Readers who follow our series of articles regarding President Barack Obama know that we have been frequently and forcefully critical of the President for his illiberal policy reversals on behalf of corporate interests and subverting Americans’ constitutional rights. But people, even politicians who tend to flatten themselves for their audiences, are not two-dimensional beings. And so I’d like to recognize two recent actions taken by the Obama administration that move this country in the right direction.
First, Barack Obama used an executive order to stop deportations of illegal immigrants who came to this country as kids, have graduated from high school or otherwise served their country, and who don’t have criminal records. These are people who aren’t responsible for their immigration status and who have something to offer the United States of America. The move is a temporary stop-gap measure to give Congress more time to enact an appropriate permanent law, like the DREAM Act, that has been stalled by congressional Republicans.
Second, the Obama administration moved to save tens of thousands of lives every year by lowering the amount of deadly soot allowed to be expelled into our air by industrial smokestacks. In a move that would be hilarious if it were not so serious, Evan Tracey of the “American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity” took a stand in favor of allowing soot from “clean coal” plants to pollute Americans’ lungs, declaring that making the air safe would endanger
corporate profits jobs. With its opposition, the corporate lobby group tacitly acknowledges that “clean coal” is a hoax.
And so today I say thank you, President Obama. If you were to engage in this sort of policy action more often, I might be more inclined to support your re-election.
It would be a mistake to simply thank Barack Obama for making the right moves here. Protesters applying persistent social movement pressure tipped the political scales, making the right thing to do also the politically astute thing to do. As President Obama is lauded for his actions, political activists in America should take heart and remember that their efforts are not always futile.