Decision 2012: Public opinion in the aftermath
By Derek Joy
Every election raises the question of what happens if this candidate or that candidate wins.
This election was no different in that regard. So, the question was asked: What do you think will happen if President Barack Obama wins re-election?
Curiously, a number of elected officials counted among people of color were conveniently unavailable for comment on this question.
When the question was asked, Florida State Rep. Elect Sharon Pritchard (Dist. 102) replied, “What do you mean ‘if’ he (Obama) wins? I don’t entertain the idea of losing because losing is not an option.”
Miami Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan (District 1) was attending the funeral of one of her sisters. She did not respond upon her return. District 2 Commissioner Jean Monestine did not return calls to his office seeking comment.
Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III would say, “That’s not a question.”
No matter. People outside the political arena offered thoughts of what might happen if the first Black American President gets re-elected.
“I think we’ll make more progress than in the first four years,” said Sister Sally Hargrett, a long time member of Friendship M.B. Church.
“Things take time. When he (Obama) went in, there things were a mess. The others couldn’t have done any better.”
America was fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan when Obama was elected in Nov. 2008. The economy was some 18 months into a recession. The auto and banking industries did not just go belly up when President Obama was elected.
And there were other pressing problems. Yet opponents found fault with President Obama’s leadership and decision-making, while turning a blind eye to the leadership of the decision makers on whose watch these conditions developed.
“There will be a lot of jubilation for me and a lot of Democratic voters if Obama wins,” said James Ghent, a Veterans Administration (VA) employee. “An underlying problems is that naysayers will be critical because their candidate didn’t win.
“But reality will set in and force his opposition to work with him. They’ll begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel. They see that a lot of jobs were lost because of outsourcing.”
Reality hasn’t been a part of the Republican approach to Obama as President. No, they never acknowledged the fact that the economic recession and the two wars came about under President George W. Bush.
Nor did they acknowledge the budget surplus left by President Bill Clinton that was quickly exhausted once Bush took office in 2001.
“I think he can turn things around. He already told us it would take more than four years to correct the problems,” said Shaundra Parsons, who works for Miami Dade County.
Gary Peoples, another VA employee, said: “If he (Obama) wins, the things he wants to happen will happen.”
Interestingly enough, the overwhelming majority of attention has been focused on jobs and the economy. Those issues and more interest Marie Volcimus, a Miami Dade County employee.
“I heard him (Obama) talking about the Dream Act for Latinos. What about Haitians? What are they going to do about TPS (Temporary Protective Status for immigrants)?”
A valid concern since Haitian immigrants somehow never quite receive the same treatment as Hispanic immigrants.
“People will begin to see the need for work on the nation’s infrastructure,” said Ghent.
“They’ll recognize that a lot of the damage during Hurricane Sandy was caused by aging infrastructures. The President has advocated rebuilding the infrastructure.”
Hurricane Sandy could very well force all of America to see the need for, and value of, rebuilding America’s infrastructure.