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Back on February 12, 2007 I was one of the lucky few in the United States that was able to watch then Senator Obama declare his intentions to run for President of the United States at a rally in Springfield, Illinois. His vision of the future of America had me sold early on and I was a strong supporter of his from that point on. He took on the most powerful name in politics and won because American's were ready for a genuine change. He won the Democratic nomination and the general election on a platform of moving America forward into the 21st century and working together to get things done. Unfortunately, the other side of the aisle didn't have any inclination to work with the new President in the least bit possible.
With Mr. Obama being re-elected, he no longer has to worry about another campaign in his life. Now he can start asserting some of his authority and for lack of a better term, use some of his "political capitol." So here is my wish list as a progressive that has supported this President from the very beginning:
Pursuing genuine immigration reform
--I'm for a real path to citizenship for undocumented people. Not just that, but we have to expand our visa program to allow graduates of high-tech and other high demand jobs in this country. There is absolutely zero reason that our Universities educate these people and then we kick them out when they graduate.
Ending the Drug War
--I'm a firm proponent in legalizing marijuana and de-criminalizing all other drugs. My view is that people will do drugs if they want to. There is a reason they are resorting to drugs and they need help, not a jail cell.
--We need to start a discussion about how many prisoners we have in this country and cost that has both economically, but in so many other ways. We have more prisoners than another other country in the world. Something has to be done about this.
- We have to reassess how we fund our public schools. The current system is rigged because it is based off of local property taxes. If we keep it this way, our suburbs will ALWAYS have the best public schools and the inner city schools will never receive the funding they need to have a chance.
- We are in desperate need of genuine tax reform. The poor and ever disappearing middle class are being killed while the wealthy reap all the benefits. That has to change and President Obama needs to push for a progressive tax system.
Now, I am by no means naive enough to believe that these things will just happen over night and it will most likely take the Democrats re-taking the House to possibly get any of it done, but I am a perpetual optimist. If President Obama uses the bully pulpit the way that some of our other great President's have, he might be able to shame Congress into tackling some of these pressing issues. Stay tuned to see if that happens.