Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Barack Obama Is a Public Servant

Neither President Obama nor his predecessors nor any of his peers in Washington or in state and city governments around the nation seem to remember that they work for us. They are our servants.

Why do people stand as the president enters a room? Why do they say, "Mr. President"?

They should be address us — The People — with honorifics.

But now, rather than respect public demands, Mr. Obama is treating us again with the contempt for the common people that he has displayed throughout the bailout. He and his Attorney General, Eric Holder, have resolved that none shall be prosecuted in the case of Bush administration war crimes. Granted, this has not been officially proclaimed, but we now have reports that Holder's justice department has determined not to press criminal charges against the authors of the "torture memos" (Yoo, Bybee, Bradbury). I'll eat my hat if they do anything more than offer vague criticisms of the conduct of even the most reprehensible of the Bush brigade.

Just to review, here is the short list of Bush-era war criminals:
Remind us, Mr. Obama, why did we vote for you? Why did we choose you to work for us? And just what is it, if anything, that you plan to do for us? You've made it fairly clear:
  • no national health care (rather, some handwaving that will keep insurers happy)
  • bailouts for billionaires, lifetimes of tax burdens for The People
  • coddling of Republicans and right-wingers
  • continued war in Iraq, and ramped-up war in Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • rumblings of attacks on social security
  • the beginnings of a capitulation to major corporate polluters
Yep, sounds like a mighty big change.

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