2008: Year of Hope, Year of Fear. Essay 4

Bringing the spirit of Obama to the City Council
Crosscut archive image.

Supporters of Sen. Barack Obama and Gov. Chris Gregoire in downtown Seattle before the polls closed.

Bringing the spirit of Obama to the City Council

My comments are about hope.

Having seen a few more election cycles than many, I was becoming rather jaded. I believed there was very little chance to move this nation of ours in a different direction. And then came Barack Obama running on the theme of hope. Still the skeptic I had long ago given up hope that our leadership would give up their partisanship and deeply held ideologies and begin to think of all the people who live in this nation.

I'ꀙm delighted that Obama sold hope to the nation'ꀙs young people and many others who felt disenfranchised, but even he will never be able to accomplish a fraction of the things he promised. I wish we had an electorate that would have been satisfied with campaign promises that said 'ꀜI will do my best, but don'ꀙt expect me to do it all.'ꀝ He can'ꀙt of course. Critics will attack and undermine what little hope he does generate. I hope they give him the space and time to be human and screw up a few things as we all do.

If he does nothing else, but give us the motivation to each do our best to get through these next few years with some degree of pride he will have done much.

I don'ꀙt think even Obama can do much to teach us that we can'ꀙt have it all — or to inoculate us from the greedy. If we are to learn from this recession it will be that maybe for the first time we will have to set aside money to pay for what we want rather than putting everything on plastic.

I would hope this includes our cities like Seattle which still fails to manage its budget so that we can maintain our roads, bridges, and public works without asking for special levies to pay for it.

And last I hope that maybe Obama will set a new example for local government. A government that will invite opposing viewpoints and vigorously debate public policy decisions. Instead we have vote after vote 9-0 or 8-1. Our City Council hears presentations from City departments, but gives no equal time for opposing views to debate the issues. We can'ꀙt forget it'ꀙs 'ꀜWe the People.'ꀝ It is we who hire our elected officials.


Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors