In response to our “Obama at One” forum, readers from across the country wrote to The Nation to share their thoughts on Obama’s high and low points from his first year. For many readers, Obama’s high point came during his inauguration. But now that the first year has passed, the hope and inspiration they once felt for Obama have turned to feelings of betrayal. Obama has sided with the corporate lawyers and the big banks instead of with the people. His slow progress is much too slow for a party that voted him in for change and reform. Still, there are some that are more forgiving, and hopeful for year number two. Below, read a selection of submissions to The Nation.
Nowhere to Go But Up
Our world outlook has gone leaps and bounds, but maybe it had nowhere to go but up. To me, the high point started with the healthcare issue. Although I do not fully agree with the bill up for discussion, it is still groundbreaking in nature, and we wouldn’t have gotten this far without him. I think he will be one of the greatest presidents we have ever had and I can’t wait to help him get elected again.
Kelsey Freeman, 25
We Must All Have a Choice
I voted for Mr. Obama. Seems to be a likeable guy and all that, but I’m very disappointed that he has surrounded himself with advisors that seem unable to think outside the rut of their training/experiences–mainly, in the financial and healthcare sectors.
When the crisis is over, banks that didn’t fail could buy up these loans that the government made. The big bad bankers will have been spanked, their toys taken away and grounded, or their banks will have failed. Take healthcare reform. Is expanding insurance coverage the only way? The British have satisfactory healthcare at one-third our per capita cost–apparently they are three times healthier (stronger, disease-resistant, less coddled) than we are. But we don’t want to follow their success. Are our leaders nuts? Costs will never be contained by expanding coverage through private insurance, because the main culprit is the medical business, not insurance.
The problem is hospitals that bill our PPO fifteen times what they are entitled to, anesthesiologists that bill $88 more for the elderly, ambulance services that pad their mileage and services performed, doctors that bill $140-240 for a five-minute exam–under the twisted ethics that since the insurer is paying, they aren’t stealing from the patient. To contain healthcare costs, we have to remove the profit incentive–which means government-owned clinics and hospitals staffed by civil servants. And since we must all have choice, let there be private networks (no subsidies direct or indirect) and charity networks (for those who don’t want to or can’t be in either of the other two networks). Seems like we are sheep following a billy goat.
Ray Kawano, 80
San Jose, CA
Start Pleasing the Citizens, Not the Banks
Let me start off by saying I am an avid fan of The Nation. The high point for Obama in my point of view has to be his demeanor. He always stays calm, cool and collected during the toughest of times. I like the fact that he takes time to understand the information inside and out. I like that fact that he doesn’t just jump out in front of a camera. For instance, after the Christmas Day attempted bombing, he took the time, got all the information that he needed and then came out and spoke about what happened.