Mayhem and destruction struck the East Coast last week. Shorelines were destroyed, hundreds of thousands were without power and at least 111 deaths were confirmed across nine states. Amidst the chaos, President Barack Obama was a beacon of leadership and exhibited the reasons why the people of the United States should bring him back for another four years.
Four years have passed since chants of “yes we can” rang throughout the Kohl Center. Hundreds of thousands of first time voters cast their vote for Obama and poured onto State Street after his election night victory. Many of us were looking forward to bipartisan leadership — a mutual understanding among Democrats, Republicans and all parties in between.
Unfortunately, the promise of bipartisan leadership was met with the harsh realities of Washington politics. Every vote became a dichotomy — common sense became for or against. This reckless course of action drove our nation towards the brink of a fiscal collapse and threatened to undermine any economic recovery. When it came to the jobs numbers, pundits cared more about political advantage rather than the impact of unemployment on the average American household.
In 2010, a new breed of leaders took office who hated government. Elected representatives wanted nothing more than to watch Obama fail at all costs, even at the risk of diminishing America’s greatness.
Despite the highly partisan and divisive nature present in Washington politics, our president successfully ended the war in Iraq and started to drawdown the war in Afghanistan. He passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act. The American Recovery act spurred economic growth amid the greatest recession since the 1930s. President Obama protected women and minorities from wage discrimination. He changed his own stated opinion on gay marriage, promoting equality for all. He did what five presidents before him failed to accomplish when he created universal health insurance. The president showed a commitment not to lobbyists, not to wealthy CEOs, but to sensible policies that impact all Americans.
This list was not generated by rhetoric taken from the Kohl Center, Library Mall or Bascom Hill rallies, but rather generated from inspirational and pragmatic action.
Obama went to Washington, and Washington politics did not change. However, despite what hundreds of millions dollars of wasted negative advertisements might claim, Washington did not change Obama.
Last week, Hurricane Sandy blew in with no regard for elections or politics. She cared not if you were a Democrat or a Republican, a devoted pro-life supporter, a staunch opponent of the NRA agenda, a radical leftist or a revolutionary. The storm of the century did not care about the politics of the situation and neither did our president.
In the face of this disaster, he shed political favoritism. Red, blue or other, no American was marginalized. He walked alongside Republican Gov. Chris Christie with an agenda greater than Tuesday. For a few brief days, Washington politics was replaced by action. “Yes we can!” had a new meaning.
On Tuesday, I will be casting my vote for President Obama. Upon reviewing his accomplishments, decisions and triumphs, I feel there could not be an easier decision on who will keep this country moving forward.
Alder Scott Resnick (firstname.lastname@example.org) represents Madison’s District 8.