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Open Letter to Obama: One Year later, Progressives Losing Hope

Dear Mr. President,

Your administration and your party are in trouble. That is clear from the elections in Massachusetts and Virginia, from the drop in your approval rating, from the rise of conservative opposition groups.
 
This is a time when progressive forces in this country need to mobilize to prevent a backlash that will take this country further to the right. But progressives are disappointed and demoralized. Look at me.
 
In 2008, I was one of millions united for hope and change. As 2010 dawns, "change" looks to me like more of the same.  Instead of peace, we got more war.  Instead of healthcare reform, we have an industry win that requires Americans to buy health insurance without any real cost controls.  On the environment, one of your top priorities, you came back from Copenhagen with yet another non-binding resolution and more clean coal, to boot.  Instead of helping struggling homeowners and small businesses during the financial crisis, bank executives were rewarded and we have yet to see reform. Wall Street firms ended 2009 with record bonus and profits while unemployment remains in double digits.
 
Obama, I am losing hope. This is not the change I believe in.   The change I believe in puts people and our planet before industry, it promotes peace, international law and human rights instead of militarism. As you are asking Congress to approve the largest Pentagon budget in history, plus another $33 billion to pay for your Afghan surge, the prophetic works of Dr. Martin Luther King sound a clarion call: A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
 
Obama, we need renewed leadership, we need you to show us—not in words but in deeds—that you can stand up to corporate interests that are blocking us from real healthcare, environmental and financial reform. We need you to show us—not in words but in deeds—that you will stand up for the Constitution, for due process, for the rule of law. We need you to show us—not in words but in deeds—that you lead this country out of endless war to a nation that lives in peace with its neighbors.
 
In the meantime, I pledge to keep pushing your administration and Congress, and mobilizing other Americans--not for partisan politics but for policies of social and environmental uplift.
 
May 2010 be a year of renewed commitment and movement toward the change we so desperately need.
 
Sincerely,
Medea Benjamin,
CODEPINK: Women for Peace

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