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Not just “change,” America needs action
By Ray Hanania — The Democratic Convention may have been exciting for those privileged few who were in their front convention seats. But from the bleachers of mainstream America where most Americans sat in front of their TV screens, the convention started out slow and continued on predictably.
I was not impressed with the opening of the convention in Denver at all. While I empathize with Sen. Ted Kennedy – the last surviving symbol of a great Kennedy generation – it was a ho hum event.
It only picked up steam when two things happened. Senator Hillary Clinton stepped up to the microphone and gave a presidential speech that defined the American spirit as we run from the policies of President George W. Bush that this country overwhelmingly and blindly embraced with the mentality of a cow stampede seven and one-half years ago.
Clinton’s speech was the most memorable event of the week, followed by the clearly nuanced speech of her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Sen. Joe Biden? He was okay. Maybe the veteran political insider who has been in the background too long doing what – I don’t know – may improve, but I don’t like candidates who could have improved during a decades long career only to suddenly blossom when opportunity comes knocking at their door.
Too little, too late.
Barack Obama’s speech was moving. It was “spot on.” But, it was the way he always is. Always moving. Always inspirational. Always saying the “happy talk” and the “pretty speech” that we all want to hear and that his speech writers helped him spin.
But the real question that comes to mind after such a moving performance – which only came a close second to Hillary Clinton’s powerful speech – is, can you deliver?
Can you deliver on what you passionately laid out is your agenda for change?
Can you make the promises you made at the Denver convention a reality?
Can you deliver on your passion and your ability to inspire?
That is the defining question of this election cycle — can you deliver? It is the same question that American voters ask every year but too often fail to receive an acceptable answer.
I like to hear Obama talk about resolving the healthcare crises in America. It is a crises. The fact is that the issue isn’t only “can we afford to pay for healthcare?”
The real challenge is can we force the robber baron healthcare industry to stop discriminating against applicants who have pre-existing conditions that were previously covered, but that through employment change, income change or another reason, lost their coverage and can’t get coverage again, are thrown out on the street and rejected.
It’s not about the money. It’s about attacking the healthcare industry and the unscrupulous insurers like Humana and Blue Cross and Blue Shield that spend millions on smooth talking, happy talk TV advertising and then routinely deny coverage to everyday Americans simply because one spouse has asthma medication or a son has ADHD medication.
How do you confront Humana’s greed and immoral conduct, Senator Obama? How to do punish Humana and force them to do what they are supposed to do when the powers that be – the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan can’t even force Humana to provide the minimal service they are required to provide under the law?
We all know health insurance is a major problem in this country. We don’t need more happy talk from any candidate. We need answers. Specific answers. Action, now.
File a lawsuit against Humana, Senator Obama. Take them to court. Don’t just tell us you are going to force accountability upon this big insurance monolith with their powerful political lobbyists who protect them from what may become your empty convention war cries.
Take action. That’s how you will put meaning into your “inspiring” words.
Your speech is not new. We’ve heard the same exact words before, every four years, from every politician who has sought to become the privileged and most powerful person in the world, the president of the United States.
Bush said the same things. He lied. And what is going to be done about it? Nothing. He’ll pardon every member of his war crimes administration and he’ll get away with it.
There is no accountability for the actions of criminals like Bush or politicians who make promises but don’t deliver.
That is the meaning of “change,” Senator Obama.
I will pause to say that I am truly impressed with the genuine love that is shown between you and your wife, Michelle, and your two wonderful children. That sincerity of family and relationship is something we have lacked in our presidential leaders.
Your love for your wife that you openly show in public is sorely needed in these terrible times. We need to know that the “family” is safe and certainly you will protect it for us.
I also acknowledge the graciousness commercial from John McCain, who paused to acknowledge your achievement, the first African American of mixed Black and White parents who became the presidential candidate for a major American party. It is an achievement.
Now I know you won’t be listening to community newspaper voices like mine, not even those from your own city. It is the way it is. You’re walking on water in the shadow of the late Rev. Martin Luther King’s Dream Speech and it’s hard to reach down. And all the big shot politicians who have done nothing but talk, too, are cheering you on. They know you are their ticket back to the fat-cat city, clout, perqs and power again.
But what do we do now, families across America besieged by the worst economic times in recent memory who sit wistfully in the front rooms of homes that could at any time collapse and disappear? We watch our television sets and hope to be inspired. All we can do is hope you are telling the truth and then go on with our struggle alone until something really changes.
That’s why some of us, for a brief moment, saw the real dream. You and Hillary Clinton walking together, combining your inspiration and merging your solid movement of experience and public confidence.
But that is not to be.
So we have a great candidate, again. Sen. John Kerry was a great candidate. Al Gore was a great candidate. Hillary Clinton was a great candidate. And now you, Senator Obama, are a great candidate.
Is the goal simply to shove out Bush, or is it to really bring “change?”
We Americans have seen far too many great candidates fail to deliver.
I would hate to see that in four years the only thing that has “changed” are the faces of the people in power, and the person who sits in the Oval Office in Washington D.C.
That’s change. But not the kind of change we need.
This post has already been read 579 times!
Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and for TheArabDailyNews.com, and TheDailyHookah.com.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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