Change – It Doesn’t Come Easy or Quick

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—October 31, 2010. As everyone knows, on Tuesday, November 2 elections will take place. Everyone who has been watching television over the past few months knows that this certainly has been one of the most contentious and expensive elections in the history of our country. Republicans argue that Democrats must be defeated in order to return the country to the past and have spent many millions of dollars trying to prove this point. And many of us believe that we were let down by the Obama Administration’s promises of change that have not occurred as quickly as we imagined.

But before you go to the polls on Tuesday, if you plan on casting your vote against the current Administration by voting for either a Republican, Tea Party, Green Party or other candidate simply because you are disappointed at the speed that change is occurring, please consider the ‘real’ facts.

As President Obama has clearly articulated on many occasions, following his inauguration he found that the nation’s economy was in far worse shape than ever imagined. As many economists have stated, the United States was on the brink of a depression that would have surpassed the one that occurred in 1929. No rationale person can believe that President Obama had any other option but to address this problem as quickly as possible. As a result, Congress passed an $814 billion economic stimulus package in order to avoid a full-blown depression. Legislation was also passed to hold Wall Street accountable for their actions — actions that enalbed the economic crisis to occur in the first place. While the economy has improved, those still looking for jobs have an admittedly hard time believing this fact.

The other major legislative accomplishment was the passage of the health care overhaul bill – something that has eluded presidents back to Franklin Roosevelt. While many will argue that this legislation did not address all the problems with our health care system, it certainly was a great start. Today, millions of children and disabled individuals are able to have some form of health insurance – many for the first time in their lives. Adult children under the age of 26 can remain on their family’s health insurance policies. Insurance companies can not cancel your health insurance benefits if you become ill and need to use them and a myriad of other very beneficial changes have also been made.

In addition to dealing with the economy and health care, the Obama Administration has enacted at least a dozen other pieces of legislation of significance including:

  • Making college loans more affordable.
  • Rejuvenating the auto industry through the Cash for Clunkers program.
  • Enacting new consumer protections for credit card users.
  • Making it easier for women to challenge pay discrimination.
  • Increasing federal regulation of tobacco products.
  • Cracking down on waste in the Pentagon weapons acquisition.
  • Making attacks based on sexual orientation a federal hate crime.
  • Giving businesses tax incentives to hire unemployed workers.
  • Providing tax credits for first-time homeowners.

And all of these accomplishments were done while the Republicans used every administrative process available to stall these much-needed reforms from occurring while offering no substantive ideas for change. Republican members of Congress clearly demonstrated that their allegiance is primarily to the wealthy and big businesses including the health insurance industry, an industry which is primarily responsible for the discriminatory practices that precluded many from having health care coverage in the first place.

While admittedly I am a supporter of Obama, I would be less than honest if I didn’t admit that I have been more than a little disappointed that more has not been done. But before you decide to cast your vote against the current Administration, or choose to sit home and not vote at all, let’s take a lesson from those of us ‘boomers’ who have been politically active for most of our adult lives.

The end of the Viet Nam war occurred after many years of protests. Likewise, Medicare, women’s rights to reproductive choice and civil rights legislation took decades to enact. Yes, these changes were difficult and took a long time to accomplish but the end results were well worth the wait.

But we are now a society that wants instant results. To paraphrase the Beatles, change does not come easy. It also doesn’t happen overnight, especially when one group is determined to stop it.

The fact that none of us should discount is that it took eight years under the previous Administration for the country to get into the mess that our elected officials should be trying to change.

Do we really want to go back to the way things were under George W. Bush?

A great deal has been accomplished over the past 18 months. Certainly, much more needs to be done. But to cast your vote based on the fact that the change has not happened quickly enough is simply not reasonable.

So before you go to the polls on Tuesday, please keep in mind the ‘real’ facts and not the distortions that are being made by the opposition. And no matter what, please make sure to exercise your right to vote this Tuesday.