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How we do like to complain about politicians. We vote them into office (well, some don't vote) and expect them to change the world. To reduce war. To make our lives better. To keep their promises. After all, they are our leaders. We're just followers.

Yet, how many are really happy about these leaders once they get into office? Very few. There are always unkept promises. There's always something politicians do or don't do that goes against the principles we thought they stood for.

And if that's the extent of our thought, shame on us. We have responsibility in all of this (heck, we put them there). Were we that naïve to believe that voting for someone is a magic wand to success and relinquishes our responsibility to get to our ultimate goals? Being responsible means that we continue to have some burden to do something and have accountability for those actions. Voting for politicians to get what we want doesn't end at the voting booth, especially when they don't do all that we hoped.

2008 yes we can obamaShould we be more involved in politics to make sure our leaders do what they said they would do once they are elected? How do our responsibilities differ if the candidate we voted for doesn't get elected? Do politicians want us involved in politics after they are elected? If Obama is right - that campaigns are more than just about a single politician - what are our civic responsibilities once they are in office?

A significant challenge facing the Obama Administration as it gears up for the 2012 re-election campaign is that the President is not positively defined in the minds of many voters. A look at the entire record of President Obama shows that he has been a pragmatist who, while far from perfect, has led our country through daunting times and achieved significant progressive victories in the face of intractable opposition. Yet far too many progressives see him as a compromiser always ready to sell out progressive values, while many moderates see our President as a failure who has achieved very little. Neither of these views is accurate and, consistent with the slogan "Yes We Can," we must all pitch in to help get out to the public an accurate portrayal of the Obama Administration, its successes, and the areas where improvement is needed...

And there can be no dispute that the Obama Presidency has been far from perfect from a progressive perspective. For example, President Obama's record on civil liberties has been highly problematic, some of his education policies troubling, the dive on the ozone air quality standards inexcusable, and the decision to focus on deficits over jobs earlier this year a mistake...

Yet instead of focusing our efforts on highlighting these successes and attacking the conservative critics of those successes, far too many progressive activists focus almost all of their energy on attacking the President for compromises and disappointments. Some even go so far as to make the laughable claim that President Obama is no better than Bush.

The problem with this approach is that it means that voters - most of whom spend very little time thinking about politics - virtually never hear a positive message about President Obama or Democrats. The simple fact is that the President cannot do the work of defining his Administration alone given the intractable opposition from a well-funded and organized conservative movement and a media that largely echoes right-wing talking points or engages in "he-said, she-said" reporting that does little to educate its viewers and readers. That is why we progressives must be involved in helping to highlight the progressive successes of President Obama, challenging conservative attacks, and offering criticism of the Administration that is constructive rather than destructive...

The need for progressives to be actively involved in defining, supporting, and constructively critiquing President Obama has always been at the heart of Obama's campaigns and Presidency. It is why the campaign slogan in 2008 was "Yes We Can" rather than "Yes He Can." As Obama explained in his Presidential campaign announcement speech back in 2007:

That is why this campaign can't only be about me. It must be about us - it must be about what we can do together. This campaign must be the occasion, the vehicle, of your hopes, and your dreams. It will take your time, your energy, and your advice - to push us forward when we're doing right, and to let us know when we're not. This campaign has to be about reclaiming the meaning of citizenship, restoring our sense of common purpose, and realizing that few obstacles can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change.

The Slogan is "Yes We Can" not "Yes He Can"


Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on Sep 28, 2011 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=653

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