Thursday, August 6, 2015

How Obama's Hope and Change Became Nope and Strange

President Obama tapped into social media during his 2008 campaign with what was, at the time, unprecedented gusto. He spoke often of my generation, The "Millenials", and how it is quickly becoming a leader for societal change. He spoke of the astronomical costs of college and the need to reign them in because my generation is the first to graduate college with an average of just over $30,000 in debt. He embraced BlackBerry and the Fist Bump. He promised hope and change of the Washington status quo which, to us, meant he'd end Corporate Welfare, bust up businesses so large they have a near monopoly and prevent average citizens from starting businesses, and, in general, give us a voice in politics.

Nearly eight years later, he has largely abandoned many of his promises, much less his hopeful rhetoric aimed at us. He has done little more than offer empty threats to college for their refusal to stop raising tuition. He proceeded with George W Bush's plan to bail out the banks after saying they should fail because in a Capitalists society, reckless business decisions lead to failure. He started aggression in Libya, doubled down on Afghanistan, and is now slogging us back toward Iraq after he called Bush foreign policy misguided and counterproductive. He kept many Bush holdovers including DEA head Michelle Leonhart who has now resigned in shame after being unable to admit what virtually everyone already knows while under oath during a Congressional hearing: that Marijuana is not as dangerous as Cocaine or Heroin which, it has been scheduled with since the Nixon administration. He used the DEA to raid more medical marijuana dispensaries than the Bush administration did during its eight years before he was even in office for six months. Then, he issued the Ogden Memo notifying the DEA and DOJ to stop arresting and raiding for marijuana where it is legal according to State law. This still hasn't been enforced despite that fact that Obama, as a candidate and Senator, called the Drug War "an utter failure and a forty billion dollar mistake."

Make no mistake, though, my generation is affecting change both inside of politics and out. Once it was realized we are not a collective group of "lazy,apathetic, freeloaders" (by the way, why doesn't anyone ever talk about the fact that if we COULD be accurately stereotyped this way it would be a direct result of the way our parents raised us? We were, after all, the first generation to be told, "Everybody wins! You all get a trophy! Our parents' generation chose that, not us) and we, in fact, turned out with 59.5% of us voting, politicians began to take notice. Now, nearly every politician uses social media and at a minimum gives some amount of lip service to the issues we care about. Outside politics, one need to look no further than the resurgence of locally grown and organic foods. Companies are practically tripping over themselves to drop artificial everything and it has been widely acknowledged America has us to thank. Whatever your opinion of us, it should now be realized we are here to stay and we are pushing to leave our mark on the world, political and non.

No comments:

Post a Comment