Notes from the Obama Era
Posted on December 21, 2012 by Lou
Laborlou.com began in 2009 as commentary on the Obama Presidency and then became more open-ended. This past year I posted several autobiographical narratives. Writing about my past helped me cope with the emotional stress of the 2012 election. If the Obama Era had come to an end, I might have withdrawn into a permanent state of reverie and denial.
O.K., I’m exaggerating.
But didn’t this election, more than any other, feel like a referendum on our generation’s principles and values?
The results spared us from an almost irreversible sense of rejection. On top of that, it affirmed America’s better nature and lifted our spirits.
Of course, all the fiscal cliff crap and the awful tragedy in Newtown dampen the celebration. Don’t expect miracles but why not believe in the possibility of gradual and meaningful national transformation?
I differ with those on our side who view Obama as just another servant of the financial, corporate, military, media, legal and political elite (did I miss anyone?). I don’t and won’t interpret our president as simply a clever front-man for those who populate the ruling class.
What fun would that be?
As a long-time participant, observer – and sometimes critic – of the American left, I might from time to time take a few shots at my colleagues. Mostly, though, I have enormous regard for progressive advocates and operatives who do the heavy lifting: organizing in the trenches, running local campaigns, recording Romney’s 47 percent speech.
The left flank of the Obama coalition performed admirably during the campaign. We’ve become more mature and I don’t mean just older. Even young radicals who cut their teeth in the Occupy Movement are less strident – and more strategic – than their 60s / 70s counterparts.
It’s hard to be restrained, however, when I discuss our current opponents on the right. But let’s take solace in the electoral repudiation of Mitt and down-ticket Republicans. Here’s our chance to promote a common sense message of economic opportunity and equality; and shape an expansion of the American franchise to include, among others, immigrant families and same-sex couples.
Finally, I’ll continue in 2013 to talk about where I live, what I do and how I got there. I feel fortunate to be in Los Angeles and work in the Labor Movement. There’s an interesting convergence of political, cultural and economic forces in Southern California. How this sprawling, diverse megalopolis became the bluest of regions is a story worth telling.