“So how’s that hope and change working out for ya?” asks bumper stickers that are plastered on the back of cars that once urged “Club Liberals, Not Sandwiches.”
“So how’s that hope and change working out for ya?” asks bumper stickers that are plastered on the back of cars that once urged “Club Liberals, Not Sandwiches,” “Got Ammo?” (with a Democratic logo in cross hairs) and “Beat Hillary” (get it?).
The current crop of right-wing bumper-sticker wisdom doesn’t deal exclusively in violent imagery. There is legitimate humor: “Honk If I Pay Your Mortgage.” There’s unintentionally-bipartisan displays of frustration: “America: Designed by Geniuses, Run by Idiots.” There’s more legitimate humor: “Palin-Bachmann 2012.”
But the hope-and-change question comes up a lot. And, in fact, it’s a fair one––sarcastic though its intent. Barack Obama ran for president on a platform of hope and change. Millions believed, millions voted and, a mere 22 months after he took office, millions have seen change––and have reason to be hopeful.
(What? You thought I was going to say ‘millions have been disappointed?’ The folks who think the administration has failed aren’t disappointed because they rooted for that failure in the first place. Right, Rush?)
The president has made many a misstep, as all presidents do, but it is easy to forget (amid the AM radio static and the anonymously funded political ads) that there has been real progress. How’s that hope and change working for me? Fine, thank you. In fact:
• In my own family, paperwork has been filed to provide two young men—one working full time, the other part time and in school— with the health insurance they couldn’t afford.
• U.S. combat troops are home from Iraq.
• An economy that looked two years ago as if it were going to utterly tank—just disintegrate—has been shored up to the point where Americans, though they may not be breathing easy, have at least exhaled––and don’t think we weren’t holding our breath when the crisis began.
• The Dow Jones average, as of this writing, is at 11,060—up almost 70 percent from its free-fall low of 6,547 in March 2009.
• My fellow Americans’ phone conversations are not subject to intrusion by federal agents unless a court order has been obtained. In fact, there is far greater balance in general between national security and personal liberty.
• The money in my 401(k) has rebounded from its ‘ever-see-a-grown-man-cry?’ nadir to its pre-Great Recession (if still not all that great) balance.
• The very real problem of climate change is again acknowledged by our government.
• The Supreme Court reflects the nation’s gender balance more closely than ever in its history.
• I got a tax cut as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. I used it to stimulate the economy. (The distilled spirits part of the economy.)
• Almost all the TARP money has been repaid to the government.
• The main road from my house all the way to my place of employment is pothole-free.
• We’re no longer torturing detainees.
Is everything perfect? Is it ever? The BP oil spill, high unemployment, a stagnant economy, the Mets… There’s a lot to be done. That’s where the hope comes in.
But there’s a lot that has been done. That’s the change. It’s working.
Messenger managing editor Kevin Frisch’s column, Funny Thing ..., appears each Sunday in the Daily Messenger. Contact him at (585) 394-0770, ext. 257, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.