Remember when you first got hit with Obamania? I sure do. I was a sophomore in high school in February of 2007 when a politically inclined friend of mine and I started spreading the Good Word about our very own fresh-faced, junior Senator’s bid for the presidency. We stuck with his 21 month long campaign and watched proudly as he was inaugurated — she from the National Mall and I from Chicago.
And then we kept watching and waiting and sort of, kind of, growing a little impatient.
Give him a break, look at the mess he inherited, his apologists said. Of course it’s going to take him a while to work toward gay rights, he’s got two wars to take care of, you know!
Granted. Then let’s let him start to prepare for the de-escalation in Iraq and Afghanistan first. Wait, he did say de-escalation, right?
That’s not fair, Afghanistan is a quagmire! It’s Bush’s fault we’re stuck there.
And then we were fed excuse after excuse for why health care took so long to pass and why it was so unsatisfactory, why his promises for transparency and accountability went in the complete opposite direction, and why defense spending wasn’t touched while education spending suffered.
That is a little frustrating, I suppose.
But we ate it up. Week after week we bought it, and now all of a sudden it is twenty months into his presidency and he has yet to make good on almost every major campaign promise. Not only that, but he is showing eerie and shocking similarities to former President George Bush.
Oh, President Obama, how do you disappoint us? Let us count the ways:
1. You authorized the CIA to assassinate a US citizen without due process.
2. You opened huge swaths of water along the Atlantic and north Alaskan coast as well as the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and natural gas companies — less than a month before the BP disaster (Drill, baby drill! Wait, who said that again?)
3. You hired Bush administration officials like Dana Perino (the infamous spin doctor) and Howard Schmidt (head cyber-adviser during a period of curiously missing emails and other documents that could have incriminated Bush in the Valerie Plame Wilson case — in which a covert agent’s identity was compromised — among others).
4. You promised a new era of “scientific integrity” in the White House and have done nothing to follow through. Scientific whistle-blower organizations report as many complaints from scientists in your administration as from the previous.
5. You continue to try to placate LGBT advocates with vague promises of “progress” while doing nothing to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” or push marriage rights. Your hospital visitation mandate was important, but it came a year later than it could or should have.
6. You continue to push for Big Brother-like citizen-monitoring powers, like accessing a citizen’s email for their contacts, dates and times that emails were sent and received, and browser histories — all without court permission.
7. When five detainees were filing suit in the Ninth Circuit Court for alleged torture while in US captivity, your administration stepped in and successfully appealed to stop the case from proceeding for the sake of “national security.” Ben Wizner, the detainees’ lawyer, noted that “[i]f this decision stands, the United States will have closed its courts to torture victims while providing complete immunity to their torturers.” Again.
8. Did I mention you authorized the assassination of a US citizen? Because that’s just scary.
Well, what the hell, Obama?
It is all so very confusing, the way Obama reneged on his campaign promises. The peculiar way he’s handled things has left his supporters disillusioned while his opponents, who should be wetting themselves the way he has crossed over to their side on so many levels, are still smearing him every chance they get. I am not being melodramatic when I say I feel betrayed. I hardly expected him to be our savior; I hardly expected him to sweep into office and wave his magic wand and bring peace and harmony to the world. But never in my wildest dreams did I expect him to so boldly disregard our Constitution or so closely resemble our former President.
Michael Veldman is a member of the Class of 2014.