President Obama is overwhelmed with one problem after another, and with no break in stress and tension, as the world and the nation seem to be going from one problem to another.
Already, we have seen four major issues arise in 2011, which are bound to be among the top ten news stories of the year: the guns issue, after the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona in January; the uprisings in the Middle East, particularly Egypt and now Libya, leading to American involvement with NATO, the UN, and the Arab League, and Obama’s decision to intervene militarily against Moammar Gaddafi; the Wisconsin battle over organized labor, which has spread to other states as well; and the disastrous Japanese earthquake, ensuing tsunami, and the nuclear power plants emergency that followed those natural events.
So the ability of Barack Obama to do and say everything that one might feel he should, is, of course, unrealistic, but still there are three key issues that need to be addressed at some point soon by our President.
The first is to take strong leadership on the issue of the need for some greater regulation of guns, as since the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, and the killing of six others and wounding of thirteen, we have seen the murder by gun of close to 3,000 people. If this is not a national crisis, and with the additional murders of young black youths that we see in Chicago and elsewhere, then what is? It is hard to fight the gun lobby and the National Rifle Association, but the President MUST not sit on the sidelines as gun violence escalates, and the growing danger of political assassination of himself, or some other office holder grows by leaps and bounds as the economy continues to create a crisis atmosphere in regards to jobs and housing.
Secondly, Obama had said during his Presidential campaign in 2008 that he would march with labor if there was ever a threat against the rights of workers, but he has hardly spoken up, and certainly has not gone to Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, or Florida to speak up on the issue and to confront the “Bully” GOP Governors, including most infamously, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Rick Snyder, Mitch Daniels, or Rick Scott, who are destroying the rights of public employees, making them the scapegoat, as these governors favor the rich and the powerful, and set out to destroy collective bargaining. Obama will have to campaign on labor support in 2012, but he has been slow to react publicly with adequate words and actions!
Finally, there is the issue of Private Bradley Manning, who is accused of releasing and disseminating Wikileaks information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and who is being held in inhumane conditions in the military brig at Quantico Naval Base in Virginia, stripped naked, not allowed to sleep normally, kept in solitary confinement, being mentally destroyed, all on the basis of accusations, but not yet coming to trial.
President Obama made a reference to Manning when asked at a news conference, that he had been assured that what was being done with Manning was totally appropriate, but that is clearly the furthest from the truth. It is clear that his mistreatment is an outrage that the President needs to stop immediately, and it is a tremendous disappointment that he seems up to this point to be totally insensitive to what is happening to Manning.
Urgent action on all three matters is needed, and hopefully, the first will be to relieve Manning of his inhumane treatment NOW!
Mr. President, we believe in you, but you need to take immediate action on all three of the above matters!