basis of racism. If one parent is black, you are black.
  2. The other issue about Obama being black is that all human beings descended from people who came out of Africa around 100,000-years ago. All human beings are Africans. Things like skin pigmentation are the result of biological changes over the millennia due to those living in the northern parts of the world. The further north one lives that person needs more light from the sun to get vitamin D. The term, race, as we define it, does not exist. Unless we use the phrase human race. , race does not make any sense. We are all from Africa.

Finally, I attended college from 1961-1965. Interestingly, these were the dates of the Civil War a century before. While the North won the war, the South won the peace. America went from slavery to segregation. The war against segregation, at least the initially, took place while I was in college and graduate school...a century after the Civil War.

The Civil War Map

The Civil War Map

The Bible Belt

The Bible Belt

The cartoon is accurate...

The cartoon is accurate...

George Santayana warned us, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Many states run by republicans are changing on voting reform bills.

A lesson learned due to problems

Tell minorities that they cannot vote without an ID or reduce the days that they can vote, and you will mobilize them. And of equal importance, it will mobilize other people who have seen it all before. As they say in football, "No pain, no gain."

Along with racism in this country, we also have sexism. If Obama gets some people upset, wait until 2016. Hillary Clinton will be our next president. If you like adjectives, try our first woman president.


An old man and his grandson

An Old Man and His Grandson

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Obama signs health insurance reform bill

Obama Signing the Affordable Care Act

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Forrest Gump Film Poster

Forrest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does."

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