Tag Archives: grassroots organizing

THE BALANCE OF POWER AND COMPETITIVE COMPROMISE,By Louise Annarino,12-27-2012

26 Dec

THE BALANCE OF POWER AND COMPETITIVE COMPROMISE,By Louise Annarino,December 26,2012

 

Politics has often been called the art of compromise. Too seldom do we admit politics is the art of exercising power. Congress cannot exercise the art of compromise when the balance of power is so uneven. Our focus at the moment is solely on the failure of congresspersons to compromise on several levels;between the president and Speaker of the House, within the House, within the Senate, within the Republican Party between Teapublicans and Republicans. We should instead focus on the lack of balance within our congressional districts. Until we right that balance, no compromise will be possible. Continuing the dialogue solely on the personal assessment of individual  character illustrated by a willingness or unwillingness to compromise hides the real problem.

 

In 2010 the Republican/Teapublican victories brought control of the legislature of many key states, in some cases a veto-proof majority. And, 2010 placed more states under the leadership of Republican governors and secretaries of state as well. The 2010 census allowed these states ,including Ohio, to redistrict an imbalance so severe that Ohio’s districts were gerrymandered to form safe seats for both parties. The inability to compromise is the affirmed in these gerrymandered districts. Secretaries of state redefined vote counts within districts,further assuring veto-proof legislatures.

 

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) has no motivation to seek the middle when doing so will have no impact on his re-election in a general election. His seat is safe thanks to the recent redistricting legislation, and Ohio’s failure to overturn that legislation in the 2012 campaign. His threat comes from within his own party;and, not just for his chairmanship, but for his re-election. The threat would come as a primary challenge;one well-funded by the moneyed interests and super PACS supporting the Teapublicans. Tacking to center, seeking compromise, would encourage such an attack.How can he seek compromise?

 

We must organize around redistricting,and other legislative changes which upset the balance of power for both parties. For example, there is a well-financed effort by Teapublicans to demonize the electoral college,to eliminate it, or change how Ohio calculates electoral votes. Republicans are mounting a quiet effort to change our current system to one which favors the minority of Ohio voters. Now Republicans have more safe districts than Democrats do and they want to allow each district to cast electoral votes based on district wins, rather than casting all of Ohio’s electoral votes for the candidate who wins the majority of all Ohio votes, as is current law.

 

Republicans realize this could give them short-term gain.However, their control is not absolute and eternal. Should Democrats gain control, the Democratic Party could benefit just as unfairly. But, both parties should be more concerned about the good of the people; not the good of any party. It behooves both Democratic and Republican voters to insist that our legislators create more balance;not less. Those of us who believe in the platform and values of the Democratic Party should not fear such a balanced approach. Democratic candidates can compete with Republican candidates, and can win even in unsafe districts. How much better could we do in competitive districts? And, if John Boehner’s district were competitive, he might gain more political power through compromise than obstruction. That would be a win-win for both parties, and for the American people.

 

We have overlooked the importance of what happens at our local and district levels for too long. we have been trained to keep our eyes on the federal government,thus national elections, as the source of our failed compromise; when,in fact, competitive compromise begins within our own districts. We cannot sit back until the next presidential election, hoping to elect persons who promise to compromise. Everyone wants to compromise when it maintains their balance of power;but without such a balance, no one can afford to compromise. Not Mr. Boehner, despite his fine character and personal wishes…unless he is willing, and we are willing to watch his failed re-election as the price to be paid. Would that be a win for Ohio or the Teapublicans?

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NOT CAN,BUT HOW? THE BUDGET AND DEFICIT REDUCTION,By Louise Annarino,November 9,2012

9 Nov

NOT CAN,BUT HOW? THE BUDGET AND DEFICIT REDUCTION,By Louise Annarino, November 9, 2012

At President Obama’s first press conference he stated a willingness to consider any idea which fairly addresses the nation’s fiscal needs. However, he clearly and unequivocally asserted that taxes on earnings above $250,000 must be increased. He went further asking congress to immediately extend tax cuts on earnings below $250,000 rather than waiting for negotiations on deficit reduction and balancing the budget plays out,stressing the need for stability and certainty for small business owners.

In effect, the president seeks to stabilize small businesses and encourage their creation and expansion, and continue tax policies which economists agree will stimulate middle class spending, and which will help those small businesses grow. This is basic and sound fiscal policy upon which any honest politician, of either party, could easily agree. The only reason Boehner might not agree is to use the middle class and small businesses as a political tool to continue to shelter wealthy supporters and their corporate interests, at the expense of average Americans.

Republicans also make no secret of their intention to eliminate, starve into extinction, or privatize the social safety net: social security,medicare,medicaid,food stamps,WIC,unemployment compensation etc.

Will Rep. Boehner insist on continuing tax breaks for Big Oil while  delaying the Social Security retirement age for a woman who stands on her aching feet all day at a cash register, or a mechanic whose arthritic hands can no longer twist a wrench without pain, or a security officer who must chase a teen robber up and over a fence? Or will he agree instead to lift the cap on FICA taxes,increasing contributions from higher income earners? Such choices matter.

Will Rep. Boehner insist the Ryan Budget must be accepted in whole or in part before the House is willing to even consider the President’s Jobs Bill? Will veterans continue to wait for House Republicans to approve a veterans’ jobs program included in the president’s bill? Will farmers wait for House Republicans to pass the Agriculture Bill unless it contains Ryan’s proposed cuts of $1.6 billion dollars a year (four times the amount spread over five years in the bi-partisan bill passed by the Senate) to food stamps, WIC (women,infants and children),and meals on wheels for seniors and the disabled? Why must we wait?

What can we do to put a stop to such nonsense? ASK our Republican representatives and senators to answer questions regarding their positions on specific cuts. TELL our Democratic representatives and senators that we expect them to stand strong and speak out on our behalf. Remind both that they will soon be up for re-election and that we will not forget what they do.

The news pundits,once again,focused on whether a deal can be reached with Boehner since Obama is willing to compromise, discussing the need for Democrats to give a little. Chris Mathews even suggested the president should appoint Mitt Romney Secretary of Business, chuckling that he would not do so, but should do something like this…throw Boehner a bone? No,such talk is throwing over an election, throwing over the middle class. The first person Andrea Mitchell interviewed for reaction to Obama’s press conference today was  House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (D-SC) who concurred that when negotiating everything must be on the table. Feeling a bit nervous, I listened  to him then suggest that even social security would have to be reworked because we want  it and programs such as medicare and medicaid to be there in the years ahead. Okay, I thought, that is a no-brainer. But then he suggested one likely change is delaying the age at which one may receive benefits. There are alternatives methods to reducing program costs which don’t deprive people of, or delaying access to, benefits they have a right to rely on, and which they desperately need to survive with dignity.

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps are not frills. They are not “stuff.” These programs are life support. We are not a poor nation;we are a very rich nation. Budgets define our priorities in this country; and, not our wealth. We can reduce the deficit and balance our budget over time. Either party is capable of doing so. The real issue is not can we do so; but how we do so. Hopefully, we do so while maintaining life support for the aged, the disabled, the hungry, the unemployed, the uneducated, and even the planet itself. We count on our president and our Democratic senators and congressmen to remember this, and to fight for us. John Boehner will be fighting for his political life, and the survival of his party; but, unless I miss my guess,not for us.

Central Ohio Contact List ( Rep.Joyce Beatty (D-OH) info not yet available):

 

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)

(202)225-6205

(202)225-0704 Fax

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)

3000 Corporate Exchange Drive,Suite 310

Columbus, Ohio 43231

(614) 523-2555.

(614)818-0887 Fax

 

Rep. Steve Stivers

3790 Municipal Way
Hilliard, OH 43026
(614) 771-4968
(614) 771-3990 Fax

Joyce Beatty for Congress

233 S High St Ste #300

Columbus, OH 43215

614-600-4231

beattyforcongress@gmail.com

 

Senator Rob Portman

37 West Broad Street,Room 300

Columbus, OH 43215

(614)469-6774

Toll-Free: 1-800-205-6446

 

Sen. Sherrod Brown

(614) 469-2083

(202)224-2315

Toll Free : 1-888-896-6446

 

 

 

OUR VOTES COUNTED, BUT WE DIDN’T?By Louise Annarino,November 9,2012

9 Nov

OUR VOTES COUNTED, BUT WE DIDN’T?,By Louise Annarino,November 9,2012

 

If we are to believe the media-take on the re-election of President Barack Obama, we managed to have our votes counted; but, we still don’t count. Despite the fact that Barack Obama won by a greater margin than George W. Bush without the need for court intervention to seal the deal, corporate media refuses to acknowledge president Obama’s mandate. Instead it sees his presidency as one calling for accession to the demands of those whose candidate lost the election and the majority of the electorate’s support for Republican policies.

 

The list denying a mandate includes: CBS Evening News’ Bob Schiefer. Washington Post’s Dan Balz. Politico’s Glenn Thrush,Jim VandeHei,and Mike Allen. CNN’s David Gergen, and Gloria Berger. FOX News’ Charles Krauthammer.Time Magazine’s Joe Klein.

 

Even NPR’s Cokie Roberts failed to credit the value of those who voted for the President and handed him a mandate when she described his challenge to govern in this way: “It is a divide where he’s lost whites, he’s lost Southerners, he’s lost people of a certain income and age, and he’s really got to do something fast to deal with that.”

 

Oh, I see now whose vote REALLY counts: whites (but not those whites who voted for Obama), Southerners (but not those Southerners who voted for Obama), people of a certain income and age( but not those wealthy, older persons who voted for Obama). Interestingly, the need to address the concerns of African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, young people, women and LGBT community seems to be of no concern to Ms. Roberts. Apparently, she thinks she knows who should be driving the bus, and who should ride in the back.

 

It is not because she sees division as a concern which disturbs me; we are all concerned about the divisions within our country. But, because she weighs the interests of those who do not support Obama as a greater issue for his attention than the mandate the majority of voters handed him on November 6 to enact the change we need to secure America’s future for all its citizens. It is the diminished value corporate media places on an Obama victory for those who do not look like them, earn what they earn, live like they live. By diminishing his win, they diminish his right to govern and they diminish the value of our vote. That diminishes all Americans.

A MORE PERFECT UNION, By Louise Annarino,October 29,2012

29 Oct

A MORE PERFECT UNION,By Louise Annarino, October 29,2012

 

One question on two fronts: “Where are we now in the election?” and “Where are we as a move forward as a nation?” President Obama’s interview this morning on “Morning Joe” answered both questions.

 

First we are in the final days of Obama’s final race for elected office. From his first campaign when he sat around a his kitchen table with four people creating a flyer to be copied at KINKO to the current campaign where hundreds of thousands of supporters in every state sit around kitchen tables to phone bank, cut turf for door-to-door canvasses, plan events, organize volunteers, order and distribute buttons/bumper stickers/yard signs, and schedule GOTV activities the energy and momentum has grown with the size of the crowds who attend his rallies. President Obama has re-energized interest in campaigns, registered huge numbers of new voters,and turned our record numbers of voters by connecting with Americans in a way we had not seen before in our lifetimes. He has connected and energized both those who respect and love him, and those who disdain and hate him. But, most importantly, he has taught us what a republic requires of its citizens.

 

There is a bittersweet feel to these last days of the Obama campaign. It is as if we are holding our breath while running one hundred miles per hour. The final sprint may not look pretty, but all that matters now is getting over the finish line first. Those who vote early are free to help the last runners make it over the line. While some of the drama is lost, the race is thus won. We can do this! We will do this working together.

 

Second, President Obama offered his description of where we are now as a nation when he stated the next president will answer two questions: “How big a government do we want? How will we pay for it?”

 

If we want  a smarter but more affordable and smaller government, President Obama is the candidate of choice. As an example,he explained that the U.S. spends 17% of budget on health care, while other industrialized nations spend only 11% (and have better record on outcomes). That 6% is our deficit. (Obamacare has already reduced the percentage of annual increases in health insurance premiums, and when it becomes fully operational and more competitive in 2014, cost is expected to drop even lower).

 

The Obama strategy of cutting what does not work and redirecting dollars to programs which are more efficient and save even more dollars illustrates how cuts can be done in a balanced and effective manner while reducing budget expenses. He reiterated that the money he saved (not stole as Mr. Romeny claims) within medicare was then spent within medicare to increase free preventive care which reduces costs, and closed the donut hole so medicare recipients can get their meds, further reducing costs.

 

He also suggested in the interview that we could become more efficient and cost-effective by creating a Secretary of Business, a one-stop shop replacing nine current divisions which create a headache for businesses. The only thing blocking such streamlining, he suggested, is Congress protecting its jurisdiction over various pieces of government. He reminded Joe Scarborough that he has created far fewer regulations than George Bush and is conducting an on-going review of current regulations to eliminate or redesign those which simply do not work.

 

President Obama believes his mandate for the next four years is to reduce the deficit. He also understands this cannot be done in an unbalanced manner which fails to consider how to make government more effective while maintaining necessary services. His focus is to “make things work” better and at reduced cost. When asked why he thinks he could get Congress to work with him when he has been blocked (by Republicans) the last four years he said he must “first clear away ideology by reducing the deficit”. Once that is accomplished he expects Congress to work on issues that have historically not been ideological: infrastructure – we have a lot of deferred maintenance of roads and bridges, immigration – both because neither party can ignore the fastest growing demographic AND because it is the “right thing to do.” He then asked Joe, “When did roads and bridges become ideological?”

 

The President has learned a lot over the past four years. despite obstruction, he has made government smaller, more efficient, work smarter and reduced costs. Every year things cost more. It is the rate of increase we must look at. The rate of increase has been subdued by President Obama. Employment has grown every year; job less rates have slowed. I cannot think of another time in history when an American president who has accomplished so much against such odds would not be re-elected by large margins. But, we have never had an African-American president before, either.

 

An article in yesterday’s “Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch” discussed a study which disclosed racism has increased during the Obama administration. I would reframe the findings differently. White Americans are recovering racists who must fight their way through racial stereotypes, acceptance of preference as a natural right, and subliminal need to feel superior to someone, indeed anyone, in our self-proclaimed “classless society”. Most of us do keep up the good fight against our inherent racism and prejudice. We know it is wrong, have learned to acknowledge that fact, and rejoice that we,too, have “overcome” it. But, it raises its ugly head most when we experience “congruence”.

 

Congruence is the coming together of two “things”.It is a powerful force. When white people see Black people as congruent it stirs up the deep need to feel superior. We justify that feeling by resorting to old stereotypes and acclaimed prejudices. It seems to me we are not increasingly racist; but, increasingly afraid of a loss of preference. When we see that an African-American man and woman can be president and first-lady, our preference as superior beings to an imagined inferior is lost. That is why we are seeing more racism. That is what we must fight; not one another, and certainly not Pressident Obama nor First-Lady Michelle Obama.

 

This is what we see within the Obama campaign. People of all races, ethnicities, ages,sexual orientation forcefully unconcerned about who may be superior or inferior but simply working together as equals. That is the where we are in this campaign. That is where we are in America today. That is how we are moving forward. President Obama has already made America a more perfect union (established more congruence). That is why we see more open displays of racism today; not because we are failing as a nation, but because we are succeeding. Imagine the power of congruence if republicans would see democrats,and our president, as equals instead of inferiors and worked together moving forward. That is what a second Obama term could look like. Thank you President Obama! We will move forward with you.

 

 

RACIAL SHAME IS THE NAME OF THE GAME,By Louise Annarino,October 26,2012

26 Oct

RACIAL SHAME IS THE NAME OF THE GAME,By Louise Annarino,October 26,2012

“Ms. Annarino, are you white?” asked the toddler leaning against my back as I sat on the ground, her hands over my eyes so I could not see her. “Yes, I am,” I answered. What prompted such a question I pondered. I was new to her neighborhood, a neighborhood which housed a single white family composed of a mother and her three children, among the families of two-hundred plus African-American children who spent most of their day on the playground I supervised. The only other white adult I saw all that summer was the mailman. This little girl only knew I looked different. When she heard talk about “the white girl down at the playground,” she looked for the one girl who looked different. She made no judgments about me. My color was simply an identifier.

This was not the case within my white community. Race and color were not simply used as an identifier; but also used as instruments of power and self-aggrandizement. Noticing and or pointing out skin color and race was done  in a derisive manner, accompanied by stereotypes, meant to make the speaker feel superior. It was ugly. It made me cringe. It made me feel ashamed to be part of this tribe.

Children’s tribal instincts were strong back then. There was only 1/2 hour of the nightly news each evening to connect us to the larger world outside our neighborhoods. There was no internet, no cable news, no electronic social media like Facebook. My connection to larger world weakened my tribal ties. My mother was from New York City, not small-town, Ohio. We spent summers there with cousins who lived in the projects among people of every religious faith, every race and ethnicity, and every color. It was magnificent! When I saw racism I was perplexed. How could anyone believe these stereotypes?  I still ask the same question 60 years later. Racist beliefs make even less sense today, when we have access to more information and greater racial interaction.

We now are interconnected with the entire world, and yet, we cling to tribalism. The racism Obama volunteers experienced while canvassing in 2008 has intensified. It has become an accepted political strategy of the Republican party. There was a time in this country when racists would be shamed by the larger white community in the north. Visiting the south thirty years ago, I was surprised by the lack of shame, and the unwillingness to challenge racism  by those who knew better. Now, white Americans both north and south are shameless. Racism may be in its final throes but it is still too easily spread.

I have written often on this blog about the racism displayed during this campaign. It is now so overt I don’t even feel the need to repeat what you are seeing and hearing as examples. But, tonight I felt compelled to remind us all that it is not President Barack Obama who has created racial division in this country; but those who say he has done so. The very act of  calling Barack Obama racist is racism itself. The next time you hear someone like Palin use words “shuckin’ and jivin'”, John Sununu suggest Colin Powell supports the president because both are black and  he “wish(es) (Obama)knew how to be an American”, Newt Gingrich/Sean Hannity/and other Republicans say Obama is the “most racially divisive political figure”, and Trump says Obama is “lazy,slick and un-American”  remind yourself how RACIST this is…and how useless.It does nothing to help America select the best leader for this country. It is used to distract us from the discussion.

Racism is a grand distraction from a failed campaign. It has been used to some effect for many years. It is not a fluke, but a planned strategy. I won’t hold my breath while waiting for Mr. Romney, nor Congressman Ryan to find the moral courage to stop their campaign from using this tired old strategy and speak out against it. If they think it can improve their chances at the polls, they will continue to use it, and their supporters will continue to give racist tactics tacit approval. It is shameful.

 

 

NO PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE BULLIES IN THE BULLY PULPIT,By Louise Annarino,October 4, 2012

5 Oct

NO PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE BULLIES IN THE BULLY PULPIT,By Louise Annarino, October 4, 2012

 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary tells us that the word debate was originated in the 13th century. It is a Middle English word, taken from Anglo-French debatre, from de- + batre to beat, and from Latin battuere. Its first known use is in the 14th century

Today it defined as: a regulated discussion of a proposition between two matched sides. Its obsolete definition is : fight, contend.

 

Understanding the definition explains why the first Presidential debate had no winners,especially not the American people for whom this battle or debate of ideas was being waged across our screens. Many would blame moderator Jim Lehrer; but, that would be blaming the victim, as is so common in human nature, for the bully-behavior of one of the contenders, Mitt Romney. Mr. Romney brazenly and brutally shouted down the moderator and set his own rules,altering them to suit his attack. His rapid-fire delivery of disconnected thought bursts made it near impossible for a reasonable person to interject control over the proceedings. From his first comments the debate was removed from the moderator’s control to  Romney’s. From that moment on Romney  was free to lie, and he did so repeatedly.

 

I have written so often about his lies I won’t take time to repeat them today. There are many other sources fact-checking and reporting on them, if you will take time to read or listen. Before this first debate I described what to expect, a Romney shell game meant to sell Americans a bill of goods,and intimidation of the moderator. When President Obama calmly but decidedly pointed out Mr. Romney’s game, Romney called the president a liar. I predicted this strategy in my earlier blog. We all have experienced liars in our lives. We all have been warned by our mothers to tell the truth, that if you lie once you will have to continually lie to cover up the first lie, that after the first lie lying gets easier, that once you are known as a liar, no one will ever believe you. Nevertheless,this is the Republican strategy: Call our president a liar. Lie about your own unpopular and destructive policies, then call anyone who points out your lies a liar to confuse people and reinforce your own lies as truth. It is a brilliant one for those who don’t pay close attention to politics, or only watched the debate, or only watch FOX news.

 

Early in the debate, Mr. Romney called President Obama a liar to his face and obliquely referenced him as “boy” by using his own sons’ lies as a reference point for President Obama’s challenge to Mr. Romney’s lie. He said this with a smile on his face, speeding up his commentary and chuckling at his own wit. President Obama had to be disgusted. I know I was. The moderator remained silent. After this point, there was no debate happening. This was no longer a formal statement of position, with rules governing the manner in which each side argued for their position. Mr. Romney stated the president’s positions as his own, and when challenged called the president a liar. I cannot call what I watched a debate. It was the obsolete definition of a debate. It was battuerre or debatre. It was a fight.

 

Our president is a gentleman, a statesman, a leader who does not fight with his fists, nor fist-fight with his words. He does not lie to make a point;nor make a point to lie. He does not bully. He would never cheat and call it a victory, as Mr. Romeny’s own son tells us about his Dad with great pride as a reason to elect him president: Craig Romney: My Dad Cheats & “That’s What We Need in the White House.” Once a cheater,always a cheater, on income taxes, in debates, on the campaign trail [just review statements of other Republican candidates during the primary campaign],even in the White House.

 

Don’t mistake my words. President Obama knows how to fight. Both Mr. Lehrer and the president are the victims of a bully. For the beating they took we must blame the bully, not the victims. However, I do fault them and those who managed them for not anticipating they had a bully who would not play by the rules, who disdains rules, who is so privileged he believes rules should not apply to him and should apply only to lesser beings, certainly to the 47%. Did they not know who Romney is? Have they not been watching him campaign? Have they not seen his ad campaign? Do they think they are immune to bullying? They walked right into the trap. For that, I do blame them. But, that, does not make Romney a winner; just a lying, cheating bully not worthy of the presidency.

 

Romney can say whatever he wants, change positions all he wants. None of that matters. We know what the Ryan-Romney Budget [not a typo;Ryan will control the budget effort] will do to our economy, our middle class, our poor, women, children, seniors, immigrants, minorities, LGBT community, the arts and Big Bird. It is who he is and how he behaves which will betray our finest American ideals and our leadership throughout the world. No one can be safe with a bully running the neighborhood. Wake up America. GO VOTE for every democratic candidate on your ballots. The lying, cheating bullies must be defeated. In America we battere / debatre / fight withBALLOTS.

 

Republicans know this which is why voter suppression and intimidation is one tactic in their strategy to take back government. Bullies don’t know how to compromise; it is always their way or the highway. They have only one measure of success: how badly did they batter the other guy? Democrats are not bullies. This does not make us weak; it makes us brave, smart, and compassionate listeners and doers. Don’t judge President Obama or Mr. Lehrer by how they looked while being bullied.I’ve been bullied and it is not a pretty sight. Judge them by what they do for America, by how they behave toward others, by the dignity and compassion they show others, by the wisdom to know when to put up their fists and when to let the bully hang by his own rope. President Obama now knows Mitt Romney. He has felt his flying verbal fists in his gut. He will defeat Mr. Romney. Mr. Romney will never know what hit him.

 

VOTE OBAMA AND DOWN-TICKET DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES ,INCLUDING JUDGES. VOTE TODAY.

FOUR MORE YEARS FOR OBAMA;By Louise Annarino,September 30, 2012

30 Sep

FOUR MORE YEARS FOR OBAMA; By Louise Annarino, September 30, 2012

 

My uncles could teach political operatives a thing or two. They were my campaign managers when I ran for student council during my freshman year of high school. Uncle Joe advised me to talk with and listen to everyone, ask them what they wanted done at the school and explain how I would work toward their goals, hand out some token gift with my name on it, and act certain of my success. Apparently, people vote for persons who make them feel appreciated, important, and secure. My Uncle Johnny advised me to not do it all myself; but, to get other people involved in my campaign. Let someone else buy what I needed, pass out the token gifts, and make signs for me. Uncle Frankie asked me why I wanted to make more work for myself;but if I did want the position,I should promise to work harder and be better than any other candidate. Dad told me to listen to my uncles; but, not be disappointed if I did not win. They each agreed all politicians are crooks,and I needed to stay a “good Catholic girl”, which would be difficult if I became a politician. This entire political education forum lasted about 15 minutes as I sat on a bar stool watching them prepare for the lunch crowd soon to arrive at the restaurant they owned and ran together. I won that seat in student council. The position was next to meaningless,I soon learned. Governance depended upon reaching compromises and acting within the dictates of the principal and the nuns;not exactly a chance to change the entire structure of Catholic education in Newark,Ohio.

 

The campaign was all exciting possibility; the governance afterwards was all harsh reality. It takes a special person to run for re-election. A person running for re-election knows the grueling demands of the campaign trail, and the grueling demands of governance; yet, is willing to face the simultaneous demands of both. Good health stamina is the one of the most important qualities in a leader. A person running for re-election must answer for past governance decisions,is challenged on performance outcomes,and is chastised for not being exciting enough the second go-round.

 

Have you ever been to a marriage renewal ceremony for a couple married 25 years? It is a much more relaxed and unexciting affair than the original wedding. The wonder is that there is any excitement left at all in the marriage! This is what re-election campaigns feel like. No one is overjoyed; but,no one can deny the sheer joy of still being together facing the campaign’s demands, and no one would choose a different partner. It just feels right. We know the next 4 years, or 25 years, will require the same skills which called us all together in the beginning: the ability to listen and hear one another, the ability to work toward common goals, faithfully give something of ourselves to one another, and maintaining hope in a better future. The marriage renewal ceremony is similar to re-election because we are all less naive and more scarred by experience.However, we are even more dedicated to making the marriage, or governance of the country, work for the good of all. Our hope and faith is not diminished;it is stronger than ever! “Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!” There is no better partner for America than President Barack Obama.