Thursday, August 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Just Us in Davis: Dear President Obama …

JustUsW

By
From page A14 | November 25, 2012 |

By Jonathan London

Congratulations! On Nov. 6, I — along with millions of others in this country and around the world — breathed a sigh of relief. Together, we pushed back against a right-wing insurgent movement that sought to divide us: the mythical makers against the 47 percent takers, the old majority against the new minority-majority.

Although Davis and California were not “in play,” the cheers rang out at the Election Night party at our neighbor’s house when Ohio and the race was called for you. But, while the cheers were loud, they seemed much less joyous than four years ago. Back then, it seemed like the country was on the verge of a brave new beginning.

Sadly, the last four years have tarnished this bright vision. While there is much to celebrate in your first term, there is a yawning gap between the hope you represented and the change you delivered. Part of this gap may be a reflection of the distance between the left’s idealized image of you as a progressive and the reality of your much more centrist political values. Fair enough.

But, this election is not a free pass. This is a challenge for you to step forward to meet the progressive movement that swept you into office. Come out and meet my neighbors who played out your ground game of door-knocking, call-making and getting out the vote.

Stepping out will require you to hear some strong criticism from your base. Please know that this is offered with respect to your greatness, your potential greatness, that is.

As Tavis Smiley recently put it in dialogue with Dr. Cornell West, “Great presidents aren’t born, they’re made. They have to be pushed into their greatness. There is no Abraham Lincoln … if Frederick Douglass isn’t pushing him. FDR isn’t FDR if A. Philip Randolph and Eleanor Roosevelt aren’t pushing him. LBJ isn’t LBJ if MLK isn’t pushing him.” See http://tinyurl.com/azlmw24 for the full interview.
So, here is a modest agenda to push you forward in your second term.

* Get serious about climate change. While some pundits have noted that Hurricane Sandy may have offered you a lifeline as an opportunity to be presidential in a time of crisis, climate change represents an existential threat to our county and our species. As one of the most flood-prone and climate vulnerable regions in the country, the Sacramento area literally is on the edge of this issue. So, stop repeating the lie about “clean coal” (it’s not) the sustainability of fracking (yuck!) and the viability of nuclear energy (really?).

Incentivize energy conservation (check out: http://www.cooldavis.org) and carbon emission caps as first priorities and launch a green Marshall Plan to support solar, wind, micro-hydro and other renewable energy sources.

* Get compassionate on immigration reform. While you have supported the undocumented youth “Dreamers” to avoid deportation, your administration also has stepped up overall deportations and has failed to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Latinos — especially young adults — turned out for you in force this election: Don’t cut them out of the American Dream. Lead us to becoming a more welcoming country with accessible pathways to citizenship and where immigration status does not drive millions of our neighbors (including many in the Davis and UC Davis school system) to live in the shadows.

* Get tough on Wall Street. We are finally emerging from the perfect storm of corporate greed, abetted by weak government regulation that submerged the country in the Great Recession and housing/subprime crisis. Passing the Dodd-Frank reforms were a start, but a much more proactive approach to regulating Wall Street is needed to prevent the next crisis.

Empowering the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, cracking down on payday loan operations, cutting down student debt, rescuing the underwater homeowners are issues awaiting your presidential leadership. Expanding your circle of advisers beyond the Goldman Sachs revolving door wouldn’t hurt.

* Protect the vote. American democracy absorbed two body blows in this last election in the form of massive ($6 billion!) and largely anonymous funding masquerading as “free speech” on the one hand and restrictions on voting through barriers to registration, voter ID laws and voting roll purges on the other. Passing clean and fair election laws, removing barriers to voter registration and making Election Day a national holiday would begin the healing. See http://tinyurl.com/ad2h6l8 for more on young adult voting and civic engagement.

* Invest in America’s future. Public education, from K-12 to higher education, has suffered through a decades-long divestment in what should be any nation’s top priority: the success of its children. The passage of Proposition 30 in California (and Measure E in Davis) has staunched the flow for now, but your leadership in fundamentally revisioning our priorities is needed to redirect the “peace dividend” resulting from the end of our Iraq and Afghanistan wars toward our long-term national interest.

* Get real on race. The joke about Bill Clinton not withstanding, you are our first black president and the country is better for it. I can understand that, given our nation’s deeply troubled racial legacies, you have treaded lightly so far. I am also aware that, as a white man, I must tread lightly here. But, now is the time to have difficult but crucial conversations about race.

For an example of how our community has wrestled with these issues, see http://www.communitytotheclassroom.com. How does race shape who we are and how we interact with each other? How does it shape patterns of opportunity and social equity? How can we become a more perfect union?

Dear President Obama: I don’t expect you to answer these questions alone, but I do hope you can help us ask them together.

— Jonathan London, Ph.D., is a Davis resident and parent. He shares this monthly column with Jann Murray-García. Reach him at jklondon40@gmail.com

Comments

comments

Jonathan London

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Here’s a guide to Fifth Street etiquette

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

     
    Marsh trial still scheduled to begin Monday

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    The show must go on: DMTC celebrates 30 years

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Puppy love: dating sites match up animal lovers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Aid workers with Ebola out of hospital

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Actors, crew needed for touring eco-play

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Onramp crash injures two

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Yolo Federal to hold photo contest

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Free electronic waste recycling service offered

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    NAMI support group meets Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Katehi will speak at Chamber’s community luncheon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Village Feast offers a taste of Yolo County with a hint of Europe

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Sign up soon for Sac City’s fall classes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Animal Services issues warning about rabid bats

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Museum sets brick dedication date

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Peregrine School is open for tours, registration

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Fish-friendly river water intake takes shape

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Qigong class starts in September


    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Meet K9 officer Dexter at Davis Senior Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Grandmothers support group meets weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

    Join the fun at the DMTC Gala on Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Poets will read their original work on Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    .

    Forum

    Great game kids, pass the beer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Where are the Water Police?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Frank Bruni: The trouble with tenure

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Will you help serve Davis’ senior citizens?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Many thanks to Brooks Painting

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    I really miss cal.net, too

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    River Cats clip Redbirds

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Giants cruise past Cubs in Chicago

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie coaches nearer starting lineups for Stanford opener

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    A’s lose to split series with Mets

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Scoring machine propels Republic to another win

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    49ers’ Dawson still learning to kick in new stadium

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘La Cage aux Folles’: a refreshing take on a classic

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Wineaux: A sparkling prescription for a new disease

    By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A7

    Free classical concerts set at Covell Gardens

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Dora Mae Clark Anderson

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, August 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6