Obama : Real Change RE the War on Drugs , Prison reform, et al
His Change mantra answered an urgent plea, an upwelling from the springs of a repressed and pronounced need for comprehensive social reform. He will not be a smoke and mirrors president.
Drug policy reformers of every stripe are abuzz. They recognize, after lo these many decades that agitation for reform is multiplying exponentially at both the state and federal levels. The prospect of real change is palpable.
From Norm Stamper, Huffington Post. There are also national rumblings with regard to prison reform, and a myriad of social, political and cultural issues. It does seem that since the Reagen era - two Clinton Admninistrations notwithstanding; with a Republican Congress, they passed like a dream - the conservative and often Draconian chokehold on our democracy has held steady. And then, enter Barack Obama: Change, new direction, all promised in soaring rhetoric and oratory which seemed prophetically musical, riding on the winds of an approaching new era.
A return to sanity, humaneness, a radical alteration of the status quo: These daunting tasks have been accomplished in prior periods of our nations history; when determined groups were willing to invest passion, energy, money, and time, at the right juncture and under the proper leader. The Nation called the election of Barack Obama to the US Presidnency "electricfying" and nothing less than "a sea change election". There were no doubt correct in their assertions; it was time. But magical as it was to see the victory, the hardest work lies ahead, in the chaos which already smacks of vulgarity, mean-spiritedness, and antagonism. But Americans have proven that they are willing to work for change; the Generations X and Y are perahps among the most fearless and pragmatic our nation has seen in a long time.
From The Nation , back in those heady days when McCain and Obama seemed locked in a virtual tie:
Obama clearly offers a change of course. His victory in itself will require overcoming the racial fears that have so long divided this country. He carries a reform agenda--largely driven by progressives--into the election: an end to the occupation of Iraq, using the money squandered there to rebuild America; affordable healthcare for all, paid for by raising taxes on the wealthy; a concerted drive for energy independence, generating jobs while investing in renewable energy and conservation. He is committed to empowering labor, to holding corporations and banks more accountable and to challenging our trade policies. A social liberal, his judicial appointees will keep the right from consolidating its hold on the federal judiciary. Obama may not be a "movement" progressive in the way that Reagan was a "movement" conservative, and he may have disappointed activists with his recent compromises, but make no mistake: his election will open a new era of reform, the scope of which will depend--as Obama often says--on independent progressive mobilization to keep the pressure on and overcome entrenched interests.
Is it possible, then, that the country will actually steer a course, uncharted, into new waters? I think it is inevitable, and will be fulfilled.