In a comment to the previous post, Eric points out, correctly, that I’m a little stingy about conceding the many good things Obama has done while in office. To correct that, let me link you to this brief op-ed by Tex “Red Tipped Arrow” Hall, chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation:
Over the past four years, President Obama has directed an unprecedented $3 billion in direct funding and bond authority to Indian country in order to create jobs, build new schools, hospitals and clinics, repair roads, start new energy projects, and strengthen tribal law enforcement. When he took office, President Obama reversed the Bush Administration’s longstanding opposition to the claims of Native American trust account holders, farmers and ranchers and settled both the Cobell and Keepseagle class-action lawsuits as well as individual tribal trust funds cases. And under Obama’s leadership, the United States endorsed the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples….
Governor Romney says that he would repeal the Affordable Care Act on his first day in office. Not only would his actions jeopardize health care coverage for all Americans, it would also mean the end of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. And while President Obama supports reauthorizing a Violence Against Women Act bill that would allow Indian tribes to prosecute non-Indians who assault our Indian women, Governor Romney has said he will not support expanded protections for Indian women, LGBT persons, and immigrants.
I mentioned DACA in the previous post, and it really is worth saying that for long-disempowered groups like Indians and the children of illegal aliens, having an ally in the Executive Branch is a huge deal. The White House can make important determinations as to where our limited law enforcement resources should be most fully deployed, and this White House has determined, correctly in my opinion, that such resources are better used protecting Native women from violence than chasing down and deporting college students whose “illegal” status is no fault of their own. The White House can also foreground and prioritize legislation that can do real good for people in need.
I’d also like to link to this clever little cartoon that animates a speech by President Obama. What’s nice is that this is one of those speeches where he’s an excellent spokesman for the liberal vision — which is, essentially that we’re all in this together, and together we can do great things.
I know Romney’s running as the opposition candidate, and so to some extent his campaign is going to be based on critique. But Obama’s campaign in 2008 was built on a critique of the Bush years, and he somehow still found time to articulate a positive vision of what he thought America could be. Hell, even Reagan and Bush could occasionally articulate a positive vision of America. (I disagreed with their premises, but they could, sometimes, paint a picture of the America they’d like to see.) I hear very, very little of that from Romney. I’m not sure what he wants America to look like, apart from having him for a president and, I guess, lower taxes…? Anyway, this might seem fluffy, but I think it’s an important part of leadership. You want us to let you lead the march? Tell us where you want to go.