That’s the question being asked (again) by the republican presidential campaign.
But it’s the wrong question. In fact, it’s a self centered question that points directly to the “Iv’e got mine, so fuck you” attitude of much of the leaders of the republican party.
The idea that politics is all about “ME” lays at the very heart of what is wrong in American politics. This relentless focus on the individual and individual success leads down a path that ends in an Ayn Rand utopia where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and opportunity comes to those who can afford to pay for it on their own.
The question that we all should be asking is:
Are AMERICA, and It’s PEOPLE better off than they were 4 years ago?
My answer would be a resounding YES!
Here are a few examples of why I think the country in a better place today than it was when G.W. Bush left office:
Instead of being embroiled in 2 unnecessary wars that drained our economy and sent far too many of our young men and women off to be killed or maimed, we have ended one war, and are in the process of ending the second. There are those who say that President Obama hasn’t done enough on this front, but it’s harder to clean up the mess than it is to create it in the first place. Simply leaving Afghanistan would create a power vacuum that wreak havoc across western Asia.
The U.S. economy IS in better shape than it was 4 years ago. 27 months of job growth, stock markets at levels not seen since 2008, and an auto industry that not only survived, but is now making money. (Can you imagine what would have happened if the car makers had been allowed to fail? Our economy would have been in a pit so deep that it would have taken DECADES to climb out of it.) Are things perfect? No, but people forget that the policies of the past administration and the republican party thrust our nation into the worst recession since the great depression. It’s going to take a little more than 4 years for things to get back to great.
On the healthcare front, millions of people that have had no health care coverage will now be able to have access to the same services that those of us who DO have health insurance have enjoyed for years. The Affordable Care Act does a lot to improve the health and well being of the entire nation.
The image of the U.S. in the rest of the world has improved. During the bush years, the rest of the world saw the U.S. as the bully on the block, led by an imbecile with little or no notion of what it meant for a nation to lead by example and consensus instead of hegemonic bullying.
The LGBT community is also better off now than 4 years ago. DADT has been repealed (With no impact to military readiness or moral), and the current administration has opted not to defend the clearly unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act in the courts. Over the last 4 years, we have moved closer to equality than we have ever been in the past.
So yes, the country as a whole IS better off than it was 4 years ago, with an bright future ahead of it. Unless of course Mitt Romney wins in November, then it will be back to 2008 and we get to do it all over again.