Progressive Revival

Progressive Revival


We Tried to Warn Obama…But He Wouldn’t Listen

posted by Michael Lerner

The defeat of the Democrats choice to succeed Ted Kennedy in the U.S.
Senate is being treated as though there is a decided shift of mass
opinion to the Right in the U.S.  But it is the Obama Administration,
not the people who supported him in 2008, which moved to the Right–in
the name of being  pragmatists or realists– in the process emptying
their own agenda in regard to health care, environment, human rights,
social and economic justice, and global peace of the critical elements
that made those programs sound hopeful, and leaving many of their
supporters feeling confused, disillusioned, and unable to rally around
the politics that seemed so very far from “the change you can believe
in” that we had been promised.

            Thousands of us saw this coming, and tried to warn Obama, but he wouldn’t listen.

 On
April 29, 2009, Tikkun and our education arm the Network of Spiritual
Progressives bought the entire back page of a special supplement
published in the Washington Post on the occasion of the 100th
day of Obama’s presidency. We warned him that his presidency was in
grave danger. Our point was simple and direct: “Your success depends on
helping people believe that they can count on each other, that they are
not alone in a ruthless world in which people are out for themselves,
and there is a possibility of building a society based on kindness,
generosity, and caring for each other. Unless your programs actually
allow people to feel in their own lives that they are part of build a
new society based on love and generosity of spirit, they will soon fall
back into the older paranoid view-that we are all competing with each
other and have to look our first for number one. And that will likely
them right back into the hands of the most conservative forces in this
society. It’s that simple, President Obama: if your policies do not
give people a personal experience of caring and generosity, people will
quickly succumb to the fearmongers who compete in the media over who
can make people most afraid, most cynical, and most angry. “

            Our
add went on to tell President Obama that his supporters were beginning
to feel mobilized because they cannot explain to themselves and others:

            *Why
you are bailing out the bankers and the Wall Street crowd rather than
prioritizing the needs of people who have lost their jobs and homes

            *Why
you are not backing single payer (Medicare for Everyone) health reform
but are instead preserving the interests of the health care profiteers
and insurance companies that make our health care system so costly

            *Why
you are escalating the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, when you must
know that these are no win situations, and when you have even agreed
with Rabbi Michael Lerner that the best way to achieve “homeland
security” is not by attempting to dominate others around the world in
an insane “war on terrorism,” but instead by a Strategy of Generosity
manifested in the Network of Spiritual Progressives’ proposal for a
Global Marshal Plan introduced into the Congress by Congressman Keith
Ellison

            *Why
you have failed to bring into your Administration more leaders of the
peace, social justice, labor and environmental movements that gave you
the critical support you needed to win the Democratic nomination for
President.

            Our
conclusion: “If the people who made your presidency possible stop
feeling excited about your present direction, the populist energies
that oculd be mobilized for fundamental change will instead by
mobilized by the Right for reactionary goals, and you may find yourself
without the base of support you need even for your scaled down goals.”
And now our worst fears and prophetic predictions are coming true. [
If
you were one of the many members of the Network of Spiritual
Progressives or subscribers to Tikkun who donated to make the ad we
published possible, I want to thank you for your ability to see what
was ahead--and your willingness to back your wisdom with the money we
needed to publish that ad!]

            But
what could he have really done, many ask, given the way corporate
interests seemed to have bought their way into power not only in the
Republican party, but among Blue Dog Democrats in the House and Senate?

            It’s
true that if Obama had fought for the kind of change he led his
followers to believe would be possible, he might have lost. But winning
legislative battles is not the highest goal, as FDR and Reagan, the two
most influential 20th century presidents, learned. The most
important thing a president can do is develop a worldview and convince
the American public of that. Obama could have spoken the truth, told
what he saw happening in Washington rather than trying to be a clever
inside manipulator-a game that he was destined to lose. Any legislative
victory won by compromising away the heart of what you are fighting for
isn’t worth much, and in any event, even good legislation can quickly
be dismantled by the next president if you haven’t won over the minds
and hearts of the American people–and to do that you need to speak the
truth and tell people what we are up against in  the system of global
capital and its ethos of materialism, selfisness, and
looking-out-for-number-one,  and what it would take to dismantle it and
replace that system with a more humane and caring, environmentally sane
and ethically and spiritually coherent society. And Obama could have
constantly reminded his supporters that the 2008 election had shown
that their yearning for a world of peace and justice, of love and
caring and community and real solidarity and democracy, were not the
private dreams of an isolated minority but the real needs of the
American majority. By making us visible to each other, he would have
empowered people to fight for programs that manifested their highest
values (if and only if his programs did in fact manifest those values,
which unfortunately they often did not).

            Now
it’s up to us,  the tens of millions of Americans who really showed in
2008 the powerful commitment we have to building a world of love,
kindness, generosity, environmental sanity and caring for others. We
have to reconstitute that movement without Obama’s help, before the
disillusionment with Obama’s compromises leads to the resurgence of the
Right’s policies, the surge of a know-nothing Tea Party movement, and
the retreat into despair and self-imposed powerlessness by all those
who are questioning whether there’s any real possibility of replacing
corporate power, materialism and selfishness with a more ethically and
spiritually grounded community of caring.

           Please
don’t let your disappointment at Obama lead you or your friends into
political passivity…because the alternative if you do that is Sarah
Palin and The Tea Party extremists and the haters and fundamentalists,
all of whom are now momentarily dressing themselves in the language of
populism, but all of whom will actually only give even more power to
the elites of wealth and power.

           That’s
why it is so important for you to become part of our efforts to
reconstitute the movement of hope–and we can do that with your help.

We need your ideas and involvement–and so we’ve created two
conferences, a one day event on the Monday of President’s Day weekend,
February 15, at the McLaren Hall on the campus of the University of San
Francisco on Fulton St. near Clayton; and a longer event June 11-14 at
the Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. The
conferences are co-sponsored by The Nation Magazine, Yes Magazine,
Democracy Now, Op-ed News, Peace Action, 350.org

 

,
the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and speakers will include Chris Hedges,
Bill McKibben, David Korten, Congressman Keith Ellison, Riane Eisler,
Rev. Brian McLaren, Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister, Peter Gabel,
Rev. James Winkler, Rev. Conrad Braaten, Robert Thurman, Rabbi Arthur
Waskow, Rev. Gralan Hagler, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Jonathan Granoff,
Marianne Williamson, Paul Wapner, John Dear SJ, John Nichols, Svi
Shapiro, Bob McChesney, Rabbi Michael Lerner,  and many more. 

 Please register for one of these conferences now at www.spiritualprogressives.org/article.php?story=2010conferences

 

(To plan effectively, we need to know very soon if you’ll be coming!) If
you cannot come, please donate to make it possible for us to afford to
create these events (the amount we are charging will not even come
close to covering our expenses: donate on-line at www.tikkun.org

 

or by sending a check to Tikkun, 2342 Shattuck Ave,#1200, Berkeley, Ca. 94704).
Please help us
spread the word–and let us know if you and your friends, colleagues,
community members, would like to help us organize a “Support Obama to
BE the Obama Americans Thought they were Voting For” conference in your
area of the country! Please read the information at our website–this
is not about trashing Obama, but about reconstituting the
movement that made his presidency happen, and then moving together to
bring about the changes that tens of millions of Americans and billions
of people around the world desperately need to have happen.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(24)
post a comment
Sheri

posted January 20, 2010 at 4:48 pm


This blog really says what is true in my eyes. I don’t know if I can make the June conference, but if I can, I will.
(I do wish there weren’t so many typos in this blog though…)



report abuse
 

Alicia

posted January 20, 2010 at 6:09 pm


Obama is having problems because he is the only adult in the room. I have more respect for him today than I did a year ago. I never thought he was a savior, so I’m not disappointed and don’t feel the need to say “I told you so.”



report abuse
 

SHAUNA BROOKS

posted January 20, 2010 at 8:23 pm


.That man was more popular than her an a better candidate for the job
this is his tenth time getting elected. If Obama doesn’t get eleccted again so be it once is better than what we have done. And also Bush got elected twice people made a bad decision then and I’m sure will make one again by not electing Obama again. I know I have a lot of errors but I’m not corrrecting them because I’m not perfect. And proud of it.



report abuse
 

EllieDee

posted January 21, 2010 at 7:01 am


“Your success depends on helping people believe that they can count on each other, that they are not alone in a ruthless world in which people are out for themselves, and there is a possibility of building a society based on kindness, generosity, and caring for each other” Unless your programs actually allow people to feel in their own lives that they are part of build a new society based on love and generosity of spirit, they will soon fall back into the older paranoid view-that we are all competing with each other and have to look our first for number one.
I guess it was true that the progressives did believe Obama was the next Messiah! Funny, but your dream was fulfilled by those who believe in Christ, and most at least try to live walk that Path. No program from Government can mandate kindness, it only comes from the Grace of God, in our lives. Something Judas didnt get the first time around!



report abuse
 

Valerie

posted January 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm


“Our mission is to help people like you find, and walk, a spiritual path that will bring comfort, hope, clarity, strength, and happiness.”
When is beliefnet going to follow their mission instead of making this a political site. I miss the old beliefnet. Political bickering (pardon me, one-sided political blogs) dont’ give me comfort, hope, clarity or strength. And the very last possible thing it gives me is happiness. It actually stresses me out more. They should rename it “Republican political blogs dot com” or even “Obama haters dot com”.



report abuse
 

April Coldsmith

posted January 21, 2010 at 9:40 pm


“The most important thing a president can do is develop a worldview and convince the American public of that.”
No! The most important thing President Obama can do is get healthcare reform passed even if it’s not a perfect bill — 44 million Americans need affordable healthcare. Where he failed was not realizing by summer 09 that the Republicans would NEVER play nice. The bill needed to pass in August without Republican support. Obama wanted to play your way on this issue — let’s all hold hands and have a KumBaYa moment for healthcare — but special interests of Big Pharma and Big Insurance blocked him.
The working poor need healthcare. Now! If this opportunity passes, it will be another twenty years before the nation attempts to tackle the issue again.
And you’re worried about progressives being taken seriously. Awww.



report abuse
 

One Fine Day

posted January 22, 2010 at 3:30 am


Checking the name on the door. Yep, I got it right, Beliefnet. Wow. This is about Belief. And, what courage you have in taking on “the way corporate interests seemed to have bought their way into power ..” Duh. Figuring out how it works are we? I guess your prior trip through Chapter 11 helps with that kind of clarity.
While we are on the subject of “corporate interests” are you including the one that owns you? The one and only Rupert Murdoch. The “second largest…” Yeah, I guess he would qualify.
No doubt, this is a hot site for cutting edge politics. Checking your “most e-mailed” we have ten items. Let’s see. The top three are a thin version of Tony Robins. Then we wind it up with shrimp dip, pepper soup and a recipe for meat balls.
One thing about it, Beliefnet folks may stray far and wide from the “faith once delivered”. But, they are never that far from the kitchen.



report abuse
 

D.C. Williams

posted January 22, 2010 at 5:12 am


All sane and intelligent voters believe their parties are the best choice. Only radicals (on both sides) make public fools of themselves by criticizing and damning people and opinions that don’t align with their own.
So entrenched are you in your ideology of choice, you seem to have no room left in your heart or mind to even consider something outside of your party’s manifesto. Are you a Polly Parrot without one original thought of your own?
New, fresh and different ideas are all over the place, you have only to take time out to listen up. You may even discover a way of life in the U.S. that is far better than you thought possible. Or is it too late for you?



report abuse
 

naitis

posted January 28, 2010 at 11:36 pm


I certainly agree with all your points…I mean why would he listen if he won’t have anything in return?



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted January 29, 2010 at 3:59 pm


The role of government in our lives needs to be questioned everyday.Are we not old enough and smart enough to make our own choices.When people expect the government to do something for them they take power away from themselves.The governments role is to COORDINATE security and REGULATE (which means to make regular,to make common) certain things which left unregulated could cause harm,not to order and control.Our government has overreached and believes it should tell us how to live,which is not the vision of the founders of this country.The government is only a manager,and that manager works for us.If you put healthcare in their hands they will see it as you giving them the right to manage everything you do.Its obvious where this is going,the government works off of our production, our tax dollars, the more government,the more you pay for it.I would rather keep most of my money and make things happen within my community.We are responsible for ourselves.Freedom isnt free, it requires constant vigilance.



report abuse
 

colleen

posted January 31, 2010 at 9:29 pm


President Obama knows the truth and he has been warned. go to this site and find out for yourself.



report abuse
 

Valery

posted February 4, 2010 at 8:46 am


Looking For Affordable Health Insurance That Won’t Hurt Your Pockets? Check It Out Here!
Due to this present global financial downturn, how many times have you dumped the notion of obtaining health insurance for you and your family? Of course, you have put off the idea quite a several times by considering it to be extremely costly and simply being totally out of your budget. But wait a second- did you ever think that getting health insurance doesn’t need to be necessarily expensive? Yes, you read it right- you can obtain health insurance that will provide a healthy coverage to your family and that also without hurting your pockets or hampering your budget. Now, is your mind boggled with the question as to how this should be possible? And how will you succeed in getting hold of the most affordable deal out there? Well, read on to know what we offer and how we make it possible just for YOU!



report abuse
 

Valery

posted February 4, 2010 at 8:48 am


Components Of Rising Health Insurance Cost
Health insurance costs are increasing day by day, year by year. This is one of the costs which you can’t really keep away from yourself and you can’t even cut it out of your list. This is because health insurance is very important or else you would not be able to pay for the medical services. You know that health insurance cost is on a rise but you are unaware of the fact how this affects your insurance coverage. There are costs in your insurance policies which you should not about before signing the paper work with the insurance company. The article will give you details on all the terms of health insurance programs.



report abuse
 

Andrew

posted February 6, 2010 at 1:20 am


Thanks for sharing this story, and for your boldness! God Bless. For more on the bible check out my new blog…



report abuse
 

EllieDee

posted February 10, 2010 at 2:25 pm


How sad that the very things you stated regarding people caring about people, and realizing that they arent alone..says more about the aloneness and the selectivity of the folks who voted for Obama, just to be changers of the world. How sad were they? How sad that they needed to look to GOvernment for kindness and compassion. How sad, that they cant see a banker as thier neighbor, but only can see a Union worker as their friend. If what you wrote was the reason for President Obamas election , than all I can say is..Im sorry for all those who turned to a government thats been riddled with corruption,self centeredness,and agrandizement..instead of looking for that love and trust, in God.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted February 18, 2010 at 7:35 pm


Religion is man made. The bible is not the word of god but the word of man. Jesus didn’t even exist. Idiots



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted February 28, 2010 at 10:54 am


I cuncur with Alicia. He is doing better than the Republicans who is a no no no party.



report abuse
 

novacancy13

posted March 2, 2010 at 8:44 pm


Why can’t anyone just say it plainly? The Republican Party works for corporate America. These politicians are simply lobbyists with government titles. Every time President Obama looks to tame industry, carbon levels, Wall Street, health insurance companies, and lobbyists, the Republicans come riding to their collective rescue. It has been proven over and over again that they are the mantle holder for the wealthiest Americans. Their recent president almost destroyed our Country. They have completely duped the Christian community into thinking that they are God’s choice, despite the clear indicators that they are not in any sense, good for this nation. There is only one answer, this Party clearly understands the power of propaganda. This is clearly seen in their control of media. I am appalled at the continued slandering of this President and his populace protecting agenda, they have the gall to claim the word “patriotic”. They called this Nation’s elected President a liar on National Television, what a neat sound bite for the Republican distortion based machine. Distortion rhymes with extortion by the way. Make no mistake about it, “We the people…” do not run this nation, a wise populace can not keep pandering to corporate America’s defiant and ultimate inner circle obstructionist’s; The Republican Party. American’s listen to me! That is their job, they are paid handsomely, oh, by our tax dollar’s too!, to do what they do, to protect the nations elite, the untouchables.(The number one example is the Dick Cheney and Haliburton affair, the love is deep and unquestionable!) 97% of us are sacrificed for the peak dwelling 3%. Check the French Revolution! Stop being powerless! Get behind your President, stop listening to the “fear” mongers, tune them out, this man means to protect us, the 97%, you and I, the non-privileged. Republican’s and corporate America have never been so hard pressed to create “fear” and “illusions”.
WAKE UP AMERICA, vastly intelligent and honest world leaders are far and few between.



report abuse
 

georgia

posted March 2, 2010 at 10:31 pm


Novacancy 13
You are right,



report abuse
 

Barb

posted March 4, 2010 at 7:36 am


It is a good thing what you are doing in this regard….how could so many believe this man….with no credentials and no experience could they put him in office….but the whole of them are lost in DC….and our country suffers because of it…..the health care is just one of many issues on the table…it is not for all as it should be…they made their biggest mistake when they allowed big business to leave this country..no vision there…..our reps have been irresponsible to say theleast and self serving….and now we will reap what they have sown…..and I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg……watch what follows….shame on all of them…..this country could have led the way and fed the world….but that was shut down also…our nation was a nation of beautiful farmsthat could have sent their bounty all over the world….very sad what has happened to our farming community….bad government, bad decision making, greed and lack of vision….and the insult of all…..kicking God out of the picture…that is their biggest and most costly mistake.



report abuse
 

Barb

posted March 4, 2010 at 8:00 am


I agree about the Republicans and the Dems are no better. That is where we are…a broken system….all these representatives and no vision, running amuck to solve problems without the help of specialists in the area…disregarding the voice of the people….I do not put my trust in any man.



report abuse
 

Magic

posted March 14, 2010 at 11:18 pm


Obama is not an American Patriot, his change was to hate white America no different than his friend reverend wrong song wright a Chitown southside ghetto thug! Rev Wright was a ring leader in charge of a Drug lord church! A cover for OBAMA to display his phony Christianity! He hated his mother and feared his father, sound familiar, I believe the guys name was Adolph! Obama is a Totalitarianist, and he will tear that Constitution off the wall and declare himself a dictator if we let him! He has stomped all over the American People. He is Arrogant and had nerve enough at a recent dinner party to say he was born on the planet Krypton, and he is superman! FACT! He is making fun of those that don’t believe in his birth certificate and rightly so for it is not real! In Kenya his sister said he was born there as well! He spent 3yrs in the Sudan in an Islamic school! How did he maintain his citizenship? He said to the courts he never had a passport? hmmm? And that he traveled in and out without one? How on the King of Saudis Jets? Maybe that is not far fetched since he bowed to him! Obama has now sanctioned the Yemenites, for their assistance? ha ha They threatened the USA with nukes when Clinton was the president and it made front page headlines all over the world! Now they are our allies? Come on BS! They are following Obama for they have a hidden agenda against America and Israel and you can take that as GOSPEL



report abuse
 

Magic

posted March 14, 2010 at 11:25 pm


We need to stop nitpicking about the Senate, the House, congress, etc. We need to target in on the real problem! The White House and its cronies! Big Labor unions, are crippling industry unless we join. http://www.nrtw.org, or http://www.nra.org got to review these sights, Go to http://www.patriotupdate.com as well. NYC just protested against the gun laws that he is shoving down our throats! And his deathcare bill that will have us trillions in debt, and think with no jobs and the country in debt, where is the money coming from? Subsidizing through foreign nations like Saudi which will be privatized like our prisons, therefore he is stripping us of our freedom and our country! he gave GM away! WE should have kept our company regardless of their inept abilities in the past? Why give it to foreigners? Because he wants to rule the world and be regarded as a Saviour of all! Vote this bum out of office!



report abuse
 

acai berry benefits weight loss

posted May 17, 2010 at 10:43 am


Employer Royal,walk reject acid read considerable addition including decide operation telephone effectively budget possibility whether fail knee shut intend afraid key station so certain definition determine direct safety fee unlikely cost democratic supply suddenly specific issue balance seek necessarily unemployment plenty though program domestic ask extend inform unemployment next ordinary post publish formal performance game record replace train double husband food nothing encourage bedroom entitle divide school push here announce this should freedom agreement teach use consequence administration age facility sleep ear majority publish energy pub less significance connection key



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Progressive Revival. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Faith, Media and Culture Prayer, Plain and Simple Happy Blogging!!!  

posted 2:50:10pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Why Jews Around the World are Praying for the Victory of the Egyptian Uprising
Originally appeared on Tikkun Daily BlogEver since the victory over the dictator of Tunisia and the subsequent uprising in Egypt, my email has been flooded with messages from Jews around the world hoping and praying for the victory of the Egyptian people over their cruel Mubarak regime.&nb

posted 1:48:39pm Feb. 01, 2011 | read full post »

When Generosity, Love, and Kindness are Public Policy, the Violence We Saw in Arizona will Dramatically Diminish
The attempted assassination of Congresswoman Giffords and the murder of so many others in Arizona has elicited a number of policy suggestions, from gun control to private protection for elected officials, to banning incitement to violence on websites either directly or more subtly (e.g., Sarah Palin

posted 2:44:04pm Jan. 19, 2011 | read full post »

The Spiritual Messages of Chanukah and Christmas -- and Their Downsides
Christmas and Chanukah share a spiritual message: that it is possible to bring light and hope in a world of darkness, oppression and despair. But whereas Christmas focuses on the birth of a single individual whose life and mission was itself supposed to bring liberation, Chanukah is about a national

posted 12:59:53pm Dec. 02, 2010 | read full post »

Obama (and Biden) Have No Clue About What's Bothering Their Political Base
Shortly before the California Democratic primary in 2008, the San Fransisco Chronicle invited me to write a short article explaining why I, chair of the interfaithNetwork of Spiritual Progressives, was supporting Barack Obama. Like most other progressive activists, I understood that a pres

posted 1:44:11pm Sep. 30, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.