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Barack Obama Is Moving Our Country Forward

Christian Patterson |
November 4, 2012 | 6:34 p.m. PST


Barack Obama is indeed moving the U.S. forward. (Rob Rudloff, Creative Commons)
Barack Obama is indeed moving the U.S. forward. (Rob Rudloff, Creative Commons)
When I was 12 years old, a cardiologist told my father that his life depended on the replacement of multiple heart valves. A little more than a year later, my mother was given a similar diagnosis by a cancer specialist, and was told that a mastectomy was the only way to remove the tumor that had formed in her breast.

Luckily for my family, both my parents had jobs that provided the insurance coverage necessary to cover the almost $2 million in surgeries that it took to save my parents' lives. But for millions of Americans, the cost of monthly insurance payments remains beyond their budgets, and the price of those procedures (almost 45 times the median income of a U.S. family) is more than they could imagine affording out of pocket. I shudder to think what would have happened to my family if my parents had been among the 43 million Americans that were uninsured before President Barack Obama took office.

I have no doubt that if the White House and Senate return to Republican control on Nov. 6, the 30 million people that Obamacare covers will lose the protection afforded them by Obama’s signature achievement. Republicans love to parrot the “repeal and replace” line. But their complete refusal to propose alternative solutions, and GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell’s admission that the problem of the uninsured was “not the issue” he cared about, speaks volumes about the Republican Party’s plans for helping average Americans (or lack thereof).

Health care is not the only issue on which Obama outpaces his conservative adversaries. Obama’s first major initiative — the stimulus package — stopped the free fall our economy had fallen into and prevented a second Great Depression. His financial regulation ensured that the reckless behavior of the financial services industry never again threatened the livelihoods of everyday people looking to pay mortgages. Obama’s constant fights to extend unemployment benefits were Herculean endeavors aimed toward helping families make ends meet.

Obama’s populism and protection of the American Dream could find no better contrast than the craven attitudes and policies promoted by Republican challenger Mitt Romney. While Romney might have finally begun to speak the language of a moderate, his long awaited “etch-a-sketch” transformation cannot obscure the utter contempt he feels for working class Americans. How can a man who readily admitted he wasn’t “concerned about the very poor” credibly claim that he’ll once again make America the land of opportunity? How can a man who declared that 47 percent of our country was made up of “takers” believably tell us that he’ll fight for all Americans? The obvious answer is that he can’t.

Obama is not a perfect man. His first term in office has obviously had its share of missteps. But to claim that a president who implemented Republican ideas for health care reform, cut taxes on the middle class and implemented three Bush-era free trade agreements is a radical, is to not live in reality.

President Obama extended an open hand to Republicans when he took office. By proposing conservative-backed solutions for health care, climate change, financial regulation, campaign finance and a range of other policy areas, Obama looked in vain for partners across the aisle who sought to steer our country through a difficult period. On November 6, he’ll extend that same hand to millions of Americans, rich, poor, black, white, conservative, liberal and everything in between, in the hope of finding citizens ready to work to move our country forward. Let’s pray that the American people return his gesture.


Reach Contributor Christian Patterson here; follow him here.



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