A year ago, I stood in awe as I watched President Obama being sworn in as our first African American president. I listened intently as he spoke about change and hope coming to America. A year later, I’m wondering whether President Obama is listening to us.
Now I know change means different things to different people. In the past year, I’ve seen bail outs for Wall Street, banks, General Motors and Chrysler. Is this the change we needed? Where is the bail out for Main Street? Change has come to America. It’s just not the change I signed on for. To use the words of President Obama, “let me be clear” that’s not the change I was expecting. I want change in areas of increased jobs, lower unemployment rates, homes for the homeless, foreclosure relief, affordable health care and consumer bank and credit card relief to name a few.
I know we live in a society where we want everything at broadband lightening speed. I didn’t expect change to happen overnight. Although it appears change did happen overnight for General Motors, Chrysler, banks and Wall Street. But I did expect some measure of change in a year. Was that too much or too soon to ask for?
Jobless rates rose in 43 states in December, 2009. New Jersey’s rate rose to the highest in 33 years. Home foreclosure filings of default notices, bank repossessions or auction sale notices were up 14 percent in December, 2009 from November. Overall, it was a 15 percent increase from a year ago. Experts estimate about one in every 366 households has received a foreclosure filing. That’s a lot. A year ago in January 2009, employers slashed 598,800 jobs off US payrolls. In December, 2009, the country lost 524,000 jobs. President Obama acknowledged that behind these statistics are “real lives, real suffering and real fear”. Health care reform is now on life support.
President Obama’s inauguration speech acknowledged that our economy was weakened, jobs have been shed, homes have been lost, and health care is too costly. He acknowledged that the state of our economy called for bold and swift action and new jobs.
The poor state of our economy was inherited from eight years of the Bush Administration. President Bush definitely left us in a quandary. Now, the ball is in President Obama’s hand. He must dribble, pass, make a play and score. A year later, I am still in awe of President Obama. I just want him to make things right for the average Joe and Jane. President Obama are you listening? You’ve got to do whatever is necessary to get us where we need to be. It needs to be done with all deliberate speed.
As we approach President Obama’s first State of the Union address, I’m still waiting with bated breath for change to still come to America. I hope that it will come soon.