This was a bit discouraging. When I sent out an appeal for volunteers to help with the Organizing for America campaign 2010 kickoff event on Saturday, the only people who wrote back did so to complain about Obama and tell me why they were not motivated to help.
This is from Lisa Owen, who had written me a couple of times previously to complain about the direction of the health care reform legislation when I announced events in support of that effort.
This government that I helped get elected is happy to instigate more studies of what happened in the Gulf, spend endless time blaming George Bush and do nothing as oil threatens to land on the Florida Wetlands Beaches, and incase you did not know it can go miles up our canals. The Government has no plan to protect the state. This is worse than 9/11 and the incompetence is unbelieveable. There is no leadership and no concern for what can happen here in Florida. PB does not have enough money to pay for destroying our environment. I am completely disgusted. Why would I help bring more incompetence to destroy my very home.
Did the Obama administration give BP the permit or not? Did they not know the level of compromise gong on in the energy department. They are completly complicit it is disgusting. Prostitution is completely destroying America. Why not call it what is it Organizing to help corporations rape us and take everything we have of value. Nothing is more valuable than our own state. That health bill is nothing but a gift the health insurance industry. I can assure you it will only make people sicker.
This note is from Paul (I didn’t get his permission to use his full name, so I won’t)
Continuous war and huge military spending, wall street fat cats cash in and get a “get out of jail free” card, backtracking on legal rights of detainees, oil companies in bed with regulators, an immigration policy that is a joke, little progress getting onto clean energy, an economy with fundamental problems (except for health care) that have not begun to be addressed…what do I have to be enthused about?
I don’t know either of these people well, but the fact that they’re BlueBroward members tells me that at some point they were motivated to work for the Democratic cause. And now they’re apparently not.
It’s not necessarily news that some people who supported Obama are disillusioned. Some probably had unrealistic expectations about how much of that magical Change he could achieve and how fast.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit we’ve had some of these conversations in my own household:
- Can’t believe Obama is doing X.
- Can’t believe Obama isn’t doing Y.
- Why don’t the Democrats in Congress stand up for Z, instead of caving in to Republican demands?
Good volunteers are not robots, programmed to love every position every Democrat takes, no matter what principles have been compromised away. We want something to believe in, but candidates and campaigns still have to earn our respect. And when you’ve spent a lot of evenings and weekends working the phones or getting sweaty and sunburned knocking on doors, it hurts to be left wondering if it was worth it. So I can understand people being discouraged, burned out, even bitter.
Ultimately, I have my frustrations, but I come to a different conclusion. I believe the health care reform is too little and coming too slowly, but I also believe it represents progress. It’s something we can build on, given a chance — if we don’t let that chance slip away in November. I see a President who inherited a recession and two wars trying his best to get the country back on track. I may not always agree with him on strategy or tactics, speaking as an arm chair quarterback, but I wouldn’t want the job he has.
Meanwhile, I don’t want to see 2010 produce a Republican Revolution like the one that happened two years into the Clinton presidency, making it even more difficult to get anything worthwhile done.
I never believed Obama would be able to wave his hands and make all that is wrong with Washington go away. But I do believe he is trying to move the country in the right direction, a step at a time. I hope he has learned a few things about what works and what doesn’t, when it comes to compromising versus fighting.
And I believe in the mission of Organizing for America, which recognizes that Obama can’t do it alone. The 2008 volunteers who are thinking about sitting out the 2010 campaigns need to give some serious thought to whether they really want to wind up living in Sarah Palin’s America. Things can always get worse, but only we can make them better.
I invite your comments.