Stop The Bitchin’ And Get To Work!

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In 2008 this country was in a crisis, and we came together and worked tirelessly to bring in leadership to steer us through treacherous, scary times.  Today, we are at a crossroads in the road to recovery from that crisis and as we head toward the election of 2012, our commitment to our choice in leadership is even more crucial.   It’s been a long road, and not an easy one, but the core values that brought us together to bring about change and our commitment to a humane and inclusive America must not waver.  Mine will not and I want you with me.

I reflect on a time when I was hanging out on the beach in Miami with my two beautiful daughters on my birthday, when I got a call asking if I would fly to Ohio immediately.  It was a small plane.  A really, really small plane.  It began to rain.  In fact, it began to rain very hard.  I am not at all scary about flying.  I couldn’t believe any plane would take off in that weather.  But, we did.

My office knows not to schedule anything in during my birthday – it’s when I re-charge the battery and hang with the kids. For twenty years no one has ever been able to change my vacation plans. This year would be different.  This year we would make history.  This year would change our lives forever.  So, I hopped on this little plane by myself and flew to Ohio to campaign for Barack Obama.  I hit three cities in Ohio that day and it was one of the many, many trips I took in support of our President.
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In 2008, we did everything we possibly could to get Barack elected…We knocked on doors, made thousands of phone calls, went on TV and used Facebook (wasn’t on twitter yet), and on the website I founded, GlobalGrind.com and spent from dusk to dawn talking to people in our neighborhoods. Nothing was going to stop us.  Nothing.  We were on mission that was much bigger than any of us and even bigger than the candidate himself.  This was the people’s campaign.  A chance to show the world and more importantly show ourselves just how great our country could be.

I decided to write this blog, cause I have never, not once, not for a moment during the past two and a half years lost that feeling I felt in 2008.  I might have disagreed at times, thought a different approach might work better, questioned a decision or two, but NEVER did I question the brilliance, commitment, integrity and vision of President Barack Obama.
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I didn’t fight him when he reformed healthcare for the first time in close to a century.  I didn’t fight him when he took our country off of the Grand Canyon’s ledge when we faced the worst economic disaster since the great depression, losing 700,000 jobs a month. I didn’t fight him when he gave one of the most beautiful speeches I have ever heard in Cairo reaching out to the Muslim world in pursuit of changing the perception of our country.  I didn’t fight him when he ended combat operations in Iraq and is now beginning to draw down troops in Afghanistan.  I didn’t fight him when he signed the START Treaty with Russia.  I certainly didn’t fight him when he repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and decided to no longer prosecute cases under Defense of Marriage Act.  I didn’t fight him when he reformed the grossly unjust crack/powder laws and put together a forum to address the spread of youth violence.

I didn’t fight him when he refused to let the Republicans dismantle Planned Parenthood and the National Public Radio. I didn’t fight him when he removed Bush era restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research.  I didn’t fight him when he signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women.  I didn’t fight him when he saved the auto industry and made a profit for the American people along the way.

I didn’t fight him when he made significant reforms on Wall Street, maybe not all we wanted, but definitely more than we have ever had before.  And as difficult as it is for me to say as a practicing non-violent yogi, I didn’t fight his decision to complete the mission to remove Osama bin Laden.  I could continue, but you get the point.  The accomplishments are remarkable.  The work that still needs to get done is also remarkable.  Conservatives fall in line and progressives fall in love – well, guess what – it’s time we fall in line, because the alternatives are the “Alice In Wonderland” of crazy politics, and even crazier economics.

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There has come a point, as we enter the 2012 election cycle, where a lot of people in this country, if they hear a little bit of criticism about the President, they begin to think that their vote doesn’t count.  They have to all be inspired or they won’t vote at all.  So, our job, as the people who are paying attention to the political discourse in this country to engage them…cause they aren’t going to say, “Oh, I’ll take the President cause I don’t want the alternative.”  They just might not say anything and stay home on election day.  We can’t afford what happened in the mid-term elections to happen to us again.  It just cannot happen.

We need a Democratic House of Representatives, a Democratic Senate and a Democratic President.  Any variation of that combination puts a lot of things at risk that we genuinely care about (hint: Medicare, Medicaid, Planned Parenthood, Pell Grants, Environmental Protection, Food Safety, etc., etc.]. The President said the political battlefield is the budget, and that is without question.  If they start taking money out of the education budget and put it back into that war machine and into the investment banks, and the oil companies, instead of vice-versa, we are sunk.  The middle class is sunk.  And there is no way I can let that happen.

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Of course I wanted Obama to frame the debate about the recovery package, about financial oversight, about gay marriage, and so much more – but listen to me carefully: America is on the move – and every progressive action has a reactionary counter-reaction.  This is nothing new, and nothing to be scared of.  Because demographics, fairness and the competition of ideas, in our great country, always favor progress.  Obama is playing the long game, the game with the greatest rewards.  It’s time we gave him our full-hearted support.

It is time for us to be bound by the work that we do together to build a future for our children.  We must not forget the unprecedented turnout of youth voters in NC, VA, OH, PA and in other key swing states and across the country in general, that we are called once again to transform history by turning out the largest youth vote in American history for Barack Obama.  That special feeling that we all had in 2008 is still with us, it is still there, it has never gone away.  We might want to bitch and moan a few times or yell and scream at the television, and that is okay.  But, let us not forget that we have never seen a President who cares and fights this hard for every American, regardless of color, class, race, sexual orientation or creed.  We have never seen a President as progressive as this.  We have never seen a President who has accomplished more in his first two and a half years as him.  Don’t let anyone or anything break your spirit!

Join me and millions of others who know that more change and progress will depend on our every step, breath and vote. That is why I will work day and night until November 7, 2012 to get Barack Obama re-elected.  Our work is not done! This is no time to cop out. The present and future are in our hands, hearts, minds and mobilization.  Let’s get to it. Let’s continue to change America and the world. Let’s re-elect President Barack Obama.

-Russell Simmons

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