by Cheryll A. Bellamy

The mid-term elections are fast approaching. As usual, there is a blitz of rhetoric blasting from the airwaves and daily news media. Before we cast our votes, we need to check our emotions and fears. Unlike the members of the Tea Party, we want to avoid at all costs, the temptation of allowing those emotions and fears to become the number one factor consuming our reason lest we forget the real incremental steps and progress that President Barack Obama has implemented in the last 21 months in office. However, President Barack Obama and Con­gress have a long way to go to reassure ordinary, hard-working people that they can look into the mirror without fear. The middle-class is gaining tangible evidence that their lives are better off than they were for the previous nine years.

Many of us have been the victims of home and job loss. We feel the pain of the economic downturn. Political pundits from both parties are not in touch with our pocketbooks, our dreams and our desire for a prosperous life.

When one recalls the years of Republican rule from 2000-2008 and their political agenda, we know for a fact this party caused the economy to nearly collapse into depression that would have brought this nation to its knees. We know that under the Republican Party, middle-class income was at a standstill while the cost of living increased, shifting the middle-class income bracket into poverty. While average Americans were sleeping, thinking that they were safe, banks and Wall Street committed crimes condoned and supported by Congress which sent waves of destruction to all financial infrastructures. Reality speaks for itself and is our road map to guide our decisions for this coming election. It is within the power of the voters to execute their rights not to accept the lies of political candidates purporting an agenda that leaves minorities and the middle-class out of the equation of equal access to prosperity.

The middle-class continues to wrestle with job loss and financial insecurity. The ultimate blow was seeing their jobs outsourced to other nations. The blame rests on both the Republicans and Democrats. Study those candidates who say one thing but whose actions reveal a blatant hypocrisy—a telltale sign that your vote was a washout because that man or woman whom you voted for did not have you in mind.

Step by step, President Obama has achieved changes that will restore America’s political and economic power. Yet, we, the people, must also realize that a $3 trillion debt was inherited by this new administration. Many are clamoring for a “quick fix” solution. Hold on. Slow down. Given the reality of what has transpired so far, changes are being made slowly, but they are being made. The question remains for the voters: Do you really believe the Republican Party, the obstructionist party of no, will bring back your jobs when they wanted to privatize Social Security, repeal health care reform, continue the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and change the Constitution, and they did not want to extend unemployment benefits for millions of jobless Americans?

The recent release of the Republican Pledge corroborates that the man with the tan and his party have no new plans. Ryan Witt wrote the following: “The Republican Party released their ‘Pledge to America’ this week; they sold it as a new plan to help ‘restore’ America and gain back the trust of the American public. The ‘Pledge’ was also branded as part of the ‘new’ Republican Party with ‘new’ ideas and ‘new’ faces. However, analysts immediately noted that much of the pledge simply seemed like a reiteration of the failed Republican policies from just a decade ago.”

When we go into the voting booth this November, look at the president’s record and his accomplishments as well as all the candidates. He instituted enforcement for equal pay for women; began withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq; established and revamped the health care system for the majority of uninsured Americans, and passed economic reform legislation demanding regulation so that the practices of Wall Street and banks will no longer be the nation’s future nightmare. There are many more accomplishments. Lest you forget, vote.

(Cheryll A. Bellamy is author of  “The Clashing of Swords: Christianity, Race, Politics.”)

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