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Make no mistake: Barack Obama is on the midterm ballot…

October 20, 2010 by  
Filed under News, Politics, Weekly Columns

( We all remember the euphoria surrounding President Obama’s election in November 2008. News flashes from Chicago’s Grant Park to New York’s Times Square to living rooms and churches across the country showed the faces of Americans basking in the glow of accomplishment — not for one man, but for the entire nation. Viral videos filled the internet with Sam Cooke singing “A Change is Gonna Come.” Indeed, that night President-elect Obama declared that “change has come to America.”

Flash forward 23 months later, and President Obama finds himself in another tough campaign season as members of the most productive Congress since the Johnson era ironically fight for their political lives. The president’s job may not be in immediate jeopardy in the upcoming election; however his ability to carry out his agenda certainly will be if Democrats don’t maintain their hold on Capitol Hill.

With control of the White House and both Houses of Congress, Democrats have developed a public policy agenda as conscientious as Lyndon Johnson’s and as necessary as Franklin Roosevelt’s.

Consider the stubborn facts. When President Obama entered office, the country lost some 750,000 jobs, triggered by the collapse of Wall Street firms and a housing bubble based on speculation and bad banking practices that finally burst. Independent economic experts predicted that the country was on the doorstep of the next Great Depression.

Many of those same independent economists credit the actions of President Obama and the Congress with saving us from that unfortunate reality. The Recovery Act did exactly what it was designed to do — create or save more than 3 million jobs and begin the process of rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure.

Bringing our economy from the brink of collapse while making key investments toward our nation’s future is part of establishing what the President describes as a new foundation for America.

Because of the White House and Congress, 31 million more Americans will now have access to health care. The health care bill also included millions of dollars to develop or repair community health centers in underserved areas across the country. This is particularly important for African-Americans who suffer disproportionately from chronic illnesses compared to the rest of the population.

Because of their work, real reforms are taking place in K-12 and higher education. Under-performing schools with some of the nation’s highest dropout rates are getting needed attention so that offer future generations a chance at a brighter future. Billions of dollars are being redirected from the big banks to families across the country to help their children attend college. HBCUs and other majority black schools are scheduled to receive an unprecedented $1 billion in the coming years.

Because of their work, community investment is taking place through the Community Development Fund, which is providing billions of dollars in resources to small businesses and non-profit organizations located in communities suffering from chronic economic distress. This offers incentives to create jobs and offers support to those hardest hit — once again disproportionately impacting African Americans.

These achievements are truly historic — and yet somehow, the message is not getting through to core Democratic supporters. The enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats is significant. For the first time since 1930, more registered Republicans than Democrats voted in primary elections this year. If groups that voted in historic numbers in 2008, members of the so-called “surge” – women, youth, first-time voters, and yes, African-Americans — stay at home on Election Day, the president’s Congressional allies could be defeated, and these next two years could be very different from the previous two years.

Those who say more should have been done or could have been done ignore the limits placed on the presidency by the reality of the current political environment. When our economy is in critical condition and people are hurting, there is no tolerance for a zero sum game. Barack Obama is the president, not a magician. He has called for a greater degree of cooperation as well as a higher sense of purpose realizing that change takes time. We are all in this together, and together we will rise as a nation.

We must keep moving forward. We cannot go back. President Obama and this Congress have stabilized our economy, put us on a course to recovery, invested in the nation’s infrastructure, saved or created more than 3 million jobs, extended tax cuts to small businesses as well as 95 percent of Americans and delivered landmark reforms in health care, higher education and the financial markets. All of that even before the halfway mark of the current term.

During the campaign, then-Senator Obama would often call out to the crowd, “This is our moment. This is our time.” Two years later, that call is more urgent than ever, and the stakes are high in this latest iteration of the most important election of our lifetime.

President Obama is on the ballot in this election in the form of Democratic members of Congress in local races across the country. Together they brought us back from the brink, and together they will keep us on the path to recovery and future prosperity. They need you on November 2nd. Will you answer the call?

Written By Corey Ealons

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